Thursday, January 19, 2023

Normalising Talking about the Not so good days

 



We talk about the good days, the perfect days, the days filled with achievements.


Let us also normalise talking about days when we feel exhausted, take time to wrap our head around everything that seems too fast for us to comprehend, days when we want to just stay home and rest but adulting calls. These days may seem imperfect, non-productive, not the best at the first go.

But time to stop, take a step back and acknowledge that you took that first step, did not snooze the alarm, got ready for work while 'He' made breakfast and drove you to the metro station. You read on the metro travel and then chatted with the auto person who spoke about political rallies and traffic jams. Began taking classes and are slowly inching towards the long day ahead.

The day you embrace, knowing it feels like a struggle. The day you took care of self and of the world around you, one step at a time.

It is 7am and you still pose with your little girl, holding her close, because you are wearing the dokra art earring you picked at Dastkar and it makes your heart warm and gives a leap to your step. You smile, because 'He' is behind the camera.

#ExistentialThoughts #Adulting #Exhaustion #Acknowledgment #SelfLove #ReadingOnMetro 

Posted on Facebook on 16th January, 2023 at 10,50am.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

First School Excursion, the Ira way

 






Ira and we had another First moment in our lives recently. She went on her first school excursion. What an exciting few weeks it has been from the prep to it actually happening. This blog post is my way to capture and archive this 'First'. Remember, I live in hope that Ira will some day read all my blogposts. Ok. At least some of them. At least those that are about 'Her'. 


18th December 2022 marked an important milestone for a group of eight to nine year olds and their parents. The little human beings were going on a school excursion, a first for almost everyone. Some of them had stayed away from parents but with grandparents for a while, like Ira did for 17 days when we had Covid. But this was a whole new ball game. 


While the children were mostly excited and making a lot of noise, the parents through humor, conversations and smiles were expressing the tumultous journey of the butterflies in their tummy. A parent even said how there was last minute separation anxiety. 


The concerns ranged from it being the first train travel for some, to whether they can live in the rural set up to can they adjust to an Indian toilet. Will they be able to board and alight the train safely, manage the food and for me specifically, hope Ira doesn't have any reactions to insect bites! Some of you may brush these concerns aside calling them silly, but trust me, they are real, they are big concerns and they do seem like huge mountains to cross. Some, like Ira ke Papa were of course pretty cool and chilled out.  I am extremely emotional as a person and was quite worried that I would end up bawling as the train left. But much to Prashant's amusement, that didn't happen :) 


The underlying thought across was will they be all fine, without us- the parents. From the train coming to the two meticulous lines disbanding in chaos because the coach moved further than where it had to halt, the kids all climbed on to the train in 2-3 mins of the halt along with their teachers. We said our byes, walked home with our partners and braced ourselves for the next few days. We were to call only in case of an emergency and a whatsapp group was created where pics would be shared every day. The ask seemed very rational given the teachers had to manage fifteen children. 


Circa, 23rd December 2022

The little human beings completed their wonderful trip and were back home. Each of them full of stories, arising from new experiences and wonderful experimental moments. 





Ira came home along with a dear friend and then through the course of the day shared little stories about her trip. She spoke about liking her train journey and meeting a Dr. Satya on the way to Talguppa in the train and how the Dr. was very familiar with the route.  Ira has earlier done a train journey only twice, once to Trivandrum and once to Mysore. She liked the middle berth and even slept quite well, in her words :) 



The kids shared some chores at the home stay where they were divided into groups and they had to serve food on plaintain leaves, ensure no food was spilt, wrap their bedsheets in the morning, get the firewood going for hot water. The home stay was in Talguppa and had a single bathroom that a large group shared. So, bath time was divided and the groups took the ownership of getting things ready. The trip involved nature walks, where they encountered different insects and ants; visit to a dam, a power generation plant, a fort, some temples and even Jog falls. For posterity, a printed photograph of the group made it's way to our home and our hearts. Eating a meal of rice, rasam, brown chana and payasam at a temple was a whole new experience for Ira. She liked the streams too but didn't want to wet her head below them, just her hands. They also went on paddle boats and some children danced in the bus with disco lights. 


Ira said that Parvathamma and Thatha at the home stay were very nice people and took care of them. Srilakshmi and the teachers helped make the meal that the children had and they had different types of food everyday. Just before boarding the train back, they had dose for dinner, which is quite a favourite with many kids. 


We asked Ira how she felt and she said that on the first night she was home sick and in tears. Some of her friends also went through that the next few days. We asked her what happened at that time and she said that Madhu (her class teacher) told them that this is her 7th excursion and she also misses her family very much. A common chord was struck and that helped them cope, I guess. 


Our little girl is quite a foodie and loves non veg food. The morning at home began with some hot bournvita milk and biscuits and dose and alu sabji for breakfast. Lunch was Chicken pulao and dinner was egg fried rice. In spurts, we got little stories and am sure for the next few days, they will keep coming. The exhaustion had set in and long naps happened. The joy of being home, enjoying her holiday and also being told how she was missed by her Mamma and Papa. 



She quite  a few times called me Madhu and then we had to tell her, you are home and it is Mamma and Papa now. Till the next time and the next excursion. 


These last few days are  a reminder of many things, we take for granted and things we must be grateful for. 


1. Children can always adapt to new experiences, the apprehensions and fears are with us adults. 

2. Children have a strong sense of Independence and given that space, can manage themselves, take some small responsibilities and ownership of tasks. The forgotten items, mismatched clothes and shoes, scrambling for things doesn't really matter in the long run. 

3. It is alright to feel homesick and to miss home. The acknowledgement of that moment is important but also to know that the other children and the adult with you sails in the same boat makes it easier. To know that you are not the only one with that overwhelming feeling. Children learn to cope. 

4. To know that not everything, everytime will be perfect but to work around what is possible and make the most of it. 

5. As parents, we have to remember that we can only facilitate certain experiences for them and then let go of that moment as the experience unravels (ok.Prashant and I were having a conversation on Parenting one of the days while Ira was travelling and this is a thought he shared and is being given due credit for). What we can do best is to teach the little human being to be open to all experiences. We are so glad that Ohana had these excursions and see it as a wonderful way to help the little ones get an understanding of the world beyond their comfort space. 

6. To know and remember that people are kind and helpful. The world is filled with generosity that makes its way to us if we keep an open mind. 

7.  We love our little ones and the best way to love them more is to give them the independence and the autonomy that their heart desires and their mind seeks. 

8. Make the most of these times as parents. We made the most of these four days meeting friends, binge watching Netflix, attending my favourite exhibition- Dastkar and even doing nothing! 

9. A big shoutout to Madhumati, Sneha, Arun and Sreelakshmi for making this happen and our little human beings for giving us Parents so many moments and memories through their little travel stories. 

10. Finally, Kudos to us parents. A small step for our little ones, but a mega leap for us for sure :) 


Ira also wrote a bit about her trip in her journal. And for years, these pages will always remain super special, the Ira way. 



Note: Permission was sought from all the parents before the group picture was posted in the blog. 

#TravelTales #Stories #Ira #Iraisms #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #Love #Gratitude #Happiness #FirstSchoolExcursion #Pramadhs #Us #Parenting #Ohana 


Saturday, December 10, 2022

Moments of hope arise

 

Ira had her School Mela today. We had been really looking forward to it. The children, adults had put in immense effort for the big day.  And then inclement weather thanks to the Cyclone and plans had to change. A limerick to mark today. 





The morning began with constant pitter patter and gloomy skies

Will it happen or not, suspense stays and the sun still shies

We will have to wait, date with school another day

Post rains, rainbow and sunshine on the way

Change is constant, we learn and adapt, moments of hope arise


#ExistentialThoughts #Limerics #Ira #Iraisms #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #Pramadhs #Chai #HotChocolate #LoveReading #Hope #Adapt 


Sunday, December 4, 2022

Get, Set, Go to BLF, the Ira way


4th Dec, 2022 just became a Sunday to remember! Ira is just recovering from a week long viral, with some remnant cold there. We had registered for the Bangalore Literature Festival but thought would miss it. 


Woke up this morning and decided to go for a short while. Ira was super excited that she would get to listen to and meet some authors, and may also get some books signed by them. 


We did the metro ride and landed at The Lalit Ashok. The place where the CLF tents were, was buzzing with excitement and kids :) Ira went to the whale tales segment, did a drawing and was happy to show that her whale flew :) 



While she was at that tent, I managed to catch a few minutes of the panel with Honey Irani, Farhan Akhtar, Shantanu Ray where Honey Irani's new children's book was being released. 


We also attended the session where Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan was talking about poetry, rhyming and the role of memorization. While I went to pick her book with another friend, Ira waited in queue and they had a little chat. Spoke about acrostic poetry and Ira shared a poem she wrote with the word Prize. Ira also got the book by Honey Irani autographed. My friend Chandra and her son Gugul also had come and we all had book loots to carry back. I sure had a thrilled Eight year old with me. We also picked a few more books from a larger lot she initially chose. However, Ira wished there were more graphic novels for children. 




By then, Dadu had arrived and we walked around, and soaked in the happy excitement all around. As a child, Baba took me to the Calcutta book Fair and I remember being in awe of it's vastness. A lot of experiences of book fairs, book store visits as a child and then a teen are with Baba. So, he joining us today was a happy occurence in many many ways, as Ira held his hand and took to show the bubble station in the CLF zone. 

We then went to Go Native and had a fabulous almost vegan lunch! Happy few hours and we braced ourselves for the journey home. Ira finished one of the books already at lunch and is now looking forward to the next edition of the BLF, just like me :). I hope we have a separate Children's Literature Festival, because while getting them to do their things, we parents definitely miss out some good panel discussions. I hope someone is listening. <3 



Ira ke Papa was missed and we cannot wait to tell him all about our first BLF experience together. 



#BangaloreLiteratureFestival #CLF #Happiness #Love #Gratitude #LoveBooks #AuthorSignedCopies #Pramadhs #Ira #Iraisms #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #IraAndMamma #IraAndDadu 


Monday, November 14, 2022

Thrilled to bits for little things, the Ira way

 



Dearest Ira, 


You are almost 8.5 years now. The last year has seen a surge of very interesting observations and questions that you have asked us. Some easy ones, some fun ones, some not so comfortable ones and some for which we had to find answers. Somedays, we wondered if you ae really just Eight and the next moment, you did something with child filled wonder and chaos that assured us you are still eight. 


You asked us about the need for caste. Why if we are born equal, do people then follow caste. You read the story on the Dalit boy and wondered about how mean people can be. You felt sad when you read about the atrocities the families went through. 


In our little travel, you have begun noticing the diversity around and also asked us what does it mean to be locals and who is an outsider. 

You have begun showing curiosity on practices and questioned them, food habits to expressions of faith. 


You have also wondered why adults are allowed to do some things and children can't. 


You are curious about growing up and we have had some interesting and deep conversation on the physical and mental changes that you have to embrace yourself for. 


You have navigated difficult interpersonal moments, sometimes chosen not to share with us and sometimes seeked our help. 


We have tried our best to have the conversations in simple ways, seeked the help of books and in some cases, even friends to quench that curiosity. You were sometimes happy with the answers, sometimes asked more questions and may be sometimes even wondered why simple questions had long drawn answers. 


You continue to assert yourself, find yourself and celebrate yourself in your little ways. 



You have shown us how small things thrill you to bits and your expressions have been loud and clear. Be it the lady bug pattern nailpolish , eating your favourite dessert, doing the fevicol craft, playing virtual games or making your own stories. Making rangoli art or trying some Science experiments. Choosing your new spectacles and then flaunting them with panache! 


On Sept 27th, you completed 100 months of being 'You'. We were at Kali adventure camp and you closed the evening eating Gulab Jamun. The thrill in your eyes and the smile said it all. 


You also learnt about budgeting a few weeks back when you shopped for books from two bookstores, keeping a budget in mind and managed to save a few tens! Thrilling indeed. 



Yesterday, you went for your first ever Karate Championship and won some medals. While the thought was to have fun, we also saw how you were thrilled holding onto those medals. 



So, to those questions, to that bowl of Gulab Jamun, to magical and mystical moments, to celebrating every small and big milestone with childlike innocence and wonder! 


We do have a surprise for you this evening and I can already hear that squeal and see that shine <3 


Happy Children's Day! 



Love, Hugs and Kisses, 

Mamma and Papa


#Ira #Iraisms #BeingIra #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #Pramadhs #Us #Love #Learning #ChildrensDay #LetterToIra #Questions #LittleHumanBeings #Parenting 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Off to find our Happy Way, the Ira way


This Daughter's Day we incidentally happened to spend the day doing something our little girl absolutely loves. We visited some beaches in Gokarna and she played in the water, collected sea shells, sang as she soaked her feet and they sank in the sand with the waves and watched the sun set. She also agreed to post when Mamma wrote I love you on the sand and asked her to step into the 'love'. 

This little human being, the 'giant' in her Papa's insta stories surprised us as she wrote a little poem on our long drive from Bangalore. 

That poem sums up a lot of our experiences, the Pramadh way. 



To loving, dreaming and traveling together, discovering happiness. 



#Ira #Iraisms #Pramadhs #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #TravelTales #GokarnaDiaries #Happiness #Love #Gratitude #HappyDaughtersDay #Us #PoemsByIra 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Independence and you, the Ira way



A little crafty endeavor to mark Independence Day (Idea courtesy: Deccan Herald) 


 Dearest Ira


Happy 75th Independence Day! 


As we celebrate this special day, read about the freedom struggles and be thankful for what we have, here are little thoughts on this big word, Independence


You assert your independence when you.... 


Share your thoughts with us, unfiltered


Eat what you want, with glee


Dream the path of your choice, unhindered


Choose the love of your life, with fierceness


Sing and dance in front of the mirror, uninhibited


Draw a rainbow hairstyle on the figurine, with pride


Speak what's on your mind, unabashedly


Walk away from the norm, with little heed


When you stand up for self and say 'No', unhesitatingly 


Read books, write stories, make random crafts, sleep, eat and repeat the same, with happiness


Fail, fall and learn to rise, unscathed


Be yourself and dance to your own tune, with courage


Be kind to self before others, unthinkably


Travel the world and be a part of it, with empathy


Wear your adventures on your lips, unlocked 


Be that little speck that will shine through, with gratitude


Question every injustice, unshackled


Stand up for what you deem is right, with fearlessness


Go, our little girl, assert your Independence every step of the way! 


Love, 

Mamma and Papa 


#Ira #Iraisms #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #LittleHumanBeings #Parenting #Pramadhs #HappyIndependenceDay #Love #Kindness #Gratitude 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Back to School, the Ira way



                       Day 1 of School, with Vira

Life last few days has been about many changes. One of the biggest one has been Ira going back to full day school, embracing Grade 3 with full gusto. 


The week has been about sharing what she did with her friends. Key words are talked alot, played a lot and had fun. Being in an alternative learning environment, we have realised much of the learning is latent and springs up in moments of eureka. She loves the bus ride and is getting acquainted to her new Coordinator and new grade. She was super excited to make her own class timetable with her friends which had timetable on one side and calendar on the other side, with some glitter work too. We closed Day 1 with her favourite Chicken pulao made by Papa. 


                    New routine, here I come




     Chicken pulao to mark the Big day

Ira asked me few months back why dolls never have glasses. Thanks to a dear friend and her resourcefulness, I got this crochet doll called Amigurumi dolls customised for her from a doll maker in Trivandrum.

So, introducing Vira and welcoming her to all adventures and travels with the Pramadhs. 

We did the mandatory Day 1 pic while we dropped her to the pickup stop, which is now a walking distance from home. Afternoon pickups also mean some butter milk before we set out to walk home. Mornings are back to being really early and Ira tries to catch up on some reading while eating her breakfast. 


                                  Day 1 Selfie

The week closed with a Parent Teacher Interaction at school. Saturday morning well spent understanding how our little human beings will learn this year, the thoughts they will embrace and all the milestone moments they will carve for themselves. Prashant and Ira also helped serve the sumptuous snack made at school. Of course, we are super excited to get our kitchen rota and also be a part of other activities at school. We took pictures on the lanes Ira will call home for years to come. 


The parent teacher interaction and some yummy tiffin

So, to Grade 3 and to her Ohana experience, filled with love, compassion and discovery. 


#Ira #Iraisms #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #Parenting #Love #Happiness #Gratitude #LittleHumanBeings #Parenting #Pramadhs 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Now

 


You love someone, tell them now

That book you loved, talk about it now

That music you laughed and cried listening to, share about it now

The travel that rejuvenates you, go for it now

The hobby that brings a sparkle to your eyes, pursue it now

The coffee you have together, toast to it now

The little plays and chatter, be a part of it intently now

That fish curry and mangsher jhol reminded you of home, tell the one who cooked for you with love now

If you feel something about someone, something somewhere... express it now


Do it now

Laugh loudly

Love deeply

Hug tightly

Kiss passionately

Express vehemently

Share earnestly


Life is too transient

Moments are too short

Memories stay on

So, does the pain, the hurt and the loss. 


"I love you and you mean the world to me. "

Say this to the one who needs to hear it, now. 


#ExistentialThoughts #LovePoetry #Life #Love #Gratitude #Loss #Pain 


Saturday, May 28, 2022

Hello Eight!, the Ira way

 


                                Hello Eight! 


This year as we ring in our little human beings 8th birthday, we are amidst nature doing things she loves and also doing absolutely nothing :). 


The last year has been a journey where we have seen her grow, expand her horizons, learn to deal with tough moments and accept when someone says no, learn to make new friends, learn that it is ok not to like some things, learn that being kind and loving is the most important thing in the whole wide world. 


Us

                                My Precious
                   Chocolate cake and cheers

                            Birthday Morning

Summing up eight interesting moments / things she did last year that were new experiences and now are a part of the Pramadhs' stories, like forever. Sharing these, with eight E adjectives that describe her and her experiences! 


Eager- After being home schooled last year, made new friends in her new school and travelled in a school bus for the first time ever, even going on a short trip to the bugs hotel. 


Energetic- One thing she missed the most during peak covid was her play time with the apartment friends. As things eased, she managed a lot of play time, also took her karate belt exam in person, along with attending a nanchack workshop. 


Exciting- Over the years, Ira has grown to be quite an avid reader. There are also few days when she doesn't touch a book. But when she reads, we have had constant reading happening. She started the Harry Potter books this year and finished the series. Has taken to Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Ruskin Bond, David Walliams books very keenly too. She reads and also shares the stories. This holiday, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid has got her attention. She also did a writing workshop with Amar Chitra Katha this summer. Am sure excited to see her churn out new stories :) 


Elaborate- Prashant is a process person and has inculcated that in Ira. Be it her morning and newpaper reading routine or other life skills. She recently learnt to negotiate while buying plantain leaves at the Yeshwantpur Market. She asked lot of questions, got the process aorted in her head and followed instructions to the tee. 


Earthy- Her name means Earth and she is quite at home amidst nature. Ofcourse, doesn't like the leeches much, but this year has heard owls hoot, peacocks call and many other birds. This was the first time she did 2 camping trips in the span of a few weeks, with small treks and also slept under the sky in a tent. 


Earnest- She tried a few things with utmost earnestness this year. Made breakfast for us first Sunday of a few months. Overtime, life took over and we lost the rhythm but hope to get back to those little chef mornings. She does partake in food prep when Papa cooks :). She also has been writing to her pen friend, Sonali. Sometimes they areletters, sometimes apost card. An interaction she takes quite seriously. 


Empirical- We encouraged her to do journalling through the year for various experiences. So, her little treasure trove has small handmade books with many things written about little things she did. Be it a story, a song, writing how she is feeling or about her travels and holidays. 


Effervescent- Being parents to her is a life full of surprises. Sometimes, she says the philosophical things with a straight face. Eg. Mamma, Covid is here to stay. We must move on. This was when the Pramadhs were going through lot of health challenges and mamma was frustrated and stressed. Or when she dishes out potty jokes teaming with Papa, her partner in crime. She has her inner circle and is aware that her Joi will do the most crazy and kiddy thing with her, like having a lollypop. She has learnt to navigate relationships, share how she feels and find her place in a group. 


      A Cute message from our favourite Kalpan Dida, along with big bear hugs

27th May 2022 began with Mamma and Papa waiting for Ira to wake up. She had declared last night that she is eight and will sleep in late. She was up at 7. 30am (quite late in comparison to our normal waking up time). 


We gifted her some clothes, some books and card games. Harish from Varshini had made puri for breakfast :) She wore her new jeans (she wanted distressed jeans as a gift) and tee with the HP sorting hat in sequens and posed for Papa. Our heart skipped a beat, wondering when did she grow up so much. Lunch had fish and there was chicken curry for dinner. We managed to also get a chocolate cake from the town nearby. With Dadu-Dida, Meshodadu-Mashidida, Joy, Rony, Malu on the video call, we sang the birthday song marking year 8. Our dear friends, H&N joined us for the day with their nephew. 


               Manjarabad fort, posing adults and kids with swag

To family and friends, far and near, who sent their love for our little girl through calls and messages, Thank you! 


Let the #EffablesAtEight begin! 


#Ira #Iraisms #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #Pramadhs #EightBirthday #HappyBirthday #BirthdayHoliday #Happiness #Love #Gratitude 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Plantain leaves and Negotiation, the Ira way

 




Bangalore has been seeing a lot of rains and some gloomy weather. Just perfect for Papa to make his famous Chicken Dum Biryani. 

What ensued this Thursday was some good planning and prepping. 

Mamma was in a session and Ira and Papa went to Yeshwantpur to buy plantain leaves. Given the traffic and hassle of parking, Ira was given the responsibility to Buy the plantain or 'yele'. 

Prashant told her to buy 5 leaves and it would be about Rs. 25. Gave her 100 Rs. He also primed her to converse in Kannada with the shop keeper. 

Our girl went and asked him for the yele and the cost of it. He wanted to knownif they are buying just one or a bunch of it. On knowing her requirement, he said Rs.30. She got back to Papa and told him about the ask, then went back and told him, "Ayidu yele, 25Rs". He agreed, she paid, got back the change and happily walked back to the car. 

She came home and told me that she negotiated while shopping today. 

A small experience but an essential one. To understand that it is important to ask and ensure fairness. I do hope she hones this skill going ahead and takes this to different aspects of life. One chapter of being independent, assertive and outspoken. 

And yeah, the dum biryani was yummy. Coal was used to give the smoky authentic flavor. We enjoyed the biryani, while continuing to savor the hillstation weather in Ooru. 



#Ira #IraAtSeven #StoriesAtSeven #Parenting #LearningNegotiation #Us #Gratitude #Happiness #ChickenDumBiryani #IraAndPapa 

Normalising Talking about the Not so good days

  We talk about the good days, the perfect days, the days filled with achievements. Let us also normalise talking about days when we feel ex...