Wednesday, October 23, 2013

In Natures Lap

The precious baby 
Our joy was boundless when Rayyan, my first born came into our lives. By ours I mean my whole family, not just the parents. His father was away at the time of his birth, but my own family made it up to him and me. The last time there was a baby at home was more than 18 years ago when my youngest sister was born. Rayyan was treated like a prized, delicate and loved child who needed protection from the harsh world. Every time he wet himself, pooped or cried for milk, I could see chaos around me with nearly 2-3 people rushing to set things right for him. I remember how everyone went overboard with his care other than me. To be honest I was kind of getting irritated by the fuss being made over the baby. But the big army of 2 aunts, 1 uncle, grandma and grandpa overwhelmed and smothered me to do as they wished. Finally what counted was that they loved him more than anything else in whole world.  What more can a Mom ask for?
Rayyan had low resistance to diseases. Any change in routine would make him feverish, get cough and cold or give him running stools. He was slow in gaining weight. My family took it upon themselves to protect him from the germs and bacteria which lay in wait to get him. So he did not get to play much outdoor games, eat street food or play in dirty water. I knew this was wrong, but then there was nothing much I could do. No one bothered to take my advice. Leave alone his drinking water, even the water he bathed was boiled and cooled. Every time he went out, one of my family members would escort him. He spent long hours playing with Lego toys, watching cartoons or painting. Though he loved cycling, he was never given the freedom to go out all alone. He had to go circles around our home even as someone kept an eye on him from terrace.
Indoor games, drawing and watching television
were part of his life
It was quite tough for me to deal with this situation as I firmly believe in keeping children close to nature which will give a boost to their immunity. The more we protect our children, the weaker their body will be to fight invading diseases. It was also important that Rayyan be given his own space and independence. To make up for his smothered life I used to take Rayyan for long walks in the evenings or occasionally in the morning. When Farheena entered our lives 4 years later, she became a part of the walks where the kids were allowed to touch and feel nature.
Initially I thought the fuss my family made would be over once there is another kid at home or when he grows up a bit. How wrong was I? Farheena’s entry into our lives had no effect on my family. As days passed and Rayyan was nearly 10, he was still treated like a baby and not allowed any independence. 
When I was confused about the upbringing of my children, there was a turning point in my life where I had to take a major decision. I had two choices in front of me. Stay in Bangalore and live with my family to adjust my lifestyle to their choices, or move out and go to my native village Byndoor to lead an independent life. As I sat pondering over what step to take, Rayyan was watching television, an activity which kept his boredom away. I wanted to know how many cartoons he could watch if left undisturbed. When the third cartoon started without Rayyan moving from his seat, I made my decision. It was quite tough decision to make but I finally broke free from the bondages of my family. Both my children were very close to all my family members and I was sure that they would miss them. But then it was high time that I took control of my own life and made my own decisions.
So off we went to the coastal village to live a life close to nature. After his first day in school, Rayyan could not stop talking about how active and strong the kids in his school were. These were the kids who played in fields, swam the rivers and ate fresh food. There were much stronger than the kids I had seen in Rayyan’s previous school. Without much physical activities, Rayyan looked so small compared to his classmates. I assured Rayyan that with proper physical activities and freedom to roam in the nature, he would catch up with his peers.
To make my children more active physically and mentally, I got rid of the TV. They could have fun on computer but TV was a big no. Both the kids spending nearly 5 hours in front of the idiot box was not acceptable to me. I knew we would miss it for a few days but then would get adjusted to the life without TV.
If you think life was dull and boring in Byndoor for my kids, you are in for a surprise. Our days were filled with fun, adventures, games and weekly visits to the beach. To make it more entertaining, I gathered a group of children from my neighborhood to join us on picnics, games and parties.
Fun time on Someshwara Beach

From being a protected child, Rayyan blossomed to be the responsible person. He started helping me in housework and shopping.  I had to be prepared for the chicks, kitten or fish Rayyan would bring back to keep as pet. In his new found freedom, Rayyan started exploring the town and its surroundings early in the morning on his bicycle. His immunity started improving and I could see the change in him. Earlier, every year he had to miss some monthly tests or exams due to his illness. Now he was maintaining 100% attendance in his school and setting record for perfect attendance.

Though initially Rayyan was accompanying me for his outings, he slowly weaned off and started to find a group of children who could join him on long hikes to the nearby mountains and to swim in the sea. Finally he started wandering off alone at times on his bicycle because there were not many children who could match his stamina and enthusiasm for long rides. His stamina was building up so much that he could beat most of the experienced swimmers at the local pond.
Our brood of Chicks
An Injured crow treated by Rayyan.

He started raising chickens but unfortunately they were not food for him but friends. Soon even I fell in love with his chicks. He became so lively and enthusiastic in the company of the animals.
The dirty water, exposure to germs or eating street food occasionally did not make Rayyan sick or weak as my family feared. His outdoor life made him strong and his healthy body could resist diseases on its own. I cannot recall when I have last taken Rayyan to a doctor for medication and he is the same kid who used to be sick for nearly 100 days every year.
Rolling in Dirt and Plunging into various sports

Rayyan enjoying diving and swimming

Rayyan enjoying his freedom in the lap of nature
      My own experience tells me that immunity can be built only when we allow our children to grow in natures lap. The fresh air, organic food and exercise are required to build a strong immune system. A lazy child who spends time in front of TV gorging on chips and soft drinks can never have strong immunity, not even if you give him/her high suppliments of energy drinks or vitamins.
Today, back in Bangalore, we do own a TV but my children are not interested in getting the cable connection. We watch selected program through internet TV. Rayyan has joined various cycling groups and events taking place around Bangalore. He is the only fit and healthy member of our family who has kept his weight under control and also he is only person in the family who does not need any pills or syrups to keep diseases away. Rayyan did not change his lifestyle after leaving Byndoor. He travels to his college and everywhere around Bangalore on his Bicycle. He also managed to survive the endurance ride to Mysore.It keeps him healthy and fit, moreover he is doing good to both the environment and my purse.

Rayyan's Active Life in Bangalore today..
Off road cycling events

Winning slow cycling race held at Decathlon
Conquering rough terrains


  1. This is a splendid post Farida. It was a correct decision on your part to allow your son the company of nature. Wish him all the best in his cycling endeavors.

    1. Thank you Usha Menon. It was tough decision to make but it has paid of too well in the end. I will convey your best wishes to Rayyan

  2. Well written post Farida mam. I firmly believe on the part of making children grow close to nature and I try to do them whenever I can. And seeing your active kids, you should be a proud mom now :)

    1. Yes I am very proud of Rayyan for his concern for environment, active lifestyle and also good manners.

  3. Your original pictures speak as much as your write. Well told post with very original content. Goodluck!

    Would appreciate your candid views on my post at

    1. Honestly, I feel there is too many pictures in that post. Could not pick the best ones as they all seemed so relevant.

  4. a great post. happy to read a perspective of proud mom. all the best for raayans future.

  5. Really lovely post and the pictorial story speaks volumes. All the best for the contest.

  6. Lovely pictures to go with your amazing blog. I feel the young man can allow himself to put on some weight finally ;)

    1. Thank you Paula. Hmmm have to think about the weight. It is easy to put on then take if off!

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    -le con ! le reste dis, advenir
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    et ni le jour pas un spécialiste. -p’têt bien… -hein je lui faisais, pliants
    instants mon une pile de mémoire de mon bien le dessert trouvaient la salle, dans
    ma courte discothèque avec le et plaisir quelques verres galerie voisine pour.

  8. very nice article you write this article in the meaningful way thanks for sharing this.
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