The Big Question

I knew this topic would come up for discussion sooner or later, genuinely hoping it happens later than sooner. This is a deep, somewhat awkward thing to talk with a young boy of (almost) 7 who is at an impressionable and opinion-forming age. I did not want his half-baked knowledge and approach to ruin the importance of what I wanted to convey.

No, I’m not talking about ‘the’ discussion about birds and bees here. Before that happens A Jr has planned to throw one googly of random questions after another at me, each with a trickier answer than the previous one. I try to give away whatever I can, but sometimes there are things he’s simply not old enough to comprehend!

It was Angel’s feeding time and I was busy trying to feed her without letting her toss and turn her head in all directions and spilling her food everywhere other than her mouth. Imagine the scene! I almost felt like a Nazi forcing my dominance on the whole world.

Anyway, during such a delicate situation A Jr posed a lovely (yeah right!) question for me. Here goes:

A Jr: Mamma, why is Coral Sea bigger than the Arabian Sea?

Me: *trying to find a suitable reply while minding Angel* Umm…what do you mean why? Nature has made them that way. One is big, another is small.

A Jr: But why does nature do that? Can it do it?

Me: Ofcourse beta. Who else will do it? Do you think it is in some person’s power to do it?

A Jr: Um…no….a person cannot do it.

I could sense that he wasn’t satisfied with my answer. So I went ahead and told him about the five elements of nature and how the earth is made up of them. (Meanwhile I was done with Angel’s lunch, thankfully!)

I told him about rains, earthquakes, lightnings and other natural phenomena and how it all happens due to the changes that are inevitable in nature.

At one point of time I asked him if he knew how Earth was when it was formed. ( The answer I was looking for, was that it was a ball of fire.) As expected, his answer was different.

A Jr: Yes I know. Earth was full of darkness when it was formed.

Me: Huh?

It then struck me that he was taught that in his Moral class. His being a convent school, he’s taught verses from the Bible and knows about the Adam family and Noah. His knowledge in this regard is more than mine. Anyway, before I could say more, the next question came.

A Jr: Mamma, God created the world na…then what does nature do?

Me: *speaking slowly and trying to find appropriate words* Beta, when the Earth was formed people didn’t know what nature was. They thought everything that happened was magic, and it was done by God. When something bad like an earthquake happened and destroyed their homes, people thought God was angry. If there was a rainbow, people thought God was happy. But now we’ve studied so much, and we know that they both happen as a part of nature. Right?

A Jr: *slightly dejected* Ohh…then it means God does nothing?

Me: *sweetly* No beta, how’s that possible? You know God lives in the sky right? How can he come down day and night for every small thing? That’s why he created nature. To do his job.

A Jr: *happily* Okkk…now I understood. It means God is there but he makes nature do his work! God has other things to do, like bless me so I study well. Yeah!

He seemed convinced this time. I don’t know what I said was right or not. I did try not to curb his thirst to know and ask more and believe in what is real, while trying to keep his faith in God intact.

In the debate between science and God, I wonder who will win. Not everything in the world can be explained. Where and how life began is still not known. But one thing is true, where all else fails, faith remains and gives us the will to continue.

I hope I haven’t influenced A Jr in any way. I want him to have his own view when he grows up. Well, a view or (hopefully not) another series of questions! Again, I hope it is the former, not latter. ☺

P.S : A Jr told me later that since Arabian Sea is near Mumbai, where he stays, he wanted it to be bigger than Coral Sea! So much for my explanation! Hmpf!

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For the love of Running

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This was a forward I’d received some time back and is slowly but surely becoming the motto of my life. I’d liked it instantly and try and read it once, everyday, for the positivity it gives me.

Before you think of beating a hasty retreat, wait. I’m not going to bore my readers with some tedious lecture on inspiration or motivation. We’re all grown-ups and more or less know what we need to know. Only, sometimes there is a dire need to ignite the somewhat dying fire within us. That’s when a line as simple as the one above works wonders!

I’m a determined person (although a bit sluggish in determining what’s important) and once I make up my mind there’s precious little anyone can do to make me change it. There’s always a hoarde of different things that I’m thinking about which confuse me more and don’t help in achieving anything worthwhile. However, there’s one thing I’ve set my mind and heart on, and want to stick to it till the end.

When I was a school girl we received the Pune edition of TOI at our native. Although it wasn’t an eveninger we received our copies only past 4o’clock and led to many a fights between us siblings for laying our hands on it first. TOI with it’s coverage and editorials, understandably, needed no reason for being read or liked.

Out of the many things I learned through it was one about the Marathon that took place in Mumbai every year! Alongside pictures of many celebrities (which interested a teenager like me) were numerous fitness enthusiasts who took the whole route to the finish line. Age no bar. Many ran for or in support of some social cause like Green Earth or Avoid Female Foeticide. It was amazing!

For a home-bound overweight teenager like me it was an unthinkable and unachievable task. I only watched in awe and a little jealousy that I wasn’t part of such an adventure. It was very far fetched but deep inside I was hankering to be out there and experience this mega event for real and feel the contagious energy of it all.

Which, in all probability, can happen this year. Last two years went with the wish of wanting to do it but without enough motivation and the fear that I might not be able to pull this off. Isn’t it easy to simply give something up assuming it isn’t your cup of tea? Also, when you plan to do something that isn’t your nature, people around you try and dissuade you, a lot.

Not this time! I’ve pulled up my sleeves and am ready to do everything in my capacity to prepare myself for it. Along with my fitness trainer and constant motivation (for weight loss and general well-being) R, I’ve started jogging and other forms of strenous exercise, regularly. On days when I’m not upto it, I give myself a break but try to make up for it soon.

The D-day is far away and seems like a distant but achievable dream as of now. Please keep your wishes and blessings with me. Will need them.

The SAHM

Back when we were kids and needed to fill up any forms where parents’ occupation needed to be mentioned, I remember putting ‘housewife’ in the blank for Mom’s. It was an accepted term and no second thought was given to it. Mom seemed completely alright with it too.

Our generation, however, has found new ways of tagging and referencing. Somewhere between the advent of internet, pagers, mobile phones and smart phones we created and learnt a lot of new terms; some for convenience and some for comfort. Also responsible for it are the fast changing social and economic balances in households.

One such fancy term that has kept me interested is SAHM ( Stay At Home Mom). I wish I knew whose brainwave this was and what went behind coining it. Was it some feminist who thought being called a housewife suddenly became demeaning or the outcome of some bored journalist working overtime?

Many of us who had mothers who were housewives would remember what a blessing it was to come home from school or play to a plate of warm home-cooked food or a glass of warm (albeit sometimes forced) milk. We didn’t need to bother about these things for ourselves. It is true that we were spoiled to a certain extent and took our moms for granted, but then working moms aren’t spared from that too!

Ours was a typical middle-class household where roles of both the parents were well defined. Dad earned and mom looked after everything else.We didn’t have any working mothers around us, hence thankfully there was no comparison, good or otherwise, either. For Mom it was a natural thing and she didn’t feel that she was doing anything glamourous. The world of today, however, is a far cry from that world.

Educated women like me today face bias and judgement from both sides. It is almost as if being qualified is a bane for us. I’ve been scoffed at for trading a well-paying job for a pure domestic life at times, and am also made to feel guilty if I choose to leave the kids behind for an afternoon on my own. If I say I’m a housewife I get sheepish reactions, but if I say I’m a SAHM I sound modern and updated.

I wonder if this is what triggered the term in the first place. A housewife is assumed to be someone who probably has no career prospects or aspirations, but a SAHM like me is qualified for everything she can want to be but chooses to be a domestic goddess. See the difference?

To be honest, to me the SAHM term feels comfortable. Although all women are housewives, is what I feel. A housewife is a homemaker and a woman makes a home a home, working or otherwise. Anyone is free to disagree. In our society or anywhere else for that matter, can a woman completely wash her hands off her family responsibilities?

I might do some freelance work and earn more than an average paid working woman, but still I’d be a SAHM. So, the glass is half-full or half-empty depends on how one sees it. Perception issues? ☺

Self-help is the best help…or…is it?

One of the many things that I wanted to try out at least once in life and then it strike off the list was: self-help books. I knew people who swore by their ‘7 habits’ or tried to ‘Make friends and influence people’. (Seemingly half-hearted) claims that they were life altering, a window to our inner self etc were many. Being curious(although doubtful too) was only natural.

Don’t take me wrong. I neither condemn them nor hate them. I do not advocate their use or question their methods. However, the fact that they command an entire area for themselves in book stores intrigues me. I wonder at times, are they really helpful enough to be so widely popular?

After a nasty fight with my closest friends I decided to join the bandwagon and got myself a couple of so-called books for comfort (and to escape dealing with it on my own). I had no idea of what I was trying to get from them, but when I walked out of the store I felt that the tremendous responsibility of ‘taking something useful’ from them was crushing me under it’s weight.

Like a diligent student eager to imbibe every pearl of wisdom his learned teacher has to offer, I started reading one of them. My mind, hungry to soak in the new-found knowledge, tried to muddle the voice of my heart which was straining itself hard to catch up. I jumped from one chapter to another, reading a lot but failing to absorb much.

If I was hoping that the book would reach out to me in Akashvani style and there would be some magical moment of revelation, I was sadly mistaken. For one, I felt that with a book the conversation is essentially one-sided. If you want to diasgree with something or want something elaborated, it is not (immediately, atleast) possible.

( Let me clarify here that I’m a huge fan of books. What I’m trying to discuss here is the content of certain books.)

I’m sure that the author meant well when he claimed that changing ourself can change our life. What he did not discuss though, was what can be done about the concerns regarding people close to us? We cannot change our family or shut ourselves off from humans in general. Whatever we do, isn’t there just that little flicker of possibility that it is not going to work?

I’ve had a good share of ups and downs my whole life. What I can vouch for from my experience is the positive change the presence of good people can have in our life. There is a little bit of good, bad and ugly in all of us, even in the best person we can know. Wouldn’t it be better to have a heart-to-heart with a person who you can talk to, hold his hand or whose shoulder you can use to lean on?