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.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 58

The Diploma Drama

We came back from US after a great trip! It was an amazing experience each day, with different things happening in our lives. Rayyan met many amazing people; who, if he had not met, then he would not believe they existed. This is what he said to me when we were leaving USA. Also he developed a special bond with Paula aunty and especially Jay uncle who was very close to his imagination of a perfect man.
Once back in India, it was as though Rayyan was waking up from a great dream to the reality of studying again. He had to make the tough choice of choosing a field in the area he wanted to work forever in his life. We were thinking about animation as a career for Rayyan, but due to so many people around discouraging both of us, it was scary to make that choice. On the other hand there was no good animation college nearby and I had to send him to Bangalore. There were a lot of things I had consider before making the choice, because at that stage we both were not financially independent.  
We left for USA during the summer vacation and were back to India quite late. Admissions were already closing and we did not have much time to explore or think. We had let ourselves free from all worries and enjoyed completely while in USA, so did not even discuss much about college and studies. We had spent a lot of time enjoying ourselves in USA therefore now I didn’t have much time to think as the admissions were getting closed. We were in a hurry, and decided diploma will be a good option because it didn’t have languages to study. We had enough traumatic experience with languages that we did not want to do anything with it anymore. Rayyan, had been exposed to automobiles in USA and he planned on getting into the automobile field because he had discovered his passion for automobiles.  In addition he had gained a lot of knowledge about automobiles in US with Jay uncle in his garage.
But as luck would have it, someone told his dad that computers are in fashion and Rayyan should opt for it. I had explained everything to my husband and sent him for admission along with Rayyan. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to actually ask few questions to the foolish person who was making mess out of a brain that is always confused. My husband immediately imagined Rayyan working in garage and in office with computers. Immediately he decided that computers was better choice. Rayyan who doesn’t argue much was not good enough to explain that working with computers and studying them were two different things to his dad who decided as he was good in applied computer science, so he should study it.
Rayysn's College
Rayyan later narrated how his dad said he didn’t want him to work in garage with all the oil on his clothes as his friend told him that automobile engineering was not a good field. Rayyan explained to him that it is not going to be like that, but it had no effect. Sadly luck was not on his side as in the college there were no admission open for automobile engineering. My husband took advantage of this and declared to Rayyan that since automobile engineering had no seats available, he should take up computers. He did not try to ask for a solution nor did he place a call to me. I am sure if I was there I would not give in so easily. Poor Rayyan was in computer science diploma before he knew what was happening. I was very angry, but since all the formalities had been completed, there was nothing much I could do (or so I thought at that time).
The college was nearly 40 km away and roads were not smooth for the travel. Rayyan would be quite tired after travelling for nearly 3-4 hours every day. The roads as shared in the picture below would be burning hot in summer, dusty in winters and would be filled muddy potholes during the rainy season. 

The buses would be extremely crowded as well. He was dead tired when he arrived home and would not have much energy to study again.
I was having tough time dealing with the wrong decision we had made for him in a hurry. Even then he did pretty well in his first year with subjects like maths and science, and also managed first class in Second semester. But in the second year, again he had problem with one of the main subject, which was c programming. It was a programming language and I think once Rayyan hears the word language his brain tells him it is tough. The struggle began all over again. He worked very hard on the subject and soon other subjects were affected.  He again had problem with symbols and language and as a result he failed in it. Later on in the next semester he had C++ which was continuation on C. 

Since he didn't understand C he couldn't understand C++ and then Java which was another programming language and it went on getting harder and harder as his mind failed to understand the symbols involved in them. Struggling hard he completed the course but could not clear all subjects. He was glad to get the C.C. (course complete certificate).
After seeing his struggles and lack of interest in what he was doing, I decided that this was not the work which he should spend his life doing. So after we both discussed the future, we decided that he should go for animation which was his passion from earlier days. Going back to automobile engineering was not that easy after studying computer science for 3 years. My husband did not want him to be in animation field but finally by hook or crook, Rayyan was doing what he wanted to do. It is funny to note that winning a blogging contest from Indiblogger had helped me take ahead his admission initially. Once, Rayyan was doing what he wanted to do, there was no looking back. He worked hard enough to leave his mark in Arena Animation, Jayanagar. He never skipped a single project during his course. Slowly and steadily he is now doing great progress with his career as well.
I am glad I was not too late in taking decision to change his career and also that I had the courage to do it. Believe me, no one wanted him to take up animation and everyone was against my decision, though they may deny it now. My husband is still upset with the change I made to his career. I have no regrets because I know Rayyan is happy and may be grateful that I supported him to do what he wants to do. I am glad he enjoys his work which he is going spend more than half of his lifespan on.

Monday, July 8, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 57

Stronger Than Love

When Rayyan mentioned the words Stronger Than Love, I was thinking very high, about spirituality, kindness and many other things. Swiss knife was last thing on my mind. Rayyan along with his friend Gautam, created this movie with most of his favourite things. Lego blocks, Mario game, and off course The Swiss knife. This tool must be a decade old or more and has been a permanent companion for Rayyan. A gift from my brother, it has been handy in fixing, installing or repairing a lot of things around our home.
Mario was one of our favourite game and we both enjoyed it quite a lot. We were as much interested in finding Princess peach as was Mario. We loved the challenges and would be very excited to know about how to overcome a hurdle. We both played against the game challenges without competing in this one game.
Most of the time, even after years of experience, I am still annoyed when I ask Rayyan to fix something and he walks in empty handed. As he nears the thing which needs attention, he slowly pulls out the Swiss knife and starts working. I have to agree that most of the time I was not able to believe it can work as a saw, micro screw driver to fix loosened handles of spectacles, a knife to cut hard fruits and many other tasks. From tiny impossible looking tasks to big ones like filing an iron wire, Rayyan with his patience and with his trust in the tool has achieved a lot with it.
It was one of those things that he had lost with the bag, but got it back later. He almost couldn’t complete three different tasks without his tool and missed it quite a lot for that short period before the auto driver returned his bag along with the Swiss knife.

There was a lot of patience and work involved in creating this short movie. One of them was to give my clean bedroom and messy look for whatever reason Rayyan had in his mind. I was surprised with the final movie because I did not see anything much happening when the shooting went on. This is again one of my favourite projects Rayyan took up, though I do not know the reason behind it. Whenever Rayyan has some free time, he takes up his own projects and starts working on them. This is the advantage of being in his field where work itself is entertaining. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 56

And My Mom Was Completely Forgiven

I think I may be bit of narcissist because I do admire my intelligence and performance quite often. Though intelligent, wisdom is not something that I owned. There is a difference. Give me math, I can solve it. You run around the bush, I miss the whole game.
When it came to marriage and love, I was in a lot of confusion. I was very sure I wanted to be professional person and was very sure I wanted to work in the field of space science, especially the research regarding Black Holes and deep space. My dad wanted me to study and become a bank employee (for whatever reason he had) but my mom was damn bent upon getting me married, so that I could live happily ever after with my husband and at least two children. Unfortunately, she already had decided who I should marry as well. I was torn between my wish to study and my desire to make my parents happy. Even at the age of 18, I was not at all mature to make right decisions. 

When I did not show much interest in marriage, and also created chaos by writing open letter to the chosen boy about my ambitions and differences we had between us which may make it impossible to live together, she got a bit worried. She asked me, “Are you in love with someone? What do you wish to do in your life?” I now realize this was my opportunity for a different life which I missed completely by enthusiastically answering her, “Mommy, I wish to be astrophysicist and study about black hole”. Not stopping at that, I went on to describe the black hole and how much effort I have already put to know about it. She wanted to know what kind of guys I would admire, I rushed in and brought out comic book of batman and showed him to her. “This is the type of guy I admire”. Now there was no doubt left in my mom that over studying had turned me crazy. That night she started brainwashing my dad and explained certain things. I heard her telling him, “She will surely be sucked in the black hole”. All my efforts to explain how she was confused only made her confuse more and more.

Finally, after many more promises, drama, fights and roller coaster rides I was married off. I had to give up my studies and settle down to a life as a house-wife. Honestly I tried my best to love, to be obedient wife, to please people around, to become pious and religious, to listen without arguing and also to be someone who I was not; but, failed miserably at everything. I was stressed because pleasing others is not easy. The bar keeps rising higher the higher you jump. Financial dependency makes you weak. When you cover yourself to hide from peeking eyes of men, even a small malfunction will make you an evil woman. I struggled and with every struggle my mind would wander off to think how much I enjoyed studying and how different life would be if I did not give in to the wishes of my mom. Slowly anger started to grow inside me for the stupidity my mom did and her foolish decision to marry me off. It was not the fighting kind of anger but something that smothers slowly in your heart. It is there but you do not express it.  
Fast forward now to Rayyan’s learning of Urdu. Being a dyslexic, learning a language meant a great deal him and he asked me, “Maa you are so talented. Why don’t you achieve something in your life?” Earlier we had a challenge of memorizing social studies page and he was shocked my memorizing skills as well. With that question I started my rant, “It is all because of your naani I am stuck here cooking fish, drawing water and cleaning house. If not I would have been an scientist…. blah blah blah……………”. All the while Rayyan listened to me silently. “Maa, naani is not stopping you now. She is already gone. Who is stopping you now?” The impact of those words on me was something no one imagine. Honesty, he was simple child asking a simple question. He was not imparting any gyaan for sure. But, it changed my whole perception of my life. All of a sudden, it was like waking up from a trance. “You can either have excuses or reasons or achievements and success. I will not believe that even after death Naani is holding you back and stopping you from achieving your dreams. May be you cannot be what you wanted to be back then, but can you not be something better than what you are pretending to be? Is this really you? I think you don’t have to become some great person, but at least become what you really are rather than trying to be like everyone around you and fitting into the role they define for you”. Honestly, I can’t recall what my answers to him were, though I remember I argued a lot with him back then. It could be because I was blindly defending myself and maybe I did not myself believe what I was saying that I cannot recall it. In the end Rayyan said, “You have two choices maa. Blame Naani, who is gone and has no say in your future, forever and be where you are doing what you don’t like, or take responsibility for yourself and start thinking what you want to do and what you can do from now on”.  And this is when, I all of sudden felt guilt, regretted blaming my mom and forgave her completely. In a moment, I realized there was nothing for me to forgive because she had not wronged me at all. She did what for her was best for my life. Never did she want me to actually suffer or hurt. Rayyan was just giving his views and also his love his grandmother who had just lost her battle with cancer made him defend her. He never realized that he was giving rebirth to his mother back then. I still feel though my parents gave me birth, it is Rayyan who gave me life with his presence and wisdom. If not for that day when he woke me up from my trance, I would still be pretending to be someone who I did not like at all. In fact, I had started gossiping as well.
I made a foolish decision to shift to Byndoor after picking up my life after cancer, in a desperate move to have a happy married life and wanting a reconciliation. I wanted to give my marriage a second chance and also wanted to live independently from my family. There were too many losses, changes and things going wrong at that time. This is when I had given up whatever I had achieved after cancer when I had no help and gone to the village. It was too late to realize things do work that way. Relationships do not heal when you give in. I feel so embarrassed writing this, because today I am not that person anymore.
With nothing to fall back on other than my counselling diploma and teaching experience, no place to start my journey, from the small village of Byndoor, I started taking steps towards becoming who I was born to be. Rayyan helped me in all the possible ways he could. Baby-sitting Farheena, helping me with housework, and many other things; besides encouraging me not to give up. And slowly, as I stopped blaming my mom and taking responsibility for my future, life changed. If I look back, I can’t believe the changes that took place. Many people tell me I am a good parent and very good to Rayyan. I support him and love him, but if they see the impact he has had on my life, I think I haven’t done anything more than what he deserves.
Today, I have only love and respect for my mom and no resentment or anger. Rayyan freed me from hating or feeding the anger towards a loving person who genuinely believed that she was doing me good. After all, without her foolish decision, I would never have met Farheena or Rayyan.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 55

The Ancestral Pool – Byndoor Talaw

If I ask Rayyan the best entertainment he had and the most he enjoyed his time, he usually mentions the pool in Byndoor where he learnt swimming, diving, jumping and many other antics. This is the same place where my dad had learnt swimming, and he said it was there long before his childhood and that his ancestors learnt swimming there as well. Rayyan’s father also had lot of stories to narrate about this pool where he enjoyed with his friends.
Initially I was very sceptical about Rayyan swimming there because there was too much of noise, and moreover the water did not look clean. I was afraid that he may drown or get hurt. But later I realized that is maintained and cleaned regularly and noise was because children were having fun. Believe me it was as tough getting Rayyan into the water as much as it is tough getting him out of it.
He was hesitant and scared to get into the pool and it took a lot of coaxing from me to get him there. I have another story of how my brother and I actually threatened him into getting into dangerous waters without realizing it back then that it could have landed him in trouble.
The Byndoor talaw (pond or pool in local dialect) has an attraction, tradition and rules of its own which almost everyone follows with few exceptions. One of the best part of it is, though many are against the use of it, most of them will encourage children to play and learn swimming there during the rainy season and few months thereafter. Someone will take charge of teaching newcomers to learn swimming. It had its drawback as well, but it was quite entertaining most of the times.
Similarly, one person took charge of Rayyan and taught him to swim. Within two months, Rayyan started waiting for his sessions in the talaw and would be very excited being there. Soon there were few regular friends and companions for Rayyan to have fun in the pool. These children waited for monsoon as though their life depended on it. The month of May starts with discussion about Farheena’s birthday plans, but as soon as 11th May was over, the discussion would be only about the rains. Even with few trickling drops of rain, these children would run to the talaw to check whether it was fit for swimming. It was really funny, because they themselves knew that it required 4-6 heavy rains to fill the pool but they just couldn’t wait.
I am not sure how many parents were as happy as me to send their children to have fun, even when it rained heavily. All the illness which came with monsoons were blamed on the swimming in talaw. But children would somehow escape and rush to the pool.
This was the first time in his life Rayyan became very bold with trying out new diving tricks, swimming for longer periods and diving deep which I never thought he was capable of. Within few months I could see physical changes in him as well, with natural muscles covering his body. He looked quite different all of sudden. His immunity increased and he became quite strong after his swimming experiences. He continued to swim in sea as well, when monsoons were over. Besides cycling, swimming is something Rayyan is very passionate about. The problem I face is, Rayyan doesn’t want to come out of water, once he gets in there.
This is one of the great fun Rayyan had during his stay in Byndoor. Even when we shifted to Bangalore, Rayyan would look forward to visit to Byndoor during monsoon so that he could swim in the talaw again. Slowly, all of his friends moved away to different cities for jobs and the group broke up. The talaw stopped beckoning him to its bosom. The tradition though continues with more youngsters continuing to enjoy the water and learning to swim there.


Rayyan Lost in Laptop

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