Tuesday, May 21, 2019

100 Rays Of Son 9

True Love

I feel Rayyan's love for jeans comes closest to the description of true Love. You can call it unending love as well. Even when they turn to rags, he wants to use them for something like wall decoration. Believe me, he had one of those on my walls for two years, by naming it storage unit. 
I really regret the day I bought jeans for Rayyan.Once we came across a good blue jeans which was a bit bigger in size for him. Since I liked it a lot, I bought it for him because children grow into clothes quickly. Unfortunately, Rayyan’s growth spurt was over and he couldn't wait to wear the jeans. We made it sit on his hip with a belt and folded the seam. After few years, when it was old it fit Rayyan very well without any need of belt and the seam was opened. He slowly started to grow out of it, but wouldn't stop wearing it. This jeans made him look like a tramp, but still it remained his top choice for bottom wear. 
One day, I put my foot down and told him he couldn't wear something so short which looked old and ugly. As I cooked my dinner, I imagined all the uses this old rag would have for me. It was good as mop, rag cloth in kitchen, floor mat, etc. As I served dinner and called Rayyan and Farheena out, there was pin drop silence. I went inside to find him working on his jeans. He had cut the leg below knee and was weaving a bridge or whatever to make it longer. Farheena was intently watching him and making few corrections. They both were unaware of the whole world. I gave up any hope of using this precious jeans ever in my life. After dinner, the work went on. Finally there was some weirdest pant I have ever seen in my life. Rayyan was very proud wearing it. I had seen him work so hard, so I had to allow him to wear it. 

 If I have to calculate, it must have been in use for more than 8 years. Finally, the jeans started dying. The zip wouldn't budge and the threads gave in. Yet, it is still hid somewhere among Rayyan’s treasure even to this day.
Found another one. This one is the combination of two favourite jeans. One torn on the knee and the other one on butt. I am not sure which jeans donated the organ for other to survive.

Sometimes I wish someone would love me as much as Rayyan loves his jeans.

Monday, May 20, 2019

#100 Rays Of Son 8

How Rayyan Lost His Fear Of Snakes

This happened whenwRayyan was in the nursery class of St. Joseph’s Convent, Whitefield. We stayed a little away from school. Rayyan was very enthusiastic walker and would prefer walking long distances every day. He did not enjoy being carried. So it was decided, that I would walk him to school instead of hiring an auto rickshaw. With the money saved by not paying for the transport, he could buy himself whatever he wanted. It was not much of a distance if we took the short cut to school.
Walking to school was fun
Mud Mounds
We used walk on a path which lay near the present day Arya Lotus. Some big project was going on there, maybe it was the Arya lotus plan itself.  Loads of soil had been dumped into the plain land which lay to the right side of the path we used to walk. It all lay there in heaps, forming big mounds with depressed centers which looked like mini volcanoes. There were few kids taking this path as well. All of them enjoyed the walk; watching flowers, butterflies, birds and at times even some small animals like rabbits which made our own journey fun. Off course Rayyan used to enjoy it a lot and it worked as a good exercise and relaxation for me. I was trying to cope with Farheena being diagnosed with atrophy to her brain and this was something I just needed in a day.

Walking in the rain
 One day it was raining very heavily when we were walking back home. Rayyan was in the raincoat and I held an umbrella. All the children were having tough time walking as the water kept flowing and it was almost a foot deep at places. The place where heaps of soil had been dumped was a bit low and it was full of water. There was no way a child could cross that place. It also looked a bit scary with all the muddy water flowing through the heaps. The water brought all kind of dirt and sticks with it. Going back to the main road meant a lot of distance; unluckily the rain was also getting heavier. The children were holding their bags higher up to protect their books. I closed my umbrella, and lifted Rayyan up on my hips, against his protests and started walking towards our home in hurried steps. It was quite difficult walking in the pouring rain, not knowing where I was putting my steps. Twice I stumbled on some vines but could regain my balance easily. I started walking more cautiously after that. By then the water had started breaking the mounds and the soil was spreading out. One moment I could feel a cold creeper cling to my leg, and next there were panicked shouts by the group of girls who were walking behind us. I could not make out what they were saying until it dawned suddenly, sending a chill through my spine. They were saying “HAAVU, HAAVU, aunty haavu nodi” meaning ‘snakes, aunty look at the snakes’. I realized that the creeper was in fact a snake clinging to my leg.
I had my child on the hip and I could see few more small snakes floating by quite close to us. I stood still as could I not put my child down or run with the water flowing so forcefully. All I felt at the moment was a gushing concern for my son and the other children walking back home. My love for my son had overcome my fear. At the moment it also flashed to me that standing still was the best way to avoid snake bite. Rayyan was anxious and kept asking me what was happening. He had spotted two snakes floating in water and wanted to get away from there soon. He had no idea why his mother was standing still watching them.  I told him to be calm and wait until the path would clear up. Soon I found the snake slipping away and flowing with the water. May be a snake had made the depressed part of soil mound its nest. There must have been few baby snakes there which had floated down with the breaking of their home. They were helplessly being pulled by the flowing water. In a desperate move the snake had held on my leg. Eeewww!

Soon I realized it was clear for us to walk ahead. The girls had also stood still and were shivering with fear. May be they were non-poisonous and not so dangerous snakes, but the slithering creature never fails to strike terror in heart. I called the girls to come over as the way was now clear and they should clear that area soon enough. I could not just walk away leaving those girls shivering in the rain. One of them had lost her umbrella in the fright which had floated away in the water. I gave her my umbrella. Anyway I could not use it myself. It took some cajoling on my part to make them move ahead. I kept watch to see what the water was bringing along with it. The girls were worried about me and kept asking me whether I was sure that the snakes had not bitten me. Rayyan was crying now and it took some funny quips from me to clear the mood which had become darker than the weather we were facing.

We reached home safely without any more weird happenings. Once my child was in safety of his home, I rushed to the bathroom to check out whether there were any bite marks on my legs. I realized that all the dripping liquid from body was not rain water, it contained a lot of sweat too. Fortunately, my leg was clear. If I was alone, I would have done something stupid and landed in trouble that day. It was the love of my child that had made me smart and given me a fierce strength to do the right thing to save the day. Though I was highly worried about my son, I also had some concern for the girls who looked frightened and lost. Once you are a mom, you just can't stop caring for a cold. Even to this day, it sends a chilly shiver down my spine whenever I touch something cold and wet. As for Rayyan, he lost his fear of snakes when I had calmly explained to the children that day, that snakes usually do not bite unless they are provoked and also most of the snakes are non-poisonous. He had only seen the brave front of me and had missed out my fear. To this day he runs around clicking pictures of snakes which are abundant in our village Byndoor. Eeewwwww!!! Sharing some of his pictures here. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 7

The Homework Tension

Rayyan was a smart child. He started talking early and was very clear in his speech. I somehow assumed he would be great at his studies as well and I would have no problem teaching him. After all he was my son. The initial school days were great and he would come back home with some gift from his teacher for his good performance. The problem started when he had to learn writing. He had trouble with words and would confuse them a lot.
Unfortunately this coincided with my chemotherapy and other problems following cancer. I had enough on plate and it was tough to get his homework done. One day he was not only slow in writing but the words were all jumbled and looked like mirror images of alphabets. I had zero balance in my purse, Farheena was cranky, I had bald head and bare half chest to deal with and top of that I had deal with this. I lost my cool, grabbed his belt lying nearby and gave him a whack. My mom started chaos with this and it further fuelled my anger. After sometime I saw that there were mistakes again in his book. I had no energy left to teach him further. I calmly informed him that if did not want to learn, he can quit school and threw all his books and his bag out of the house compound. I was subjected to lot of verbal abuse and branded a evil person by my family. 
A little later I started to calm down and dared to look at Rayyan. He sat there calmly watching me for further instructions. Other than a bit of fear I did not see any negative emotions in him. There was no anger or defiance. I started to change. Then I saw the mark on his hand where I had hit him with the braided belt. The braid could be seen clearly.
I felt a great sense of shame and embarrassment sweep over me. 
Slowly I realised that he was not doing this on purpose but he was really confused. Just because he spoke smart did not mean he could write smart. They were two separate skills. I had no right to take my frustration due to life challenges on my child. That is when I decided to seek help from Helping Hand and undergo counseling.
Yet, I did not know how to resolve the immediate issue now. The damage had been done. I finally called Rayyan and told him to fetch his books and we will try again. I was in the room and I am not sure how many of them rushed to fetch those books, or Rayyan did it on his own. Finally the child was in and I helped him complete his homework more patiently. I swore that day that academics will never be a cause of stress, anger or punishment between us. I followed it till he completed his education.
A year later I realised Rayyan was dyslexic and he had trouble reading words and spellings. That made it clear that he was my son, not me. He has his own set of skills and talents which need not be like the one I had. Just because I was good at studies did not mean my child would be good at it as well.
Even to this day I have great patience in teaching children. It started with the one mistake I made with Rayyan. I learned my lesson well that day. 
Much later Rayyan confessed about what was going on his mind that day when I threw his books out. “Even though I have been whacked, I don't have to worry about writing anymore. I will enjoy my days free from school hereafter and when I grow up I will earn money by building beautiful houses”. That is what he was thinking…… He was actually very much disappointed when I asked him to fetch the books back. Hmmmm...
I did not apologise to Rayyan back then, but today I say “Sorry”. Better late than never.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 6

Walks With Farheena And Maa

When Farheena’s paediatrician told me that the best way to make her life better was to stimulate her senses, the person I turned to was Rayyan. He was young with unlimited energy at his disposal.I was facing the side effects of chemotherapy and lot more challenges at that time. He would enthusiastically get involved in her physiotherapy making her exercises fun and also all the other stimulation activities entertaining as well.
One of the targets I had set for myself was daily evening walk with my children to relax and also expose Farheena to different things in our environment. Since I could not carry Farheena all the distance, I would put her in a pram and go out for the walks. Our favourite destination was Omkar hills in Bangalore and the Someshwara Beach in Byndoor. Though we would change places very often, these were the places we visited most often.
As I pushed the pram, Farheena would be curious about something she would spot and point at it. Rayyan would immediately get to her side and explain it to her. 
The Best Speech Therapy Farheena Had
Sometimes he would bring a wild flower, some stone, or anything which caught his fancy to show it to her. I am sure this interaction made a huge difference to her. She started babbling lot of words during such walks and their chatter together.
Sometimes Farheena would be highly excited and point out to many things on her walks. I would be amazed that Rayyan would never tire out explaining it to her. I know this is the best speech therapy Farheena has ever had in her life. They had such beautiful bonding and I am sure they have both enriched each other’s lives in a very unique way. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 5

Change Your Perception To Change Your World

When Rayyan was in ArenaAnimation Bangalore, his first project was creating a comic. Rayyan's topic took me by surprise and also had me wondering whether I had missed some clues from him during his school days. Rayyan assured me it is not about him, but generally about challenged students who find academics difficult with no one to understand them. Also at times they do not realize how fortunate they are. 
It was about a boy who had wrong attitude towards studies and school. His perception makes his school look like a prison to him with him being punished everyday. Since he was new to drawing, it took him quite some time to develop the characters, create the story and put it out in his words. The way he created the real world with the imaginary one in the child’s mind side by side had a great impact on me.
I work to make school a happy place for children and today I am very attentive to the any needs, clues, and problem or worries a child may go through. One of the main reason for this is the comic created by my own son, who had sensed how some students feel in a school. I am more sensitive to children after his creation of this comic.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 4

While In Rome

Rayyan has undergone lot of life changes which had major impact on him. One of the major change happened when from the loving family of his mom (grandma, grandpa, uncle and aunt) and his first school in Bangalore, he had to shift to Byndoor, our native village after completing 5th Standard.
There he attended Touheed English Medium School which was exclusive for Muslim students as per his father’s wish. For a boy who never had any exposure to religious way before, it must have been a major challenge, but he did blend in there in coming years by being who he is from within.
He had great support from his teachers and staff, especially Mr. Khan who guided and supported him throughout his stay in the school. Rayyan had great respect and admiration for the administrator and Mr. Khan took great pride in his ward as well. When he requested Rayyan to offer Namaz in mosque, he did respecting him as long as he was his student without missing single prayer, other than on very rare occassion. On his behalf, Mr. Khan made some excuses for Rayyan regarding the religious scripture reading which he couldn’t do.
Rayyan had always followed rules on road, school and office without fail. I realized the impact it has on others when I had to visit his school to pick him up for an emergency. My mom was sick and we had to travel to Mangalore from Byndoor. Rayyan was in school and we decided to pick him from there on our way to hospital. As I entered the school, I was in shock to see all students getting ready to enter the playground. It would take us some time to find him I worried as I entered the campus. Mr. Khan was standing and keeping a strict eye on the students.
As I approached him and mentioned our problem and dilemma of finding Rayyan quickly, he smiled and said, give me a moment I will tell you where he is. He scanned the students and immediately identified Rayyan on the third floor. Surprised I asked him how he did it, when all looked so alike in the uniform. He answered proudly, “I can identify Rayyan anytime anywhere because we have a rule for children to walk in the corridors holding their hands behind their back and Rayyan is the one person who follows that rule even when no is watching. If a student is walking with hands held behind even during the play period, it is definitely Rayyan”. I felt great pride that day, more than what my parents would have felt when I topped my class.
I am very proud of Rayyan that he studied in a school being an odd man out for his religious ways but gained love and respect of everyone. No one criticized or ridiculed him for being different, or maybe they tried and gave up. I never heard complaints, whines or accusation from Rayyan for taking him away from the family which loved him so much to a place which was completely alien to him. He made the best of his travel, enjoyed his school days and walked out with his head held high.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 3

Philosophy Of Crazy People

My mom usually took up more than she could chew.  Most of the times, there were clashes of plans, ideas or demands from her children, which would lead to chaos in our home. On one such day, my mom was frustrated and cried out, “I think I am going crazy! My children will rest only rest after I go completely mad.”
Rayyan who was building a tower from Lego blocks, walked up to her and told her in a calm voice, “Naani, no crazy person will know that they are crazy. They always feel they are very smart. They will never realize they are crazy. . That is the reason why they remain crazy.  So, I don’t think you will go crazy”.
My mom burst out laughing, shaking all over until she turned red as a beetroot. She admired and loved Rayyan a lot and it did not take much effort from him to make her happy. Apart from his regular daily routine that she admired, she got some gems like this from him to make her day.
For quite few days after this incident, we couldn’t act smart or all-knowing for a second before she would call Rayyan and ask, “Rayyan, what did you say? Crazy people think they are very smart, right?” and she would start giggling. I in particular, had to dumb down myself quite a lot to get out of her radar of detecting craziness.
Somehow, today I am quite surprised that a 5/6 year old made that observation which is kind of true. I haven’t come across a single crazy person who is aware of it. Below is the picture of my Mom very upset that I did not get a cake for Rayyan as well when celebrating Farheena's birthday. Rayyan could understand but my Mom wouldn't. One thing I am sure is that my Mom's love for Rayyan was definitely crazy even if she was not.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 2

The Thirsty Crow

This is not the story of that smart crow which put pebbles in the pitcher to drink water. In Byndoor, the heat was intolerably high during summer and the wells, river and ponds were dry. As Rayyan came back from school on a Saturday afternoon, something in the backyard attracted his attention. I was out there as well and followed his line of sight to see a crow trying to fly but was unable to. It was so tired and weak due to thirst and heat that it had no energy left to fly.
Soon we saw some dogs trying to get their bite of this helpless bird. I wanted to save this crow, but then I remembered what my mom had said. She used to say that, once we humans touch the birds, their flock will never take them back; in fact they will peck them to death. Also, I was afraid to go near the struggling bird to help it.
When I was wondering, Rayyan came out with some water and food for the bird. It is surprising that the crow jumped at water and started drinking it. It was the first time I had seen something being so thirsty and craving for water to this extent. It also tried dripping its head and wings into the bowl. I realized how thirsty it was and was almost dying when I stood there recollecting my mom’s words and being indecisive.
Rayyan brought in more water in a tub and placed it there and helped the crow wallow in water. It was much later that the crow started to eat as well. Rayyan stood there watching the crow without troubling it for more than 2 hours. He doesn't try to pet or touch any animals unless it is needed. The dogs gave up after knowing that the person was not going away. The crow itself stopped struggling to fly and rested with ease. Rayyan had not had his lunch and I failed to convince him to come in to eat. Finally after more than two hours the crow flew away.
The surprising part was, it came around and perched on the roof every day at 5 p.m. which was the time for Rayyan to come home on weekdays. Whenever I spotted the crow, I would tell Rayyan, your friend has come. Rayyan did not usually feed the crow, but at times he would offer some crumbs. It would sit there and watch him silently. It was something weird yet beautiful.
It became routine for Rayyan to respond to the words of your friend is here by searching for the bird on roof or trees. One day his human friend was waiting for him and I told Rayyan, “Your friend is waiting for you”. He came out and to his friend’s amazement started searching on the roof for his bird friend. I don’t know what would have gone through his friend’s mind, when his friend started searching for him on the roof when he was standing right there in front of him… but that look was priceless.
Rayyan has no special love for Dove, Peacock or any other beautiful birds. For him they all are as good as a hen or a crow. His philosophy is, why should a bird be more special just because it has more attractive colors? Aren’t they all birds and should be loved the same?
Even to this day, I know I would love a white dove more than a crow but I have changed a lot after that day. It is not easy to be like Rayyan, rational, impartial and loving to all creatures in the same way but I don’t stop trying. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

100 Rays of Son - 1

Rayyan The Monkey

Before you start cursing me for the title of the first post, stop right there! Rayyan does not take it as an offence at all. I realized this long time ago when he was 4 years old.
On a lazy Sunday afternoon, Rayyan was feeling very energetic. Since he was jumping around like a drunken monkey when my parents were resting. I was worried he would disturb their sleep and called out, “Hey! You Monkey”. The child looked back at me blinking his cute eyes with long lashes. The look on his face was of anticipation which amused and surprised me. After sometime, he crouched and said, “Call me Monkey again maa. I love being a monkey. You can also call me donkey, deer, rabbit, dog or a crow. I love all of them”. It took me some time to understand what was going on. So here was my son, who is not offended by the name calling. With great embarrassment I recalled how I used to respond to name calling with different animal names or cursing.
Something which should have ended as an argument turned into a game. I called out animal names and Rayyan acted like them.
Even to this day, Rayyan has never been bothered by name calling. His simple philosophy is, “Just because someone says something about us, does it really change us? Are we not sure of who we are to be bothered by what others say? On the other hand, who can be worse than us humans?”
Today I take pride in keeping patience with children but most of the credit goes to Rayyan who guided me and taught me patience.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

100 Rays of Son

Rayyan is a blessing to people around him. I am sure no one will disagree with me. He has been very different from people I have seen or known. He is very patient, calm, kind, helpful and wise. 
Slowly from a mom who loved him blindly, I have grown to like, appreciate and moreover respect him for who he is. 
I want to share 100 life stories of Rayyan starting from today, counting down to his birthday on August 20th.


Rayyan Lost in Laptop

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