Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Celebrating Homeless Kids

How is any gift, or a birthday cake or a party enough to display to the piece of your heart the enormous amount of love that you carry for him? As we sat down to plan his extravagant birthday party, think of a theme that he’ll enjoy the most, and craft our way through it, we weren’t oblivious of the fact that there will be many kids who won’t celebrate birthdays this year. Their parents won’t have a home to gather all their loved ones in, or they won’t have enough money to buy a cake or present. They won’t be able to host a party, let alone think of a “theme”. We thought of those homeless kids in shelter who probably won’t cut a birthday cake this year or make a wish while blowing birthday candles. It sank our hearts to know that these kids will not be celebrated the way we want to celebrate our kid. 

Before I had a kid of my own, I had never felt so deeply and emotionally about kids. It had never struck so many chords at once, and choked me up at the same time. I was happy with the very little contribution I was making to the furry world, until this torture called motherhood dawned upon me. Now, my view lens has shifted focus and I see kids as the best thing that ever happened to humanity.
Yup! Motherhood changes you. I consciously make every effort to be a better person. To be the person my kid thinks I am.

So for Ansh’s second birthday, we decided to celebrate the homeless kids at Mary’s Place. Because every kid deserves to be celebrated. It was one of the most nourishing experiences of my life. It was sheer bliss to witness those kids have a blast. Their innocence, their carefree and relaxed spirit, and their loud- burst-their-veins kinda laughs, made my heart swell with a million emotions.

There’s one instance that will make my day brighter every time I think of it. We were playing musical chairs, and at the end it was down to 3 kids. The mothers of these kids stood on the side and were cheering on for them, as if they were playing Olympics. There was a lot of hooting and screaming going on. As the music stopped a kid made his way to the winning chair, and he instantly exploded with happiness. Somewhat, still in disbelief, he raised his arms victoriously and cheered himself on with booming enthusiasm. It was beyond adorable to watch him celebrate his win in Musical Chairs, but what absolutely melted my heart, and teared me up was the reaction his mother displayed. She was ecstatic, over the moon elated, and I don’t have words for it. I’ll leave it for you guys to watch it here. Most rewarding moment

I feel so rewarded to watch a precious moment like this. As a mother of a fairly privileged kid, I sometimes forget how important it is to celebrate every moment, and make a huge deal about it. I am thankful for the reminder and I hope to carry it with me lifelong. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Let the Tremendous Twos begin!

Two years ago, after 17 hours of labour, at 5:17 PM, my perfect 8.1 pound gorgeous baby boy graced this planet with his presence. The world’s been a better and brighter place since then.
With his eyes wide open, clean as if he’d just had a bath, and a head full of hair neatly pulled to one side, he was ready for a photoshoot since day 1.

I remember our first night at the hospital, when he laid next to me while I watched him sleep. I felt the rhythm of his breathing. I gazed at the precious swoop of his nose, the soft flutter of his eyelashes, the length of his fingers, the curves of his cheeks. I soaked in all the little details of him.

I blinked, and it’s 2 years already. My baby boy turns two today, and my heart just keeps exploding with fireworks. Every time he smiles, every time his mischievous eyes twinkle. Even in the wee hours of night, I have nothing but love in my heart for his little human.

I delight in him, more than I delight in anyone. I never thought that this is what parenting would feel like. Of course there are many, many, many, MANY moments of frustration too. Of boredom, of inconvenience, or of fear and doubt. The road hasn’t been easy. But we, as a family, have grown together to find a great equalizer. And I will take some (not all) credit for that.

Continuing the tradition, I’m writing him a letter on his birthday, in a hope that he’ll read it someday.  If you missed the 1st birthday letter, you can read it here: First birthday letter to Ansh

My dear love puddle Ansh,

So, here we are, another year later. In some ways this year went by too slow, and in some it went by in a flash. The second year was so much different than the first. By the time you turned one, you weren’t walking, much less doing more than tripod crawl. But all the changed just after you turned 1. You became an Olympic speed crawler, before we knew it you were walking, letting yourself into all our rooms, reaching on top of our counters, throwing balls for us to fetch, and getting into all kinds of trouble, including but not limited to bumping your gorgeous forehead at every turn. We also moved into a new city right after your first birthday, and your nani (grandma) was here to babysit you while mama and papa were house hunting and busy settling down.

What hasn’t changed? You are still the most talkative person I’ve ever known. Not the most talkative kid – no, the most talkative human being on the planet. You go to sleep talking, and you wake up finishing the conversation you started. Not that we understand 50% of what you are saying.
Your level of excitement is like nothing I have ever witnessed. Your dad and I, as well as everyone who knows you, get a very big kick out of how you can be excited about seeing a bus hundred times a day.

Around 22 months, the tantrums went into full effect, but that was to be expected. Let’s just say, you know what you want, and when and how you want it. And when it gets difficult at times (mostly for us), your dad and I just let you finish your tantrum, maybe roll on the floor of a grocery store, or a toy store, cry, yell, and sometimes we take videos, and laugh. We have decided to not let it embarrass us, but rather laugh it off. You’ll laugh at it one day when you see these videos too (or maybe you’ll just boycott us).

You are one of a kind, Ansh - and I’m not just saying that because you’re my son. You are so much fun to be around; your passion for life is contagious. You are so loved by people all around the world. You already have quite a fan following. I can’t even imagine what’ll happen when you’re a teenager. I don’t think I’ll be able to handle all the attention you’ll get.
I’ll never know if it’s true or not, but I believe that even if you weren’t my kid I’d still want to play hide and seek with you, throw balls with you – just hang out with you! You’re that much fun to be around.

No wonder, for your birthday, your loved ones are sending you hand written letters from all across the world. Remember, when you grow up, these hand written letters will be much more of a treasure than you can imagine. I’ll keep them safe with me till you are capable of not chewing them away.

Your birthday party yesterday was a blast. We had it at a homeless shelter with a bunch of kids who might not have as much, but find happiness in so little. All those kids had a delightful time at your party and thanked you so many times for your wonderful gesture. It was very emotional. How else are you supposed to feel when people celebrate, cherish and marvel at the love of your life? You are already a giver, my love, and I want you to remember that there’s no religion bigger than “LOVE”. And that’s how I wish to raise you. Your religion is Love.

So what’s next for you, my angel? The road ahead will be filled with trips to places like Disney World, Europe, Australia, India, and the Caribbean. Your education experience will open up a world of opportunities, and you will take advantage of whatever speaks to your heart. Our family unit will give you the security that every kid wants and deserves. Your challenges will help shape you into the amazing man I know you will become. If the first two years of your life serve as any indication of what the next two will bring, I have to just push my little bit of sadness aside and embrace the part of me that’s thrilled about your growth. As much as I may wish for my baby to remain a baby, I know you can’t be baby forever. You have to learn and explore.

Your spark inspires me in ways that I will always be indebted for. I’m in awe of you. Why? Because you’re better than me in every way – much better. Funnier, smarter, more open, more intuitive, braver. I have days when I can’t believe that your dad and I created this human being who seems to be better parts of both of us.

I am the luckiest and proudest mom of the most beautiful and hilarious two-year-old. Everything I do in life, I do for you. (Please remember that the next time you throw a fit, or a toy car at my head.) There will be times in your life that you will probably hate me for nudging you or keeping you from doing something you want but please know that I have the best intentions.

My message to you on your second birthday is simply this: You are awesome. Your boundless energy, your sweet demeanor, your creative spirit – it all comes together to make you a truly remarkable little human being.
As you journey into the next year—which I’m sure will be the tremendous twos, with some terrible thrown in for good measure—I’m filled with anticipation to watch you become more and more uniquely you. My heart will be right there, growing alongside you, my love spreading to cover every new inch of you.

I love you, my awesome son.

Mom and Dad

Friday, May 12, 2017

Karma never sleeps

I just got off the phone with a very dear friend talking about my favorite subject, and I think it’s time to make it official by writing a post about it. Because, let’s admit it, it’s not your favorite subject, unless it’s on your blog J

“Keep calm and let Karma do its thing” – is my philosophy in life. Forgiveness takes much more effort than anger, but it’s not your place to get aggressive and punish. Universe will do it for you.

If you know me, you probably also know that I literally live my life by Karma. Every action I take, every decision, every word I speak (well, sometimes I don’t think before speaking- so it doesn’t always count), the way I view this world, and every little choice I make is always guided by one principle -  how am I going to increase the “good karma” repository in my account. Because, honestly, I have had my share of bad decisions as well, and I’ve been burnt by karma multiple times too. I’m not perfect (though, I’m pretty close ;)). I’ve been at the recipient end of karma, sometimes instant karma, many times to realise that it’s not just a phenomena. It’s as real as Ryan Gosling being the sexiest man alive or Justin Trudeau can never do anything wrong!

Whether or not you believe in karma as a spiritual or humanistic idea, it’s worth considering how you behave as you go about your life, and whether or not that behavior might be bringing good or bad energy your way. Certainly, if nothing else, the concept of karma tends to make us all a bit more aware of our choices. At this point, I’d like to make it clear again, that I’m not flawless myself. I’ve made some irrational and erroneous decisions, mostly subconsciously. But I’ve faced the brunt of karma for it, and I’m very proud of myself how I’ve taken every instance as a learning and it’s made me a much stronger and self-aware person. And I’d like to pat my back because I’ve always owned up to my actions and don’t carry malice in heart for anyone (except maybe a couple people ;))

I guess what I’m saying is that people WILL let you down in this life; promises WILL be broken; universe WILL NOT always work according to your plans; you WILL err; and your trust in life WILL be shaken. But be rest assured that he who carries malice in heart will unknowingly create a shadow that follows him like the wind. You just have to keep doing good things, and good things will come your way.

I’ve made a list of things I consciously do on a daily basis to populate my good karma repository. If you have anything to add to these, please let me know. I’d be interested J

1.     Compliment people more! Be it the cashier at grocery store, or your hairstylist, or even someone walking past by you; one compliment from you might make their day brighter and you never know, you might create a domino effect. Complimenting is like yawning – it’s contagious!
2.     Laugh at a joke that gets greeted with awkward silence. It won’t hurt you, but might make all the difference to the person making it.
3.     Invite someone new to your group/ circle. What do you want to bet that they are fantastic?
4.     Don’t lie. Really! Just don’t go there…. I hafta admit, that I’m guilty of this myself. But try consciously, not to go there.
5.     Listen! As difficult as it can be to NOT talk about yourself and just listen, do it.
6.     Take time to talk to older generation. They know a lot of cool stuff that you probably don’t, and it’ll make them feel nice.
7.     Love! Love life, love family, love friends, love yourself. Love makes the world go around.
8.     Smile and give away hugs! Even if you are having a bad day, someone else could be having an even worse day and a simple smile or a hug could end up being the high point of their day.
9.     Be giving! Even if you think you have very little in life, view it from someone else’s lens and you’ll see you have so much to give. Give, give and you’ll receive a lot in return. Whether it’s your time, money, clothes, effort; just giving to those less fortunate than us is very satisfying.
10.   Friends come and go, but you are stuck with your family for life. Maybe you should treat them as good as you treat your buds.
11.   Do the right thing, even when no one is looking. Karma is always watching you!
12.   Relax and acknowledge why your life is beautiful!
13.   And the number one thing about building karma is to stop worrying about karma. Just be a nice person and let it roll

Wow! That was some heavy stuff. So take a moment out of your day. Find a cat picture and smile. You owe it to yourself, your family, your coworkers and the universe to put one more smile on your face for today.