Category Archives: Yog

I am not this Body but this Cycle is Mine

I am not this body

I am not my clothes

I am definitely not my shoes

But this cycle is mine so I will keep it clean at any cost, even if it means dirtying my body, clothes, or  shoes

 

After a heavy rain last night, Yog and his cycle got stuck in the middle of a muddy puddle. I was laughing away to glory when Yog tried desperately to keep his cycle clean but did not care that his shoes, clothes, hands and feet were covered in that muck! Immediately after coming home, he tended to his cycle to clean it.

After he was done, I immediately attended to cleaning him. After all, he is my son!

 

Child’s First and Ever Lasting School

What’s common in Embroidery, Carrot and Cheese Salad and Roughly Chopped Carrot and Cucumber Salad?

These are all home projects done by our children without any encouragement/planning/teaching from my side. Embroidery and Carrot Cucumber Salad having been done by 5 year old Yog. Carrot Cheese Salad done by 13 year old Toyna.

You may wonder what prompted them to pick up random things like Embroidery and Salad Making. The simple answer is that they saw these skills being practiced by someone at our home. Since these were being done for a period of time only by adults, our children figured it must be something interesting to do. After all, adults always do interesting things! No one asked them to try eating the salad leave alone try making it themselves.

The fact is that when children see something as part of their household they will naturally tend to try it out. Our children have tried meditation, cycling, trekking,  washing utensils/clothes, baking and even running their own business, just because these skills are part and parcel of our daily routine. On the flip side, my children think it is OK to raise their voice in anger because that is also what they have seen me doing in our household.

This is not a new concept. We are all aware that we have subconsciously adopted most of our own habits, values and rituals directly from our parents. To a large extent, our parenting styles are also pretty much similar to that of our parents. After all, what we have observed or rather experienced for the bulk of our childhood years is going to define the kind of adult we become.

For years, I have struggled to get our children to try out new things. I took them to classes, got them introduced to experts and traveled with them far and wide just to get them the “exposure”. It is only now that I realized the lesson that was always there in front of me. If I want my children to have exposure, it is “me” who first needs to get that exposure in my life. It doesn’t matter how good or bad I am at that thing. If my children see me happy trying to get it right, they are bound to try and do it out of curiosity and self motivation. Since they tried to do it by their own accord, they are more likely to continue pursuing it without needing any nudge from our side. The opposite of this is also true. If you don’t want your child to practice something, try and not do it yourself. For example – driving rashly, smoking, hitting someone or simple things like wasting food/water.

A home is the first and most intensive school that a child will ever go to. If you do not practice what you preach chances are your children will never practice it either. In fact, if you practice what you want your children to learn, you will never need to preach it.

Happy Homeschooling!

 

 

Our Death Plan

Ever since we lost Yog’s grandmother last year to Death, this D word has been omnipresent in our household. While we might want to avoid talking about Death over and over again, Yog is fascinated with it. It wasn’t long before he connected the dots and understood that Mom, Dad and Grandfather are also getting old and might die any day. It was therefore only proper that we have a solid plan for what does Yog need to do in case he loses his Mom, Dad and Grandfather all in one day. This is how our first conversation, in this regard, went.

Yog: Mama, what will happen if you, Papa and Thatha die? Who will take care of me?

Mama: By the time, all of us will die, Yog will be a big boy and he can take care of himself. Plus, you will have Akka with you.

Yog (thinking): But Mama, I will need new parents to take care of me. How will I find new parents?

Mama (laughing inside): In that case, Nani will come from Delhi and take you with her. You can stay with Nani. She will take care of you.

Yog: But how will Nani know that you have died and she needs to come to Hyderabad? Will you tell her before you die?

Mama (trying so hard not to laugh out loud): Someone will inform Nani to come to Hyderabad. Till Nani comes, you can go and stay with Sharada Aunty (our loving next door neighbor).

This conversation seemed to satisfy Yog for the time being.

A few days ago after talking about sun, stars, moon, plants and million other topics in this world, Yog came around to death once again.

Yog: Mama, when all of you die, I will go to Delhi to stay with Nani. I will take my password (he means his passport), go to the airport and take a flight to Delhi.

Mama: That’s a good idea.

Yog (all of a sudden choking on a thought that he can barely breathe): But Mama….. , But Mama…

Mama thinking that Yog has finally figured that life will be sad without his mother, father and grandfather. I should assure him that he will be fine.

Yog (continuing): But Mama, I don’t know where you have kept my password.

Mama (laughing under my breath): It’s ok Yog! I have kept it safely. I will show you where it is when we get home.

Yog, once again, is satisfied with the answer and happy to move on to the next topic for the day.

Me laughing internally at his innocence! I pray he always remains so carefree and forward looking in life. As for me, once I have shown Yog where his passport is kept, my job on this planet is done! I can then happily start planning for my next life! (LOL!!!)

Needless to say, I think both Toyna and Yog are blessed to be a part of  a large, loving and close knit family. It doesn’t worry me, even for a second, on what will happen to them if I am no longer there. Thank you dear family for so much love and support! We are all blessed!

Bees Don’t Give us Honey

Yog (eating lunch): Mama, what do bees eat?

Mama: Bees eat honey

Yog: No Mama, Bees make honey for us. They don’t eat honey

Mama: No Yog, Bees make honey for themselves. We take the honey from them

Yog (thoughtful): So bees sell honey to us. What honey is left, they eat it?

Mama (laughing internally): No Yog! Bees don’t sell honey to us! We steal honey from the bees

Yog (shocked and adamant now): No Mama! That is not right! Bees give the honey to us. We don’t steal it from them

Mama: Where did you learn that Bees give honey to us?

Yog: My school book said, “Bees give us honey”. That is correct. We don’t steal honey from the bees.

Me silently connecting the dots. Yog is right. All school books tell us that Cows give us milk, Bees give us honey or Hens give us eggs. No book bothers to state the fact that all the above animals are reared by humans just like objects so that we can then acquire their produce. This is yet another gap I see in the way we are taught. Such education makes us subconsciously believe that these animals exist just to service us. We slowly start to believe that everything on this planet was created to serve the human race.  It is no wonder that human never even stop once, to contemplate why we are misusing the resources on the planet.

Creating education syllabus is serious responsibility. When children learn such things in school, they create a subliminal network where humans are considered superior to all other forms of life. Even within humans, some forms intuitively start to consider themselves superior to other forms like men vs. women, fair skin vs dark skin, western countries vs. eastern countries.

Short sighted curriculum influence the complete thought process of multiple generations and how they behave in the society. The impact of such errors will be seen on generations to come. We cannot include sentences like “Cows give us milk” in a science book and then include “We should take care of animals” in a moral science book. It is time we educate our children to understand the larger ecosystem of our planet and not just the human ecosystem. Even if, we as parents, cannot directly influence the school curriculum, we can definitely control the conversations that we have with our child.

Homeschooling Topic – Weather

Yog: Mama, Winter is coming.When will it snow in Hyderabad ?

Mama: It only snows in regions which are far from the equator or are very high up from the ground. I am sorry but it doesn’t snow in Hyderabad.

Yog: Why?

Mama: Because Hyderabad is near to the equator and it does not have any mountains as well.

Yog thinking about the facts at hand for some time: Are the mountains growing?

Mama: Yes, the mountains are growing slowly.

Yog: Then after the mountains grow, will there be snow in Hyderabad?

Mama: No Yog! The mountains are growing but not in Hyderabad. I don’t think there will be snow in Hyderabad anytime soon.

Yog: Why winter is coming?

Mama: Because the earth is going away from the sun and it’s axis are tilting.

Yog: If earth’s axis are turning then will there be snow in Hyderabad?

Mama silent. I really don’t know when will there be snow in Hyderabad. If anyone knows, please tell me the answer.

Some of you might be wondering what is the point of recording these small conversations with Yog. Yes, these conversations are definitely adorable and I would love to record how beautifully his small mind deciphered the big world around him. But more importantly, I record these conversations to remind myself and others that Learning is not at all constrained to books and school. Yog is learning ever second he is awake and maybe sometimes in his sleep as well. His intrinsic curiosity makes him understand about Carbon Dioxide and Equator even before his mouth can pronounce these words correctly. He calls “Gravity” as “Grabity” and “Carbon Dioxide” as “Carbo Oxide”. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he is processing what is around him.

Every mom thinks her child is a genius, but honestly I don’t think Yog is a genius. I think he just loves science. He just loves it so much that he is willing to read and talk about it night and day. But this does not necessarily mean he loves painting and dancing as much. He has his own interests and when these interests are fueled his learning goes rocket speed.

Looking at him learning, I sincerely regret not homeschooling my daughter when she was this age. I was an ignorant parent and I pushed her into the same education system that was probably never meant for her. If I had taken more time to answer her questions, fuel her interests, listen more intently to her desires, given her freedom to choose her path, we would be in a different place all together.

I share my experiences in my blog, sincerely hoping that some of the readers see the sense in not pushing their child through the standard education system. I completely understand that Homeschooling is not an option for everyone. Even if your child goes to a regular school, allow them the freedom to do what they want to do at least after school hours. Focus on their interests even if you think there is no career path in that area. Answer as many questions as you can, and find answers for those that you can’t. Search on Google or speak to other parents or connect to experts to answer your child’s curiosity. Whatever you do, please never ever ask your child to stop asking questions. The day we stop them from asking questions, the day we tell them that it is not right to learn.

So yes, I hope you now understand how desperate I am to try and find out When it will snow in Hyderabad. 😊

#HomeschoolingLife #Weather #SnowinHyderabad

Homeschooling Topic – Photosynthesis

Yog collected lots of twigs and used Popsicle sticks in the park today. He brought all of them to the car as well.

I casually asked – Yog, what will you do with all this?

Yog: I will burn them.

Me (shocked): You know we should not burn things. It causes pollution

Yog: No Mama! When I burn these, Carbon dioxide will come out. All the plants at our home are hungry. They need to eat carbon dioxide as their food. I am going to make food for them by burning these.

Me silent for a moment. It takes time for my aged mind to process such arguments.

Me coming up with my argument – There is enough carbon dioxide in the air already. We don’t need to make more of it by burning things.

Yog: Mama, but see there are so many plants. They are all dying because there are not getting food. We need to make more carbon dioxide for them.

Me stretching my minds ability – Yog, there are so many humans in this world. We are constantly taking in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide, night and day. Don’t worry we are making enough carbon dioxide for the plants to eat.

Yog nodded in silence, his plan for burning the twigs disappearing in front of his eyes. I heaved a sigh of relief. I had won this argument, today. But God only knows, how many more I can win in the coming days. Most days I feel my imagination and knowledge stretched to the limit answering his questions or justifying things to him. I have never used Google so much before in my life. Needless to say, I think I am learning more in the process, than I am teaching him. :d

 

Homeschooling Topic – Religion

A few days ago, we passed a graveyard on the road and Yog wanted to know what it is. So I explained that in some religions when a person dies, he/she is buried. As expected Yog’s next question was – What is a Religion? I explained that it a set of things that we believe in. For e.g, we are Hindus so we go to the temple and worship our God. We do not bury our dead but we burn their body.

Today, while we were eating dinner, Yog asked, “Are we Muslims?” I shook my head and said, “No, we are not Muslims. I told you what religion we belong to. Do you remember?” Yog’s eyes sparkled in recollection and he immediately said, “Yes! I remember. Our religion is to burn.” Usually, I try not to laugh at his comments in front of him, but I just couldn’t help bursting with laughter today. I tried to calm myself and explained again, “We are Hindus.” Yog’s fascination with death, immediately lead him to relate our religion to death, “So when we die, we will take our body and burn it?” I couldn’t help but laugh again. “Once we die, we cannot take our own body and burn it. But rest assured, someone else will do it for us.” Thanks to Yog, death has become such a common theme in our house that I am sure none of us need to think or plan for it.

Yog continued the conversation saying, “Hindus is the best religion.” Toyna, who was silent till now immediately piped in, “Yog, please understand that when Hindus die, they go to God. When Muslims die, they go to God. When Christians and Sikhs die, they also go to God. So how can any religion be better?” Yog seemed satisfied for the time being with this response. I was amazed at the ease with which Toyna used Yog’s favorite topic of death to explain such a complex topic like Religion to him!

Later tonight, while I read space exploration to Yog, Toyna drafted this small note.


Cast Makes No Sense

If I was God I would have created  week or a month or even a year where everyone was equal.
None of us would be Hindu, Muslim or Christians.
None of us would be buried or burnt when we would die because all us would reach heaven or hell.
No one would be called good or bad or hero or terrorist.
No one would be defined according to how much money or wealth they had.
CAST MAKES NO SENSE !
We all have a heart, we all have a brain, we all were chosen to live.
We were chosen to make a change whether the change was good or bad.
No one would be called black or white but instead we would be called fair or tanned.
We all would stand together on the same land as we all live on earth.
Everyday would be a festival, a festival of togetherness, a festival of love.
We all would be dancing on different kinds of songs and no one would misuse their strength .
IF I WAS GOD I WOULD HAVE CREATED A WORLD WHERE EVERYONE WERE EQUAL AT ALL TIMES.


You can imagine my awe, when Toyna read it out to me. So powerfully deep coming from my own child. Wow!

So yes, you can say we had a pretty good homeschooling day today talking about religion. Next plan on the topic is to visit the all places of worship of different religions.

#homeschoolingLife #letsTalkAboutReligion #Religion

I had to Leave your Hand

You nurtured me to grow

You were my back bone till I couldn’t keep my head held high

As I take the final push to stand on my own

I have little choice but to push you away at the same time

That is the law of nature

It is painful to be independent but it is more painful to pull you down with me

——————–

Thoughts from when Yog started walking on his own.

 

The Hockey Stick – Lessons on Physical Aggression

Yog runs to me with urgency and purpose in his stride, his chubby legs trying to keep pace with the thoughts running in his mind. Concern is evident all over his red face. I am certain he has a very important matter to discuss with me. Huffing, he exclaims, “Big boys are beating small children on the road. I told them to stop but they are not listening.” I sigh. Not again. Why do boys fight? Calmly, I tell Yog, “You did a good thing by telling them not to fight. I am happy that you didn’t get into the fight, yourself.” Yog’s expression quickly changed from concern to frustration. I assumed he was looking for a different response. Without wasting another second, he ran inside to speak to his father. Minutes later, he rushed past me again with a stronger urgency and purpose, shouting over his shoulder for my information, “Papa told me to go and beat the big boys!” My jaw dropped as I fathomed the consequences.

I don’t need to elaborate on what happened next. I never got a chance to know who won the fight. My mind was in shock at how  my little boy and my very own husband resorted to violence. I hate violence. I always believe peace can be achieved through constructive dialogue. I now know that the men in my family tend to disagree with me on the same.

Today, I had an opportunity of catching up with a childhood friend.  We were both laughing at stories of our children. Especially, how her 4 year old daughter roughs up boys in her class to get to what she wants. My friend was concerned about her daughters behavior, but I really couldn’t have been happier to hear this, given my own recent experiences. Since the experience with Yog beating big boys on the road, I have learnt to accept physical violence as a form of natural expression and an essential trait that kids should be comfortable with. While peaceful dialogue should be the first choice, children should also be comfortable with physically standing up against abuse and defending themselves or someone who needs protection.

Given the genetic make up of men,  I think, this trait comes easier to majority of the men. I, for one, grew up in a family of 4 women. We had no brothers, fathers or uncles who mentored us. I went to an all girls school and an all girls college. Fortunately for me, even in the family that I married, aggression of any kind, is non-existent. As a result, I had never witnessed  or participated in any physical form of aggression till little Yog came into my  life. By default, my instincts told me to change him, to tell him that violence is bad. Fortunately, he was able to teach me an important lesson before I could teach him much. I learnt from Yog that violence isn’t always bad. After all, it is a natural instinct to protect oneself and survive.

As we marveled at how kids these days fend for themselves, my friend also told me the story of how her elder brother had gifted her a hockey stick as soon as she got her first Kinetic scooter. He also said, “Sister, you need to hit only in two places to get the results!”. We laughed out loud recollecting the story. Later, driving back home, I thought about the story and wished someone in my life had also gifted me a Hockey stick. I wished I also knew there were things like a Hockey stick I could use to keep myself safe in my growing years. Till date, most of my self defense mechanisms simply include running for safety or calling for help. Today, I appreciated the true value of having a Big Brother and more so of a Hockey Stick.

I still believe, life is all about balance and fine choices. While my daughter is  a Taekwondo Champion, I still teach her to use physical violence as her last resort. I still believe dialogue can solve most situations. However, I have also learnt that dialogue works better when both parties know that the other party cannot be simply subdued into consent. While we should be trained and ready to use physical aggression at any time, we should know to restrain ourselves and use it as a last resort.

Lastly, go ahead and gift your version of a hockey stick to your loved ones. I pray that no one ever feels the need to use a hockey stick for protection, but in case they do, they should never end up being a victim, just because one of us didn’t gift it to them in time.

World of No Lies

We are all guilty of lying. Sometimes we lie for the good of others, like when I crush Flax seeds inside a fruit smoothie and completely deny it when the children ask. Sometimes we lie for our own good, like when Pavan and I go for a date telling the kids we are off to a business meeting. Yes, we could convince them that Mama Papa need time, etc, etc, but sometimes it is just simpler and faster to lie.

No one remembers the exact date or year they learnt to lie. In my experience of bringing up children and seeing nephews and nieces grow, I think by age 5 or 6, children have figured that they need not be honest all the time. As parents, we are all well aware of how we feel when our children lie to us. No matter, how many lies we have said (or still say) to our parents, it is very difficult to take lies from our own children. There is nothing much in this context. Therefore, that is not the subject of the blog today.

For today, I want to record the magic of the world where lies don’t exist. I want to share Yogs world with you. Yog is 4 and he is still unaware of the concept called Lie. For example, he still asks me before he pulls a chocolate from the fridge. If he has not asked me before, he promptly tells me after he has eaten it. His eyes slightly downcast, he will come and softly whisper around me, hoping I have not heard his confession about the chocolate. He wishes that I do not get to know of that missing chocolate, but he cannot help but tell me about it, himself. In his small world, he still believes that rules (like ask before you eat a chocolate) should be followed.

In this little world, he also believes everything that he hears or sees. Here are some examples:

Nani (Grandmother, joking with Yog): Yog, you look like a girl

Yog: No, I am not a girl

Nani: But you look like a girl to me

Yog: Nani, you need to go to the doctor to check your eyes

Yog cannot comprehend that Nani is kidding with him. He truly believes that Nani is saying what she really thinks.

————-

Taekwondo Master: Yog you are fat. You need to lose weight

Yog (telling me later about it): Mama, Master thinks I am fat

Me: I don’t think you are fat (maybe just a little round on the edges) Why did the master say you are fat?

Yog: Mama, I said, “Master thinks I am fat”. I know I am not fat. Master thinks I am fat because master cannot think properly.

————–

Read more examples on how Yog’s elder cousin brother fools around with him sometimes but Yog always believes it to be true.

In his world, Yog knows what is right. He knows what cannot be. He knows there are no jokes. He doesn’t know there is something called lies. This world is so simple and straight forward. I love and envy his world at the same time. I know it is just a matter of time before he learns to bend the rules. It is just a matter of time before he reaches five. It is just a matter of time when the world starts to leave it’s mark on him.

Till then, we continue to enjoy his debates and opinions on his world. Sometimes when he runs out of logic to explain an aspect of life (like why boys have penis and girls have breasts) he points up to the sky, widens his eyes for emphasis and says, “God made them like that!” After all, there cannot be any further discussion after the word of God.