Children’s Dental Health

Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood conditions. More than 1 in 4 preschool- age children have experienced tooth decay, a significant increase during the past decade.

The preschool-age children, ages 2 to 5, have the lowest rates of dental care of all age groups in the nation, and they miss out on an important time for effective dental prevention.

“The upturn in decay in today’s preschoolers may be expected to continue into their permanent teeth as they grow older.”To keep this from happening, it is essential to identify children at greatest risk for decay as early as possible.”

The children in low-income communi­ties are at a higher risk of untreated tooth decay due to issues of poverty and access to quality dental treatment. Poor oral health and untreated oral diseases can have a significant impact on the quality of life. It may also result in diminished growth, eating and speaking dysfunction, low self-esteem and negative behaviors that interfere with learning and family life.

The good news is that tooth decay is a preventable health problem. As early as age 2, parents should begin practicing prevention and take children to the family den­tist for a check-up.

Dentists also recommend the following tips: Supervise tooth brushing after every meal and teach children to use dental floss.

Avoid between-meal snacks of sweets, sugary foods and sweetened drinks since they promote tooth decay. Moreover the dental hygiene is also important to prevent tooth decay. The combination of food and bacteria is also an promoting factor for tooth decay.

If your child’s teeth become damaged in any way, take the child to the dentist immediately.

Remember, an attractive smile and good oral health into adulthood begins by taking measures to prevent dental disease as early as when babies begin teething.

 

Answer me, God!

One incident took away almost everything from my world. Aayush, my younger son was only 4 months old then; I could have never heard the word “mamma” from him  neither would I knew how well my elder son, Aryan could sing or how handsome he looks in his all white cricketing attire. It all happened little more than a year back but it is still so vivid in my mind as if it happened just a week before. I am writing this on the eve of my birthday, thanks to the saviour for he gave me an opportunity to celebrate my birthday this year with my family.

We met with a  road accident when we were coming back from Pondicherry to Chennai after spending a superb holiday. Our red car, as Aryan recalls, “Papa’s red car fell and broke into pieces so papa bought a big black car.” Our car was rammed by a xylo from behind and the world became darkness to me.

When I was back to my senses, a month had passed and I was still in the hospital with a severe head injury. The worst thing that happened during this accident was that I suffered from retrograde amnesia and lost my last one-year memory. Due to that, I even forgot my younger son, since he was only 4 months then. Still, I keep on urging everyone individually, not to disclose this to him when he grows up. He will be very hurt when he will know his mother did not remember him. Many more things happened in that one-month period when I was in the hospital, but I was simply clueless.

Finally, one day I was released from the hospital, still on a prescription to continue my high dose medicines for an indefinite time. One day I was just lying in my bed, and found my aunt’s digital camera. She came down from Kolkata during those wretched days to help us. I took the camera and started browsing the pics in it. I saw the first pic, and then the second and then as I pressed the next button, the third pic came up. I stared at the picture blankly. It was Aayush’s pic, with one of his leg wrapped with a white plaster. I immediately ran to my hubby to enquire further. He didn’t hide a bit and told me Aayush fractured his leg during the accident. If that was not all, the fracture got detected after a couple of days when the leg started to swell. Poor Aayush underwent a massive pain for those two days.  In addition, my elder son, Aryan who was only 3 and half years then, broke his left collarbone and was in trauma since he was the only one who saw the whole thing. I became numb and only my tears, which do not follow any rules, continued to roll down my cheek. He also said that every night both the kids kept on crying. The younger one tried to pronounce “mamma” and kept on crying and the elder one, kept on asking everyone when his mother will come back to him.

For better care, my hubby sent me to my mothers place to Kolkata after a few days post my return from the hospital. During that stay, I would ask my mother about all that happened when I was not in my senses. She would always start her narration with Anirban, my hubby, how he took care of me. He was badly injured too in the accident, 21 stitches in his head and with a broken shoulder, still he spent all the nights in the hospital sitting next to me. His routine was somewhat like this; he joined his office few days after the accident – he would go to his office in the morning, return by 5 pm, then feed and make Aryan sleep (He was not allowing anyone to feed him and making him sleep).  After Aryan slept, hubby would have his dinner and go to the hospital with my dinner. He would feed me and then used to sit the whole night awake next to my bed and the next day morning again the routine continued…. I always love my hubby a lot but after hearing all this from my mother, that love increased manifolds and the respect I had for him increased too. He too was badly injured and required proper rest after the accident, but due to his commitments then he did not get any rest and now he is suffering from the side effects. 6 months after the accident, he started getting tremendous back pain, for which he still have sleepless nights. After a check up from the doctor, we came to know during the accident, he badly hurt his back, if he would have taken proper rest then after the accident, now he would not suffer from the side affects. I am very lucky to have him as my best half; he showed me what life is and where happiness lies.

I had no clue what my parents went through as i am their only daughter. Few months back when I was visiting  my aunt, the topic reappeared. She disclosed that my mother kept fasting because I could not eat properly when I was in the hospital. She used to tell, “I will leave my fasting only when my daughter starts eating normal diet.” ‘Hat’s off to you maa, you have shown me what mothers are for and thanks baba for your support.I know you too went through a lot of pain !”

A year flew by but the stigma of the incidence is still crystal-clear in my mind. Very frequently, I get the memories flushing my mind and I always ask with moist eyes – ‘why it was me and my family, who had to experience such a horrible fate.’ This is the only question that I have for Him, the power known as God!

Housewife are Nation builders

On this international woman’s day I would request all men and women to pledge that the housewife be given the status of Nation builders. Please let not the census group housewives in “economically non-productive” category with prostitutes, beggars and prisoners. It is an insult to the community by referring them as non-productive community. If a mother is able to give just one conscientiously sensible son or daughter to the nation a major part of the problems are resolved. I am sure there will be innumerable numbers of great sensible sons and daughters who would agree with me and help housewife the required sensible respect and status in the society.

I have an accomplished background with great respectable achievements but just for the sake of my children I have given up my profession. Rather than giving excuses everyday in office for the sake of my family and children I would prefer to stay home to imbibe the culture and tradition I have acquired from my mother. I would dedicate my life to all those high achieving women who preferred to be an housewife and work only during their leisure by exploiting their inherent talents. I have no other way to reach the community for support rather than to sit at home and start his blog.

Simpy

The Empty Nest

Shimmering moonlight peeps through the living room window. Beside, a glass bowl is dearly kept, which contains some rose petals and water, and the bowl holds the reflecting moonbeam so lovingly…as if a mother would hold a child in her arms. The peach colored satin curtains are draped affectionately emitting a sense of warmth.

On the edge of the side table sits a smiling picture frame of the entire family— hand in hand, having fun and frolic on their holiday to Darjeeling which was toured some nine years back. How young everybody appeared then, especially the two of them, sans wrinkles and the lines on their foreheads. The children too appear equally tidy; the younger one just out of college, and the elder one having bagged his first job in an ad agency. In fact the Darjeeling trip itself was accomplished to celebrate his first stint.

The day the picture was taken, it had rained in the hills. The air was crystal clear, and the clarity of this air was visible on the smiling, contented, & refreshing faces of each one in the picture. The younger one had caught hold of a “gorkha” watchman of their bricked cottage in Darjeeling, who had obliged to click for the family what now adorns to be their drawing room family photograph in years to follow.

The silent picture tells the story of the middle class upbringing of the children, and of her and his glittering eyes as they have in them some far reaching dreams they’ve dreamed for their children. The smile of the children too is very genuine. Yet the smile shows that there are some unconquerable frontiers which they still want to attain. Thus both the children had their own set of higher aspirations. The elder one had accepted his advertising assignment as a stop gap arrangement, while the younger one had ambitions to study clinical research. And so they moved up their respective career ladders.  Few years down the line, the elder one earned a scholarship abroad in Media Research; while the younger one got through an acclaimed clinical research college in an international university.

It’s been six years now, since both the children have flown away, leaving both of them with memories. They all meet quite often; they visit the children and the children too visit them. Back home, this spring he decided to build a birdhouse outside in their garden. And once birds flew in, she and he began tending them adoringly. The birds too responded well, and built their nest on the tree where the bird house was placed.

So although their own nests were empty, he and she went ahead and tended another nest.

Every other day, when they remember the children, they closely admire and examine the Darjeeling picture, and some more such pictures which are scattered over the walls leading to their bedroom. Some years back, when they read about the uprising which grappled the valley of Darjeeling, they remembered their children, and missed them more than on any other occasion. Today their nest is empty, but they have no complaints. After all, they themselves had taught the children to dream big, and now that the children were doing so, what was there to complain???

Outside, the moon is still gleaming bright. The water in the glass bowl is ripple free, and still. The radiance of the mystical moon is far reaching. In the course of the day, it will cross the seven seas and enter the slit window of the respective rooms, in the respective houses of both the children, where they’ll be fast asleep. Perhaps it will whisper to them that back home in an empty nest everything is absolutely fine; life is as usual……..

To or Not To Homeschool your Child

When Pali came back from the US, deserted and heart broken, she had only solace, her eight year son Ved. Pali was fighting her battle with the family for a few years and finally terminated her relation with Rishi’s father for life. It wasn’t easy for her but what became more difficult is to ensure a good future for her child. India has grown since she had left after her marriage. People are more open, more accepting and more vocal. It seemed, it wouldn’t be difficult for Pali to live single in the small flat that she had inherited from her parents. The challenge came when she had to look for the schools for her son. No school was readily accepting the child who came in between the session. A countable few who did wanted a huge donation. After days of pleading every possible school she knew of, Pali decided to take it no more.

Homeschooling is a common concept in the US. With so many resources, and community support you are never alone if you are homeschooling your child. In India, it might sound a new concept but who can forget the likes of Rabindranath Tagore and Shri Aurobindo who were homeschooled and propagated the true concept of homeschooling!

Pali decided to homeschool her son. She had had a Montessori training after she got her degree in Major. Even though, that would mean nothing, but she decided to pull up her socks to go about the best possible ways to educate her son with the best kind of resources while still at home. She had a few basics to be answered before that though.

How it works in India?

There is no separate syllabus for homeschooling children. The parents solely decide on that. Some follow regular board syllabus and others design their own curriculum by referring to syllabi of different boards.

Is homeschooling legal in India?

In 2009, a new education law was passed that mandated compulsory school attendance. This law (Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009 – RTE) did not address home education options, or alternative forms of education. The RTE was designed to assure that the poor children would not be deprived of an education. But at the same time it did not intent to force school attendance when parents want to homeschool their children.

Can a homeschooler join regular classes ever?

On reaching Class 10, or whenever the parents feel their children are ready, can take the board exam privately by registering with the National Institute of Open Schooling or International General Certificate of Secondary Education. The degree is acceptable all over the world.

What about the expenses?

The cost of homeschooling varies on what and how the child learns. At times it may exceed the expense of regular schools. Apart from routine requirements like books, CDs, learning and fun kits, one also needs to pay for extra classes as and when required.

After getting into it, Pali had only one area of concern – Rishi’s social networking skills. So, she decided to join the homeschoolers community both online and offline. She also got her son enrolled for the guitar classes, something he had great interest in. She decided to work harder and worked on the possible flaws of the board curriculum that crammed the children. She went for her own that was more stretchable, practical oriented and fun to learn.

And, Pali never looked back after that.

Can life wait until the GO-LIVE ?

For those not yet touched by the lonely world of jargon including outsourcing, software development, onsite-offshore blah blah blah let me first define the term GO LIVE for you.

“The date on which a system goes live; To commence a live broadcast; To make some system, which had been under development or operating in a limited test mode, fully active so that its intended users can access it.”

en.wiktionary.org/wiki/go_live

When I made the choice of making a career into the software world I smiled to myself saying I will at least not be able to mess with anyone’s life however badly I perform. Well I was very very short sighted I must say ..Okie okie don’t yet already assume anything ..I have thankfully taken a break before I could actually play with someone’s life.

Let me tell you how in many ways trying to bring a software to life (how much ever hard we try) people can actually mess with so many lives!!!

Little do these people realize the agony the dependent wife, kids, parents go through while waiting for their husband, daddy and baby to come home to them…..

The marketing folks who over sell their capabilities in trying to cut the deals, the finance managers who in their attempts to make better margins cut down the staffing available to the project, the delivery managers in their attempt to get there fastest, the project managers to earn their brownie points and climb up their career ladder…..and many more such in the rung…do they realize the value of the time that their software professionals are cutting out from their lives and putting day night into the projects to have the software GO LIVE?

Do they realize the long hours in the days spent at work should be spent reading stories to the little ones? Or hearing a story from their own childhood days by their parents ? Or building dreams with their better halves? Or creating cherish able moments with their friends?

Will my life wait until the software is past GO LIVE….It will not..neither will yours so please GO LIVE your life…software GO-LIVE will happen….even if it does not why kill yourself over it…after all how long does the software live anyways??

Even though I have put my thoughts about the software industry I am certain this kind of work pressure is prevalent in other industries too….Please take a moment out and decide will life wait while you work?

Papa..Papa—Yes Johnny?..Using Plastic? NO Johnny!

Rewind to this cute nursery rhyme that used to go so well with the then toddlers—“Johnny Johnny Yes Papa…eating sugar- no papa….”. This very rhyme related so much to the innocent bunch of frolicking toddlers who used to be usually all over the place, making mischief, playing games, throwing tantrums and teaching you and I some lessons indirectly (on the importance of telling truth and nothing but truth!!!).

And now, fast forward to today, when children are quick, clever, precise, smart, savvy, brainy and enormously witty. Back then, there used to be a need of a nursery rhyme to bring home the importance of telling truth to children. But kids of today outsmart even their elders. They are smart at catching elders off guard, when elders themselves speak a lie or two, and then they thus question them as to why elders spoke lies…Today’s kids are daredevils and they fear none!

One such smart matter of fact witty and shrewd lad happens to be my nephew. Oh!  He’s an inexplicable source of energy, questions and clarity. Just like today’s generation of younger lot who know what they want with immense clarity, my nephew too falls into the similar category. He knows what’s right and what isn’t, of course of trivial day to day things which happen around daily life. I’m obviously not hinting at larger than life, complicated, philosophical aspects which children need not be aware of. I’m mostly referring to the mundane elements of life, and the limited world of children, and the limited things around which their innocent lives revolve.

So one day, my dear nephew’s class teacher gave the class an awe-inspiring lecture on environmental implications of using plastic. The children all listened with immense attention. On matters other than such practical issues, especially studies where their attention spans usually go for a toss, in this case where she spoke to them about the hazardous aspects of plastic, the kids listened and listened.

It wasn’t just the listening that needs a special mention here, but the assimilation and implementation which are truly noteworthy. That afternoon, when he returned home from school he was a changed boy. Not in terms of his mischievous behavior et al, but in specific terms of his attitude towards plastic.

As soon as he entered the house, he saw their maid servant carrying a plastic bag and going out. He quickly grabbed her bag, ran into the kitchen, and threw it away! Later that day when his mom returned from office with a plastic bag in tow, he reacted in similar fashion. He gave standing instructions to his grandparents that none should be seen around the house with plastic bags in their hands! He asked his grand mom where she carefully keeps all the plastic bags at home, and when she meekly answered him, this fellow quietly disposed off all the bags in one go, the following day. No one in the house could make out anything from his strange attitude of hatred towards the plastic bags. They tried to ask him, but in vain. He didn’t reply one bit. He wanted to be silent observer and analyzer of how all elders at home implement his standing orders.

Three days later after his first brush of hatred with plastic, his mom went shopping, and she came home with loads of plastic bags!

No sooner he saw that, he leaped on his mother and entered into a brawl with her as to why she wasn’t obeying his orders. Now it was all piling over, and hence she decided to probe into his behavior. After much probing she came to know about how their teacher had explained to them a thing or two on plastic and its bad effect on Earth.  Everyone at home tried to convince this little fellow as to how it was an impractical thing, not to use plastic and that the whole world uses it nonetheless. But our anti plastic obsessed hero wasn’t the kind who’d give up on these sweet convincing.

He went a step further in his project- “say- no to plastic”. For the two following Sundays, he actually sat in his room with a pile of newspapers, with all attention, and made paper bags! He took his dad’s help for this joint craft activity and came up with more than three dozen paper bags! The following day was a holiday from school. But he woke up extra early, stood by the door and whosoever he met, he handed them one paper bag—right from the newspaper boy, milkman, maid servant, laundryman, to everyone at home got one bag each. Five paper bags were sanctioned for fruit, vegetable and grocery purchases at home. He didn’t even spare the guests who were expected for dinner at their home that night.

This visionary seven year old boy then stashed some paper bags in his school bag. That afternoon he got down the bus and started walking home from his bus stop. His sight fell upon a fruit vendor selling some guavas and apples round the corner. He immediately walked near him. The fruit vendor thought that he might be interested in buying guavas. But this guy had other plans! He picked up his pile of plastic bags, dumped them all on the ground and handed him the paper bags which he’d carried along in school. He promised to the fruit vendor that he would bring him more such good paper bags tomorrow, if he promises to sell his ware only in paper bags!

Wow! Now this is what I call hard core implementation; and going into the crux of the issue and uprooting the actual problem, even if it means going out of the way. This is a living example of practice what you preach, being exemplified by none other than a child. They say, don’t take people by their literal words. But here’s an example of a seven year old boy who not only took the words of his teacher literally, but went a step further at implementing what was preached to him.

This generation is thus too smart to outwit. They are bold enough to question you and me on our face- Papa..Papa—Yes Johnny?..Using Plastic?….Yes Johnny…And they have an ability to transform our thought process, if only we are ready to let go. This Johnny brigade has the potential to correct the wrong things going on this planet. All that they need is the right avenues to harness their potentials. And our wee bit encouragement is the slice of the pie that they need.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT : SCHOOL GOING CHILDREN

Awareness on health and nutrition, no doubt should start  at any early age. But then which age is the early age and how old is the question for us to answer.

Parents are all the time worried about their children not eating well and at the right time. Often parents are found seeking advice from nutritionists, pediatrician and dietitian and at times unable to reach a conclusion on the ‘ right diet’. Schools can also offer to facilitate the physical growth of their child. Proper nutrition is important to prevent many problems including ‘ overweight ‘ and developing weak bones.

PRE-SCHOOL GOERS: Pre-school aged children are still developing their eating habits and need encouragement to eat healthy meals and snacks. Pre-school goers need an energy and nutrient dense diet, which should include food from all food group like cereals, grains, pulses and legumes, milk and meat products, fruits and vegetables, fats and sugars. Over time, the child will develop a healthy dietary regime, when allowed to choose from a variety of healthy food.

FULL NUTRIENT GAPS: Children carry a lot of junk food in their snack box. Forbidding particular food is often an invitation for undue meal time wars. A better approach is to seek a reasonable balance. Any food can have a place in a healthy diet-when, how much, how often are the areas in which some control can be exercised. Experts recommend that instead of saying that a food is ‘ bad’, tell the child the benefits of food like fruits and vegetables, milk etc. Children do want to be strong and healthy.

NUTRIENTS FOR GROWTH: # Little ones should be offered nutritious choices that provide enough nutrients needed to meet their growing body’s requirements.

# Protein is needed for growth and is supplied by milk, meat, fish, chicken, eggs, cheese, and pulses.

# Calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth. Calcium is primarily found in milk and milk products and to a lesser extent in green leafy vegetables.

# Iron is an important mineral that you get from non-vegetarian foods like meat, eggs, or vegetarian foods like cereals and green leafy vegetables. It is absorbed better when served with a food rich in vitamin C.

# Citrus fruit and their juices are a good source of this vitamin. Dark green vegetables are good source of pre-formed vitamin A , essential for healthy vision and growth.

# Water is also an important part of the diet of  pre-school children. Water should be offered several times during the day as kids are more prone to dehydration than adults. So, water should be given to children at regular intervals.

RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE OF INDIA

INDIA, the ancient ‘BHARATH’ has a culture of its own from the time immemorial. We called our country as ” Bharath Matha”, Bharath our Mother. We were of different religion, faith, custom, and culture from the tip of Cape Comorin  in the south to the Great Himalayas in the north, Hindukush in the west to Burma in the east. Her hospitality to the visitors from other countries and continents were very cordial and friendly, always receiving them with folded hands. But the visitors thought this as our weakness and exploited its special feature of ” Unity in Diversity”. They found it very easy to divide our people and finally succeeded in ruling us. Pakistan thus became one of the by-product of this foreigner’s policy.

We had great Hindu Rulers under whom every body irrespective of religion and faith lived peacefully and likewise there were great Muslim rulers like Akbar the Great, under whom people of all religion lived like brothers.

If this was the story of ancient India, we in modern India too have no religion of its own. All religions are given equal importance under the Indian Constitution. Every place dedicated to the worship of God, be it a temple, a gurdwara, a chaitya, a mosque, a church or a synagogue is a ‘ Devasthana’, a House of God. People visit these holy places to pray and worship. We have places of worship of every description in this country, no matter who built them or how. India, more than any other country, and Hindus, more than any other people, have acknowledged since time immemorial that God cannot be different for different people, no matter how we call Him or how we worship Him. Tolerance and appreciation of the positive elements in other religions is the essence of good living and an investment in our pursuit of happiness. Real history is what we do to build our future upon and not what we resurrect  from the muck and stink of yesteryears. Prayer is the quintessence of every religion. God’s grace will not descend on mankind if religion comes to be misused to promote hatred, violence and terrorism.

HOW DOES PARENT’S BEHAVIOUR INFLUENCE THEIR CHILDREN

Following are most important things, which mother and father influences in child’s life.

1) Parent’s expression of love for the child by talking to the child. While doing so, always look at on the eyes of the child and talk. It has a magical effect on the child.

2) The conversation between mother and child by means of emotional expressions, gestures and sounds.

3) Parent’s appreciation, praises and affirmation when the child does well.

4) Helping child to focus his attention and share experiences.

5) Helping the child to make sense of his world by sharing and describing it.

6) Helping the child to expand his experience.

7) Regulate the behaviour of the child by helping the child to learn social rules limits and values.

8) Mothers can influence the child to have high expectations. But make them realistic.

9) Mother must make the child to share her work as the child grows up.

10)Your child is always influenced by your examples.

11)Play games together as a family.

12)See that your child participates in community activities that interests him.

13)Your good appreciation always influences the child. Remember,at the same time your criticism always negatively influences your child.

14) Both mother and father can influence the child by sharing their success stories in their life.

15) Never bribe the child with reward. It will influence him to adapt new bad qualities. At the same time give presents that nourish the child’s strength.

16) Influence him to think your home as a learning place. For mother the kitchen is great for teaching maths and science through cooking, especially for girls.

17) Influence him to think always for a bright future.

18)Honour your child’s creations.

19) Do things with your child in his areas of interest to build confidence and willpower. And finally,

20) Accept your child as he or she is. At the same time be an Authoritative mother and father.

An advice:- When the parents become inaccessible , the child may place its trust on an outsider who may exploit or misguide the child. Here, the father’s influence is most important than that of mother’s in the child’s carrier.

LET AL GOOD MOTHERS AND FATHERS PRAISE THE GOD FOR THEIR ANSWERED PRAYERS FOR GOD IS ACTIVE IN THEIR CHILD’S LIVES.

HOW IMPORTANT IS MOTHER TO THE CHILD

In olden days, say some 50-60 years back, when joint family system prevailed, the newborn babies were taken care of, by not only mother and father but the whole family members. From the old aged family members to the smallest child, were there to take care of the newborn, to feed him, to play with him, to narrate small stories, teach small rhymes and to look after his health. In short it was his first Nursery School and all the family members were his playmates or teachers. In fact, everybody contributed in molding his character / carrier.

But now the scene is totally changed. Families have become very very small. So, the little one is now totally deserted. There is none to look after him, other than his own father and mother. Even they too have no time to spare for him. In such a situation only the mother, the only person to help and she influences a lot in her child’s carrier. And here lies the importance of mother, the” AMMA “.

In olden days the child was taken care of only after his birth. Now this concept has completely changed. Now the scientists says that the future of the child is decided even before his birth, in the mothers womb itself. Taking care of the unborn is more important and complicated than that of taking care of the newborn babies. All activities of pregnant lady, even her thinking, emotions, prayers, all types of routine works are important as her food and the total health itself. Mother’s influence in child’s career starts here itself.

CHILDREN :: GETTING PAST ‘NO’

Children can seem very Negative , but, believe it or not, this is a good thing! Your child’s frequent use of the word “no” shows that he is developing a sense of self, that he understands that he has control over his own actions. He is becoming independent.

Understand that your child is on the right track, and that you will see this again in a big way as he moves through adolescence. Both then and now, you need to be able to walk the line between respect for his need for power and your need to maintain an environment in which he is safe and learning good social skills.

Here are some strategies: Say”Yes” more often and limit your use of “no”. Your child probably learned this wonderful word “yes” from you and your efforts to place limits on his behaviors. Find new vocabulary for control. For example, instead of saying “No jumping on sofa set”, tell him, “Sofa set is for sitting my dear. If you want to jump, come on, let’s go out side.” Save your “no’s” for when he is putting himself in danger.

Ask fewer questions that can be answered  with a “no”. Avoid telling ” Yes, we will go now”. Instead of that ask ” Are you ready to go dear?” or try “Time to go!”.

Offer more choices. This may help satisfy his need for power and minimize conflicts in other situations. For example, when crossing the road “Which hand would like to hold, dear?”, instead of “Would you like to hold my right hand?” ( He will surely say “no”! )

It is important that your child be able to say “no” without fear of punishment so that he can continue to assert his independence and become autonomous. It sometimes helps to know that this is normal healthy behavior that is important for the development of an emotionally stable person.

” THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ” TO PARENTS

Parents are a child’s first Nursery Teacher and their involvements can have a significant impact on his success in school. Here is my ” Ten Commandments ” to all parents, for setting up a life long love of learning.

1. Listen to your child patiently and show interest in their conversation.

2. Tell him your family stories, with the aid of family album.

3. Share his favorite poems, rhymes, short stories and songs with him.

4. Read with him and guide him wherever necessary.

5. Have books and other reading materials in the house and a quiet place for him to study.

6. Go exploring the nature with him,  and learn about plants, animals, flowers, birds, butterflies and everything in the nature.

7.Take him to museum and historical sites and botanical gardens whenever possible.

8. Review his home work.

9. Meet with his teachers at least once in a week.

10. Limit his television watching and watch his browsing in the internet.

I know many pressures now faced by the working micro families often make it difficult for parents to be as involved as they would like to be in their child’s daily life. But still, try to remember this ” Ten Commandments “.

Kudos to Divergent Thinkers!

Who says it’s only the adult creative types who bear an intrinsic talent of imagination? All those visualizers and advertising stalwarts scattered all over, or all those emphatic design engineers- it isn’t just this breed which stretch their minds beyond limits to live in a world full of imaginative frames, trying to give concrete shape and meaning to abstract ideas. The entire “imagination” and ‘abstract thinking’ talent mushrooms and grows over a period of many years. Needless to mention then, that this seed of ‘divergent thinking’ is sown in their mind and hearts as kids.

Children have fantastic imagination. Imagination is as though their buddy and they simply love to float in the mystical cloud of abstract thinking.

The last thing on any parents’ mind should be to clip or curb their imaginative thoughts by unnecessarily fencing their thought with logical reasoning. When it comes to imagination, sky is the limit, and parents need to understand this very element.

Just the other day, my friend’s daughter excitedly went over to her and told her- “mom, you know, what honey bee gives us?” Her mommy replied “Yes, dear, it gives Honey. Now, obviously this wasn’t the actual question that the kid had for her mom. She smiled at the reply, and further continued asking “Do you know what a butterfly gives us?’. Now my friend was quiet. She knew butterflies don’t give anything. But she simply replied to her daughter- “You tell me, my dear, what a butterfly gives us”. Very confidently, with an intonation of “I know it all, the six year old remarked “It gives us butter!”. Now, here’s the catch. My friend knew this wasn’t the right answer from the point of view of logical thinking. In fact, this wasn’t in any way the correct answer. But she consciously reworded her next sentence to something like this- “Your imagination is really vow”. Any other ‘reasoning’ oriented and practical mom in her place might have immediately shunned the child’s reply and said “no, this is wrong. Who fed this wrong information in your head? A butterfly doesn’t give butter at all.” At this very minute, with this point blank reply that mother would put an end to the imaginative thoughts racing in her kid’s mind. And this would pave way for the imaginary doors to become one by one shut for that child.  I later acknowledged my friend whose reply was apt. She applauded her daughter’s imaginative thinking by giving the kind of reply she gave.

My other friend’s five year old child was busy watering their plants on their terrace one lazy Sunday morning, when suddenly out of nowhere a bumble bee raced into their balcony. The child was startled. From one corner, he observed the way the bee was flying around. He then dashed indoors and told his mom “Vow mommy, look at our plants. They are having so many beautiful and pretty flowers on them. That way, even the flowers in the balcony of that aunty living one floor above us, are quite colorful. But you know what? This one bumble bee was sitting on those flowers, and from up above, it saw our flowers. And then as soon as it saw our flowers, it raced downstairs from her balcony to ours, only to sit onto our flowers. It loved our colorful flowers so much”. What a story! I consider it to be a wonderful concoction, and an incredible narration of some vivid imagination that five year old is having in his magnificently wired brain.

When I asked my friend how she reacted to her son’s story, she said ‘I was quietly and attentively listening’. There and there I realized that one more creative and imaginative brain is being nurtured well. One of the most beautiful experiences parents can truly indulge in is to listen well- to listen attentively to the stories and narrations that their kids are unfolding in front of them. And the last thing on any parents’ mind is to cut them short and to ask them to keep quiet or keep it short. It instantly puts a complete full stop to their imaginary ideas, which are only going to take shape if they are being given a good ear.

Imagination in children could be toying along with words like the six year old did when she mentioned about honey bee making honey, and drawing a parallel to a butterfly making butter! She obviously knew that cow gives milk and butter. But that moment while conversing with her mom, she wanted to wander in the clouds of imagination; and her mom let her wander, with the way she replied to her statement. She didn’t pull her down, neither she did she try to correct her directly.

Imagination in children could also be cooking up nice stories and narrating them in their unique styles and tones.

Paying good attention and acknowledging their imaginary attempts is like giving rise to one new creative head on the face of this planet, which is otherwise full of “overtly practical”, no-nonsense, point blank” speaking and thinking beings all around us.

If convergent thinking has its own takers, let even divergent thinking has its own fair share. Let the creative juices flow in children today, so that tomorrow, the world would become a slightly more interesting place to live; with all these creative thinkers dabbling with newer ideas or path breaking innovations.

The Stranger

As usual I started back from my mothers’ place so that I could reach home by evening. It was two days since I left home and had to stay as mother was very ill. I didn’t have the mind to leave her but the thought of my family made me rush back. My boys had to attend school and husband office. They were understanding and adjusting, but I couldn’t neglect them for too long.

My eyes filled when I thought of my plight. It was 3 hours journey by bus to mother’s place. Suddenly the bus had a jerk and came to a halt.. The driver announced that he will take only five minutes to repair it. After half an hour the bus started its journey. But bad luck always come together..It started raining heavily and there was traffic jams, and the pathetic condition of the roads made things worse.

It was so dark outside and I looked at other passengers. All were cursing the weather and the traffic. But none of them had any fear. I made plans of what to do when I got down at my place. There were no mobile phones in those days. I was young and I was not expected to travel alone at that time of night. I had to walk atleast 20 minutes to reach home. I planned to telephone my husband and wait inside some shop till he comes and picks me up.

When I reached the bus stop where I had to get down it was 9 O’clock, 3 hours later than expected. There was thunder and lightning with the heavy down pour. I had no umbrella. I was the only passenger to get down there..The conducter warned, “sister be careful.” To my utter dismay I found all the shops closed, there was power failure and the roads were flooding. I saw no human anywhere. I was trembling with fear, but decided to reach home somehow. I had no other option. The light from the passing vehicles helped me cross the road and enter the bylane to our house. Now I had to walk atleast 20 minutes. I started running. But my wet saree made my pace slower, I couldn’t walk, I started crying ..

I fell on the road..The lightning was the only source of light..As I got up I saw a man coming towards me from the back.. That was the end..Pale with fear I knew I would die that night. As a last attempt, chanting prayers, pulling up my saree I started running. After a while I looked back and saw the man following. I was horrified.
He could easily take my gold and kill me I feared.. I was still running, falling down, I knew I had no escape from this danger.. But that man was walking calmly behind me, keeping a distance. The nightmare ended when I somehow reached the gate, entered and looked back. The man smiled, waving to me he said, “Sister I just wanted to make sure you got home safe.” Then he turned back and disappeared in the dark..

I felt so ashamed of myself. Why did I think all bad things about that man who came to help me? Why are we so afraid of fellow human beings? Humanity is not yet lost. There is still kindness and concern among humans.. The doubts and fear in us don’t allow us to trust strangers.

day care center…

It feels a lot of pain to make this decision….put my baby, my lil daughter in the DAY CARE centre. Don’t want to do it. But can’t help it. Just can’t understand why people become so insensitive. I know we have to be practical but is it so easy when it comes upto your lil ones??? Practicality is OK. Its OK that we think children would learn more things, become more social, will understand sharing but does anyone see their insecurity.  The prolonged wait they have to do for their parents…the love that they would miss from their grandparents…the secure feeling to stay back at home in their own bed, with their own toys…does anyone think about it??? I know it is very important for both the parents to work these days. But it is not possible without the support of the grand parents. We cannot burden them with our responsibilities but a home is always a home. We do not want to hamper their freedom but do really grandchildren do that???

I have seen children who stay in day care center who are withdrawn, lost into their own world just waiting for their parents to collect them from day care center at times not wanting to go back home with them. Is day care that bad??? Does really day care center makes the child in-confident left out or away from the parents?? Also seen the PROS of day care. Children become independent, learn things fast, become more social, get to do more interesting things. But is not possible for them to do the same at home. I think the people who brought us up – our parents – are more experienced and can teach our children more nicer things teach them the values that they taught us. Is it not possible for them to take a lil extra efforts for their grand children??

If  it was in my case,  it would have been the best DAY CARE center in the world for my daughter…. 🙁

Happy Mother’s Day

This word didn’t mean much to me. Actually I am in many ways traditional. I think that these various days are adoptions of the west… Mother’s day… Fathers day… Woman’s day and so on. No – No, I am not old fashioned. I do believe in the essence of all these days. But the advertisement and the flamboyant display of affection doesnt appeal to me. I believe in actions… Spending time with your mother and doing all the things that she likes is my idea of a mother’s day… any day in the year it might be!!!

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It was another of those Friday mornings. I overslept and woke up only by 7:00 am. That implies.. I woke up my kids even later… and of course the husband is last to follow:) (I hope men reading this take a clue).

And I was in a hurry to get things done – pack the tiffins for children and husband, get the kids dressed for school, dress up myself so that I can drop the younger one to school while hubby dear drops the older one.

With the haste came waste and came anger. The result is I was messing up loads of things and also getting irritated at everything on this earth – the phone for ringing at the wrong time, the tap for not having hot water, the stove for delaying the cooking and most of all my poor kids for not moving at a pace that I would have liked them to!!!!

The result was that my son was not in a good mood before leaving for school. Today was the day he had his football coaching too. And he immediately snapped at me as to why did I have to start an unwanted coaching for him. This was followed by a lecture by me (an ambitious mom in haste!) to him as to how necessary it is for him to have a holistic development. We didn’t end on good notes. And our good byes were also very hasty and not the usual mushy mushy miss you stuff. I also forgot to put in a spoon in his tiffin!!

I felt miserable whole day later. When I went to pick up my son from school, he rushed into my arms crying. No apparent reason but I guessed that the turbulent morning had left him in a bad mood and his day at school was also not very rosy.

I took him home and in sobs he told me that he missed me at the book fair where all the other moms had come but I hadn’t. He also missed me watching him play football like I sometimes used to sit and do!  And he also told me the he had to eat the lunch with hand (which had a cut). It made me feel bad! While unpacking his bag… I noticed a small pink paper card with drawings and a Mother’s day message to me. I asked my son about it. And he said.. “When we were playing in the ground after lunch, our teacher asked whether anyone wants to come and make a mother’s day card. I said i wanted to”… I just rushed out of the room because I couldn’t stop the tears flowing…..

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I keep pondering… how often I use my children like a getaway. If I am angry, in some ways I vent out my anger at them… if I am sad… I again am morose with them. Hmm…. the only way out – I need to attain nirvana before I handle my kids:).

A Bundle of Joy!

Roshni switched off the lights of the apartment, picked up her overcoat, ready to leave for office.  Just before she left she wrote a note for Tuhin.

” Check out the fridge for corns and eggs…. bake it if u feel like eating something after you’re back from office. I will be late.”

It was freezing cold outside, In fact one of the coolest days in Toronto.  This city has given her everything  and even robbed her of everything. She remembered how excited she was when Tuhin shifted job to one of the top Fortune 500 companies. They had tied the knot a year back and that was the happiest news Tuhin could give her. She still remembers the vision of her bidding farewell to her parents and all relatives in Kolkata airport with a teary eye but not a heavy heart.  Roshni knew that  Tuhin would be there for her,  in a country where the only person she knew was him.  He was the perfect caring, loving and understanding husband and she looked forward to build their love nest in the three bedroom apartment that Tuhin had taken in Toronto.

Roshni entered office and very soon immersed herself into work. Had it not been for work she wouldn’t have  had been able to survive the past six months of her life. Life has never been so testing for Roshni as the past few months.

Roshni had called up Tuhin one afternoon and asked him to come home immediately. Tuhin had thought it was some emergency and he rushed home wishing in his mind the umpteenth time that Roshni was okay

When Tuhin  entered home, Roshni was cooly watching TV.  On seeing him enter, she ran up to him, hugged him and while still in his arms, said,….” Joy is coming our way.”

Tuhin and Roshni were both in tears in a delirium of ecstasy. Roshni had always said if they ever had a boy they would name him Joy. Tuhin however wanted a daughter to name her Khushi

It was freezing cold outside, In fact one of the coolest days in Toronto. This city has given her everything  and even robbed her of everything. She remembered how excited she was when Tuhin shifted job to one of the top Fortune 500 companies. They had tied the knot a year back and that was the happiest news Tuhin could give her. She still remembers the vision of her bidding farewell to her parents and all relatives in Kolkata airport with a teary eye but not a heavy heart.  Roshni knew that  Tuhin would be there for her,  in a country where the only person she knew was him.  He was the perfect caring, loving and understanding husband and she looked forward to build their love nest in the three bedroom apartment that Tuhin had taken in Toronto.

Roshni entered office and very soon immersed herself into work. Had it not been for work she wouldn’t have  had been able to survive the past six months of her life. Life has never been so testing for Roshni as the past few months.

Roshni had called up Tuhin one afternoon and asked him to come home immediately. Tuhin had thought it was some emergency and he rushed home wishing in his mind the umpteenth time that Roshni was okay

When Tuhin  entered home, Roshni was cooly watching TV.  On seeing him enter, she ran up to him, hugged him and while still in his arms, said,….” Joy is coming our way.”

Tuhin and Roshni were both in tears in a delirium of ecstasy. Roshni had always said if they ever had a boy they would name him Joy. Tuhin however wanted a daughter to name her Khushi

It was an experience to feel motherhood, a life within and share dreams with each other. Tuhin pampered Roshni to the  core with his love and bought everything that made Roshni’s face light up. Weekends she felt like a queen with Tuhin serving her breakfast on bed and then the sessions of them lazing together for hours catching up with things that happened in each others’ work life for the entire  week. Towards the evening they went out shopping and ended up buying things to decorate the new baby room of their house. The third bed room of the house was transformed into a child’s paradise by both of them. Roshni herself painted the room with pictures of Disney creatures. The bed was in the form of a huge bus that Tuhin had selected and every night the couple spent hours in that room seeing their dreams with open eyes.

This happiness was however short lived.  One evening in office Roshni realised she has had a miscarriage. She called up Tuhin in panic.

” I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!!”, she heard Tuhin shouting at the other end of the line.

” HOW COULD YOU, ROSHNI?”,  His words struck her like a bolt. Here was a man,  her only support in this  unknown country,  who was blaming her for the biggest misfortune of her life.

Tuhin had never approved of Roshni working in her expecting days and  after the miscarriage he blamed her as careerist and an ambitious  lady for which they lost the baby.

It was all over soon. Roshni no longer felt the life within her. The miscarriage left her cold and numb. She could never forgive Tuhin for his reaction of not supporting her when she needed him the most by her side.

Over the last six months they had only withdrawn from each other. Roshni busied herself in work and even took the workload of working extra hours. When she entered home she would  either eat  a fruit or cereal for dinner while she warmed some dish for Tuhin. They hardly spoke apart from matters relating to bills being payed and checking on the post.  They could see each other, yet not reach up to each other.  It was no longer a home for Roshni. Their love nest transformed as a shelter for her where she transited for few hours till she could resume office next morning.

Tuhin invariably carried work home everyday. Even when she served him dinner, he would be working in his laptop and remained quietly there till late night. Roshni noticed that he was getting dark circles but never cared to tell him that.

After Dinner, Roshni retired to the bedroom and shed quite tears thinking how the baby room  would have sounded with the baby’s laughter and cries. The baby room next to her bedroom now  remained silent and dark.

The night Roshni payed the last visit to her doctor, she came home and quietly locked the room, never to be opened again.

It was a Friday today and Roshni had finished work. Almost everyone had  left office, yet she kept on doing something in her system. She dreaded to go back home. Weekends were nightmare for her. Most of the time, she spent sleeping over the weekends while Tuhin spent time out with his friends. It didn’t irritate her , rather she thanked Tuhin mentally for the hours he spent away from her.

She picked up her satchel and overcoat and started walking towards home.  Just before she entered home she heard the sound and stood frozen in the doorstep. For a minute she thought it was her ears which made the mistake but when Tuhin opened the door she didn’t know how  to react.

Tuhin stood there with a little bony boy of about nine months in his arms  who was crying out aloud. Roshni stared at him questioningly and realized Tuhin was tense.

Look,  I know you don’t appreciate it…. However, this is Jonathon, son of my friend Billy. .  Billy and his wife had visited Ottawa to call on his ill father but are caught up in the terrible snow storm.“, Tuhin sounded anxious as he tried to manage the little creature well in his arms.

Roshni’s face twitched. This was the last thing she wanted now.  How would she survive this weekend. Why did this catastrophe need to happen now. Roshni’s mind was racing fast.

Roshni, don’t worry. I won’t bother you at all. I got a call from Jonie requesting me that I should pick up their baby from the creche and keep him with me . The roads are all blocked because of the snow so they will be back as

Roshni gave one quick glance to Tuhin and sped up to her bedroom . She didn’t weep but felt a strong displeasure for the baby because it reminded her of the loss.

At midnight, she was awoken by the sound of the infant’s weeping. For some time she tossed in bed trying to avoid the disturbance… but suddenly she jumped up.

I wish Tuhin is with the baby… Or is the baby hurt?… or is it that Tuhin has slept off?

She ran out of the room only to find her  baby room  open. From behind the curtain of their unborn child’s room, she saw Tuhin struggling to keep little Jonathon from crying desperately in his arms. Tuhin was showing him the cartoons that Roshni had painted on the walls but Jonathon kept on crying.

.

When Tuhin saw Roshni,  he was a bit startled and found loss of words…. I am sorry, I opened this room but had no other option to stop the little one crying.

Roshni came near to them. It was now that she noticed how cute the plump kid was and how beautiful Tuhin looked with the child in his arms. She took the baby in her arms without speaking a word to Tuhin and in sometime discovered that it was a nappy rash which irritated Jonathon. As Roshni changed his nappies, the little one held her

fingers with his small soft hands and tears streamed down Roshni’s eyes. She hugged the baby and asked Tuhin to hold him while she  went to the kitchen to make some baby food from the packet that Tuhin had bought on the way back home.

They spent the whole night together with Jonathon in the baby room. When the baby slept,  Tuhin carried Jonathon and placed him carefully in the bed between both of them.

.

By the next day they seemed to have got a mission in their lives. Unlike the past weekends, Tuhin stayed home and Roshni woke early. They took the baby to the baby room and played with him. In no time they forgot that there was a cold war going on between them, that they had only spoken in mono syllables with each other for the past few months. Jonathon became their world. It was a pleasure to see him smile.

They had a wonderful weekend together playing with Jonathon and after a long time Roshni and Tuhin spoke to each other while having dinner.

On Monday both of them took an off from office to celebrate the day  with Jonathon. They took pictures of the baby and played with him the entire day. Jonathon had also got used to them now. Towards the evening,  Roshni left Tuhin and the baby in the playroom and went to the kitchen to prepare a lovely dinner for them. It was then that the bell rang.

Jonathon’s parents had come. They apologized for all the trouble that they caused, thanked Tuhin and Roshni immensely for the help and requested permission to leave.

It was then that Roshni realized the reality. In the past few days she had almost forgotten that  he was not her child. The little one seemed to have filled in the vacuum inside her.

In some time they left , with little Jonathon waving hands at them. Tuhin and Roshni kissed the baby good bye and stood for a long time in the doorway watching him go.

It was an experience to feel motherhood, a life within and share dreams with each other. Tuhin pampered Roshni to the  core with his love and bought everything that made Roshni’s face light up. Weekends she felt like a queen with Tuhin serving her breakfast on bed and then the sessions of them lazing together for hours catching up with things that happened in each others’ work life for the entire  week. Towards the evening they went out shopping and ended up buying things to decorate the new baby room of their house. The third bed room of the house was transformed into a child’s paradise by both of them. Roshni herself painted the room with pictures of Disney creatures. The bed was in the form of a huge bus that Tuhin had selected and every night the couple spent hours in that room seeing their dreams with open eyes.

This happiness was however short lived.  One evening in office Roshni realised she has had a miscarriage. She called up Tuhin in panic.

” I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!!”, she heard Tuhin shouting at the other end of the line.

” HOW COULD YOU, ROSHNI?”,  His words struck her like a bolt. Here was a man,  her only support in this  unknown country,  who was blaming her for the biggest misfortune of her life.

Tuhin had never approved of Roshni working in her expecting days and  after the miscarriage he blamed her as careerist and an ambitious  lady for which they lost the baby.

It was all over soon. Roshni no longer felt the life within her. The miscarriage left her cold and numb. She could never forgive Tuhin for his reaction of not supporting her when she needed him the most by her side.

Over the last six months they had only withdrawn from each other. Roshni busied herself in work and even took the workload of working extra hours. When she entered home she would  either eat  a fruit or cereal for dinner while she warmed some dish for Tuhin. They hardly spoke apart from matters relating to bills being payed and checking on the post.  They could see each other, yet not reach up to each other.  It was no longer a home for Roshni. Their love nest transformed as a shelter for her where she transited for few hours till she could resume office next morning.

Tuhin invariably carried work home everyday. Even when she served him dinner, he would be working in his laptop and remained quietly there till late night. Roshni noticed that he was getting dark circles but never cared to tell him that.

After Dinner, Roshni retired to the bedroom and shed quite tears thinking how the baby room  would have sounded with the baby’s laughter and cries. The baby room next to her bedroom now  remained silent and dark.

The night Roshni payed the last visit to her doctor, she came home and quietly locked the room, never to be opened again.

It was a Friday today and Roshni had finished work. Almost everyone had  left office, yet she kept on doing something in her system. She dreaded to go back home. Weekends were nightmare for her. Most of the time, she spent sleeping over the weekends while Tuhin spent time out with his friends. It didn’t irritate her , rather she thanked Tuhin mentally for the hours he spent away from her.

She picked up her satchel and overcoat and started walking towards home.  Just before she entered home she heard the sound and stood frozen in the doorstep. For a minute she thought it was her ea

which made the mistake but when Tuhin opened the door she didn’t know how  to react.

Tuhin stood there with a little bony boy of about nine months in his arms  who was crying out aloud. Roshni stared at him questioningly and realized Tuhin was tense.

Look,  I know you don’t appreciate it…. However, this is Jonathon, son of my friend Billy. .  Billy and his wife had visited Ottawa to call on his ill father but are caught up in the terrible snow storm.“, Tuhin sounded anxious as he tried to manage the little creature well in his arms.

Roshni’s face twitched. This was the last thing she wanted now.  How would she survive this weekend. Why did this catastrophe need to happen now. Roshni’s mind was racing fast.

Roshni, don’t worry. I won’t bother you at all. I got a call from Jonie requesting me that I should pick up their baby from the creche and keep him with me . The roads are all blocked because of the snow so they will be back as

Roshni gave one quick glance to Tuhin and sped up to her bedroom . She didn’t weep but felt a strong displeasure for the baby because it reminded her of the loss.

At midnight, she was awoken by the sound of the infant’s weeping. For some time she tossed in bed trying to avoid the disturbance… but suddenly she jumped up.

I wish Tuhin is with the baby… Or is the baby hurt?… or is it that Tuhin has slept off?

She ran out of the room only to find her  baby room  open. From behind the curtain of their unborn child’s room, she saw Tuhin struggling to keep little Jonathon from crying desperately in his arms. Tuhin was showing him the cartoons that Roshni had painted on the walls but Jonathon kept on crying.

When Tuhin saw Roshni,  he was a bit startled and found loss of words…. I am sorry, I opened this room but had no other option to stop the little one crying.

Roshni came near to them. It was now that she noticed how cute the plump kid was and how beautiful Tuhin looked with the child in his arms. She took the baby in her arms without speaking a word to Tuhin and in sometime discovered that it was a nappy rash which irritated Jonathon. As Roshni changed his nappies, the little one held her

fingers with his small soft hands and tears streamed down Roshni’s eyes. She hugged the baby and asked Tuhin to hold him while she  went to the kitchen to make some baby food from the packet that Tuhin had bought on the way back home.

They spent the whole night together with Jonathon in the baby room. When the baby slept,  Tuhin carried Jonathon and placed him carefully in the bed between both of them.

By the next day they seemed to have got a mission in their lives. Unlike the past weekends, Tuhin stayed home and Roshni woke early. They took the baby to the baby room and played with him. In no time they forgot that there was a cold war going on between them, that they had only spoken in mono syllables with each other for the past few months. Jonathon became their world. It was a pleasure to see him smile.

They had a wonderful weekend together playing with Jonathon and after a long time Roshni and Tuhin spoke to each other while having dinner.

On Monday both of them took an off from office to celebrate the day  with Jonathon. They took pictures of the baby and played with him the entire day. Jonathon had also got used to them now. Towards the evening,  Roshni left Tuhin and the baby in the playroom and went to the kitchen to prepare a lovely dinner for them. It was then that the bell rang.

Jonathon’s parents had come. They apologized for all the trouble that they caused, thanked Tuhin and Roshni immensely for the help and requested permission to leave.

It was then that Roshni realized the reality. In the past few days she had almost forgotten that  he was not her child. The little one seemed to have filled in the vacuum inside her.

In some time they left , with little Jonathon waving hands at them. Tuhin and Roshni kissed the baby good bye and stood for a long time in the doorway watching him go.

Roshni closed the door but couldn’t suppress herself anymore. She let out a shriek of grief and fell down crying on the sofa. Tuhin uncomfortably stood watching, not knowing what to do. After some time, Roshni rose up, slightly hunched and walked upto the baby room. As she was about to bolt it, Tuhin came from behind and held her hands. He comforted her and  took Roshni in his arms. In his shoulders Roshni wept all her grief out.

Tuhin rocked her in his arms,  kissed her forehead and said..” Lets not lock this room anymore. Let us open ourselves to life once more…. and let a bundle of joy flow in.”

After ages they kissed….

Pregnancies galore

A news item  in the papers  this morning jolted me.  I wonder  if I should call it good or bad. Some doctors have said that  a few years back they used to get 25 – 30 abortion cases every month and it has now reduced to 5-8. This is a good trend indeed.. Would it drop to zero one day? Possibly not.   The lower figure is due to some  other reason.  Contraceptive oral  pills are available in many medical shops these days and the  girls know which shop would supply the stuff without raising an eye lid.  Their indulgence in casual sex  therefore  seems to thrive without any let up.  But what worries a reader is, the candidates concerned  are school girls and teenagers at that.

I recall a funny story I read some years back.  A grand mother had named  her  little  grand child “Diploma”.  Diploma?  What’s that? And she replied, “My daughter got this baby when she went to an institute for a diploma course !”

And now our Indian girls, girls in my city in particular, are acquiring diplomas even before  finishing school.   The 5-8 percent cases are due to carelessness on their  part obviously.  Otherwise the original figure is valid, I should think.

Doctors have  also conveyed that the affected girls go to them during the fifth month of their pregnancy whereof abortion would be dangerous to a mother’s life. They are therefore  sent back home with an advice to deliver the child and pass it on to orphanages or somewhere. Should we call such babies, “Fail mark”?   I pity her parents.

Isn’t  this development  a result of sex education introduced in schools in recent time. Probably the teachers  dramatise the  thing  so much and make it so interesting that  the listeners can’t resist ‘tasting’ it on the quiet.  Why shouldn’t they talk about the serious after effects of such clandestine sex acts? Why shouldn’t they  paint a horrid picture of the fate of a  sixteen year old  bringing out a child at that age and  that it would be a permanent and irremovable  black mark which she has to live with  for life?

Another statistics has it that 89 % of  our youngsters ask their parents to find a spouse for them. We call it ‘arranged marriage’ in our land India.  During any marriage negotiation between the two parties, if the Girl’s parents hide this fact, the girl’s future is doomed.  Some time or the other the Boy or his parents would come to know that the bride had  gone through an abortion or had borne a child earlier. Promptly she would be chased out of their home.  Where will she go?  Naturally back to her  parents or possibly land in a brothel house en route..

If the fact is revealed during the  talk, the marriage would never take place and  her reputation would spread like fire in the area. Poor girl, she has to  remain a half spinster her whole life because no young man, except possibly a widower with 3 children,  would come forward to marry her. .  This is what the school teachers should portray instead of delving into the pleasure of the sexual act.

So, my dear teen age school girls, resist the temptation.  Wait another 5 years or so, get married to a handsome young man as a virgin and indulge in sex to your heart’s content.  If you get pregnant during the first month itself, you would be considered a very fortunate woman and the elders  around you  would  bless you and adore you for that.

Pre marital sex  is dangerous.  It invariably ends in pregnancy.  You would be putting your entire future in jeopardy for the pleasure of a few seconds. Flee from it.  If a Boy says, “Come, it’s a lot of fun, my love.  No harm in it ete etc ,” slap him and kick him. You need to be strong on this.  You are not going to ruin your 50 to 60 years of  married life just by falling for a forbidden fruit !

Oh! The Joys Of Birthdays

‘Happy Birthday’ was the song I liked to hear most when I was a little girl. The sound of friends and family singing ‘Happy Birthday’ in unison was music to my ears, a sound incomparable, evoking within me a kind of feeling that no other song could ever stir up. It felt great to be surrounded by a group of well-wishers being there only to make your day happy and special. I remember this now because it required very little to make children happy years ago. No fancy things, no expensive arrangements – just friends, balloons, delicious home made food, toffees and of course, the good old cake!

Now-a-days, theme birthday parties have become the rage. So, while you have one child clamoring for a Harry Potter theme, there is another one wanting a Barbie or Princess Birthday party not to leave out the pirates, the superheroes and the Star Wars clones. Just in case you find it too much of an effort to organize it all what with the designer invitation cards, attractive hats or masks, picture cups and plates, there are professionals to aid you with the entire procedure for a price of course! Today’s children are not satisfied with all that you were happy (nay elated) with in your heyday! They want elegant, fantastic and cool birthday parties. I remember way back when I was little, all that we did was to invite a few classmates of mine. Most of the other invitees were my friends on my street or those who studied in my school and lived nearby. Very few parents graced the occasion. Nothing was purchased from outside. No catering facilities existed then, so my parents did all the hard work. No fancy invitations, mummy and I just walked over to the houses to invite. I remember not having a phone for quite sometime. Even after its arrival, we always invited people over personally. That did take some time but it was worth the trouble. Then my mother got into the main part of preparing chole that she had already soaked the night before. And, the quantity was awesome considering the fact that my father and I usually went overboard in inviting people. Mummy’s chhole was usually the ‘birthday special.’ Sometimes I felt that people came home in droves on this day not for me, but just to taste my mother’s tasty dish!

If there was chhole, there had to be pooris. Unflinchingly, my mother would knead the dough, roll, and fry the pooris. Hand prepared sandwiches, Kissan Orange Squash (as it was known then) not Sprite, Cola or Pepsi and potato chips graced the plate and palate on this day. Plain paper plates were something we did purchase as plates at home were too less for the number of invitees. My father purchased the little cake. I still remember feeling oh! so happy just to see my name written on it. Of course, the cakes way then did not give you much of a choice – just having a birthday cake seemed a luxury. Little multi colored candles, no number candles then. Finally, when all was done, we sat down to blow the red, green and yellow balloons to hang precariously with the aid of ordinary thread.

Today, most of the edible stuff is procured from the bakery. Puffs, samosas, pizzas, cool drinks, pastries, chocolates fill the attractive paper plates. Children do not hesitate to ask for more now. We did not. Bad manners you see! Exotic games are played today. And, if it is a theme oriented birthday party then, a plethora of games are indulged in. Small time magicians or people dressed up like jokers entertain the little guests, handing to them gifts to take home in return for the gifts that they give the birthday child! I remember my friends just being happy to come home, see me cut the cake, eat and chat. Today, if you even delay giving the take-away gift to the little guests they ask for it, something unimaginable years ago!

The happiest part for me on my birthday was putting on my birthday dress that was usually stitched, not bought. Mummy would select for me the most beautiful material and then take me to the tailor to stitch a dress for me, maybe a frock or even a pair of trousers with a smart shirt to accompany it. Today, nobody has the time to breathe so, stitching is out of question. Rushing to a ready-made shop is most convenient as you get a variety of choices suiting your budget. It is another fact that the dress finally purchased tends to exceed the budget! But, you indulge your son or daughter anyway. After all, it is their special day.

Coming to the gifts, nobody gave anything expensive yet; just opening the gifts gave so much joy. I was fortunate to receive books most of time – an Enid Blyton, a Nancy Drew, some Amar Chitra Katha comics. Some even took the trouble of giving little steel dabbas or plates and putting my name on it. Today, who has the time for all that stuff? Children give gifts to their friends depending on their parents’ relationship with the birthday child’s parents today. Way back, it did not matter. Today, most of the children want to know what is inside each gift (I have seen children force the birthday boy/girl to open the gift packets). Way back, the gifts were kept in the bedroom to be opened only by me when all had left. What joy that solitary opening of gifts gave me then!

When I flashback into my treasure chest of birthday memories I relish every moment spent to make my day special. I appreciate my parents for unconditionally taking the initiative to make me happy in spite of all the inconveniences that it caused. Today’s generation is a demanding one. It is always on the move. Today’s Birthday Special Express moves fast with no stations to pause, ponder and reflect. It is a non-stop train of classy demands! Welcome to the modern birthday celebrations!