Monday, March 16, 2015

Work day 'mornings', 'ninny love', 'addvanture' and more...

Work day mornings are chaotic in the 'Das' household...

After failed attempts at being woken up by the alarm and then 'D', the morning starts with Raya and her "sleep loving" mama,  both curling up  to get as many extra minutes of  'sleep in' time as one can possibly squeeze into a 'work and school' day morning schedule... Once everyone's finally managed to get out of bed, then there's the process of "yours truly" running around her little toddler to get her to brush her teeth...the important thing here is that the "morning teeth brushing" routine doesn't just entail motivating and making  Raya brush her own teeth, it also entails watching Raya meticulously brush "ninny's" 'teeth', which could take anywhere from a couple of seconds to 5 mins based on my toddler's frame of mind, if you know what I mean! Now for all those who are not yet acquainted with "ninny", let me do the honors of the introduction. "Ninny" is Raya's security blankie/comfort toy and gets all the privileges any other member of the family does. She has traveled the world with us...a trip to Mexico, two trips to India, trips to the West Coast, Texas, Mid-West, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Australia and NZ...all in the past three if that doesn't make little "ninny",  an official globe trotter, I wonder what will...LOL :) Anyways, getting back to the point, once both Raya and "ninny" are done brushing their teeth, it's of course Raya's mama's turn to get some unsolicited help from her toddler and her toddler's partner in crime, "ninny", in brushing her "adult" teeth...oh well!! Talk about chaotic 'work day' mornings.

Then of course, there is the process of running around to get the little toddler dressed, while of course she dresses up "ninny", finds 10 different activities to distract herself with, and chatters away with 'n' old and new tales involving actual and imaginary friends.

This morning, frustrated and completely on the edge, in the middle of our chaotic Monday morning, I told Raya quite sternly, 'Raya I am going to ask you to put on your shoes exactly three times. If you don't listen to me and put on your shoes,  I am gonna be really mad at you!' The threat worked and within seconds the toddler had accomplished the last of her tasks and was ready for school.  In the meanwhile, I decided it was time for some cuddles and kisses before we head out for the day. As I 'devoured' Raya with kisses, my little toddler threatened , "Mama I am going to ask you not to kiss me exactly three times.If you don't listen to me and stop kissing, I will be really mad at you!' Oh well, didn't see that coming for sure...quite a steep price to pay, I have to say, for expecting
my little toddler to tow the line...Oh well, well...LOL!

On another note, over the weekend, at the end of a play date with two of her girl friends at home, we saw the three toddlers, walk down the stair case from Raya's room with loaded 'knapsacks' on their back! When we asked Raya where all of them were headed...the reply was, 'We are going for an "addvanture" '. When asked  what they were taking on their "addvanture", pop came the reply..."Shoes and credit card, Mama"...After I had convinced Raya that lugging around such a huge bag was a bad idea, she agreed to open the bag and unload some of the stuff. Sure enough, the bag was loaded with all the shoes in her closet and one credit card! Oh of course, what else would these little 'girlie' girls need to survive an "addvanture" other than shoes and credit card!! LOL

Other than that, my little toddler had her first 'pee pee' accident in almost a year, and her first one ever outside home,  this weekend!!:( She was quite upset about that for a major part of the weekend. But seems to have finally gotten over it now! Thank God for that!

Happy Monday folks. Hope you have a great week ahead and hope your 'work and school' day mornings are not as chaotic as ours!:)

Leaving you with a picture of Raya with her beloved ninny in some corner of the Southern Hemisphere!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Womanhood and Home...

International Women's day came and went by.

As we celebrate women and all that women do and are capable of  achieving, I wanted to pay tribute to two amazing women, who are no longer with me, but in big ways and small, have had a tremendous influence on my life.

I was born in the north-eastern part of India, in a family that comprised and still comprises a diverse set of women.

My mom is the youngest of 4 girls born to my maternal grandparents. My maternal grand mom, "Aita ma", despite being married off at  the age of 10 and bearing children at the age of 15,despite the lack of academic degrees attached to her name, was one of the most broad-minded women I have come across. She exuded a combination of empathetic intelligence, warmth and affection that I believe she succeeded in passing on, in some form, to all her daughters and grandchildren. I believe it is primarily because of the aura of love and affection that my dear "Aita ma" exuded and spread that our huge extended family, which now comprises  people from all parts of the world,  belonging to different cultures and religions, is still as close knit as  one can imagine. "Aita ma" was aptly supported by my jovial grand dad, on whom she was able to lean on and who leaned in to provide her support whenever she needed it. "Aita ma" believed in a utopian world, that was eons away from life's realities....she saw and believed in the good side of the world and human beings,  and that probably was what ensured the unfading, serene smile on her face. The three winter months, I spent in her beautiful little cottage in Jorhat, every year, were always laid back, upbeat and overflowing with warmth, smiles and heart warming people.

On my paternal side, my grand mom, "Aita", was a highly educated, independent, talented, strong woman, who was an established writer and singer. Now when I look back and ponder, "Aita" was a woman who was aware of and was blessed with the wisdom that life is not a utopian dream. Born to a privileged family, married to a person she had chosen, she was someone who was exposed to and
adapted to the practicalities of life at a very early age. Ahead of her times in more ways than one, she believed in and contributed to women's and children's education, in big ways and small, very aptly supported by my paternal grand dad, who himself, was an academician and on whom she was able to lean on and  who leaned in to provide her with all the support she needed in her endeavours. My love for books, writing, music, story telling, debate were nurtured in the times spent in "Aita"'s  beautiful hill top home, in an environment that encouraged and nurtured intellectual and creative development.

Different as these two beautiful women were, there was never a dearth of love and affection  in the two extended families that these two amazing women nurtured ...there was never a notion that the "boys/men" in the family deserved anything different from the "girls/women"...there was never a notion that the "men" in the family are the providers while the "women" are home makers...there was never a notion of the "women" being dependent on the "men", intellectually, physically or financially...all of us, the grand children, were encouraged to speak up about issues that bothered us...all of us were encouraged not to be or feel subservient to anyone who seemingly wields more power, money or status...all of us were encouraged to make our choices in life, based on our life observations and experiences...all of us  were encouraged to be independent thinkers...all of us were encouraged to be grateful for all that we had...all of us were encouraged to learn to give back to the society, in big ways and small...all of us were taught how important it is to be and raise strong, independent, warm, affectionate women...women who are capable of fighting their own battles...women who are capable of helping the less fortunate fight their battles...women who do not feel restricted by stereotypes...women who grow up to be good daughters, sisters, mothers, wives, friends while working towards nurturing their intellectual and creative needs to find their own, unique place on the world stage.

My two beautiful grand moms...different from each other in a lot of aspects...but unified in their love for the girl child...unified in their appreciation and acknowledgement of what a woman is capable of achieving...unified in their understanding that a woman can be an epitome of love,warmth, affection and be a good daughter, sister, mother, wife, friend while carving out an independent niche and identity for herself in the world.

Thank God for these two gorgeous women, smiling down and guiding me, from wherever they now reside,  as 'D' and I put in  our best effort to bring up and raise our own "little woman"...for after all, the notion of "womanhood", just like the notions of  "compassion" and "charity" is conceived and begins at home!