Sunday, August 28, 2011

F for... fly fishing, I hope...guess not!

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Mini-Him's vocabulary is on the rise, these days. When everything else is on the downswing, when Him and I plan relentlessly for possible emergencies/contingencies/financial upendings etc, this aspect of our lives has a high interest yield. In fact, there's little chance that it'll ever see a downside, Mini-Him being himself.

He's learning to curse. So animatedly. And boy, the permutations and combinations are mind boggling. I had NO IDEA that kids had such depth. We have a daily, front seat view. Next to the Sony speakers with sub-woofers.

pic credit - digitalart; freedigitalphotos.net
The first time he tossed a gem into the air, he was eight. He had just started using the school bus, that veritable home of Ph.d's in multi-hued linguistics. He said Mother F (word rhyming with "Tucker"), with such carelessness, that Him and I forgot to breathe.

"What did you just say?" I finally got out.

"What? Oh! L taught me that. I say it when I'm really frustrated. Like now! This Lego's stuck!" Mini-Him went on, little fingers and short nails, not aiding the said process.

Him never takes these things seriously. His big shoulders shook, and his movie star smile was now a Bacardi rum ad's laugh. I walked out in a huff, as Him choked out, "You....you...can't say it. That's ...hahahaha....that's a terrible word!!!"

"So why are you laughing so hard?" Mini-Him asked, laughing too.

Him ran out, before revealing himself for the bundle of contradictions that he truly is.

"He's my son alright!" he said, like it was ever in doubt.

I fled, crying, to the bathroom. Why, heaven, why could it not have been the F word alone?!

After that, the middle schoolers (the savants in these matters...the Ph.d's remember?) in the bus enlightened him on female anatomy. The words being pornographically precise.

"Mom?" Mini-Him asked, "What's a C (word rhyming with grunt)?"

My bagel got lost somewhere between my esophagus and trachea.

"L's friend B said that to a girl. When she started crying, I threatened to tell on him. He said that he would punch me in the..."

I called his teacher for an appointment that very day.

Apparently, there is a system to follow when reporting these matters. A chain of command, if you will. It took two days and three more unnecessary introductions (b**bs, used(?!) tampon, do**** bag) before Mini-Him was seated upfront. Which he didn't like, because he now sat with first grade girls.

It was good-word bliss at home for about four weeks.

Then the kids of two buses went home together for a week.

"Mom, what're T (rhyming with bits)?" he asked, between bites of apple and peanut butter snacks.

"What?! Again?! Who taught you that?!" It was that time of month, a very painful time of month. Nobody mention female anatomy to me in those days. No one.

"L's other friend D called someone Ba*l S (rhyming with mucker) and called me Sugar T(rhymes with bits)."

What the hell was Sugar T(rhyming with bits)?!!

What was that? Do any of you know what that is? I don't. I don't WANT to know.

Him choked on his coffee that day, when I told him. He guffawed and rolled. He wiped his tears (of joy? his son after all!!) and laughed some more.

I told my father this. I had to tell someone who would be as outraged as I was.

He guffawed too.

It reminded him, he said, of his mother. What? My grandmother? My wonderful, pure, "determined to do and believe only in good", grandmother?

"She wanted to learn English, at the ripe age of 70. So she thought reading a magazine was as good a way as any, to start. She knew the alphabet, and putting words together etc. She would read out some words, some sentences. We were all amused and proud, and humored her. Until the day when she suddenly said, "Bloody Sh**!"

I listened, jaw dropping.

"The four of us rushed to her side when she said that, trying to snatch the evil magazine away from our mother, when she asked, 'What does that mean?' We realized, that she didn't know, and was merely putting words together, as she had always done. We said it was a bad word. She never picked up magazines again. Only newspapers."

I guess there is no age-limit when it comes to these things. I do know that Mini-Him would've picked up these gems at some point in his life anyway. It's just obscene, watching his baby face handle the laden words with ease.

Actually, it's just me, the prude.

Still, he's up front with the first grade girls again. Luckily, there are two other boys from his own grade, who sit in the same vicinity. All of them occasionally look wide-eyed and excited when I see them at the bus-stop. That usually means that censor-worthy words filtered past the back seats.

I then ready my self for a sense-assaulting buffet, that will surely turn my mind off food for a week.

I think I have Mini-Him's growing pains.


pic link - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2280

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cool ventures

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Mini-Him has interests. Many interests. His last foray was into music.

"Mom?" he began, and I knew.
"You know...I saw this girl play the violin in school, and she looked so cool! Can I learn to play it?"

photo credit - Salvatore Vuono; freedigitalpics.net
This was new. Violin? Something that requires dedication and practice? He's not there yet. I mean, I love my son. But he's just not that determined, yet. But I couldn't throw cold water on his child-like ambition could I? No, even if my antennae nearly knocked themselves out, sensing where this was headed, I would only be supportive.

"Ah. So, you...you want to play the violin, because, because a girl looked really cool playing it?"

"Yep."

"You know that it requires a lot of practice, don't you?"

"Oh yeah. That's what she said. I think I could master it." Mini-Him isn't a Leo star sign for nothing. His supreme self confidence is trumped only by his cat-in-the sun languor. A languor that will resist any attempt at urgency or effort.

"uh..okay. Well. I'll umm...discuss it with Dad, and we'll figure out the next steps." I said, followed by fake enthusiasm, "Okay?"

"Mom." he said, and I knew again. "I know you think that I'll give up. But I won't. I mean, she just looked so cool!" His reason for wanting to learn such a complicated instrument was disturbing.

Him and I argued later that night, when Mini-Him was peacefully asleep, still clutching his leaf patterned Blankie (Blankie always gets capitalized. Mini-Him has decreed that it will be passed on to his child).

Him refused the lessons point blank. "If he thought the girl looked cool, he should ask her out on a date! Not take violin lessons we both know he'll never use!"

"But he's showing an interest. When has he ever asked to do something on his own?" I asked, passionately in defense of my flaky little man. "This might just be the turning point! He could learn what it takes to accomplish something. And think! One of us might actually play music, instead of just raving about it."

"I'm okay with raving about music," Him returned, "it costs less. And you can stop listening if you lose interest."

"This is why he can't learn about seeing tasks through till the end. Because we, as parents, shortchange him based on past actions," I said, body language abrupt, voice cold.

"I'd say anyone's past actions are a pretty good guesstimate of their future course," Him was now amused, because I was furious.

"By that 'guesstimate', I should've known, eleven years ago, that you'd never change, and that we would be fighting fluff, because you just LOVE saying NO!"

Him was confused now. "Umm, you did not make sense. Okay, fine! Five lessons. And if he so much as monkeys around even once, it's over!"

I told Mini-Him the good news the next morning over fruit loops. He smiled, green and pink rings disappearing between bites.

We found a place, a teacher and a time. And we began.

The first class was wonderful. Even Him admitted that he might have misjudged the little fellow.

The second class, the teacher nearly lost her modesty. Mini-Him, driven to distraction by the repetition of "goody goody stop stop", stretched his arm out to relax it, and lifted his teacher's skirt along with the bow that he meant to place back on his violin, trying to resume practice.

"I've never been so embarrassed in all my life," Him declared, before his foot found the threshold to the house.

Later, Mini-Him said, "It was getting boring. And my arm hurt. And my neck. And it was so cold."

Thinking of them as legitimate reasons, I had him exercise his arm, and his neck, and resolved to dress him in layers the next time. And made a tiny cushion to place over his collar bone.

Third class, and the teacher said, "I don't really know if he likes it."

Fourth class and Mini-Him said, "I'll practice for five minutes. But I can't take any more."

Fifth class was wonderful! He did great! She even taught him Goody Goody Stop Stop with different strings.

Sixth class, he confided to me, "Mom, you know, I don't know why I can't tell dad this. But, I'm beginning to have maybe 2% less interest in violin."

"Just 2% isn't bad. We all go through that as we're learning something new. So it's normal. Don't worry about it."

A week later, after the seventh class, when he spent one out of two hours (extra lesson that day), telling his teacher not to get upset about her broken violin, he got home and said, "Mom. I'm just not feeling it anymore."

Him and I looked at each other. Like we'd done through abandoned art classes, piano lessons, karate and soccer. "I just don't feel the instrument. It's just not my thing, I guess. I mean, I'm not meant to do it."

"And what are you meant to do?" Him asked, a world of weariness in his voice.

"I'm meant to create stuff. Like you know, legos and things. Build stuff."

"But lego sets are expensive! We can't keep buying them just because...well...no. I can't buy you lego sets. What's so good about lego anyway?"

"Oh! They look so COOL!"

I went on to set lunch on the table and put the violin away.

He hasn't asked about it since.

I don't think he ever will.

At least, until, someone cool enough comes along to tell him that accomplishing something is the only truly cool thing!

pic credit - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=659





Wednesday, August 17, 2011

About another blog...

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I would like to take a moment to introduce http://reachforacure.blogspot.com/


Reach for life is a blog dedicated to giving voice, in one platform, to the many organizations that enable research and care of those affected by diseases without a definite cure. The thought came from a friend, Linda H.Batty, who lost her twin sister, Laurie, to ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. While Linda is deeply involved with constantly researching information and helping other families stricken by ALS, she struck a chord when she said that there are many organizations that are trying to do just this type of thing. I wondered if having them all in one place, with easy to access links, families' account of events and a run up of basic necessities will allow for greater participation in individual causes.  


My first few posts are about ALS, Linda and Laurie and the ALS Support group. They have a walk coming up on 17 September, 2011. A walk in support of many of those who lose that function, and are unable to reverse the damage caused. Many join this walk, to carry on in support of those who are no longer with them and to contribute toward research and basic necessities for survivors and the future.


While the blog discusses goals, costs, altered lives and hope, there is no money that goes through the blog. There are links provided in every page, that will take you to the website of the respective organizations. Contributions, no matter how small, make a difference toward the total that needs to be collected each year.


Please do visit, spread the word, contribute if you're up to it, follow and share your own struggles and triumphs.
If you know of any organization that could use one more public platform, please feel free to have them email me through the links provided. I will coordinate with members and structure an interview with relevant questions.


Please visit - http://reachforacure.blogspot.com/


Any comments, thoughts, insight, facts, and research news are very welcome.
If you have any equipment, and need to donate it, please contact the ALS Support page found in the blog.


Many thanks and look forward to hearing about it!


Anne

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An excerpt from "With you in my heart"

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I have an excerpt here from my book. This is from the life of Aditi, one of the main characters in the story.


-----She went to Dehradun. It was all her worried family would allow. The trip was about an hour away from Saharanpur. The college year was coming to a close and she had just six more months to go.  She insisted on traveling alone, and Mr. Krishna decided to make her as comfortable as he could. She stayed in a women’s hostel for the three weeks that she was away. She had left her books behind. Her desolation and hurt accompanied her wherever she went. The Sahastradhara springs, graceful and diminutive, were in full flow from the rains. She stood for hours under them, oblivious to the touristy stares and male curiosity. The sulfurous water washed away a lot. Her sense of shame, for one. Her need to conform diminished as she sat, listlessly, waiting for the oft discussed magical healing to take place. She went back to her basic hostel room, everyday for three days, wet and cold. One of her roommates threatened her. “I am going to let the supervisor know. You must be mad! Are you determined to get sick? Why come all the way here to do that? We don’t want to catch what you’ve got!”
Aditi spoke, willing her teeth not to chatter. “No…no more of this. I’m going to Chakrata and Deoban over the next few days. Really, I’m done with this purifying water stuff!”

She left with a backpack the next day. Pink t-shirt teaming with her fever to give her face a flush. Determined to sweat it off with whatever else ailed her, she walked throughout the Chakrata trails. The slopes undulating into meadows with conifers like sentinels. Her mind was blank while nature subconsciously eased her regret. No decisions, she reminded herself as she spied a helicopter. Rotaries beating a foreign rhythm. Memories had to be fought back just then. The time when a helicopter ride took her to yet another demeaning gathering where she was a sideshow.
Now, resting on a deodar tree, she watched the sun emerge from behind heavy grey clouds. A gauzy golden light feathering the conifer tops. Nothing mattered then. She had wanted to sort herself out. But here? Here there was no room for imperfection. She couldn’t see herself as flawed as she had believed for so long. “Om Shantih Shantih Shantih,” she whispered to herself. Perfect peace. She observed the outside for once and found nothing discordant. It was meant to be harmonious, was it not? The whole exercise was to live and breathe in harmony. What kept Jas from reacting in the most obvious way? She sighed. He was never too far from her thoughts.
She sat by the Ganges under rarefied air skies. Utterly blue. Utterly beautiful. Utterly lonely. A merry-go-round in her mind just missing the answer every time. Her response to Jas irked her. He was difficult. But, she herself was outright foolish.
Why had she let him define her whole existence? She thought back to days when she had sat in her father’s lap, loved and wanted. Nothing in her short life had prepared her for being the object of indifference. She had always been relevant. And her sense of it came from the way the people around her had treated her. Jas had taken over and acted like she was an acquisition to be held and maintained. Except once. The flames leaped to life in her belly inspite of herself. ----------

The e-book is available on Smashwords.

Michelle, from the bookworm family (her website), is hosting a giveaway on her blog. Only four more days left! Enter to win a free copy! 

Thanks to everyone who has shown interest, been supportive and offered encouraging words! It helps me believe!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Review and Giveaway

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Michelle, from the Bookwormfamily, reviewed "With you in my heart" on her blog. I am so happy to read her review of the book. The Bookworm family reviews books of most genres.

There is a contest to win a free copy ( the title on this post should take you to the page and the Bookwormfamily link should work too). Five free copies are being given away - so hurry up and get yours!

Do visit her blog to read about what she thinks of the book and also to enter the giveaway!

Here's the link - http://bookwormfamily.com/2011/08/09/with-you-in-my-heart-by-anne-maven-giveaway/