15 February, 2011

There's a Stewie @ home

I get a lot of this these days:

Too funny to be true eh? Honestly...my 20-month old does this too; only that Louise is not my name. I cross my heart; he's got is own equivalents for 'mom' and I get: Amma! Mamma! Mammun! Amman! Amna, Amta, Mummy and even Mola (an attempt at saying molu,as he hears daddy call)!

And worse still, I don't even get a "Hi." Ask him `what' and he'll softly say kaalu (meaning 'leg' in Malayalam) He loves saying that word. I only hope this doesn't get upgraded to "My foot!" 

PS: Lately he's been screaming, "Acha, Kuttah! And it's just as loud.  Hmm!! (And hubby asks me if this video influenced him. No way!! In fact this antic of his reminded me of this clip.)

04 February, 2011

Lessons from Schwartz and Gibran

Had he so desired his sons would have stopped what they were doing to be with their father every minute of his final months. But that was not what he wanted. "Do not stop your lives," he told them. "Otherwise this disease will have ruined three of us instead of one." 

In this way even as he was dying, he showed respect for his children's worlds. Little wonder that when they sat with him, there was a waterfall of affection, lots of kisses and jokes and crouching by the side of the bed, holding hands.

- from Tuesdays with Morrie 

These were the lines that spoke to me the loudest; it was from here that I took away a lesson from this book by Mitch Albom.

`Respect for others worlds' -- that's kind of old age I am inspired to live. Should I do even think otherwise, I hope this post will bring me back on track. (Here's hoping that my readers too will take home this 'little' lesson that will make a 'big' difference).

By the way, I also remember reading Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet and taking note of what he had to say On Children:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Now that's a good approach to parenting. What do 'you' think?

03 February, 2011

*** (no title)

Tuesdays with Morrie, is the book that now sits on my nightstand. On the cover of this Mitch Albom book are the words: an old man, a young man and life's greatest lesson. Tuesdays with Morrie is all about several conversations between a student and his aged professor. With each Tuesday meeting that the two have, I seem to be liking and respecting Morrie, the protagonist of this book.

As I read it, my mind found its way to a very special person in my life. He knew me before I was born, he was the one who held my hand and guided me through the very first letters I ever wrote (at my Vidyarambam). He's seen me go to school, watched me grow into a teenager, written long (really long) letters to me, noticed my talent to sketch, encouraged me to read more and write better. 

When my adolescence was at its peak, he pacified the angry young woman in me and often played that bridge in the generation gap between my dad and me. He took pride in my achievements and cheered me on. He's had a very special place in my world and will always be that irreplaceable gentleman who inspired me in more ways than one. He and his charming wife are so very dear to me and I would like to say that although this couple is neither my father's nor my mother's parents, they are my grandparents.

I look back at my long association with them and I think I have been so blessed to be so accepted, and so loved. To all who are acquainted with them, they have been an example to live by: never heard complaining about life or about senility. Ever since I can remember they have been as active as they could be, physically, intellectually and socially. They are all about being genuinely interested in everybody they know, I swear. They are all about spreading cheer and love and just not expecting anything in return. Just knowing them has made my life so much richer.

Retirement did not slow them down one bit. Their retirement was about building a home, making friends and making it a point to attend any function they were invited to even if it meant travelling for several hours together. It was only in the last four to five years that they had cut down on the travelling as it had really begun to get difficult to do so. When I was getting married I had passed them a message that I would not be offended if they could not come. Instead I could make a trip to their place and show them the man I had chosen for a husband. But they made it a point to come. This grandmother even told me "How could we not come when you were getting married?" I was so touched. They really had added me to their already big (a dozen, to be exact) group of grandchildren. Exactly! how could grandparents miss a grandchild's 'big day.'

That was a little over four years ago. Hubby and I caught up with them a few times in the next two years. Then we moved abroad. Two years later when we made a trip back home, we made it a point to drop in at their place. This time, in addition to seeing them, we had a baby to show them. 

Things were really different this time. Much as I loved being there, it was painful for me. Age had begun to catch up with this grandfather of mine. He has difficulty walking. His memory has been slipping away too. Although he can still make some connection with me -- if he was told my father's name - he does not remember the many good times we shared or the role he has played in my life. He even forgets my name every now and then. I am not offended; not one bit. I love him just as much.

It is just so difficult to see the change in him. His easel and paints have been stowed away. He's not the conversationalist he once was, he does not even read the newspaper, a thing he looked forward to every morning.

He won't even be able to read this post that says how much I love him. I am just glad that as a school girl I wrote so many letters to him and was lucky to have had him write me such long and engaging letters (some of which I still have and will always treasure). 

Before I got married, I wished that my husband-to-be, would be able respect my relationship with these grandparents who were not `blood-relations' as such. It turned out that I got much more than I asked for; I now have a a hubby who adores them just as much as I do. I only wish Achachan could know of this.  

*** This post happened when I let my my mind rewind and let my fingertips key away... just couldn't come up with an apt title. Any suggestions, anybody? Or maybe I should just leave it like that)

Added 4 months later: Today I think of him