Saturday, May 25, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 13

Feeling A Slap On My Face

Rayyan is a decent child, who has never hit anyone, but that doesn’t mean you do not feel a slap on your face at times. I have experienced it quite often.
Once I saw Rayyan eagerly trying to do something in our backyard where it was neither safe nor clean. I wondered what this boy was up to and called him out. He came back running, and handed me my phone and was back there again. Finally, I went there to see what was happening and he informed me that there was a lost snake (I am not sure about that term, because where would you say in the backyard is the snake lost) who was terrified and he was trying to guide it out. In my phone was picture of the snake which looked slithery and scary to me.

I jumped back few yards and started shouting at Rayyan to keep his distance from the dangerous creature and he calmly replies, “Why maa? Is it going to skin me and make a wallet out of my skin, or is it going to pluck out my teeth and keep me in a basket to dance to its tune?” . All of the sudden the snake is a victim and I am the dangerous villain for being a human. I feel the slap on my face and also feel so scared to not stop him. Those who have not been moms to such weird children will never know the dilemma I face. Somehow, I always feel he is right, but I am not strong or brave enough to follow what he says. Finally, I stand at a distance and watch him guide the snake into bushes where it will not be in open to be found and killed. I have to keep this a secret from everyone because there will be panic and accusations from others in the neighbourhood for endangering their life by letting a snake escape when we could have killed it easily.
Once during Bakrid, one of our relatives who believe and do Qurbani had asked me to send Rayyan over to collect mutton from there. I was somehow foolish enough to send him over as requested. When Rayyan came back carrying bag of mutton, his face carried a disgusting and terrible look. He placed it on my kitchen counter and said in a sarcastic tone, “Here maa is your share of dead bodies”. I am shocked and go “WHAT?” Rayyan, who is already quite upset after seeing the killing of goats on Bakrid says, “You may call it chicken, mutton or beef but in real they are nothing but carcasses of dead animals. We eat dead bodies in the name of non-vegetarian food. That is what we enjoy eating, right? Just giving them a fancy name will not change the reality of what it is”. That was another slap on my face. Somehow, non-vegetarian food has not been the same to me anymore. You will never know the difficulty I had dealing with that mutton on kitchen counter. More than what Rayyan says in words, it is his convincing tone, his own belief in what he says and the emotion I see in him that hits me hard.
From a child who loved and enjoyed chicken a lot, Rayyan has changed a lot. I and Farheena have been affected by him as well, though we have not gone completely vegetarian. Occasionally Rayyan does eat a bit of non-veg food as well, like when we order pizza, but he does not eat it for the joy of it anymore.

Once Upon A Time When Chicken Was Not A Dead Body

Friday, May 24, 2019

100 Rays Of Son -12

 Anger Is Overrated & Overused

Rayyan is of the opinion that anger is the most overrated and overused of all emotions, especially in humans.
I have to disagree with this because I know why I get angry and how important it is for me to get angry. Naturally, I was angry with Rayyan for blaming and abusing my  favourite emotion. So I decided to use my gift of gab to prove him wrong.
"Anger is very important emotion Rayyan. Without anger people will walk all over you and use you like doormat".
"When did that happen to me? I think people are nice to me, even though I don't get angry".
When I think it over, I realise that Rayyan gets favoured more often than those who express anger. He is not passionate about anything like religion, language, state etc which usually leads to arguments and anger. So, I racked my brain to see what angers me most. It is usually something said against my mom that angers me. I think it does to most of us. Now I was sure I had cornered Rayyan. Since, I am his mom he cannot say that he will not be angry when something bad is said about mom.
"I get angry when someone says something bad about my mom. Won't that anger you?"
I had to use my hand to stop my jaw from falling down to the floor, so Rayyan was not bonked on his head.
Calmly he continues, "You are my mom and as your child it is my duty to respect you. Why should I expect that from everyone? They are not bound by any duty to respect you. So, what is the big deal? You are just any other person to them. I can control only what I do, not what others do. BTW, unless you hear it, there is no harm in it for you. If you hear someone abusing you, I will never have a chance to get angry, because I will be busy saving that person from you".
I have no argument left but still my heart is not accepting it.... Any help is welcome.

What I expected Rayyan to be like when someone says bad things about his mom

What Rayyan is................

Thursday, May 23, 2019

100 Rays Of Son 11

And There Was No Sound

Enjoying Decorating for Parties
When I was working on setting up Giggle Garden, a project that was more than I could chew, I could not attend to my work at home. One day I realized that our refrigerator needed cleaning but was too tired to get up to get it going. Naturally, this leads to me seeking help from Rayyan. He was busy playing game on his computer since it was Sunday. I told him the fridge was all messed up and it needed cleaning. He told me that he will finish the game and get it done.
I went back to laying down on the bed and relaxing, planning about the future of Giggle Garden. I was patiently waiting for Rayyan to finish his game and get this job done. I was in no mood to pester him nor did I want to do it myself. I kept waiting and waiting as time ticked by. There was no sound… I was kind of getting a bit angry and frustrated. I knew that he had been working the whole week and needed some time out for himself, but did he not commit to do it when he finished his game? So, finally I decided to take him to task. When I entered his room he was happily racing away on the virtual roads of his computer. Somehow I managed to ask him in calm tone which required tons of patience from my side, “Didn’t you promise (actually it was not a promise but just a ‘yes’) that you will clean the refrigerator after the game is over. Why haven’t you got it done yet?”
Rayyan continued playing the game and replied “I finished it Maa. I did it long time ago”. I thought this must be some kind of a joke and checked out the fridge. Not only was it sparkling clean, but all the bottles, and other things inside it were cleaned and arranged neatly as well. But, why did I not hear any sound at all? As I thought about it, slowly it dawned on me that Rayyan is usually very silent person. I never hear his footsteps when he walks around our home, I never hear him parking his cycle, opening the door, cleaning his cupboard etc. When Rayyan works it is almost like he is not working. When someone is working or resting, he usually uses his headphones so even when he is watching a movie or playing game, there is no sound. I have never seen him grumble, complain or get frustrated with the work on hand any time. He doesn’t talk if he is not having communication with the person he is working with or needs something. He handles all the things as though they are about to break.
When he was in USA, he loved working at different odd jobs. Back then we would never know when he watered the grass, took the trash out or cleaned the garden. So often I or Paula would ask him to do it to find out that it is already done.
He would look forward to working with Jay, on his sports car. Jay would also be surprised with his patience, and help. He would usually say that he never tires out nor does he sweat. This was one of the best time Rayyan enjoy working I should say, especially because he had good rapport with Jay.

I used to wonder why Rayyan spots a lot of animals when I don’t. I think it was the noise I made that would scare the animals or birds away whereas Rayyan was never heard for them to get scared to scamper away.
Fortunately for us, the family of lazy people, Rayyan has been a handy child to have around since he was a toddler. 
Never missing an opportunity to make Farheena a part of the project
From fetching a glass of water for those watching TV to cleaning around, fixing technical/electrical problems to shopping, I have to give a lot of credit to him, moreover for doing it silently without disturbing anyone.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

100 Rays Of Son -10

 Hearing With Ears and Listening With Heart

One of my Cousin was criticiser of every almost all of his family members and also of the people around him. He did not like the way we spoke using local accent, dressing, walking, and sitting. To be precise whatever everyday activity which someone would take as natural and for granted, would be found fault with and corrected by him. Even I was target of his criticism at times. He was not a bad person, but he wanted people to follow few rules, principles and ethics to have better presentation of themselves in society. Unfortunately, he was always misunderstood by others and would be called a nagging person. Some children would even make fun of him behind his back.
Rayyan liked this person and was not offended by him even once. The only person he ever praised was also Rayyan. Not once I had heard him criticize Rayyan or nag him about anything. He always had good words to tell about Rayyan and I think that those good words were reserved only for Rayyan which looked unfair to me. Once I asked him, “How come you never say anything about Rayyan, when you criticize everyone? I am sure not even Rayyan follows everything you ask him to do”. He answered, “Don’t you see that everyone is trying to justify that they are right and what I am telling is wrong? They don’t even listen to what I have to say. I only want the wellbeing of my family, which is the reason I try to guide them. I have travelled around the world and got to know much more things than what they can learn in this tiny village. I try to make them better, but most often they just ignore me. But, as you say, Rayyan may not follow everything I tell him, but watch him listen when I am talking. He appreciates what I say. Never interrupts me nor he completes my sentences for me. He never tries to justify what he is doing is right. Therefore, for me it is not important how much of my advice he takes seriously or follows it religiously; it is the way he listens to me and shows respect for what I have to say, that makes me happy”. What he said was quite convincing for me because I myself had experienced that with Rayyan.
On the other hand once when I asked Rayyan why is that the family of my cousin doesn’t listen to his advice and follow his instruction to avoid conflicts at home, Rayyan answered, “Maa when people do not respect others and do not listen with their heart but only hear the words with their ears, it becomes a sound. With passing days it becomes like the sound of train engine or a fan which runs in the background without disturbing us. First we have to respect what a person is telling us and then decide whether it is good to be taken seriously or not. When we become judgmental when listening, the communication itself is useless”. I have taken this both insights of two people very seriously and it has helped me in different ways in my life. At times, I just consider the words to be sound and ignore it as well, which I was unable to do earlier.
I am sharing three pictures of Rayyan below taken in the span of ten years. One is with Jay, when he is talking about the English Car Club, another at a blogger meet when a blogger was sharing his blogging journey and then a recent one at Giggler’s party when a parent was talking about their experience in My Giggle Garden. You can see the seriousness with which he is listening. I am sure, he knows how to hear with his ears and listen with heart.  I am trying to get there slowly…..

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.


Rayyan Lost in Laptop

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...