Saturday, June 29, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 48

Paula Aunty – Unforgettable Memories

When my mom had recurrence of cancer, I was looking for moral support to hold myself up emotionally. From the tiny town of Byndoor, it was almost impossible for me to find any sort of support. This is when I connected with a breast cancer support group which mostly had members from USA. I was wondering whether this would help, since we had huge cultural gap. This is when I bonded with Paula.
Soon our bond grew bigger than cancer support. Farheena and Rayyan got involved in web chatting with Paula aunty as well. In fact, the connection with Hi/Bye aunty was a huge turning point for both my children. The name Hi/Bye aunty was given to Paula because Farheena couldn’t say Paula. Since Paula came on webcam with a ‘Hi’ and went off with a ‘Bye’ the name stayed.
Slowly Rayyan got involved as well. Paula was curious to know about our life. Rayyan would click pictures all around Byndoor to share with Paula aunty. Somehow, in a short time all of us were very close to each other. Finally it was decided that we meet and the only option was for to travel to USA because it was not possible for Paula to visit Byndoor.
When Rayyan was in USA, it was great fun for him to enjoy Paula’s competitive spirit. Once they were in the pool and Paula was bragging how many kicks she could do. She challenged me to compete with her. I had no clue what it was all about because I was just learning to swim a bit. Then she challenged Rayyan and he refused saying it was not necessary. Paula wouldn’t let go of him. Finally Rayyan got into the pool with Paula and with the count of 1, 2, 3, Go they started kicking their legs in the pool holding on to the ledge. I could see Paula tiring out, but she wouldn’t give up. She was determined to win the battle for whatever reason and she went on and on for some time. Finally she stopped and stayed in the pool watching Rayyan. He went splash .. splash.. splash … She later got out of the pool, dried herself and still Rayyan was going on and on. We all had a good laugh as Paula kept accusing Rayyan of not considering her age, bragging off and so on. I am not sure how long Rayyan went on before walking out without any stress. Paula finally agreed that the name ‘Paani Holla’ was right for him. Though she admired him, she pretended to be angry with him for some time.

What Rayyan loved about Paula aunty was that she was not like other people he had met. She had great sense of humour and would end up like one of his age when she was with him. Another day Rayyan was trying to stand on his head and immediately Paula wanted to prove that she could do it better than him. She asked me to record it as well to show to Rayyan. Rayyan who was out playing, came in at the right time when Paula aunty was trying to stand upside down, and in the video you can see him zipping past me to capture her antics. He did not even see I was recording it already. Paula wouldn’t give up until she succeeded.

Rayyan was fascinated with window shopping in Walmart as well. He was never tired of roaming in Walmart and would be crestfallen we had to come back home after shopping. One day Paula decided to teach him a lesson. She whispered to me, “Today you and Farheena find a comfortable spot to wait for us. I will take the scooter and ask Rayyan to shop for us. I will make him run around the whole Walmart so that he will never want to come here again. Today, he will get enough window shopping of Walmart to last him a life time”. I agreed. So Paula got on the scooter and started off with Rayyan. Farheena kept watching people and greeting some of them as well and enjoyed her waiting because she knew that Paula had one of her dramas ready and it was always fun.

After a long time Paula was back and she told me, “There is something terribly wrong with this guy. We need to get him tested whether he is human or not. He is just walking and walking and walking without either getting bored or tired whereas I can’t even feel my butt anymore and due to boredom I am spacing in and out of time”. Neither Paula nor Rayyan learned any lessons with each other because Paula kept challenging Rayyan as long as we stayed with her. Rayyan had a lot of fun as well, because Paula would make all of laugh with her antics. What Paula observed and loved about Rayyan was, that he never spoke about his achievements even though she had prodded him to challenge her. He just went along and left it there once it was over. No talking about it or telling, “I told you not to challenge me”. She would accuse me that if I was in his place, I would post about it everywhere and keep reminding her of losing after bragging and challenging. She was right, because I can see me doing it even today if it happened. Even though her bond was strong with me and Farheena before we visited USA, she was saddest to part with Rayyan when we left USA.
Though we had Paula for a short period in our lives, she is very important part of our lives. All of Rayyan’s friends in Byndoor were familiar with her name. It was with very heavy heart Rayyan had to accept that Paula aunty had to finally lose her battle with cancer. Farheena sometimes waits for her messages even to this day. All the days my children spent with Paula aunty are unforgettable memories they treasure forever in their lives. She set a high standard for women in Rayyan’s life that it will be a challenge for others to meet.Though not related by blood, Paula aunty will be a family for us. 
Paula loved the way Rayyan listened to her. She was explaining Marshmallows to him. 



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