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.

Friday, May 10, 2019

An Enigma called Farheena

When Farheena was just 8 weeks old, I realised that she will have special needs. The diagnosis predicted she wouldn’t be able to see, walk or talk. Hearing those words is the most scariest thing I have experienced in my whole life. Back then I fiercely wanted to fix this mistake and make my baby alright. Slowly, as life in on, I realised that it is not her, but me and the world around her that needs fixing.
I admire achievers, but there is something very appealing about Farheena. The only way I can vaguely describe her is like being the prasadam among platter of delicious dishes, or like holy water among the bottles of various drinks. I see that she brings out the best in people.
I still remember the day it all started. May 10, 1996 I started experiencing labour pains 12 days earlier than my due date. 18 hours later, I saw a peaceful baby on 11th May, who turned out to be Farheena.
Many see my parenting as a sacrifice, but honestly either all parenting is sacrifice or none of it is.
Farheena is a lovely human being who cannot hide her emotions. She also has sensitiveness to pain, be it physical or emotional in others. She has different perception of things around us. There have been times when I have felt some people are so lucky and happy, when Farheena has told me otherwise. Once, she insisted that a person was in pain, tremendous pain even when she was smiling. Later, it turned out Farheena was right.
No one can imagine what a blessing her presence has been to me. When blinded by false beliefs, we suffer for things that do not even exist. It was Farheena who freed me from most of it, along with her amazing brother. I had no problem being dependent on my husband financially and may be that is the way it would have been forever, if not for Farheena. I fought cancer hard because I wanted to be with her and I feel she is highly responsible for my survival. Off course Rayyan was just 4, but he was very easy going child and anyone could take care him. Farheena was different. Medical tests, physiotherapy, exercises, stimulations, massage,…….. The list was big. Only a mom could do it. So I said 'NO' to death; cancer or no cancer, I did not care. The cost of her medical needs pushed me towards earning. For better earning, I studied. To be there with her on time, I started driving two wheeler. I became more alert. Too keep her safe, I learned about what dangers children face. Later, I helped others in creating awareness.
Being a parent has been exhausting at times. Very rarely I have had short breaks from parenting, maximum being the week long break for my cancer treatment. But honestly, it is worth it and much more.
Today when I look back, I see myself a much better person than I was when I gave birth to Farheena. Wanting to do things for her, I only ended up improving myself. Today, I have no regrets personally, but I have a dream to make our society more acceptable towards people with special needs. Thank you Farheena for giving me a better life.


Rayyan Lost in Laptop

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