Sunday, July 21, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 70

The 3 Wanderers

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On Mother's day, Rayyan made a card for me. It was something that described us so perfectly. I was surprised to see three of us in auto, because I never thought it meant so much to him.
There is some special understanding that Rayyan, Farheena and I share which makes our lives together peaceful and happy. There are not many complaints, accusations or expectations that we have, but just live together our own separate ways; but at the same time we know that in case someone needs, the other person is available. Farheena is at times bored that how peaceful our home is compared to the drama in the TV shows she watches and tries to create a drama here as well, by being grumpy, angry or coming up with strategies to make the environment a bit dramatic. Luckily, it lasts just for half an hour or so before fading away.
Though Farheena has a bit of different tastes in food and entertainment, all three of us enjoy same activities most of the time. All three of us have tremendously enjoyed the beach trips, Linkin Park music, Big Bang Theory series and, yes, Breaking Bad series as well. It was surprising how Farheena became emotionally attached to Walter White and his family. She in fact wanted me to start car washing business as well and wanted to greet people like Walter White Jr did in the series. But unfortunately, she drifted away to soap operas without being pulled into the superhero world of MC or DC which Rayyan and I enjoy immensely. This is when we get separated into two groups.
Among the things we enjoyed most is the aimless wandering we undertake at times. Initially it was the walks around Whitefield. Then it was to unknown places around Rajarajeshwarinagar. Later, it was Byndoor where we could not go walking around much because Farheena did not fit into a pram anymore. Though we did not have our own vehicle, we had a permanent auto-rickshaw driver who understood the needs of Farheena and helped us manage her travel needs throughout our stay in Byndoor. He understood my children were different and would help with odd jobs as well, like putting the fish back into sea, bringing meds for our chicks etc. Fortunately for me, he never considered crazy but respected his love for animals.
Whenever we were free, we would hire the Auto-Rickshaw and wander off to unknown places around Byndoor. The maximum distance we have travelled is around 300 kms in a day. Nature has something very alluring about, which no man made structure can match. Since we did not have a destination to reach or time limit in which we had to return back home, moreover the driver never grumbled or nagged us for not being clear where we wanted we go, we enjoyed this drives very much. We ventured into forests, hills, river banks, and just the wild places with no goal or aim. We would completely forget everything about the world and be lost in our tiny little world, at times forgetting the person driving the vehicle. We would feel as though we were floating in open air. The joy of finding something beautiful when you are looking for it is something totally different from the feeling when you chance upon a stream, tiny waterfall, beautiful bird or amazing tree all of a sudden when you are not expecting it.
These trips were also a time when we would discuss things like, religions, human nature, relationships, responsibilities and other things. Anytime, Rayyan and I got carried away with our discussions, Manju the driver would scold us for ignoring Farheena. So the girl got her share of attention and was always happy. He was one of her favourite persons in Byndoor.
We were not worried about getting lost because the Manju was very familiar with the places and if we were lost for a short period, we would find a way back eventually. Even today, we just wander off aimlessly at times but not as often. I wish to get back on those trips more often, but life has changed. Everything comes with a price and freedom for me has come with a price of my freedom itself.
Rayyan though ventures out all alone on his cycle or even his bike at times. During these trips he sometimes shares his location through Google maps with me because even he doesn’t know where he is and may need my help to guide him back; though so far it has not happened.
Recently Rayyan was wondering how come I have not mentioned this amazing trips in my series which made me realize how much it meant for him. So, here we go…..

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Saturday, July 20, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 69

The Water Animal

If I have to believe in past lives of our souls, I am damn sure that Rayyan was a water animal in his past life. He could have been a fish, octopus, squid, crocodile, whale, tortoise or a toad; but he sure was in water. Since he was a baby, Rayyan would get terribly excited as we prepared his bath.
He would laugh and enjoy the bath, as his loving Naani would start scolding us for making her life a hell in our own childhood. She would say that we all cried and threw tantrums whenever we were bathed. I would accuse her of pouring hot water on us which must have made us cry.

As days went by, I made Rayyan sit in the water tub for some time. It was too late for me to realize that it was a wrong move, because he would plead to be left there and did not want to come out at all. 
When he came out, he hands and feet would be like raisins. He would help us as we washed clothes (manually off course) or bike since it allowed him to get wet. He would love any work that involved water. Farheena turned out to be the same. Even as small children, they would be drenched in rain. Rayyan would be running around or playing in water, while Farheena would just love to sit on a chair and get wet. Fortunately, it did not lead to cold or fever or else they would be banished from enjoying the rain. I have so often been reprimanded by different people and strangers for leaving children out in rain. They cursed the irresponsible mom who did not care for her children.
When we shifted to Byndoor, I decided to teach Rayyan to swim. For all the love of the water, he would not jump in the water for his swimming lessons. He was afraid to go deep and would just hold the ledges and pretend to swim.
Once when we were on the beach, my brother and I together decided that we will remove the fear of deep waters from Rayyan’s mind. We found a nice spot where the water looked calm and decided to send him in there. Rayyan already knew a bit of swimming but was not an expert. We two stupid people who were trying this out did not know swimming back then. Rayyan was brave to venture into waist high water but would get scared when the water mark reached his chest. We just wanted him to get over this fear.

We threw one of his favourite ball in that calm water and asked him to fetch it if he wanted it, or else we would abandon the ball and go back home. The poor child was in a dilemma here. “Maa, what if the water is not safe”. “If you get in there you will know that it is safe” we said. Rayyan went a little further in water, but then rushed back to the shore. “Maa that water is different. It looks like it is pulling at me”. We ignored him and stuck to what we said earlier. The poor child, who usually doesn’t abandon his toy, especially the ones which are old, again slowly started venturing into the water. By then, someone started shouting at us, “Take the child out of water, take the child out of water, it is not safe waters”. By then Rayyan had reached to the ball. He grabbed at it and rushed back. By then, the person shouting had neared us. He was quite angry and grew wilder as he watched Rayyan staring at him innocently. “Are you people crazy to send that child into such dangerous waters? This is the place where the river meets the sea. There are strong undercurrents that can drown expert fishermen like us and we avoid it. How could you send such small child to fetch that toy?” He looked agitated enough to push us both into the water. We said sorry to both the man and Rayyan.
Rayyan still accuses me of trying to drown him in water, but that did not stop him from loving water. 
After, little bit of pushing from me (one which literally was push into the pond) he started venturing into waters.

 Like with the water filled tub, I realized too late that this was not a right move. Not only Rayyan would get into any water body without checking out for its safety (though he disagrees with this), he would stay there and we would be stuck on the beach, river bank or amusement park for hours. What scared me was his adventures in sea on Someshwara beach. 

Sometimes I would try to look for him and his tiny head would be invisible. I was torn between my fears and his love to enjoy water. Rayyan would come up with different theories about the safety of what he was doing. He would somehow convince me about it as well. Though I wanted Rayyan to be safe, I did not have heart to steal the love of adventures, exploration or fun from him. In return for his freedom, Rayyan promised me never to take risks and would check with locals or watch out for dangerous signs whenever he would be in water or anywhere else during his adventures.
To this day, Rayyan is still the same child who loves the feel of natural water on his body and comes with hands and feet looking like raisins. I am quite sure he has some connection with the water animals. You should tell me which animal ……

Friday, July 19, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 68

Lost In Laptop

Rayyan finished off his course in Arena Animation by winning first prize for a project that he started for fun. I usually call out to Rayyan from wherever I am. In a minute I will throw the question to him “Where are you Rayyan?”
One day with that question, Rayyan answered me in a scared voice, “Maa I am lost in my laptop and cannot get out of here”.
“Stop joking and come over here immediately. I need your help”
“I am not joking. Check out for yourself maa”.
I know this cannot be true. Though we watch a lot of superhero and sci-fi movies, I am not believing them to this extent. As I enter the room, I see Rayyan hiding behind the door and wallpaper on the paper showing him hanging in there on the screen. 

The concept was really good and I liked it. I reprimanded Rayyan, “If you keep working or playing with the laptop all the time, may be one day you will be lost in it for real”.
Rayyan loved the idea and for the final project for his course in DAEFM, he started working on this. He had just winded up the 2D movie and the second prize he won had given him a lot of encouragement. It was funny to watch him fight with imaginary opponent, jump to catch the air and many other silly things as he started on the project. Watching him I was wondering, why is he not working hard on his project, but just playing around. I knew how passionate Rayyan was about his career and how much it meant to him, so I waited without uttering any discouraging words. As he started working on the movie, I was surprised to see the result. I knew he would be recognised for his work definitely.
On the day Rayyan was winning the prize, I was with Farheena when she went up the stage to play the tree in the school program. 

I received a call from Rayyan announcing that he had won the first prize. What made me happy was that he completed both his projects independently and worked to get what he deserved.
As I congratulated Rayyan on winning the prize, I noticed something about me as well. I usually feel very happy when Rayyan wins, but not proud. The pride comes from the way he is and for many other reasons. I have never told Rayyan I am proud of you that you won this, achieved that or something similar but I have said, I am proud of you for putting in so much of hard work into the project. He gets to hear that his maa is proud of him quite often and even without me telling him, he knows it as well.

P.S. As I am nearing the 68th post, I am a bit nervous that I may have to skip some important parts of Rayyan’s life. There are so many stories still unsaid. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 67

The Golden Snake
Though I struggle to walk now, I was always on my feet and used to walk miles with Rayyan (off course the untiring child) in the evenings. Since we were comfortable walking, I used to walk him to school instead of packing him off in the school bus.
During our stay in Rajarajeshwarinagar, his school was 30 minute walk from our home. I always believed that the child would learn more walking to school than in the school itself; hence, I would walk him to school and back. We took shortcuts among the nature and fields. We left home a bit early so that we could check out different flowers, birds, animals and other natural treasures of our world. It was not crowded but safe route for us to walk and we would discuss a lot of things during our walks.
Rayyan would talk as he walked. I would be out of breath to talk as we reached the 15 min mark, but he could go on non-stop. One day as we were walking on a broad road (which was called 15 feet road by locals around) and Rayyan was talking non-stop, suddenly he stopped in between a sentence and got highly excited. I was wondering what was the reason, when he exclaimed in all excitement, “Maa Banghar maa bhangaar..” Bhanghaar means gold in our language and he had fancy for gold until he turned 8. As I looked in the direction he was pointing, I was shocked to see something like gold strewn on the road. It was around 7.45 am and the sunlight was reflecting something very shiny. All the while we were steadily moving ahead as well. It took me sometime to realize that what we were looking at was a big snake which was slowly slithering on the road at a slow pace. The morning sun was reflecting off its shiny skin and from far it looked as though gold dust has been strewn on the newly tarred black road. I am not very scared of snakes, neither is Rayyan, but at that moment I shivered for a while and then froze completely. I was damn scared that day. It could be because of the size of the snake, the way it was slithering on the road or because of Rayyan being beside me.
I was trying to talk but no sound came out of my mouth. Rayyan was blinking his eyes and looking at me wondering what was wrong. Why wasn’t Maa going to explore the gold strewn on the road? It took me sometime before telling Rayyan, “Beta, please do not panic. It is not gold but a huge snake. Do not make noise. Let me pick you up and run back as fast as possible”. As I was saying that, I was trying to pick up Rayyan as well, but he refused. “No, don’t pick me up. We both will be slow if you run carrying me. Let us either walk away slowly or run together”. By then the snake was alert and moving at a faster pace. I was shocked to see that it was almost as big as the road reaching one end to other. It was slithering away into the grass and it looked agitated to me. All things were happening simultaneously. Snakes usually look much faster than they actually are. “That looks like a dangerous snake. What if it bites you? Let me pick you up Rayyan and we will wait until it goes away”. Rayyan was still struggling to avoid being picked up, “No maa. Let us take our chances if the snake is going to bite us. If it has to bite you it will bite or it will bite me. I don’t want to be picked up” I was scared, and so was the snake; now aware of two people nearby. It hit a dead end due to the compound wall on its way and suddenly hissed spreading its hood. The sight of the shining snake with a huge hood spread and hissing loudly is the most terrifying natural thing I have experienced. All my courage was lost and pulling Rayyan I ran as fast as he could. Without him, I am sure I would have been faster and even carrying him I would be quick. I kept looking back and here and there to see if the snake was following us. Every sound made me jump and Rayyan must have been surprised to see me this scared. Even I am not sure what scared me that much.
Finally, we reached school. I kept blabbering about the snake to most of the people and told them to be careful on the road. When I went back in the evening to pick Rayyan from school, I was surprised that he naturally took the route we came by in the morning without any fear of the snake. I was in a dilemma here. Should I instil fear in Rayyan by refusing to walk on that road, or should I use common sense and know that the snake is not going to wait for us to come back and walk back naturally with him. Anyway, there were few people walking on the road and I decided to go along. I started questioning him to know how he would respond to emergency situations and I was surprised to see how well he planned things in the morning.
“What would you do if the snake bit me in the morning?”
“I would leave you there and run back home”. I was not happy listening to this answer. In the morning he looked as though he was ready to sacrifice his life for me or something similar and here he was abandoning me and running home.
“Once I reach home, I will call Nana and take him to Bangalore Children’s hospital (that was very close to our home) and come back with him in an ambulance to take you to doctor”.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from this child. “Why Nana and not grandma, uncle or aunty?” I want to be sure that he is actually thinking so well without panic. “Because Nani will either cry or faint thinking that the snake has already killed you. Aunty will run to change dress and will be late. I cannot wake up uncle because he will be sleeping and it is tough to wake him up. Nana, on the other hand will rush out to the hospital without wasting time”.
“You had thought about this in the morning? Were these thoughts there in your mind when we were running” I ask, not able to believe him. “Yes maa” he answers calmly. It was such a pleasure listening to this child talking and I wanted to hear more. “What if the snake had bitten you?” I ask. “I don’t think that was possible. You would have done something to stop that happening. I am very sure of that”. I am so touched by the trust he has in me. Somehow I realize that he is right as well, because I wouldn’t allow anything to happen to him as long as I was alive and around him.
Though it is over two decades since the incident happened, we both recollect it so often that it looks like it happened just a few days ago. When I searched the internet, I saw that usually the cobras aren’t so long but I know I was not imagining what I saw. The snake was really very huge than what I had seen in pictures or videos. It couldn’t be less than 10 feet because at one point it was spread across the breadth of the road. I am not sure why, but we do keep talking about that snake even to this day and the topic crops up just out of blue.

Below are pictures of the time and place where we sighted snakes so often...

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 66

Married But Not A Wife
Three years ago, I was fretting and fuming around our home. Rayyan, who was calmly watching me, finally gave in and asked, “Maa what is wrong? Is something bothering you?”
“I tried so hard for divorce, but it did not work out for me Rayyan. Somehow, the legal system is so flawed. No one thinks that our freedom from marriage is something important and they ask for a good reason for me to go divorce. I feel very upset with this. Why can’t a woman get a divorce just because she wants it? This is so stupid?” I vent out all my frustration at one go.
“Do you think it is more stupid than marriage itself?” Rayyan jokes but then seriously asks me, “Why do you want divorce?”
“Because I want to be free and live as I wish”
“And…… you cannot do it now? Is there anything else that is driving you towards divorce? Like you want to find a better life partner, want to get some money, or any similar reason?”
For the first time I am forced to think why I want a divorce from a different perspective. I am already calm and my brain is fully functional now, because I want to win at least this one debate with Rayyan, though he usually just passes his comment or gives his views and never takes anything as a debate. Every time I have ended up losing the so called debate with him on every topic and ended up winning something in the end which is much better than winning the debate.
“I am actually willing to give everything away to my husband if he is willing to give me divorce. No, I don’t have anyone else in my life for time being. It is just that I want to move away from the marriage, but unfortunately I am not sure why my husband is not agreeing for it”.
“Why he is not agreeing for divorce is shocking for me as well”…… Rayyan jokes but then quickly ducks the heavy book thrown at him. Though he looked as though he was making a casual comment what he said after that was profound. “Maa, why do you need a divorce to be free? Actually isn’t it that people do things they usually do not want to do, lose their freedom or bring up that silly thing called compromise or sacrifice to save marriage? Why would you lose your freedom to get divorce?”
Again comes the stage where I am confused. My whole concept of life is in muddle and I feel I had made some mistake in understanding what I am doing.
“Can you explain a bit more to me?”
“You say you do not seek anything from the divorce but just wish to live your life your way, right? Why don’t you do it without the divorce? You have to behave according to the rules of the husband to save a marriage, not to divorce him. It is as simple as that. Now you blame him for not divorcing you, but then have you given him enough reasons to make that decision? I have seen you all hyped about this divorce thing for some years and always thought finally you will understand it, but you pursued it like any other video game where you just want to win for no reason”.
“So, you mean to say that I shouldn’t pursue it?”
“I feel you cannot be a husband or wife just because you are married. Divorce is not on papers but it happens in relationships. As for someone as tough as you, who can force you to be a wife? You have made that mental barrier and you are not breaking it yourself. You can stop being married any time you want and live your life the way you want it as well. If your husband is upset, he will divorce you, right?”
“What if he shouts, creates a scene or fights with me?”
“Everything is opposed in the beginning. When people realize that it is not working they stop doing it. Rather than yearning for divorce, I feel you should learn to handle such situations, which may crop up even when you seek divorce”.
Within an hour, I had unlearned and learned a new way of living my life. My friend/lawyer had said something similar to me earlier but in different words which did not make sense to me back then. She had questioned me as well, “If you do not want alimony or any other benefits, why are you seeking divorce? Why can’t you just ignore him and live your life your way?” I had argued with her and tried to tell her that it can never happen that way. How can we ignore a person living with us under the same roof? Also there is issue of Farheena in between and how his presence affects her life.
Somehow, hearing what Rayyan was saying, reminded me of what she had said and it connected together. I could actually stop being a wife without a divorce paper in my hand if I wanted to. It took some time for such a thought to register in my mind. It is not easy for any of us to move away from the doctrines ingrained in us, but I wanted to give it a try.
Slowly, life started changing. Today, I am a very complicated person. I am married but yet I am not a wife. I would still feel happy if I can get that paper legally in my hand. Rayyan rightly said that it is like a virtual game which I could not complete, but the freedom is fully earned at present. This was the second part of the liberation which completed the process.

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Never imagined this child would grow up to be so wise 
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Now I realize that this boy was worth of holding on to....

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Feeding common sense to mom


Rayyan Lost in Laptop

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