Thursday, April 09, 2009

Trains, the journey within and more

Its been many years now since I have stepped into a long distance train. With the advent of my flight to the US, the trains and its journeys within had become the thing of the past. To get to the airport, prepare to make sure you are savvy (atleast in India). Though I do respect decency and business travellers.

It takes anywhere between 1-2 hours to reach an airport in India if you have to leave from city center. If you are going to embark a journey for pleasure, you notice most people are dressed and perfumed to their best to the extent that either you have to shrink your eyes or cover your nose. Then comes the flight journey in itself. Ever noticed how much care the air hostess has to take care to make sure she looks good and the skirt is raised to the right level. Yes and not to mention the men who take pleasure in talking how much they looked into them and whose experience with the hostess was better.

That being it, being recession time is not easy for any one with the flight tickets growing foot souring prices. With seats getting ever so cramped and with no place for the kids to jump and play and to top it, no seats for kids who are below 2 , but you do end up paying for them. Thank god for the existence of the good old trains and its betterment with LALU. Jai Hind to Lalu and his involvement in making train journeys pleasant.

All I can think of now is the time of stressfull days of flights are over. Back to my journey which we as a family of 4 began on April 3 2009 , 7 PM to Kolkatta and reached on April 5th 2009 , 6AM.

We reached so early keeping the flight in mind. We were one hour early and were waitng for the train to come from the city station to the KR PUram station which was closer to our house. We waited and waited, looking at trains coming and going, fed the kids dinner sitting on suitcases and kept waiting for a train which was delayed by half an hour even when it had to leave from the city. Oh well.

We enjoyed our time in the station where every one looked at each other and smiled and did not have an auro around their heads and no perfums and no eye catching clothes. Simplicity for travel.

The trains stops for 5 minutes and yes, the coolie/porter quickly put the suitcases into the trains and we figure out our seats, just to find out we got 2 side births. The indians who have travelled by trains would understand. Damn, we had confirmed tickets, but expected 2 birth seats inside a 2 tier AC compartment. But to our luck, we spoke to the TTE (Train Ticket Examiner).

This is what he had to say " You did not come and meet me at the city station. If you had I would have alloted you better seats". Hmmm I thought, we need to please this guy now " Sir we did not know, we stay here close to KR puram, so with 2 kids... blah blah..." " Dont you understand my language, which language should i say i cannot do anything for you, said the TTE" " Sorry sir" We kept quiet.

He came back, while we rumbled and adjusted. In the mean while, when our mind was restless, the Railway Pantry Guy came in to take breakfast orders " 2 bread ompletteles please". Again rumbling how were are going to sleep with 2 kids on side birth. We looked around to see any empty seats, withing which time, the TTE, alloted us 2 nice full birth seats.
We thanked him and adored him. That was our beginning of the pleasant journey.

A journey, where I got to sleep with my younger son and the father got to sleep with the older. we would chat and laugh and tickle and go to sleep tightly with just enough space to manage each other :).

Morning came, at 5:30 AM the chai wala's would give a wake up call. Even if you are asleep, you have to get up " Chai chai, capi capi" " Chai chai, capi capi" " Chai chai, capi capi". I opened my eyes to look around that every one was sleeping and he was rambling " Chai chai, capi capi". WHY WHY, I want to sleep.

So we woke up slowly and woke the passengers who were sleeping on the lower birth. Woke up to see that there were many kids in the block. All the kids in the same age group as mine. The day started off well. The kids played, jumped up and down, climbed up and down, ran up and down while we relaxed and chatted with co passengers, who would duely talke responsibilty for our kids if they were troubled and we would do the same. It was like a small family.

Sitting by the train with our bodies swaying side to side and with the kids playing and jumping, all seemed to be a perfect. We read a magazine, ate, chatted, laughted and sometimes simply sat. The younger one took a nap in the afternoon, while I looked on at the train ceiling lying down thinking blank, while the older one played with the blackberry and the father was reading a magazine. It was so close to perfect.

A time when one can actually be oneself without the auro in the head. My older son would off and on say why the train is slow, may be we should go in a bullet train. Then we would have to say, bullet trains are only in Japan.

I am glad I made the concious decision to make the train journey, which enabled me to give my children a glance of the other side of the aura world, who have grown up to see nothing but cold, cleaniness, AC, planes, toys and more. They got to see, heat, dirt, AC, trains, no toys and more.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Silence is Golden. Patience is even more.

I have 2 boys, again one is 3 today and they other is 4.5 today. I love them, so much for my motherizing them, but I still do love them and love to watch them as a spectator and not as a mother.

I take them to birthday parties. My younger one is still young and I see him following his brother and cant be without him even for a brief moment. How wonderful is that love, they take support on each other because this lady who takes them to birthday parties is motherizing them.

The scene in all parties: Kids are running all over, playing games, wanting to win and be the best and get a gift for the game they won. I see they are all in the race for success. And all their mothers with them trying to stop them from acting like hooligans and trying to make them a little sane and to stop fighting and playing with chairs and to stop them from running away from the building.

And I the mother of two, has her sons sitting by her side quietly and trying to push them to play a game or two. Don't win, just play and I am happy when the older one played, but still some disappointment as he was not on his own just like his peers. He needed my push.

After a round of games, comes the eating challenge, again all kids eat and munch on all the burgers, fries, coke and cake. My boys dont take a bite of anything. I push, I label, at the end of the day I am stressed and I hated the birthday party. As i was motherizing them.

After the round of eating, all the boys are again running all over the place and having fun playing with chairs. and my boys are next to me, picking some confetti on the floor and being well behaved.

At a sight I can see some parents thinking of such proud sons they have , who played games, who were winning, who were answering all quiz questions and who did all things right a kid should do.

And here I was a little sad, with a splitting headache. Did I do something wrong. I have tears in my eyes as I drive them back home. They are sad that I am crying for they dont know the reason.

I slept empty stomach and put my kids down empty stomach for the night and we all slept. They slept, I did not, tossing and turning with a stomach ache and a headache, only to get up in the morning with a fresh thought.

I take a vow today: I am going to try my best not to motherize my kids.

Older one can count till 1000 and even more if left to him, knows what is google and gooogle plex. Knows gravity, the science behind it, has emotions, understands, picks up all the things we teach and preach and obeys. Runs, has fun, has lots of bubbling questions and loves speed and cars. Loves to fight and play with his brother. He is great at tennis and is a super fast cyclist. He loves music and art. He is again crazy about numbers and loves cooking with his mother. He loves art and loves poor children. A child who wants to feed poor children on his 5th birthday. And knows to read TIME an Read books.He is quiet and loves to be the quietest. He is 4.5 years old today.

The younger is a gem at heart. He cant be without his brother. knows the multiples of 10. Counts till 100 with ease, loves writing and coloring and is great with buiding objects and not to mention he loves breaking them to see how it is built. He is a great soccer player. Fantastic swimmer and is super cool are loving his brother and fighting with him. He is the coolest kid in the park with all girls around him. He craves for my attentions and he is growing. He has begun to undertsand my words. His teachers love him. He connects lines and loves to draw. He colors super withing the borders. He loves to play games. He is a fighter and knows what he wants. He is a perfectionist. He loves to read books. He is physically and mentally active. He likes to be the naughtiest. He is 3 years old today.

This is them from my eyes. Then why do I motherize them and push them. I take a vow today that I am going to try to do less of motherizing.

It is ok to be a silent observer, its ok to be queit, its ok to not play with friends, its ok to do what they want. Its ok for them to be whom they want to be and not what I want them to be. I want to from today work hard on letting them be what they want to be and do they want to do, as long as they dont hurt anyone or they dont hurt themselves. I want them to be themselves and grow to understand themselves, give them enough opportunities to explore themselves but without motherizing them.
I will give them opporunities, but will not expect them to perform. I will remove extectations and will allow them to grow from within giving them enough space.

I will not motherize and label, I want to be a better person and a better mother. I am struggling, I want to do it.