Monthly Archives: January 2011

Reading eat, pray and love

My resolution for the year 2011 is to find peace with myself !

I have  never been good at meditation . However hard I try I just keep on talking to myself . Some times I find me in long debates that even I could not figure out where I began or what I was doing .

I am reading ‘ Eat , pray and love ‘ . And I am doing it in a very low pace . Because I am taking the time to think and churn what I read . Now that I have reached India in the book the topic is Yoga and the text is intense.

Yesterday I came across this section where the author tells about her problems to meditate because she doesn’t know how to quiet her turbulent mind . She says :  . ‘ It is the fear of our ego that it will be discarded that keeps us away from meditating ‘.

I think it is absolutely true . I am keeping away from meditating or even praying because I am afraid my inner voice will pop out and tell me “What a mess you have made of yourself ? You are so wrong , You need to change yourself to fit in this world. “

And I am afraid if I listen to it would I be able to withstand the change . I know it is my ego talking . But I don’t know what I should do with it.  And this year my resolution is to calm and console my heart aka my ego  reassuring it that it will be given the respect it requires and  a calm place , ‘my mind ‘ to rest.

It is time to stop running away from myself and  start listening to my inner voice and guide myself to peace.

Last two years my resolution was to find out who I am or if there is anybody inside this woman who is running all round the clock to feed and clothe the family. To find the strength and happiness in standing alone as an individual more than a wife and a mother . And at the same time tend to my responsibilities to my family and life with the same passion . This blog is a result of that effort along with many other changes .

I have always been the ‘loving’ person rather than the one  being ‘ loved ‘  . I can live without eating or breathing . But can’t live with out loving the people around me .  And that is my Achilles Heal ! I am afraid if other people’s actions will make me hate them . To avoid this I would bend and stretch and even knot myself and end up not being myself at all .

Usually I keep away from spirituality because the intense penance and force absorb me in and affect my health . This year I am taking the spiritual way wherever it would lead me  . I don’t know how to do this . I intend to add on as I progress . I am notorious for my inconsistency .

Don’t take this as a post . But I am posting it anyway .

And this happened to be my 20 th book in the 20 books challenge

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Parenting and more …

Blogjunta has selected my blog for the final round of Best of Indian Blogosphere (BIOB ) 2010 polls under the category Parenting and I feel grateful.  I am happy that the blogs selected are of very good quality and is looking forward for going through all of them.

To win this or not is one thing . But I would like to use this boom to spread awareness on Dyslexia, Learning disabilities and other special conditions like Autism , Aspergers , Cerebral Palsy etc. And to represent the brave mothers out there who fight every inch of their life to help their kids get identified for the giftedness and abilities .

Three or four years before when I knew nothing about dyslexia or learning disabilities and was worried and convinced that my son is a mediocre student and lazy and moody and restless , I happened to see the much renowned  movie ‘ Tare Zameen par’ and realised Ruby might be having this problem. To put it in short I got him tested , informed the school and changed my ways and attitude.

It took a long way to realise that he has above average intelligence (in the gifted range ) and his difficulties and problems are different from our problems regarding to him. When he was diagnosed with dyslexia I did not know a single person who knew about this other than the assessing professionals . If the average population knew about it then I would also have known. And my son wouldn’t have gone through all the mental trauma.

Whenever I talked to others about this they looked at me like I am a semi crack speaking an alien language. Being left with no person and resource to ponder it was the Google that provided me with every thing needed. There is one dialogue in TZP where the father says ” My wife searched the net and found all about this” . Even though it was meant in a negative way in the movie that sentence was my inspiration . I searched the net for sites on dyslexia, learning disabilities, home schooling and parenting  blogs across the world. Experienced mothers and resource persons came forward to help me through and to answer my most silliest questions. If I have been able to impart any change in my kids’ life over these years I owe it to each and every one of those people whom I met in this virtual world.

Kids who score 1 mark or even less for exams. Think about it ! These kids may be the future Albert Einsteins and Abraham Lincons. They would have scored better or more importantly felt better if they were reached ( I am not using ‘taught’) the way they should. And the way is unique for each child. That is why it is important that the parent should know about it.

When I talk to people who work in the ‘resource help’ they say the most difficult part is to make the parent accept the problem. It is easier for the parents to think that their child is lazy or not trying than to accept they don’t fit in the normal standard.

Two days before, my son read out a passage in the public which even the adults who listened to him would have found difficult . My voice choked and my eyes filled with tears of joy . I wanted to shout ” See ! He is reading out loud . ” 

Give the support your child needs right from early childhood. And see that you give it in a positive way.

You can find my posts on dyslexia and parenting here .

1.Walking with my son

2.Daughter a precious gift .

And here are some random personal notes tossed in at One woman thousand moments.

To vote for me on face book follow this link and caste your valuable vote there .

The voting is open till February 13 th. Please read the other blogs also and vote only for the blog which deserves it .

MeMe

My first Meme inspired from Swaram’s and Monika’s posts . The idea is to post the first post of the month for all the 12 months and see how you blogging year has gone . But I have taken the freedom to post the best post or the best I think of the month .As mine is a child oriented blog I have tried to bring forth the posts related to kids and learning . But in between the poor insane mother  also pops out .

January

The view in a thousand years. As usual I heard about the eclipse only the day before. And I thought, as always it was one of those you cannot see…

February

Birds in my neighbourhood . This is the first chart Siva has done by himself. Well, It needed a lot of poking and patience from my side…

March

The best all rounder .Right from the day she was born , she has been the joy of our heart, and as they say the ‘lamp of our house’. Describing Pearl is as difficult as..

Sweet sweet vacation. This is one of the songs that reminds me so much of our vacation at our mother’s place. Last year this time I was longing for mangoes

April

Twenty Books challenge . Today I saw this challenge on Pal’s blog. I found it very interesting and is going for it right now.

Cherai beach before and after. Two or three years before, I realised with shock that my son is really suffering for what we want him to be. Every thing was in chaos..

May

Pearl’s worries Her father has convinced Pearl that we had bought her from a pet shop just like we bought Leo. So now she wants to know from which pet shop he bought me !

To my Mom on Mother’s day :To My mom, For she is the only one who understands what is in my mind. I can fool the whole world . But not her …

June

Fireflies in my bed room Yesterday night when I switched off my bed room light I saw a fire fly blinking near the kids’ bed. The child in me was very happy to see it…

July

New soil new sun Well, I am no good with changes . It is very difficult for me to adjust with them .After we changed our house last time , it took me almost three years to call it, home without thinking twice …

August

Saying good bye to my Granma I was too tired to fight with my Mom when she invited me to visit her house . It was easier to give in. It has been over 9 years . I had been in the third term of my pregnancy…

September

Giftedness and LD Until recently I thought both Giftedness and LD are one and the same .How foolish, isn’t it ? While we did the assessment for Ruby last year , the special educator..

I am convinced Last week we had gone for a trip to Athirapally waterfalls . Like all our trips and almost everything in our life it was an impulsive decision

October

Why phonics ? Pearl is convinced that we are all reading English incorrectly.She cannot understand why we are saying ‘fone ‘ for ‘pone’ and ‘filips’ for ‘pilips’…

November

Childhood friend This post is dedicated to my Childhood friend ,who was also my neighbor . As children we had a great time . We  played and played and…

December

Wordless Weekends This is my weekend corner . The place where I wait  every weekend – Saturday and Sunday while Ruby and Pearl take their key board and music  classes respectively .To my left in level with the balcony is a mango tree..

A journey to the lap of Sahyas ( Silent valley)

Ever since  I read ‘River’s end‘ by Nora Roberts I have wanted to visit a forest reserve and to go on a trail . I am not one who speaks loud about my dreams . May be this is the first time any of you hear about my innate dreams .

Then after I turned to child driven learning I was inspired by Tiffany’s posts on their visits to National Parks . My search for National parks in Kerala ended at Silent Valley . The valley formed by the southern range of Western ghats or ‘Sahyas’ and Northern range of Nilgiri hills. One of the most protected regions of Kerala . ( By protection I mean from human interference or invasion ) 😛 One thing is the word has a pull in it . The place was named ‘Silent valley’ by the British as there are no crickets in this place and the forest is some what silent in the night.The western ghats and the rain forests have been one of my all time passions . And after almost a year of chasing the season there Hubby  booked at Parikrama travel agency a couple of  months back .

I love to plan for trips even more than the trip itself. I like to set every thing perfect , sit back and watch the family enjoying . Kids also  love to pack for the holidays . Where ever she goes Pearl takes her swim suit and dolls and is good to go. Ruby packs every single book he can find related to the place plus his comics and story books . They love to sing along with the music cds .We have this habit of visiting places during off season and we love to have the place to ourselves . This time also it was the same as it  was the Christmas eve .

We started early morning and reached Palghat by afternoon . If any of you pass Palghat at Noon see that you go to ‘Hotel Nalanda ‘ . Food is great . Especially sambar and the non-veg dishes .We stayed at KTDC ‘Tamarind ‘ . The valley is almost 20 kms from the hotel . But later we came to know there are tree top villas near to the park which could have been better choice . The entries to the park has to be booked in advance which is mandatory .Timings are from 8.00 am to 1 pm . There is a bus and few jeeps. No private vehicle is allowed .

We set out at 7.00 in the morning . Three of us ( me and kids) wearing camouflaged dresses and hubby in a blue kurta and jeans .

Inside the park it is real forest .  The trail has some tribal colonies and coffee plantations in the buffer zone .

Ruby looking down at the attapadi tribal village

The attraction to the place is not the animals but the forest . The undergrowth is very thick which makes it difficult to spot animals . For spotting animals Parambikkulam , Walpara , Karadimala etc. are more ideal choices . But as I have said earlier the name has a pull . With the classes on eco system and all just starting I wanted to introduce the kids to the habitat of Jungle.

Hubby asked the driver cum guide about the chances to come across big wild animals and he said people have come across bears and tigers but there have been no casualties yet . I prayed to God to spare my kids 😉 Once into the core area it is thick jungle . The environment changed and the sun light faded . Ruby kept on telling about the freshness of the air. On the way we got out of the jeep to see some black macaws and the silence pressed on us . It is a sweet and heavy feeling .

As a kid , I have always imagined this place to be the abode of Kapeesh, Pintu , Mottu, Peelu, Bandila, Balu,and all of them in ‘Poombatta’ . And it looked and felt the same !!!

The jeep carried us to a point called Sairandri which has a watch tower to see the mountainous beauty around. And that is the last point where any vehicle is allowed. In between I spotted two leeches on my feet. They seemed to be  great fans of geometric symmetry . We knocked them away and my feet bled for another two hours. Later I learned we can use salt to keep them away.

The watch tower is the high light of Sairandri . It is huge and even though climbing it is a bit tricky the view from up there is breath taking .

I stand here on the top of these mountains . The air is thick and resounds with all the poems written on the beauty of my land. Who would not want to write about this overwhelming beauty. I feel like a school girl listening intently to the Malayalam lessons . I bow my head to all those great poets who were moved by these immovable monuments of nature to pen verses even more beautiful .

The panoramic view reminded me of the beautiful lines from a patriotic song. ‘kaanuka kaanuka janma bhuvin komala malar meni’ which can be translated as ‘ come and see the gentle beauty of my mother land ‘ .

The Kunthi river as seen from the watch tower . It flows about 28 kms in the deep forest untouched by human hands. It is believed that Pandavas spend their hiding time during the exile in one of the caves near the river .

At Sairandri there is a forest museum with elaborate descriptions of the flora and fauna of the area. Every thing works with solar energy . The sound machine was not working . Instead Ruby mimicked some of the wild animals . 😀

We couldn’t go down to the river for the hike as the elephant herds were out and roaming and the trail was closed . They warned us there is no definite path to run back if the elephants came after us.  I was let down for a while. Anyway we couldn’t have walked 4 kms up and down with the kids. We saw some mountain squirrels and then started our way back.

On our way we came across forest turmeric, forest ginger, forest plantain , forest gooseberry …. Finally we got the trick we have to prefix every thing with forest 😀 We had started the safari early at 8.00 am and it was almost 1.00pm. Kids were getting tired. Sitting in the jeep I intently searched for lion tailed macaws up in the trees. Instead I was treated with a view of variety of birds, some more mountain squirrels and black macaws.

Then all at once hubby and the guide shouted ‘Tiger “!!! The cat came running from the level above our path and jumped to the next level. No. I didn’t see it . Neither did the kids. My eyes were fixed on the trees and kids were slumping on the front seat. Only hubby and the guide saw him. And the family who was with us was really disappointed. But with an open jeep and the beast running very fast probably in the midst of a hunt it was wiser to move on.  Anyway he ran into the forest and we couldn’t have followed him. Kids got very excited. The whole journey back was filled with tiger stories.

We were the ones dressed up in camouflage and all and Hubby was the lucky one to sight the real beast. And that is what I love most about him. He always get better of me without even trying. Even wild animals know who pays the bills hmm… I wonder how words get around in the jungle.

Back at the hotel we visited another nearby dam and the next morning started our journey back home.  On our trips we rely mostly on fruits and our car smelled like a fruit cart . We discussed in length about leeches, vampire bats , their mechanisms and unique features , hirudin , how they are used in medicine and lot more.  We talked about the geographical specialties of Kerala , the western ghats , monsoons , the different uses of dams , how rivers form from springs. We moved on to evolution , dinosaurs , tigers, leopards and jaguars . We congratulated the smart tiger for his eminent camouflage that made it impossible for us to see him 😦 We wondered whether lion is a cat or a dog and promised ourselves we would check it first thing after reaching home.

Ruby spotted  some terraced farming and mushrooms and wanted to take pictures so that he can take it to his class. We passed through boards which say ‘ Agali ‘ is only a few km  and Pearl couldn’t comprehend why the place was named ‘Ugly’ !!;)

I changed the music into the 80 melodies and Ruby drifted over to the pile of books he had brought from home on jungle animals. Once in a while he put his nose up to update us on some new endangered species . By the time we reached home Pearl had convinced herself that she had seen the back and tail of the tiger and all she wanted was the school to open 😉

Just like the numerous hoardings that welcomed us at Silent Valley announced , journey to a forest is not a picnic . It is a pilgrimage to find ourselves. It is a place where silence and time speaks to you . Even if we come across the wild we leave them on their way . And we do not litter . Man is only a part of the whole chain and nothing more. We have no right to disrupt the balance of Mother nature.

Dear Life insurance company,

Last week we got a phone call from a reputable Bank explaining that Pearl has secured a prize for some activity done at school and we should go with the child to their office  to collect the prize on January 3rd. We were in the midst of a trip and decided to keep it a surprise for a while . To be frank I wasn’t convinced enough . My paranoid mind always keep on searching for the catch in offers. Anyway we reached upon the conclusion that a reputable bank will not want to play games with something related to Kids .

I could not call up her class teacher also as she was busy with her son’s wedding. Recently there has been a lot of promotional activities in the school. Anyway in the hustles of the vacation , we forgot about the whole thing . But yesterday Hubby again received a call from them . This time he was alert enough to ask what the competition was and they said it was a painting contest.They even gave him a time for the prize distribution.

Hubby asked pearl, who was back from school about the paintings she had done at school and she had a big list !!! They both got ready to pay a visit any way . The only thing that would make him to drive into the hectic city would be the twinkling eyes of his daughter and the sheer joy to see her jumping with surprise on receiving the prize.

As I was just back from the town and all dressed up I also decided to join them.  I am not going into the trouble we had with parking once we reached there . Anything for our little Angel !!! It turned out to be the life insurance wing of the Bank. At the office we were welcomed with a perplexed look from every one . There was another parent , a mother and her son in the cabin . After some time they came out with the boy carrying a gift with great pride . He marched with the same twinkling eyes as our daughter’s .The mother again had a perplexed look and it was obvious that she came in a rush .

The sales promoter or Manager or whoever he is pasted a smile on his face and welcomed us. He said with great pomp that our daughter was a really lucky one to be selected from a large number of kids .We were very delighted and wanted to know all about it . And this was the conversation that took place:

Sales promoter : ” oh well , it was done as a part of our campaigning in schools . Almost 450 students participated in it . AS WE CANNOT BRING ALL OF THEM HERE WE HAVE SELECTED A FEW AND YOUR DAUGHTER IS ALSO ONE AMONG THEM “.

Me : ” So, it was done randomly ? “

Sales promotor : ” Ah, yes, randomly . Our office at Delhi ‘ went through the drawings’ (in low tone ) and ‘ other details of the child ‘ (in confident tone ) and your daughter was also selected .

He tried to strike a conversation with Hubby who knocked it off with the first sentence. So , that is it . They just wanted the parents to be there so they can relaxingly explain the scheme to us !!!

I don’t know what kept this man away from doing it . May be the killing look on my face , May be the fact that Hubby is a CA and there is no point in explaining , or may be he was in a hurry , or may be from the looks  he decided we wouldn’t invest in the scheme.Anyway he didn’t go on with the explanation as he did with the previous customer (the mother and the boy ) .

He just handed us a leaflet and said he has a complementary gift for us. I am cent percent sure he gave it to the boy as a prize and not as a give away . We were given a metallic platter which the family later decided unanimously is ideal for serving food for the pet dog. The bottom line is he wanted us to go through the leaflet and invest in their scheme.

I would have loved to see the drawing by my child.  or I thought they would have an exhibition of the best drawings in their notice box. I just love to see kids’ paintings. I very much wanted to see how my daughter’s thought process worked as a free individual. I don’t usually post rants on my blog . I like to keep this little space beautiful. But this one was terrible. If any of you receive such a phone call please don’t go unless you want to waste your time or you want a good for nothing rustic bowl with their name embedded on it or you want to invest there .The only thing that kept me away from giving that man a piece of my mind was the fact that I did not want to upset my child . And I am sure they count on it.

Being parents who believe in explaining to kids things as they are we explained with great effort to Pearl that she has been selected from a lucky draw and is not the winner . Back home we find her checking her paintings to see which one was selected.

Now I have this little letter to you Dear Insurance Company ,

Please do not make children your bait ! Do you want to build your empire on a lie ? And that too lying to a little child ?

How dare you meddle with other people’s precious time ?

It is okey to campaign for your product . But the whole process should have some credibility. I am not a good investor and I don’t know nothing about Life Insurance. But above any thing I am a mother who rejoices even the smallest steps taken by my children.

We would have really appreciated it if you have taken the effort to go through the paintings at least. You would have been remembered in our heart with a lovely note . And we would have seriously considered joining some plans for both our kids to acknowledge the good effort you have taken to encourage our child along with your promotional programme.

Please do not try to feed on a parent’s unconditional love to his/her child.



2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 3 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 78 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 129 posts. There were 174 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 233mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was July 27th with 203 views. The most popular post that day was I am that mom ! .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were orkut.com, orkut.co.in, facebook.com, networkedblogs.com, and ourweeklyreport.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for tooth fairy, gulmohar tree, gone with the wind, gulmohar, and grasshopper.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

I am that mom ! July 2010
21 comments

2

Tooth fairy visits our house .. June 2010
6 comments

3

Gulmohar and Me ! February 2010
7 comments

4

GONE WITH THE WIND March 2009
4 comments

5

The world of grass hoppers. December 2009

I started this blog on the verge of losing myself to depression . There was a time when I wouldn’t get out of my bed . Not even to feed my kids . I will not walk fast because I was afraid I would reach a point where I have nothing else left to do . I wouldn’t finish my chores because I didn’t know what I would do after that . My Mom was in full charge . The depressed posture did a lot of damage to my neck and shoulders . Heartfelt thanks to my friend who helped me to walk out of it  .

Then it dawned on me that I have only this life to share with my family . So I decided to walk back with all my will . To compensate for the time I spend without doing anything . Not even smiling .

Almost one and a half years back my sister told me about blogs and lo , I am here !

Don’t know where this blog will take me in 2011 . I like to follow the current where ever it takes me .

Yours bloggingly ,

Krishnaleela