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Friday, July 19, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 68

Lost In Laptop


Rayyan finished off his course in Arena Animation by winning first prize for a project that he started for fun. I usually call out to Rayyan from wherever I am. In a minute I will throw the question to him “Where are you Rayyan?”
One day with that question, Rayyan answered me in a scared voice, “Maa I am lost in my laptop and cannot get out of here”.
“Stop joking and come over here immediately. I need your help”
“I am not joking. Check out for yourself maa”.
I know this cannot be true. Though we watch a lot of superhero and sci-fi movies, I am not believing them to this extent. As I enter the room, I see Rayyan hiding behind the door and wallpaper on the paper showing him hanging in there on the screen. 

The concept was really good and I liked it. I reprimanded Rayyan, “If you keep working or playing with the laptop all the time, may be one day you will be lost in it for real”.
Rayyan loved the idea and for the final project for his course in DAEFM, he started working on this. He had just winded up the 2D movie and the second prize he won had given him a lot of encouragement. It was funny to watch him fight with imaginary opponent, jump to catch the air and many other silly things as he started on the project. Watching him I was wondering, why is he not working hard on his project, but just playing around. I knew how passionate Rayyan was about his career and how much it meant to him, so I waited without uttering any discouraging words. As he started working on the movie, I was surprised to see the result. I knew he would be recognised for his work definitely.
On the day Rayyan was winning the prize, I was with Farheena when she went up the stage to play the tree in the school program. 

I received a call from Rayyan announcing that he had won the first prize. What made me happy was that he completed both his projects independently and worked to get what he deserved.
As I congratulated Rayyan on winning the prize, I noticed something about me as well. I usually feel very happy when Rayyan wins, but not proud. The pride comes from the way he is and for many other reasons. I have never told Rayyan I am proud of you that you won this, achieved that or something similar but I have said, I am proud of you for putting in so much of hard work into the project. He gets to hear that his maa is proud of him quite often and even without me telling him, he knows it as well.

P.S. As I am nearing the 68th post, I am a bit nervous that I may have to skip some important parts of Rayyan’s life. There are so many stories still unsaid. 



Thursday, July 18, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 67


The Golden Snake
Though I struggle to walk now, I was always on my feet and used to walk miles with Rayyan (off course the untiring child) in the evenings. Since we were comfortable walking, I used to walk him to school instead of packing him off in the school bus.
During our stay in Rajarajeshwarinagar, his school was 30 minute walk from our home. I always believed that the child would learn more walking to school than in the school itself; hence, I would walk him to school and back. We took shortcuts among the nature and fields. We left home a bit early so that we could check out different flowers, birds, animals and other natural treasures of our world. It was not crowded but safe route for us to walk and we would discuss a lot of things during our walks.
Rayyan would talk as he walked. I would be out of breath to talk as we reached the 15 min mark, but he could go on non-stop. One day as we were walking on a broad road (which was called 15 feet road by locals around) and Rayyan was talking non-stop, suddenly he stopped in between a sentence and got highly excited. I was wondering what was the reason, when he exclaimed in all excitement, “Maa Banghar maa bhangaar..” Bhanghaar means gold in our language and he had fancy for gold until he turned 8. As I looked in the direction he was pointing, I was shocked to see something like gold strewn on the road. It was around 7.45 am and the sunlight was reflecting something very shiny. All the while we were steadily moving ahead as well. It took me sometime to realize that what we were looking at was a big snake which was slowly slithering on the road at a slow pace. The morning sun was reflecting off its shiny skin and from far it looked as though gold dust has been strewn on the newly tarred black road. I am not very scared of snakes, neither is Rayyan, but at that moment I shivered for a while and then froze completely. I was damn scared that day. It could be because of the size of the snake, the way it was slithering on the road or because of Rayyan being beside me.
I was trying to talk but no sound came out of my mouth. Rayyan was blinking his eyes and looking at me wondering what was wrong. Why wasn’t Maa going to explore the gold strewn on the road? It took me sometime before telling Rayyan, “Beta, please do not panic. It is not gold but a huge snake. Do not make noise. Let me pick you up and run back as fast as possible”. As I was saying that, I was trying to pick up Rayyan as well, but he refused. “No, don’t pick me up. We both will be slow if you run carrying me. Let us either walk away slowly or run together”. By then the snake was alert and moving at a faster pace. I was shocked to see that it was almost as big as the road reaching one end to other. It was slithering away into the grass and it looked agitated to me. All things were happening simultaneously. Snakes usually look much faster than they actually are. “That looks like a dangerous snake. What if it bites you? Let me pick you up Rayyan and we will wait until it goes away”. Rayyan was still struggling to avoid being picked up, “No maa. Let us take our chances if the snake is going to bite us. If it has to bite you it will bite or it will bite me. I don’t want to be picked up” I was scared, and so was the snake; now aware of two people nearby. It hit a dead end due to the compound wall on its way and suddenly hissed spreading its hood. The sight of the shining snake with a huge hood spread and hissing loudly is the most terrifying natural thing I have experienced. All my courage was lost and pulling Rayyan I ran as fast as he could. Without him, I am sure I would have been faster and even carrying him I would be quick. I kept looking back and here and there to see if the snake was following us. Every sound made me jump and Rayyan must have been surprised to see me this scared. Even I am not sure what scared me that much.
Finally, we reached school. I kept blabbering about the snake to most of the people and told them to be careful on the road. When I went back in the evening to pick Rayyan from school, I was surprised that he naturally took the route we came by in the morning without any fear of the snake. I was in a dilemma here. Should I instil fear in Rayyan by refusing to walk on that road, or should I use common sense and know that the snake is not going to wait for us to come back and walk back naturally with him. Anyway, there were few people walking on the road and I decided to go along. I started questioning him to know how he would respond to emergency situations and I was surprised to see how well he planned things in the morning.
“What would you do if the snake bit me in the morning?”
“I would leave you there and run back home”. I was not happy listening to this answer. In the morning he looked as though he was ready to sacrifice his life for me or something similar and here he was abandoning me and running home.
“Once I reach home, I will call Nana and take him to Bangalore Children’s hospital (that was very close to our home) and come back with him in an ambulance to take you to doctor”.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from this child. “Why Nana and not grandma, uncle or aunty?” I want to be sure that he is actually thinking so well without panic. “Because Nani will either cry or faint thinking that the snake has already killed you. Aunty will run to change dress and will be late. I cannot wake up uncle because he will be sleeping and it is tough to wake him up. Nana, on the other hand will rush out to the hospital without wasting time”.
“You had thought about this in the morning? Were these thoughts there in your mind when we were running” I ask, not able to believe him. “Yes maa” he answers calmly. It was such a pleasure listening to this child talking and I wanted to hear more. “What if the snake had bitten you?” I ask. “I don’t think that was possible. You would have done something to stop that happening. I am very sure of that”. I am so touched by the trust he has in me. Somehow I realize that he is right as well, because I wouldn’t allow anything to happen to him as long as I was alive and around him.
Though it is over two decades since the incident happened, we both recollect it so often that it looks like it happened just a few days ago. When I searched the internet, I saw that usually the cobras aren’t so long but I know I was not imagining what I saw. The snake was really very huge than what I had seen in pictures or videos. It couldn’t be less than 10 feet because at one point it was spread across the breadth of the road. I am not sure why, but we do keep talking about that snake even to this day and the topic crops up just out of blue.

Below are pictures of the time and place where we sighted snakes so often...







Wednesday, July 17, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 66

Married But Not A Wife
Three years ago, I was fretting and fuming around our home. Rayyan, who was calmly watching me, finally gave in and asked, “Maa what is wrong? Is something bothering you?”
“I tried so hard for divorce, but it did not work out for me Rayyan. Somehow, the legal system is so flawed. No one thinks that our freedom from marriage is something important and they ask for a good reason for me to go divorce. I feel very upset with this. Why can’t a woman get a divorce just because she wants it? This is so stupid?” I vent out all my frustration at one go.
“Do you think it is more stupid than marriage itself?” Rayyan jokes but then seriously asks me, “Why do you want divorce?”
“Because I want to be free and live as I wish”
“And…… you cannot do it now? Is there anything else that is driving you towards divorce? Like you want to find a better life partner, want to get some money, or any similar reason?”
For the first time I am forced to think why I want a divorce from a different perspective. I am already calm and my brain is fully functional now, because I want to win at least this one debate with Rayyan, though he usually just passes his comment or gives his views and never takes anything as a debate. Every time I have ended up losing the so called debate with him on every topic and ended up winning something in the end which is much better than winning the debate.
“I am actually willing to give everything away to my husband if he is willing to give me divorce. No, I don’t have anyone else in my life for time being. It is just that I want to move away from the marriage, but unfortunately I am not sure why my husband is not agreeing for it”.
“Why he is not agreeing for divorce is shocking for me as well”…… Rayyan jokes but then quickly ducks the heavy book thrown at him. Though he looked as though he was making a casual comment what he said after that was profound. “Maa, why do you need a divorce to be free? Actually isn’t it that people do things they usually do not want to do, lose their freedom or bring up that silly thing called compromise or sacrifice to save marriage? Why would you lose your freedom to get divorce?”
Again comes the stage where I am confused. My whole concept of life is in muddle and I feel I had made some mistake in understanding what I am doing.
“Can you explain a bit more to me?”
“You say you do not seek anything from the divorce but just wish to live your life your way, right? Why don’t you do it without the divorce? You have to behave according to the rules of the husband to save a marriage, not to divorce him. It is as simple as that. Now you blame him for not divorcing you, but then have you given him enough reasons to make that decision? I have seen you all hyped about this divorce thing for some years and always thought finally you will understand it, but you pursued it like any other video game where you just want to win for no reason”.
“So, you mean to say that I shouldn’t pursue it?”
“I feel you cannot be a husband or wife just because you are married. Divorce is not on papers but it happens in relationships. As for someone as tough as you, who can force you to be a wife? You have made that mental barrier and you are not breaking it yourself. You can stop being married any time you want and live your life the way you want it as well. If your husband is upset, he will divorce you, right?”
“What if he shouts, creates a scene or fights with me?”
“Everything is opposed in the beginning. When people realize that it is not working they stop doing it. Rather than yearning for divorce, I feel you should learn to handle such situations, which may crop up even when you seek divorce”.
Within an hour, I had unlearned and learned a new way of living my life. My friend/lawyer had said something similar to me earlier but in different words which did not make sense to me back then. She had questioned me as well, “If you do not want alimony or any other benefits, why are you seeking divorce? Why can’t you just ignore him and live your life your way?” I had argued with her and tried to tell her that it can never happen that way. How can we ignore a person living with us under the same roof? Also there is issue of Farheena in between and how his presence affects her life.
Somehow, hearing what Rayyan was saying, reminded me of what she had said and it connected together. I could actually stop being a wife without a divorce paper in my hand if I wanted to. It took some time for such a thought to register in my mind. It is not easy for any of us to move away from the doctrines ingrained in us, but I wanted to give it a try.
Slowly, life started changing. Today, I am a very complicated person. I am married but yet I am not a wife. I would still feel happy if I can get that paper legally in my hand. Rayyan rightly said that it is like a virtual game which I could not complete, but the freedom is fully earned at present. This was the second part of the liberation which completed the process.

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Never imagined this child would grow up to be so wise 
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Now I realize that this boy was worth of holding on to....

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Feeding common sense to mom





Tuesday, July 16, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 65

Fifty Shades Of Ray


During their teen years, most of the children test the patience of their parents. I am all about the acceptance of the choices they make, yet I was not ready for few of the styles. I had decided to sever all ties with Rayyan if he ever stepped into some of the danger zones. On top of the list was low waist pants. I wouldn’t call anyone wearing low waist pant as my son. It was good for us that even though Rayyan experiments with style, it has never made me squirm.
Now that he is past the teen years and busy working, I am not worried anymore because it looks like he is safe and is going to be my son forever. If the tragedy had to happen, it would have happened by now.
Just because Rayyan did not go for low waist pants doesn’t mean he did not try my patience at all, especially during November with ‘No shave November’ trending. At times I would get irritated with his weird beard or messy hair but I would always comfort myself saying, “At least he is not wearing the low waist pants”. That helped me to deal with all the other styles Rayyan sported without disowning him as my son.
If you think I am exaggerating, just watch the two videos. One where he sported different styles (if you call it so) and the title was chosen by me, since Rayyan doesn't read books and the other one where he plays out his drama when I tell him it would be good if he shaved. The Swiss knife has a cameo in it as well.
What surprised me about Rayyan was that though he appears to be a timid and shy person, he never hesitates to act in his movies. He doesn't mind if I share his embarrassing photos. He doesn't hesitate to on the stage either. When I saw him in the movie for the first time, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, because I never expected this. I had wrongly assumed he would be shy to face the camera. We parents quite often underestimate our children and I did too.
Another thing I noticed is that he looks a bit innocent and demure in some pics whereas the attitude changes quite a lot in others.
                      
The pics below should tell you more. Some of them should help you appreciate me for what I have put up with .... quietly, without making nasty comments.





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Monday, July 15, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 64


#100RaysOfSon – 64
The Grown Up Child
Rayyan has two completely opposite shades of him. One is that of a mature wise old man, whereas the other one is that of a child who loves toys, superhero miniatures and many such things which most of the children grow out of after the age of 12 or so. In fact other than the times when we are discussing some serious issues or making a major decision, Rayyan usually lives like a child around home. It is only when we talk to him that we realize that he is mature beyond his age and not a silly child. These are very contradicting personalities which is a surprise to me that it exists in the same body.
Two years ago I was quite busy with lot of work and completely forgot Rayyan’s birthday. We did not go shopping for him nor did we get a cake. But on my way back home, I saw a group celebrating Rajiv Gandhi’s birthday and realized that it was 20th August, Rayyan’s birthday as well. Rayyan had good bank balance by then and had helped me set up My Giggle Garden. He was no more the child who I could buy some toys on his birthday, but a grown man. Yet I did not have heart to not gift him anything at all on his birthday. So, I quickly entered a shop and bought a simple put together puzzle for him. Though it looked childish, I just wanted to see his response to this.
Rayyan was very happy when I handed this box to him and wished him happy birthday. I went to have some tea and when I came back, I found him sprawled on the floor working on the puzzle and setting it up. It was just like when he was 6-7 years old working on puzzles. At that moment I could not see the 25 year old man, but the same old child with the same old interest, oblivious to the world around him, in the same position laying there on the floor. I am not very sure why, but that moment touched my heart. A lot of blessings flowed me to him. I did not disturb him and allowed him to complete the puzzle. Finally when he was done, he walked up to me with the same pride and showed it me just like he did when he was child.
Somehow I felt that may be it is his wisdom and maturity that allows him to be a child and enjoy little things which we are unable to do.





Sunday, July 14, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 63


As You Sow, So Shall You Reap


A funny incident that happened a few years ago worked as a great eye opener for me. It was during Rayyan’s course in Arena Animation. We had issues with fees payment of Rayyan with a bit of confusion thrown in for spice. Finally, the issue was sorted out and a slip given which finalized what we had to pay.
I placed the slip very safely so that there will be no more confusion for us. But all of a sudden I realized that for the sake of heaven or hell, I could not recall where I had kept it. This does not happen to me. I am a person who can recall where I have kept things even after years. I turned almost everything upside down, yet for some cruel reason there was no sign of the slip. It got me worried. When Rayyan misplaces things or accidentally breaks something, I usually do not shout, scold or blame him. I saw the same behaviour in Rayyan. He was calm and searching for the slip along with me.
Later in the day, I and Rayyan were discussing the new ‘Batman’ movie and I could not remember the name of the actor who was playing the role of batman. I could not recall the name of Ben Affleck who was going to be the new batman. I loved Ben Affleck but did not want him to be the batman yet I could not recall his name. Eewww, that kind of scared me. As a part of my M.S. in Counseling and Psychotherapy, I had read a lot about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. When you read psychology, you always end up relating yourself or people you know with one or other disorder. So I was wondering whether this was an indication that I was losing my memory. Rayyan found this very funny and started to tease me, which he loves to do all the time. I don’t blame him for this, as I myself never let an opportunity to pull his leg slip by me. Actually Rayyan has such an amazing way of teasing people that instead of feeling hurt, we enjoy it quite a lot. My sister Sabina, often looks forward to it very eagerly and Rayyan always teases her whenever they are together. She really wanted to document their time together and make a series on youtube about them.
We were having a mini funny fight when Farheena walked in home from her school. The young lady asked, “What’s going on?” Rayyan became serious and explained, “Maa has lost her memory. She cannot recall anything and is totally forgetful now. I don’t know what do to?” Farheena, totally calm and composed reassured him, “Don’t worry. Now that I am here, I will take care of everything”. It was very amazing to see her being so sure of herself. I decided to play along and shot her a questioning look. She pointed at the TV and asked what it is, I said I don’t know. She explained it is TV. The same procedure was repeated for the computer, table, phone, Rayyan, herself and me. “You are maa, we are your poos”. It was funny when she introduced Rayyan to me and said “This is your poo”. Don’t get her wrong there, poo means child in her language. I purposely kept making mistakes. She never scolded me, nor did she lose her patience. She went on training me in remembering the names of people and things around me. She was behaving exactly like Rayyan when he is teaching her something. Finally, I decided it was enough and stopped the game and said, “Ahah! Now I can recall everything”. She turned towards Rayyan and said confidently, “There, the problem is solved”.
We had a good laugh over this incident at first, but later, when I went back over the incident in my mind; a great truth struck me and I realized that we reap what we sow, especially when it comes to our children. I never stop blowing my own trumpet shamelessly when it comes to my children or me being an amazing mom. I am not sure how many people around me have been tired of listening to my happy mom tales, but they keep their mouth shut and as a result, I don’t shut my mouth. You can believe this now easily because I am already on the 63rd episode of #100RaysOfSon. Some rubbish off my happy mom tales as a honky dory unbelievable made up stories; because for most people, a healthy relationship without stress with their children is not something they can even imagine.
With help from Rayyan I have shown extreme patience in training Farheena in her life skills. At times it would take us years to teach her a single activity or word. We both took one step at a time to travel miles. We, especially Rayyan, used to repeat instructions to her, until finally she could do it. I had done the same with Rayyan when he had trouble with languages. She showed the same courtesy to me. Though we were playing a game, Farheena did not know that. That is the innocence that comes naturally to her with her special needs. It also made me realize in case I end up losing my memory, how she is going to take care of me.
The train of thought went chugging along and I could see my parenting reflecting in my children’s behaviour. They are not like me, but I know they are like my parenting. Farheena has a doll named Annie. She is treated with respect, love and care in my home. She is never left out of any activity. Annie gets the same upbringing that I have given Farheena. All of Rayyan’s toys are treated the same way as well.
Rayyan was a curious kid who used to discuss things around him with me, and ask a lot of questions. I used to drop whatever I was doing to share some time with him when he wanted to discuss something. I never told him that his ideas were impossible, weird or rubbish. We always had healthy discussion which finally has made me a better person today. Rayyan shows the same courtesy and patience towards his cousins, who are much younger to him. He patiently teaches them computer games, using apps or drawing. He is very patient in answering their questions. If anyway has something to be sorted out, they usually seek Rayyan’s help because he patience to explain things to them. His interaction with children is very similar to the way I interact with him. In fact, my sister says he is the best caretaker of children she has ever met, and most of the people agree with her.
Rayyan has been solely responsible for Farheena’s computer skill. When she said, she wanted to use computer, he never said it was not possible for her. He patiently kept showing her keyboard keys and how to use them. His patience in teaching her how to use computer and facebook is beyond my reach.
I cannot say that I never use foul words. But, I have made sure that I never use them with or in front of my children. I have been very strict with the use of language and expression, though it meant biting my tongue quite hard at times. The result is, I don’t see the use of **&%$ words in their vocabulary list.
They are very kind and loving towards animals, even those that end up harming us eventually. They have no violence, anger or cruelty in their heart towards any living creature. They do not discriminate anyone based on their status or appearance.
I feel God has immense love for me to trust me with his two best creations. I don’t worry about my children lying to me, neither do I worry that they keep some secrets. They do not argue but they do discuss things in a healthy way. They know when Mom is right, and so do I know when I am wrong and they are right. We accept our mistakes gracefully and move on.
The list would grow on. As I said earlier, I love blowing my own trumpet when it comes to being a mom. But finally it all just reminded me of what I had heard in my moral science class nearly 4 decades ago. As you sow, so shall you reap! True. I have sown well and I love the harvest. Parenting is tough, but if we dedicate ourselves to bringing up our children well, the result is going to be worth much more than our efforts. My result is Rayyan and Farheena, though I do not take all the credit for who they are, because there is something different about them as well in a positive way. I clearly remember that I felt a kind of respect for Rayyan when I held in my arms for the first time as a baby though logically I cannot believe it. I am not sure whether it is their goodness that made me a good mom or it is my parenting that worked the magic.



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Saturday, July 13, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 62


Payyan The Doppleganger

When Rayyan was around 3 years old, I used to joke with him, saying that there was someone exactly like him who would come into our home and fool me. It became funnier to me when Rayyan seriously started believing me.
“Did you like the chocolate Rayyan?”
“Which chocolate maa?”
“The one I just now gave you when you walked in a moment ago”
“But maa, I was on terrace with grandpa and came down just now. You did not give me any chocolate today”.
“Oh no. It must be Payyan again. He looks just like you and he takes advantage of it. So sorry beta, your chocolate is gone. I will get you a new one tomorrow”.
I am not sure why I started this joke and what the purpose behind it was. Sometimes it was outright cruel as well.
I would look hard at Rayyan and say, “Hey, I think this is Payyan. Something looks a bit different. Tell me the truth, are you Rayyan or Payyan?”
Poor Rayyan would panic and try to convince me hard that he was the real one and not the fake. He was a small child and I am not sure how I had the heart to trouble him so, but we all enjoyed it a lot occasionally.
The whole drama ended with my nightmare. Yes, that was it. In the nightmare, I was feeding Rayyan an apple when another Rayyan walks in and says, “Maa, he is fooling you again. That is not me, I am Rayyan here”. I looked at both of them and they both were wearing same clothes, had same haircut and were exactly like each other. Soon the one eating food pleaded, “Maa please catch hold of Payyan and make a mark on him so that he will not fool you again”. Both of them were trying very hard to convince me exactly the way Rayyan would struggle to convince me when I would accuse him of being Payyan. I woke up with a fright and believe me, I was scared in real with the nightmare. It was scarier than any horror movie I had seen, though it was simple with just two cute Rayyans.
The next day, I confessed to Rayyan that I was joking and there was no Payyan. He innocently asked me, “Then who ate the chocolates and did the other stuff Maa?” I was in a sticky situation but decided that I will be honest and confessed to him that it was me who did it in the name of Payyan. No more lies, I promised him and I have been honest with him since then, at least regarding the disappearing chocolates.
The poor child had lived through the lies of my mom as well… which will be another story to share some other day.
I think the short film “My annoying twin” must be a result of this memory Rayyan had in his mind.





Friday, July 12, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 61

The Liberation 

“Rayyan, I want to discuss something serious with you”, I announced one day. I was struggling between the different roles I played and wanted a break.
My husband had placed a condition with my mom before our marriage that I would not study further and would not pursue any profession if I married him. Every time I tried to do something, he would say that I was cheating him and was breaking the promise my mother made to him. This kept me bound to the promise and I would just work from home or coach students with their academic performance. During my cancer experience, I did my diploma in counselling skills, but then again there was so much of fights when he came back. In fact, all my marks cards and certificates were torn and burned up one day when I was away from home. No one will ever understand how it made me feel. My dad had treasured all the marks cards since I entered school because I was a topper and he was very proud of me. At this stage though, no one took a stand to support me, accused me of breaking a promise and advised that I should not do it, including my dad. Finally, after my struggle to build up a career and life after cancer; I was back to square one where I was bound to certain rules, promises and walls without bricks.
After being married, there was no period in my life when I had smooth sailing. I was always on a see-saw about staying or breaking free from marriage. Farheena was born, and then cancer happened immediately which left me insecure. Along with this I had seen three of my family members suffer from cancer as well and all that made me compromise on a lot of things. No matter how strong we are, life can test our strength.
Finally, after an issue which flared beyond proportion, I decided I really wanted a divorce and wanted to be free. No matter what challenges would come my way, I was ready to face it. I had always thought that since their father was in Gulf, children always had luxury of the gulf finance, which I may not be able to afford when I would work taking care of Farheena. This was one of the biggest reason for me giving in, over and over again. Since, Farheena was unable to call the shots in such matters, I decided to make Rayyan the scapegoat and take consent from him, so that if I couldn’t afford anything nice to them, I would tell him that he had given his consent. You see how the chain forms and continues, right?
“What is it maa? What is that you want me to give you an opinion about?”  Rayyan asked. “I am going to leave your dad and start life on my own. You may have to compromise on your lifestyle and will be missing all the imported goods from gulf. Is that OK with you?”
“I don’t have control over what you do with your life. It is your choice”
“But both you and Farheena will be affected, is that OK?”
“You should ask whether you are OK with what is happening to you as well. As much as you are responsible for us, you are responsible for yourself as well. You cannot act like a link between father and children; that should be an independent relationship, right? How can it be like he will take care of us if you listen to his conditions and not care for us when you don’t?”
It was very clear that I was not going to get a scapegoat that easily. Those thoughts were very profound for me ponder over when I was boiling in anger. I keep scratching my head to come up something as a bait, when Rayyan asked me, “BTW why are taking this decision?”
“Because I want to be independent” I went on to explain to him about the promise and how I am bound by it. So far everyone in my family, including those who wished my well-being and loved me have said, I should stand by my word and I expected the same from Rayyan. Instead, I got a question, “And what was the consequence for breaking the promise?” I am completely dumbfounded by the question. This was something that I have never thought. “What do you mean by that?” I ask as though I am a very stupid person talking to some old wise man and I realize this youngster in front of me is indeed the wise old man.
“Nobody can promise something for a lifetime. Life is unpredictable and things which you did not foresee will happen. You did not expect cancer, right? Did you expect a child with special needs? Did your marriage go the way you expected? With everything if you hold on to a promise and become bitter, no one around you will be happy. You can give only what you have. If you are not happy, how can you make others happy?”
“You want me to break my promise or rather the promise my mom made?”
“I am not saying that. Let me explain. In school you have punishment for not doing homework.  If you steal or break law there is punishment. If you kill someone you bear the consequences. For every commitment you make there should be a continuation, right? If you break the promise ………………….this will be the consequence. Also there will be conditions when you can break a rule or law. Like you can attack in self-defence. So, I am asking about that. The simple thing for you do is to evaluate the results and make a choice”.
May be it is difficult for others to believe, but I could sense the walls around me slowly breaking down. It was a liberating moment for me and I have never been the same person ever again.
Why was I foolishly holding on to a promise I made? Why did I never question what will I get by standing by this silly promise? When I went through cancer and struggled with life, how did this particular promise help me? What will happen now if I break the promise? I did not know the answer. There was actually no answer.
We are what our thoughts are. With the change in my thoughts, I turned out to be a different person all together. Soon my thoughts were focused on what I should do with my life. First I wanted to continue my education. I wanted to be financially independent. I was not going to hold on to the promise and waste the one life I had. I was ready to bear the consequences whatever they were.
If I look back from where I am today, it made no difference to me at all. Farheena, on the other hand has had better life emotionally and materialistically after my decision to break out of the prison. BTW, I was wrong about needing a scapegoat, because life has been good and there are no regrets.


Thursday, July 11, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 60


#100RaysOfSon – 60
From The Jaws Of Death
Today I am sharing a blog directly written by Rayyan. This was something close to his heart and was written by him for his blog 4-5 years ago.
When we shifted to Byndoor from Bangalore, the first thing we wanted to do was to have some pet animals. I have always believed in freedom, for myself and for every living species. I wanted pets but not those for which we had to keep in restriction. Hens were the first option that cropped into my mind. We could have them as pets and also allow them to roam around in our backyard with complete freedom.
For 8 years, we saw some amazing life cycles of chickens which sometimes are unbelievable. Though many chickens are killed mercilessly every day for food, having them as pets, changed our perspective towards them. Their happiness, comfort and lives meant a lot to me.
One of the tragic stories which had left us in sadness, in the end turned out to be an amazing miracle which filled us with optimism. One of our chicken laid 9 eggs. We decided to allow her to hatch them. This was not the first time we did that. Earlier we had bred some 4-5 broods. Hens do not venture out much when they are sitting on eggs and we have to take care to feed them. My mom left the doors open so that our chicken could venture out whenever she wanted to. Unfortunately, this proved to be something terrible for the chicken and her eggs. A stray dog which had ended up in our backyard, took advantage of the opportunity and attacked the brood. Instead of running for her life, the hen fought fiercely to save her eggs. Finally the dog accepting defeat must have run away.
My mom must have had a shock of her life when she went to check on her chicken, only to find her dead due to the injuries beside her eggs. We all wept for her, and then accepted her fate and buried her in our backyard. We did not know what to do with the eggs where some eggs were broken and others badly shaken in the fight. We did not have heart to throw them away. There were some more days left for them to hatch. Only six eggs remained intact. We wrapped them in warm cloth and left them where they were, because the heat in coastal region could incubate them. On the third day, when my mom went to check in on them, she heard tiny sounds coming from the eggs. She thought she must be hearing things because of the hope she had. She called me in to confirm. I could see a slight movement in the eggs. We were excited beyond description. There was rush to find a box to house them in our bedroom, so that no stray dog could ever even have a peek at them. Mom was ok with it. Immediately, I set up a box, a bulb to keep them warm and put them under our bed. A miracle happened on the New Year’s Day when one of the egg slowly broke open and wet ugly looking black chick crawled out of it. We looked at it and worried whether it would survive or not. Slowly it crawled toward the light bulb and made itself cozy over there. Half an hour later another egg hatched and 1 hour later another one. The chicks became active in few hours’ time.










We spent our time on Google for 3 days, learning how to take care of chicks. The rest of the 3 eggs couldn’t hatch though we waited for another 3 days.
These chicks were very comfortable with us and soon became a part of our family. I almost slept beside them LOL. They survived to grow up and turned into two red roosters and one hen. Their survival against the odds filled my heart with optimism and also told me never to give up hope. I will never forget the moment of sadness that overwhelmed me when I saw the dead mother beside her eggs, nor the joy that filled my heart, when the chick crawled out from egg.






Wednesday, July 10, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 59


Absence Of Ego?




Once during our counselling course, our mentor had asked us to describe ourselves with labels. Even after 20 years, I remember the list and on top was the word, egoistic. I was quite sure back then that my ego ruled a lot of my decisions, and even to this day most of them are ruled by this one trait in me. It kind of blinds me at times.
Recently, when I finished writing about Rayyan’s project of flags for his school, I was discussing with him that how lucky he is; because so far he has never wrongly been accused of anything. Since, I help all the students around me with their projects, it was natural for teachers to assume that I may be the one who helped him do the project, but no one has ever doubted him. Usually, children lose interest in the work because they are not appreciated for their efforts and because of this kind of wrong accusations.
 I had once made a very good wall poster of Amoeba for my class when I was in grade V. The teacher asked me who did the drawing of the Amoeba. I told her, I did it myself but she did not believe me. I was very upset and then dragged my mom to school to confirm it with her. Even after the issue was resolved, I still had lingering anger in me for few months. I also recalled many other children who were in same situation, but Rayyan had not been in it ever. I was kind of feeling a bit jealous as well of Rayyan because he escaped this accusations.  
Rayyan told me, “It doesn’t make a difference even if they do. What is the difference?” I was kind of confused and shocked, because that was the whole issue isn’t it? What was the purpose of doing something if we are not recognised or appreciated for our efforts? I looked at Rayyan doubtfully, and he looked very sure of what he said. “What if they did not give you the prize for the project because they thought I did it?” I want him to understand what I mean so I continue. “What is the big deal that I got the prize? If not me, someone else will be happy”.  I went on to explain to him with few examples, how when a parent or others accuse children who score good marks of copying what they feel, or how when someone says, “I don’t think you did it on your own, someone must have helped you” how it hurts children so that he will realize how lucky he is. I was upset that he was appreciating that he is not realizing he is lucky to escape this. But, Rayyan again insisted, that since he knows the truth it doesn’t make a difference. In fact, he would be proud that his achievement has been so great that others are having trouble believing he did it on his own. That was an indication of how good his work has been. I was feeling completely out of place in the level of thinking he had. This was something I could not understand at all. How could someone accusing you wrongly, not affect you. I mean, I feel affected even when our politicians are wrongly accused of something they did not do.
I walked out of Rayyan’s room, but he stayed in my mind. What was it that made him think this way? Slowly as I realized that Rayyan doesn’t has ego. He doesn’t want to prove that he is right to anyone. I have never seen him argue about anything because he doesn’t feel the need to prove what he is saying/doing/thinking is right. He is calm when someone calls him names, curses him or blames him because he feels that it is their right to have their opinion and it is not his duty to change it. On the other hand, he doesn’t want to prove someone is wrong. He may mention it, but if someone cannot see what he is saying, he will let it go without taking it upon himself to prove they are wrong. So often, he does that to me as well. “Maa, what you are doing is not for someone like you. It is not for your level of understanding or intelligence. I feel that way”. There it ends, and I cannot pull him into an argument to prove I am right in doing what I am doing, or to explain my reason why I am doing it. He usually ends it by saying, “I told you what I felt, if you feel otherwise, you can take your call”. Somehow, this has allowed me to introspect the situation without bias and come to a good conclusion. I am sure that if he had argued, I would never have seen the situation from an unbiased standpoint, because of my enthusiasm to prove myself right.
Rayyan’s behaviour stems from the complete absence of ego I think. He has never considered himself superior nor inferior to anyone. Animals, insects and all living beings have same amount of respect from him and he feels the world belongs to them as much it belongs to us humans. There is so much peace in him due to this one particular trait where he doesn’t feel he belongs to a superior nation, race, religion, gender, species or anything for that matter. This understanding of being just a spec in the large universe removes anger, resentment and frustration in a person. In a week I realize that indeed Rayyan is lucky but not for the reason I thought earlier, but because he has been able to find a kind of peace which is elusive to most of us. I also see due to my communication with Rayyan, I have changed as well in the past two decades and being egoistic is not the way I would describe myself, though I may never be where Rayyan is ever in my life.

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