Let me be ME

Archive for April, 2016

Summer Break- Let it be FREE

“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” -Kay Redfield Jamison

“Mom can we play 30 minutes more?” pleaded my 10 and 6 year old boys. My instant reply was a loud and clear “NO”, which even altered the security guards. The other two boys playing grabbed their cricket bat and pedaled away as fast as they could.  I asked the boys what was the time and they meekly agreed that they were late for lunch. Like any other mother I was in my best hyper mode. Walking fast ahead of them and mumbling until we reached the elevator. My younger one moved fast and stood in front of me, with hands on his waist and kind of blocking my way. He gave me a stern look exactly the way I gave them few minutes back. In an assertive tone he said,, “Mom, it’s OUR summer break and we can use OUR time whichever way we want. It’s fun to play cricket in the sun!”

Exactly, it is HIS summer break and he can use HIS time whichever way he wants. I panicked because it was noon with blazing sun and the boys were playing unperturbed by the heat. I noticed that there were very few children playing in the sun.

Another observation I made when I went for my run in the evening was ,only teams of boys playing gully cricket. As compared to Mumbai norms thankfully my housing complex has larger play area and various teams defined their pitch to play mini IPL there. I tried looking for girls but couldn’t figure out any. Going ahead there was a bunch of girls of few teenagers and few going to be teens. They were busy chatting, clicking selfies or seeing videos on mobile phones. This is a common site in the era of mobile-phones-taken-away-play-time.

The next morning again my boys picked up their cricket bats, tucked my pet along and went off to play. When I went to pick them up I was surprised to see comparatively more children than the day before in the park. I was happy and surprised too. My happiness didn’t last long as I saw vanity vans and it took me no time to understand that there was a shoot happening in the complex. These children were sitting diligently in the scorching heat waiting for the “CUT” .It pained me.
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(Vanity Vans in the complex )

Summer break is a time where children explore freely. They should explore the nature, find new friends, discover interesting games , get into the world of reading or create painting master pieces by making their hands dirty . Children should learn things on their own either by creating a mess in the kitchen, or battling out with sibling. We have failed to structure our life but are keen to give a proper frame to a child’s brain in HIS/HER free time.

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Summer camp information starts flowing in much before the school is ready to shut for the academic session.  It is good that children learn something new and get inclined towards progressive learning, which these camps offer. But it is equally important to have unstructured playtime for children. Let them find their own team, have their own little quarrel over lost ball, face the victory and defeat together. Let them learn with messy hands , let them be untidy, non-systematic, lazy but  Let them be. You can’t cushion them forever.

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Let them be

Summer break is for all irrespective of gender so make your girls rough. Not just mentally but physically too. Let them face harsh sun. Encourage them to play with boys. There is much more than dolls and indoor games. There is life outside selfie, pouts and Instagram let them know this.

It is their time with no school routine , no time-table , no alarms, no rush for school bus but let them enjoy this MY  TIME. Trust me they’ll be a happier lot once the school reopens and just think don’t we all need OUR time? So do our children .

 

 

Delhi:You scare the shit out of me

Moving out of the house for work is like preparing for an Everest Climb. I am unsure if this happens with me or with every mother who travels. I deliberately took the last flight out.

I was uneasy. Firstly, because of hectic work schedule and secondly but I can say foremost – travel to Delhi. I had almost two sleepless nights before my travel. It was not the first time that I was to travel to the capital city but someway the thought of it made me cagey.

With a long wait at the runway finally the flight took off at 10.30pm.

I landed 5 minutes past midnight. I quickly checked for cab availability on the phone but to my astonishment there were none available. Paid taxi stand had a serpentine queue .It was already 30 minutes past midnight. The very thought of going alone in the cab to the address where I have never been was enough to make me nervous. To ease out my anxiety I started conversation with a girl ahead in the queue and inquired if she was going my way but our destinations were in opposite direction. This also added to my restlessness.

Once I boarded the cab I switched on the location tag. By now sweat was dripping down my forehead. I rolled the window down as I was feeling stifled which the cab driver didn’t like and he kind of scolded me. For a person like me who is not used to high tone this Haryanvi accent scolding parched my throat. The map advised us to take the first right and my driver didn’t like the instruction AT ALL. He ordered me to switch off the map as he was aware of the route. I argued that he would know but I don’t and successfully kept the map on. He snickered, making me shift a little.

I have lived in Gurgaon for good four years and also driven all for various errands. I tried to figure out anything known but this city has changed beyond imagination. I was not bothered about Infrastructure planning of the city as my strong infrastructure was falling into pieces. As we turned towards DLF Phase 3 there were no streets lights and it was completely deserted, one thought that came to me was- Disha , breathe your last ! Although I am an atheist but trust me I chanted all the mantras that I remember , hanuman chalisa , Sai mantra , Ganesh mantra even the school prayer . By this time I had no clue where I was heading although the map kept reassuring me that I was on the right path. I kept messaging my husband frantically and asked him to keep the phone on until I reached my destination. I reached the guest house and the driver was generous enough to remove the suitcase from the cab considering my bandaged hand. I was suspicious even on this gesture.

Guest house was a huge bungalow. Once you stay in Mumbai larger places don’t excite you. The caretaker responded to the bell and directed me to my room.  I looked at him from the corner of my eyes and I found him suspicious too. I froze for a second. As soon as I was in the room I locked the door and checked several times before I turned to keep my luggage. I changed and slipped into the bed and made those customary calls and messages about my safety and comfort.

I did everything but sleep. I kept twisting, doubted the efficiency of the AC as I was sweating, drank liters of water, and checked the door. Finally, the day broke and I jumped to open the curtains. When the day is up, insecurities go down.

The published Info-graphics by NCRB 2014 show the crime rate in Delhi, which is thrice the national average of 229.

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I had meetings lined up for the day but taking Public transport was terrifying. My past experiences while commuting for work brings shiver down my spine. I chose Uber over public transport.

My three days trip went very smooth without any hassle. Then why I freaked?  Surely, bad experience of public transport earlier which I NEVER faced in Mumbai. . I can still feel those hands groping me or the auto driver going on a deserted road just to scare me, or a blind man sitting next to me and feeling my breasts. Delhi is framed as rowdy, insensitive towards women, unsafe, male dominant and above all rough and rash.

Also, check this article published by DNA : http://www.dnaindia.com/delhi/report-how-safe-is-delhi-for-women-an-average-of-100-gangrapes-reported-every-year-after-december-16-incident-2156507

No city or place is safe for women and we need to be extra vigilant but experiences I had in Delhi are enough to never opt for public transport.  I will travel to Delhi several times again because of work and family but every time it scares the shit out me.

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I want to stay a fool

1st of April and it’s a fools day
And for a day I want to stay a fool

I want to think that I stay in a safe country
I want to think that my children are safe
I want to think that I have no fear to move out at night
I want to think that communal riots don’t exist

For a day I want to stay fool

I want to think that girls and boys are at par
I want to think that no woman is abused
I want to think that my country respects my voice
I want to think that no child sleeps hungry

For a day I want to stay fool

I want to think that you’re there
I want to think that we met not to depart
I want to think that your touch on me is forever
I want to think that you’ll never go

For a day I want to stay fool

I want to be foolish in the world of fools

For a day I want to stay fool.

Let the your mind speak. DishA