Monday, August 22, 2011

When Lord Krishna visited my home

Krishna Janmashtami - the day Lord Krishna was born. With both the children having flown the nest, I was reminiscing those days when not long ago, we were all celebrating this festival together, and I can still remember the joy and festive mood at home.

There is something magical about this festival, which I am narrating here. I remember visiting my friend during this festival. As I entered her house I just stood fascinated; I saw small footprints on the floor running across the house! I asked her what that meant? She explained that this was a tradition in their house. This she said, represented little Lord Krishna's feet symbolising Lord Krishna visiting her home! She also showed me how to make it. She would close her fist and dip that in the kumkum paste and press it on the floor and then mark toes over that.

This was a memory that stayed with me. When my children were small, I wanted to create this magical moment for them. That was the age when they were very much interested in mythological stories,  and no guesses there, Krishna was their favourite. That night as I kissed them goodnight, I told them that the next day was Lord Krishna's birthday and told them that little Krishna might visit them! 

That night I made little footprints leading from the prayer room to the kids room.The next morning, both the kids came running into my room yelling excitedly that Krishna had come to see them and they showed me the footprints. Their simple belief and enthusiasm was infectious and the whole family including their grandparents shared that wonderful moment along with the children! From then on this became a regular tradition in our family too.

The next year the day before Janmashtami, both the children couldn't contain their excitement. They badgered all of us with questions. Will Krishna be visiting us this year too, what time will he be coming, can they stay awake to greet him on his birthday? I told them if they wanted little Krishna to come, he would definitely visit them this time too. 

That evening, as I passed their room I could hear a lot of whispering and serious discussions going on between the brothers. I was wondering as to what was the buzz all about. When asked they wouldn't tell me. After I kissed them goodnight I got ready to make the footprints. I came to the Pooja room, and what I saw there made me very emotional. On the platform in front of Lord Krishna's idol lay a bowl filled with their favourite Cadbury eclairs!! This was their gift to the Lord on his birthday! After making the footprints, I took out some chocolates from the bowl. 

Next day early morning a small riot broke out. That day while we were still in bed, my children rushed into our bedroom with whoops of joy and amazement. Both of them were talking at the same time. Finally we managed to calm them down, and both of them narrated that little Krishna had visited them this time too and had eaten some eclairs too! They were completely awestruck!

Later in the day I could hear my younger son telling his grandparents with great gusto as to how he had seen Lord Krishna come into his bedroom and also about Krishna having eaten the eclairs! Each time the story was repeated, it kept getting longer and more vivd with lot more creativity and imagination!

Time passed and my children had grown a little older by now. The tradition continued. But now I saw my elder son giving me knowing smile and winks whenever I enthused about visit of Krishna. I could however see he was still torn between wanting to believe it, but also trying to question. 

Then one of the years I hit upon the idea of making the footprints with lipstick as it was much easier. Now my younger son got up that morning and all was quiet. I did not hear the usual whoop of joy and was wondering what was happening? After some time he came down and told me 'Mamma, I know you made those footprints'. I asked him why he thought so? He said that he had smelt the footprints and it smelt of lipstick (I know children are curious, but smelling the footprints? Beats me). I told him that might be the smell of alta the red colour that Krishna generally applies on his feet. I could see that he was not quite satisfied. I knew that my children were now growing up and were slowly stepping out of their imaginary world.

Now the time has come where both my sons tell me that they knew the truth.Well the truth might have been out of the bag, but I think I will continue doing it. Why? I guess life has to have some magical moments, don't you think? And for me, it was that day early in the morning when my kids got up to the joy of seeing the footprints for the first time and telling me with great faith that little Lord Krishna had come home visiting them!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Choco - block

Today my younger son got ready to go to school and as is his custom, he perused the whole world ie. the news paper. First comes the sports page (Thank God! the main news makes for a morose start of the day) and then he takes a bird's eye view of the happenings in the rest of the world by reading the headlines. As I was busy packing what I thought was a nutritious meal (which according to them is the most boring stuff), I heard a loud chuckle and he came to the kitchen excitedly. I wondered if his favourite football player Torres had made a grand opening in his first match in his new home team....but no, that was not the reason for all this sudden excitement as he announced in a very grand manner, his tone displaying the 'I knew it all along', kind   'mama, it says here 'Chocolate healthier than fruits'.

Is he kidding? I know he is a great chocoholic. He pointed the article with great glee to me. I read it and I pointed out to him that it also says here that , I quote, 'the findings do not alter the fact that their favourite is high in fat and sugar, meaning dieticians say it should be balanced with less yummy foods such as brown rice and pulses'. So I tried hard telling him that chocolate might be healthy, but it should still be eaten in moderation. Anything eaten in moderation is always good. But suddenly he pretended to be hard of hearing and declared that from then on he would eat chocolates instead of fruits!! I was left with more of my speech on the positive benefits of eating healthy food unsaid and unheard as he opened Cadbury Silk and took a generous bite of it to demonstrate the study was indeed the final word in the matter.

I sighed, thinking how selective we all are in hearing and choosing what we want to do. I know for a fact that in another few weeks time there will be another study refuting the claim of this study but the damage would have already been done and my son would 'chocoliciously' be eating his chocolate.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Meaning of freedom for each one of us..

As we celebrate our 65th Independence Day, we know that the oppressive rule of the British is well and truly behind us. And we have to be thankful to each and every well known as well as the countless anonymous people of this country who struggled tirelessly to ensure their children and grandchildren lived in a better India.

But in the current scenario would this still be significant? So then what would freedom mean in today's context I wondered?

In rural India,

are our farmers today free of the vagaries of nature and from the clutches of the money lenders?

are the hardworking womenfolk in our rural areas free from the domineering menfolk who take away all their earnings?

are they free from having to walk miles to get a couple of pots of water?

And in semi-urban and urban India,

do BPL families have the freedom to enjoy three healthy meals a day, a good education, and proper health care facilities?

has the nation progressed enough to stop begging on the streets?

have we done enough to free ourselves from the virus of corruption?

Yes - we are free from the foreign rule but unfortunately, we continue to be slaves. Of a different kind.

Slaves to our work.
To our money.
To the luxuries the money brings.
To the mall culture.
To the brands we like to wear.
To the notion that bigger is better - bigger cars, bigger houses, bigger holidays and bigger everything.

When will we gain independence from the corruption of the mind? Will we ever?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Adieu dear Harry Potter

Well the first time I had an inkling about a boy wizard called 'Harry Potter' was sometime in the year 1998. We had gone to one of our friends' place for dinner and our friend's son who was all of nine was reading a book. He was so very engrossed that nothing disturbed him. I was very curious to know what book it was and when asked his father said 'Harry Potter'.

At that time I did not really think much about it. Growing on books like Grimms fairy tales, Aesop's Fables, Enid Blyton I was busy collecting those for my child who was just about three then. However Harry Potter burst into our lives when the series was made into movies and I bought the set of first four books.

The first time I read the books I got totally immersed into Harry's magical world. My household chores  got done in a jiffy that even Molly Weasley with all her magic spells used, to cook and clean was outdone by me. After this I was  invisible to all, just as Harry was with his invisible cloak. Oh!!! what a world of enthrallment as I stepped into Hogwarts - the school of magic. It was the kind of school that I had always dreamt about. Applauding Harry during his Qudditch games, traversing along with him on his journey into the world of unknown dangers and coming out victorious against the Dark Lord by sheer courage, trust and love as his only weapons. Now with the series finally lowering its curtains for the last time, it is difficult to bid adieu to a friend with whom I have travelled together for such a long time.

My children especially my younger son, is so much into Harry Potter that he is reading each of the books umpteen number of times and has almost all the book by heart (I wish if this was their English text books all the children might have scored a perfect century each time). Now every moment I have to defend myself from his spells which are cast on me. The moment I ask him to study he 'Stupefies' me, when I ask him to pass on something he cries out  'Accio', when he wants to be left alone he 'Obliviates' me. So I have my own Potter at home. All the pages in his books have pictures of the Elder Wand, the symbol of Deathly Hallows, the Sword of Gryffindor and finally Harry himself. At school they have quiz competitions amongst their friends. To beat it all he has now ordered his grandfather to read Harry Potter!!!

This is what I say is the powerful magic of Harry Potter who has spun magic and enchanted young as well as old alike in his dare devil adventure. It is with great sadness that I bid adieu to Harry who will always remain a part of our lives.