Thursday, March 1, 2012

Journey From Lego to Let's Go....

Burning in sun, soaking in rain
and taking long walks.
Unprotected natural life

It was protected indoor life of Lego,
art, and TV
From Lego


                                    Lets Go
It was a happy occasion for my family, and the celebrations did not seem to end when Rayyan came as baby  into our babyless life of eighteen long years. He was the precious, fragile and loved child, who everyone wanted to protect from the harsh world. Thinking back I realize now that everybody went overboard with his care other than me. Two aunts, uncle, grandma and grandpa were a big army for a mom to fight with, so I gave up and did as they wished most of the time. He was never left alone or unattended even for a short time. The fuss they made over him was nauseating but the love my family had for him looked so nice and beautiful.
He grew up being much protected, without much exposure to outdoor games, independence and outings. His world consisted of going out with one of my family members, playing games with Lego toys, watching cartoons or drawing. He was very much interested in cycling but was not allowed to go far all alone. He had to go circles around our home when someone kept an eye on him from terrace.
I believe in keeping children close to nature and giving them independence. I was very unhappy with what was happening with Rayyan, but it was tough to argue with my family. All I could do was take him for long walks in the evenings or occasionally in the morning. Even when Farheena was born 4 years later, I did not stop the walks. We would put her in a stroller and take her along with us. 
At the age of 11, Rayyan was still treated like a baby and not allowed any independence. But as for life, it underwent lots of changes, with business loss, loss of my sister, misunderstanding in family, issues regarding moral upbringing of Rayyan and many more negative happenings taking place. I stood at cross roads then; I could either live with my family or shift for independent living in Byndoor. I could not manage to live independently in Bangalore for financial reason; in addition I would again be monitored by my family on the upbringing of my children. As I saw Rayyan watching his 3rd cartoon in succession, I decided it was time I took the reins in my hand. I knew it was going to be a big heart break for everyone, but then sometimes life takes control of us for good. So, with a heavy heart, I decided to shift to Byndoor from Bangalore. Before leaving Bangalore, I assured Rayyan and Farheena that, if anything went wrong or they could not adjust to the life in Byndoor, then I will bring them back the day they ask me to.
First day in school, Rayyan came back home and could not stop talking about how active and strong the kids in his school were. Without much physical activities, he looked so small compared to his classmates. I explained to Rayyan that these children have grown up in natures lap. Their town was surrounded by water and trees. Belonging to their roots, they are much healthier than the city children. Also the food they eat was fresh and natural.
I never thought of buying a TV in my new setting. I knew we would miss it for a few days but soon would get adjusted to the life without TV. I got computer for my children (and off course me) instead. This has been the wisest decision I have made so far in my life.
In the new setup it was life full of outdoor activities, fun and adventure for my children. The Someshwara Beach which is just 3 kms from my home, become a weekly picnic spot for a gang of children I had collected to have fun. Farheena and Rayyan looked forward to the beach visits every Friday.
As moms did not do shopping and dads were working in gulf, children in Byndoor were smart shoppers. Rayyan slowly befriended some of them and started shopping for me. I nearly had panic attacks when he visited the weekly market for buying vegetables. He could come back with a live fish, chicks or kitten to keep as a pet.
One day Rayyan decided he would start running in the morning. He found his sports shoes, got his tracksuit ready and had the alarm set for 6 a.m. He was up before 6 and was ready to go when I was opening my eyes. “Bye Maa, see in one hour”, he said and rushed out in all enthusiasm. 2 minutes later I heard dogs barking, a child shrieking and 3 minutes later Rayyan came back running all muddy. I was cruel Mom who burst out laughing before checking whether he was all right. Sorry! The dogs who were not used to people running in the morning had assumed he was a thief and attacked him. When he tried to turn back he had a fall and then he had rushed back as soon as possible. Thank God the dogs did not reach him.

Enjoying the monsoons
Rayyans Activities in Byndoor

Enjoying natural rivers and streams

Exploring wild paths
So the idea was running was given up but Rayyan had found new freedom and the morning weather was inviting him to play in its lap. He found a solution and started cycling around with his friend who sold milk in the neighborhood.  He would start early in the morning and come back before 7 a.m. My mom would have had a heart attack if she knew her precious grandson was roaming about on the roads of Byndoor so early in morning, but it was good for Rayyan.

He started getting stronger and healthier with each passing day.
Slowly he made friends with kids who could join him on long hikes on the nearby mountains.
Initially the kids were scared and lazy, but as the number of kids increased, not many could resist the fun and adventure. They were not afraid to explore unknown places, mountains or deserted place anymore.

He also started having fun in a small pool nearby to our home, which has been a source swimming lessons to the kids of this neighborhood from time unknown. My dad had learned swimming there too. He started loving his time in water so much that he was nicknamed water snake.
Rayyan's friends under my bed..
Another hobby was raising chicken though not for sale or food but as friends. He did not even call them pets LOL.
It has been the same with Farheena. Generally she is very healthy child who doesn’t go through regular colds, fevers or other such illness. Even if she has a small bout of it, she overcomes it without much medication like Rayyan.
The Someshwara Beach had become a part of our life and it will always remain so, no matter where we go. The children who gave us company and shared the wonderful time have grown up and gone their own way, including Rayyan who is doing his animation in Bangalore. All of them often recall the happy times they have spent on the beach.  The pictures should tell you in a better way all about the fun we had on the beach.

I was in a dilemma when Rayyan would go around cycling in unknown places all alone. Not many had his stamina and enthusiasm for long rides. Hence, at times he decided to go few places all alone. I was afraid of his safety but had no heart to deprive him of what he loved the most. 
Soaked and dirty after
a game of football
Rayyan planning his activities
for holiday
So from the lap of Lego and TV Rayyan flew freely in the lap of nature around our village. It was no more Maa lets play lego but Maa lets go. Soaking himself in the rain, playing badminton, kicking the football, skateboarding, rollerblading, swimming and cycling gave Rayyan the immunity so strong, that he hasn’t needed a doctor for years now; other than for two cuts which required stitches and his myopia.  It is really hard to believe that he is the same child who used to be sick for at least 110 days a year. Who would believe that a child who fell sick even with utter care taken by his grandparents, who had his nappies and all clothes ironed to kill germs, gave him only bottled water, cooked his food keeping hygiene in mind and taking every known and unknown precautions to keep him healthy, would achieve that naturally in the lap of nature.

Tarzan or what? Rayyan had great fascination for trees like the monkeys... Climbing and sitting on trees was one of his favorite pastimes.

This is my own Kissanpur story written for the Get Real contest on Indiblogger... a 100% real authentic and natural experiences of upbringing a child in the lap of nature. 

I hope Rayyan will post more pictures about his adventures and life on his newly created blog 
The Animator


Rayyan Lost in Laptop

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