Thursday, December 4, 2014

Itna Karo Na Mujhe Pyaar...


Indian Television has a deep impact on the viewers. If handled sensitively and cleverly it can bring lot of discussion on the dinner table. It can become a source of inculcating values and traditions.
For one and half year, well almost, my family was hooked to ten o clock for BHARAT KA VEER PUTRA-MAHARANA PRATAP. Side results ~ Fabulous Hindi Diction and Vocabulary!!! Talk on Patriotism and bravery and Indian History.
So when a Show uses a Tag line Spouses can Divorce but Parents Cannot, I sit up and take note. This is a show, then I want to follow. This is the show then I want to bring on my Dining Table to discuss with my teenage kids about understanding each other. It is a way of getting them to talk about Parenting styles and their motives behind it. It is also a glimpse into what Generation today wants and how that gap can be bridged. It is also a way to understand that besides being parents, they are humans who raise kids who also have tears and their own aspirations.
Kudos to BALAJI TELEFILMS for so much as even touching a very very Sensitive topic! When Essayed by Ronit Roy and Pallavi Kulkarni…it becomes a treat to watch. Both possess the maturity required to portray hurt, passion, restraint and vulnerability.
To take a short route in the story lane. We have a mother who has two kids…Nishi (Rhea Sharma) who is 18 and son Arav (Yatin Mehta) around 17 maybe. The mother is a single parent who works as an administrative head of a Hospital. Efficient and organised. Prim and proper…disciplined and curt. She has a mother and a stay at home-type maid to aid her house hold. One friend who is also a surgeon but has issues with deciding. He hates blood so he will not perform surgery but a happy go lucky dude played by Darshan Pandya…..
Story opens with Nishi the 18 year old wanting to marry a cute boy Jignesh (Mehul Vyas)…he truly loves her…has a loving gujju family…all gujjus are loving and informal.
Mother vehemently is against the wedding as she feels it will ruin her daughter’s life. She herself has married young and feels her past is repeating. She is hurt and wounded from the past and wants to protect her child. She also wants her child to create a stable future for herself. Nothing wrong with that but well gujju family wants their son to wed…and mother wants Nishi to wait. Typically what erupts is family tensions…past lessons haunting…The maid feels that mother needs to love and so a childish attempt is made to get the surgeon and Mother hooked…I admit I skipped those few episodes. Cannot see emotions manipulated thus...avoid such immature tracks where such seasoned actors are there to give you moments!!!
They then search their Father, once the reunion of that false romance fails. They feel if father intervenes or changes her perception then mother may relent. So here is a mother who the son too feels is over powering and controlling. The son wants a gets a Laptop as she feels this will further his quest for knowledge. Here kids feel stifled at all aspects of their life controlled by mom. They love her, respect her but have grouses to settle.
Then we have a father Mr Nachiket Khanna or Neil…renowned cardiac surgeon in New York. Handsome, dynamic, sought after surgeon. His first aim of life is to save his patients. He loves to listen to music while he operates. He knows for sure where he is with his patient’s life. He is efficient, confident, aloof…with someone making an attempt on her own life in order to win his affection….which he dismisses. Loyalty to a marriage bygone??? We will soon know. So for, he does not acknowledge discussions and hints of his past wife or marriage…neither rises to it nor indulges in it.
His kids miss him as he gives a miss to his child’s academic achievement function. He thoughtfully remembers to send her a suave car for a gift. The daughter is more pining for her father’s attention then expensive gift. She hands it over to her kid brother. Another Parenting style…aloof…providing for all worldly needs but not giving the much needed warmth of a dad’s love.
Neil is called to India to the very hospital for surgery and his sister is livid…makes every futile but frantic and loud attempts to dissuade him.
When he does land up in India, their car collides with Nishi and her boyfriend. His surgeon instinct gets into action against all the desperate opposition!!! It was an action packed moment to witness!!! A Doctor has to spring into action no matter what or where!!! He takes them to the hospital and definitely throws that charming weight around of a Doctor who will not listen to Nonsense and will not tolerate delays…threatens to sue the Faculty if something happens to the wounded folks. That can silence any medical staff effectively. We enjoy it more and feel thrilled for we know he is saving his own daughter!!
Once in the operation theatre he is efficiency personified. He knows what he is doing and encourages her to come out of this whirl…commanding, cajoling in the most sensitive ways. It does give Nishi a far gone memory of her father who is cajoling her out from under the table. She is timid and afraid but father reassures… “Till I am there nothing will happen to you…” Does every daughter not want to hear those reassuring words from her Father? Are they not the most magical words that rings in every girl’s heart. These are the reassurances that give her the confidence to face the world…raise her esteem and Make her Father a Hero for Her and a Formidable Rival for her Husband later.
So they help Nishi to come out too as she subconsciously recognises in that call her father. She is alright now and Doctor dear leaves with his cell number for further updates on the girl’s health.
Goaded by the urgency of his sister, he leaves after the scheduled surgery for which he came to India. But Nishi will not stay put and we are in for another beautiful, poignant moment. She comes to meet him at the Airport. He is not yet aware of his connection.  She gently and expectantly lets in… “You are my father” She is so vulnerable in that moment asking him “I exist because of you. Will you accept my Existence???” Restraint…iron control over his face…just tad bit betrayal of expressions that recognised and then masked any outward show of emotions. It must come from years and years of masking turmoil of being hurt and being away from one set of kids. Cryptic and curt statements are asked and answered. Nishi wants to know why he left her mother. He curtly asks her to find out from the mother. In that one raw moment he betrays the fact that he is sliding in the family zone. Phone calls continue asking him to come for security check but he stands and converses to his new found daughter. He refuses to call the mother to ask her to reconsider accepting Nishi’s proposal to marry. Nishi is equally determined to give that card and ask her father to consider calling up. She is hurt and proud and behind all the Bravado I think she would have done with a hug from her Papa dear!!
Papa dear too waits after she walks away…surmising, observing his gal shedding tears. What is the effect we know when he returns to his this set of kids and suddenly realises he has missed so much part of their precious childhood. He awkwardly and made up cheer asks his 16 year old for her grade reports. She is so thrilled!!! Her father had actually shown interest in her in about years, maybe. He wants to know her future plans and if she had a Boyfriend???
Daughter gleefully informs him that she is just 16 and if she would have someone she would share it. All are surprised! Against his own will he does dial the number of his Ex-wife...rather mother of his children…At first, they disconnect...How do you talk to a spouse after 15 years??? It is a Volcanic Eruption waiting to happen with Accusations spilling out and Complaints tumbling down. He stoically asks her not to interfere and let go off her habit of controlling other people’s life. She asking him to buzz off and never be around again.
Captured and portrayed sensitively by Pallavi…First comes the anger and erupts at her kids. Next come the tears when alone. It must feel that all her hard work and struggle was up as a question mark when her own daughter goes to a father she would have never ever wanted to go to. Tears come thick as rain for all the insults hurled and Pain Revisited. The dormant so far suppressed anger resurfaces and with it the Agony of all those Lonely Painful years. Clap!!! Clap!!! It takes awesome amount of life experiences to get to the heart of mirroring this level of deep bitterness and loneliness. Tears and tearing loneliness to be reflected needs Talent and a certain beauty of character.
Next surfaces the pride and she walks in the boy’s house and fixes their wedding albeit bitterness reigning…Nishi calls up her daddy dear to thank and Invite her Dad to the Dday!!! Their conversation is cut short by another skype call from India giving him the News that His Ex-wife has remarried and moved on. He pretends non-chalance but inwardly he is shaken and torn by the news. A certain part of his never had moved on…and is hurled the same way he hurls the glass expressing his deepest anger only for his private moments.
The scene with the foreign Date I will over-look…unnecessary…what captured my choking lump of throat was two siblings realising they have a family...mother…they have invited them for wedding…they hug each other first and then muster up enough courage to ask their Dad that they want to go and see their other family. Both hate each other and yet I surmise there is deep love behind that hatred that will surface if given the right circumstances!!
A show when it brings touching moments to reminisce…a show that touches a chord into our own pain and brings forth our own untapped memories…a show that reflects tears and reunions becomes a part of daily life of us people who come back to their television sets to de-stress and yet find something of our own to dip in. A show when brings healing too becomes an Epic that will be remembered for years to come.
Avidly watching and waiting to collect vulnerable moments and portrayal of a family coming together which should always have been together in the first place. All families need to be bonded with each other. No sibling ever needs to be separated from the other…Partners may strive to be the parents their kids want for themselves so that they can securely soar and dream instead of being bitter…Do give us positive healing moments…do not give into dramas that stretch and drag…you have a lovely theme full of tears and smiles.
Focus on creating memories …I will keep coming back at ten thirty!!!

© Sonnal Pardiwala

 *the picture used is a screenshot. The writer claims no right for same. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Crisis Angel's story

MY CRISIS ANGEL                                

To understand my crisis and my angel you will have to understand the meaning of both and travel with me to my childhood to understand the turmoil and relief…
How do you define crisis? It is a situation in which all your coping skills are challenged and what skills you do have, fail to help you. You feel threatened and unable to manage and yet manage you must…
Who is an Angel? A person who loves you unconditionally regardless of who, what and how you are…allows you to exercise your free will…refrains from questioning your reasons…but still offers that guiding hand and helps you deal with your difficult situation. The sense of relief that you feel is tremendously releasing. You are left, feeling “What would I do without you?”
That established …now walk the path with me to when I was six…maybe five…
I was born in a typical Gujarati house hold…instead of A SON!!! Elder one followed by two daughters…limited income…orthodox maternal relatives, having heavy hold over what would and would not happen in my house…my father was well, shelved as a secondary decision maker. My poor mother saddled with household chores, three daughters. Her childhood ambitions all thwarted …stuck with a not so interesting existence, having no time to bond with me. She was a provider…cook…clean…comb our hair…dress us to the extent necessary…send us to school…more than that, was to ask for too much.
To hug her daughter and ask how was your day at school dear one? ...was alien to her. To find out why I was not copying the homework from board properly was not enlisted in her job duties. I was stark lazy or silly or something like that. Till one day a kind teacher pointed out to her that maybe your girl is not able to see clearly. They must consult an eye doctor.
Oh my God!!!! An EYE DOCTOR!!! CRISIS! For my mother atleast. In any other house hold, it would have been a simple matter of visiting a doctor and doing all that is needed. Not here.
I had to be taken to Surat where my maternal relatives lived and taken to an eye specialist at the civil hospital. Why did my father not take matters in his hands, I still have no answers…he never did …
There was a Room Table Conference on whose blame it was…Of course my father you see…he had brought television in my house for his girls to view…and I went very close to watch it…I  had Myopia Nerds.!!!!!
That is why…even before the teacher pointed it out it was a reality but anything to blame my father was sufficient.
Then second thing to blame was my reading habit…  I am ...I was…I will be …an avid reader and all my maternal relatives can do is frown on this natural habit. Girls??? Reading??? How unheard of????
If they could, they would have locked me up like a Rapunzel without books. I would have died for sure.
Then as if all the Bombay eye-specialist were cheats out to make money (poor things!!) it was decided to go to Surat at the end of the year…no one thought the myopia may worsen in that time period.
So I was in this Surat eye clinic. Thirty five years back doctors had a frame of alphabets written on a card board and they put glasses of various shapes to decide the extent of eye rescue required. So, I sat there, while my maternal uncle chatted and gave a long winding tale to this doc on how I fell into this abysmal well of misery!! Voracious reader that I was and having nothing else to do I memorised all the alphabets on that frame to check my vision damage right in front of the table where I was sitting!!!!
Then the doc put the first glass and asked…what can you see?? Lo!! And Behold!!! I promptly replied…I did not see them…I had mugged them!!!!
Great ...number decided...spectacles made.
When I wore those spectacles at six or maternal relatives treated it as a mourning day…all the ladies cried…I was doomed...who will marry me now??? Oh hell and damnation…!!!
No one actually asked me that, with the help of the specs “could I see now?”
No I could not if anything the vision doubled...I tripped...I goofed in school even more...but again I had to wait a year before our annual trip to Surat to fix it…by then the myopia must have worsened …-16 &-14 and I must have been only seven or eight…thick glasses...more crying...more mourning.
I was the classic trouble girl...ugly, soda bottle wali...chasmel chachhu biladi nu bachchu….was what I was called…blamed for my very passion for hero (then) my father hurled insults for not taking care of me…forbidden to watch movies…constantly reminded, No one will ever love me…will???? I needed to be loved then…future was far away…all because I had thick glasses for heaven’s sake.
Every single minute of my childhood was spent in reminding me at every opportunity that I had incurred a useless existence…efforts made constantly to cure me...doctors ...ayurvedic remedies…all of my child hood  & adolescence it was a drama always played again and again. My dad was happy being passive. He did not mind my reading and watching TV …so I was free in Bombay to do my thing but the time in maternal zone was pure torture. My sisters were beautiful but I was Tch!! Tch!!! All the thousand weddings and other functions that keep happening in a typical Hindu household my maternal aunties and uncles would always keep popping remedies and showing ways...
What I will describe now is M.A. in HILARITY…I did it…I created a Crisis for patient and stay with me.
My maternal uncle came up with a super natural remedy. In this remote village of Gujarat, there was a lady who will flick her tongue in my eyes and the number will be gone!!! I was 17 ...just gave my 12th in Arts. Marriageable, according to a gujju household, that many years back!
We travelled for hours...waited in that village for hours…before that lady would come…there was a throng of people waiting to be cured…talks of miraculous recovery….how a snake had given her this boon…I sat there at having to endure all this for all these many years….at that age you want approval, love and you look at the world from the window your elders show you. After all, they all were going through so much trouble to cure me…I must be grateful. Somehow I was not feeling so grateful...but I COULD NOT WORD IT.
So the woman came, she took off my specs threw them at her altar and forbade me to ever wear it...kind of a forever vow...a spell…
In that one moment of trepidation and years and years of enduring humiliation…I LIED! I confirmed I can see…
Once again everyone was so over joyed at this miracle and sharing of it with the world…no one checked with me that could I really???
That day onwards my specs were a history and then I was able to see. When I went close to the mirror, I was fairly good looking. If I dress well…style my hair well...I was attractive. At 18 that is what a girl wants…but the Crisis that I created also plunged me into darkness…I could not read until I took something very close...I missed expressions of people who were far away...If I visited the theatre...the movie screen was a blur...maybe my dad realised it but faith in miracles cannot be questioned.
Had he ever hugged me and asked me “Girl can u really see? I do think you are having trouble with your vision.” He never did until a long long time. If he had, I would have owned up to the truth.
But I was smart at using my other senses so I travelled to college, read happily my books…books…books. College was good, for professors there lectured, hardly anyone ever wrote on boards so it was fun.
Travelling however was torture…and a comic hilarious course in human nature as well as my own frustration...sometimes I felt it would be better to have those sticks the visually challenged folks carry ...the types that would at least encourage others to help me for ...sometimes I would be lost for hours on roads I did not know...I had to ask…and walk…walk…and ask to find my way back…for I could not see beyond my own hand much less the sign boards…getting on right bus...imagine, standing there and asking...where is bus-stop of 365...and the perplexed woman who was asked would look over my head at the bus stop where the number was written and look at me as if I am making fun of her…
Destiny and me myself had chosen to fall in this situation...who could I go and tell...while my parents thought I was in training during my M.A. years I was lost on the Trombay highway or searching my way back to station from Nair Hospital...the agony and strife was my own…Slowly I also stopped making friends for explaining again and again the goofs that would invariably happen was soul wrenching…I immersed myself in Library and made books my friends for they share but do not question. They did not mind at whatever distance I read them. Being alone I did not have to answer questions with regards to holding the books very close…very very 40% eye sight it was natural…( later a doc mentioned that...much much later..)
I love the internet now because friends on net read your words…no need for eye contact there...I have so many of them and chat with all. Every single message I reply for it is so rare for me to have friends who solicit my matter how busy …I answer...I care…I have led such a lonely existence so far that internet gives wings to my thirst for friends…
Back then to my past...and something happened...
My grandma in Surat died…I rejoiced…sorry to be so cruel but all the disharmony of my existence all led to her and through her. She would not have such a stronghold on my mom, life could have been different.
IF Gods can be so ludicrous they are kind too. This crisis that I created was in May of that year and they sent this Angel in August of that year. My Crisis Angel who held my hand in this near blind state and made my life worth living...made me feel beautiful...made me feel loved...told me all those wonderful things that I read in books and I longed to hear. He affirmed my human NESS  ...never questioned at this hilarious story of my vision but simply went about making the necessary steps.
His name is Nozzer Pardiwala. This gentle angel became my armour and protection. He was there to compliment me on my woman hood. He was there in the mornings when we travelled to college. He was there to wake me up for my exams and take me on those various centres of exams on his bike…once he had one...he was there to get me back home after the exams...outside the centre waiting patiently to finish my three hours papers...encouraging me to go forward...whether giving an exam…crossing a road…
So many times in his young ardour he must have sent me love torn looks, knowing fully well I missed them all…all the ardour of his youth wasted because the lady he chose to love simply was short sighted. He shielded me from his family members never even letting them know about my drawback...never leaving me alone for anyone to discover the truth...constantly by my side to fill in any gaps my vision may bring or any goof ups...and there were so many.
Many times I simply could not wave out to his relatives from far...I could not see them…they did not know it...he could not tell them.
So many times the dust and dirt in our house was left on him to clean for I plain could not see it. The art of cooking I had mastered with the help of my other senses and sense of organisation. But cleanliness went in his department as I could not clean what I cannot see.
I missed seeing our own kids first ever so many moments…so my crisis angel my husband who goes by the name -Nozzer Pardiwala bought in a Camcorder and captured those moments…
Movies were a blur for me…so at least that I can enjoy he took tickets in front rows, the ticket vendors marvelled and found him weird, people prefer the back rows to enjoy a movie better…my angel sat in front rows with me to let me enjoy.
He took up chores of veggie shopping for I could be cheated...after all I cannot possibly hold every veggie close to examine its freshness.
Wordlessly he demonstrated what deep love... unconditional and binding is... so he is precious to me …for every hurt I forgive... for every harsh word I overlook .He has endured a life ...a difficult life when he could have chosen otherwise.
He chose to love…offer unparalleled generosity to a lost woman. He could have questioned ...why not lenses if your vow says you will never wear specs???
He could have thundered I am your husband go get yourself a proper eye fix!!!
He could have chosen to tie his life with another one …we were so young when we met…he could have.
He returned love for love...Angels do that...they keep your free will intact and provide guidance as per your wish.
He used to proclaim himself as JO HUKUM MERE AAKA…He really was my GENIE…fulfilling long held wishes buried underneath in this humble hurt girl...he washed away all the humiliation and consternation from my heart with his gentle ways …did he  ever ask anything in return…other than that I love him right back???
Inspired by him, his devotion and unquestioning attitude my father did take one of those rare initiative in the best interest of his daughter, twenty years after this drama…to speak to an eye doctor who was removing his cataract. Doctor, too, bless his soul…non challantly gave the simplest of solutions any any any Idiot should have thought plausible…no specs she can wear as a religious vow...why not lenses???
My husband again encouraged as much as I was willing to...he refrained for he never wanted to question my Faith???? Call it love…
It took every ounce of courage in my body and mind...for to question long held faith is tough...I may go blind...gods would do that?? Really?????
I went for the check up… -18 &-21
No miracle had eye sight had worsened…but for some reason also stabilised at that...doc trained me into lenses and a whole new world opened...I really saw…SAW MY angel for the first sons for the first time...I could read from afar...I could enjoy every nuance of movie and tele shows….I could see the dust n dirt in my house...the food colours...the bed sheet patterns…the tear...the colour of people and their eyes...the various greens of husband’s honey dewy much I had kids on stage…these words on much I had denied and deprived myself of???
I want to live this life to the fullest now...and I am offering my gratitude to my angel of a husband...for everything...the 42 inch TV in a tiny flat so I could see the faces at least…
The hordes of books you let me read
The dust you cleared…
The roads you help me cross literally and figuratively…
The untold silent cover up of goofs of a lifetime…you know about them more than I never openly complained or mentioned...Angels never do never did that.
For being my genie, for a life time and creating solutions for every issue that was created…
All I can say is were born four days after me…Gods send you to guide a little thing like me… wipe my tears and add smiles… cover my follies and create a kind of love that is rare...not only of this life time but many…I am lucky I found and have known an Individual from ethers who can define a TRUE CRISIS ANGEL…

©Sonnal Pardiwala                                                   


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ajeeb Daastaan hai ye…

As I saw the first episode roll, and saw a happier than thou family –two kids, rich house-hold, ma-in-law & daughter –in-law planning hubby dear’s birthday party ...Well!!! I did begin guessing where this could go!!!

Then enters Harsh Chhaya  (as Samar) a brilliant actorall lovey dovey and romantic and obedient …now I wondered… “Surely there is a mistress somewhere” But before I could switch my tele set to another channel, I also had to concede the presence of Sonali Bendre(as Shobha) If she was in, well maybe this saga can be a little different. I then waited to see how this tried and tested drama will play out. It does make a sensitive drama if in dignified hands.

It is tough to portray how a woman feels when she uncovers her husband in somebody else’s arms…much is written and spoken about it but only a woman who goes through it knows how her world comes crashing down. Only she knows the inner shame of this sacred violation of intimacy …Only she can feel that tearing apart of an existence she build around this man she calls her husband. Only she would know the sense of denial ...This feeling to rewind and reverse the fate as if it never happened or at least no one should ever know…more than the man she stands EXPOSED!!! Much later much much later the strands of this hurt will keep coming back to taunt her in her nights even when she thinks she has moved on…

Shobha stands there looking around. A friend expects her to see the truth as it is…but for her she is still his still has to fully dawn on her that she has to face this bitter truth of her marriage. Her husband is far from being Apologetic ...Men never are. They knew what they were doing and what they could get away with. It is only the woman who needs to single handedly guard and defend her fort. No one ...I think no one can wipe her tears and rebuild her tattered dignity back with a soothing word. In this she exists alone with her misery and with herself as her only counsellor. She has children she has to look around and act normal for their sake. Her children would never ever understand and how do you tell your kids your father prefers another woman and not your mommy…She cannot tell that to herself how would she even dare to do that with her kids? She cannot even so much as raise her eyes and cry, much less tell anything…

Then there is this taking of Sides ...your own people standing and telling you ...OVERLOOK THIS!!!

She realises some already knew it before she did ...even were allies into it. Some after knowing would shrug their shoulder and tell her to hide it…forget it so as not to shake the apple cart... Economics you see…Social prestige you see...

If he is the earning member, he knows she cannot go far away…the others in family do not wish to create a if one has not been created already…

What does a woman do, lament over her state of affairs?? Ask for mercy….cry over someone’s shoulder –none is forthcoming-
Who can she go and tell her insides just shattered …she felt insulted at her intimacy being compromised? People-relatives and friend blame and take sides and give strong opinions…
Where are the answers??? Is another Man an answer???
Is Economic independence the answer???Is Divorce an answer??How can you now explain the kids that their perfect existence is ruined for your father does not prefer your mother??Now things are not the same between your dad and mommy???
Is it the kids fault? Can she take on the mantle of responsibility of kid’s mental health? Who do they choose to live with? Who do they choose to love? For them father is the hero of their existence and mom the ultimate heroine? How and why will they take sides? 

What about the family existence…festivals...anniversaries…outings…which were a source of gaining happiness ...would they not become tug of war???

So, Yes, I am avidly following the show to see how they play up the dynamics  ...How they deal with each aspect ...Do they give justice to this inner turmoil of the woman or will it be another titillating drama of Indi serials garnering TRP’s and following whichever trend that gets them reviews?

©Sonnal Pardiwala

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What do I want From My children...and for my children…?

Somebody asked me this question and I wondered …a whole set of insights and interrogations tumbled into my mind and heart…the musings have brought in lot of thoughts and still I am far from concluding….
First things first! If I have to quote Gibran...your children come through you and not for you ….I read it as a young teenager and ever since I held my babies in my hand and helped them grow...I have kept this adage in my heart. Really, do I even have a right to expect anything for or from my children? Are they responsible for my happiness or growth or sense of wellbeing? The answers I got are what I need to pen down… Rather type down. So if ever I were to leave this path of letting them be...I can bring myself back on track .What I expect from my children also was very revealing to me and quite startling...a little unconventional and little out of the ordinary…

Let me get down to what and how I think I want to be Able to see, relate and function with my kids… very cliché I WANT THEM TO BE HAPPY.
What is new, anyone would ask, every- one wants that .There is not a single parent on this earth who would not claim this one. Even then look closely. Every parent gets very closely interlinked with their growing up and their own possible economic, social and psychological struggle. As adulthood is the time when pressures are on financially and socially to adhere to a certain standards ...certain choices and activities parents undertake because they are mandatory, expected …at times can be deemed as sacrifice by them. At many junctures in life they may have to give up on certain aspirations of their own…not pursue a certain career path or relocation idea. These then on occasions are passed on to the kids to fulfil. Children because they love their parents may oblige simply to fall in line, express their unconditional love or simply to seek approval. This may be at the expense of then what they really want. Result lack of inner glow and now what I define as true happiness. I want my children to do something only and only because it inspires them interests them…it ignites them .I do not ever wish that they may be the recipient of any of my unfulfilled wants and grouses with life. I want this in everything they do. Even if they join a certain activity, if they choose a career path, if they choose a life partner …it should be their heart felt decision. If it makes them sing with joy...laugh with abundance and smile cheekily with acceptance it should be all theirs.
One would ask “Would you never wish that they be a certain way?” Oh yes! I do but I would rather share my expectations and leave it at that .Yes I am a human being and I do have expectations but I am training to tame them and not let them turn into obsession. I have seen mothers run from one class to another just so they can claim the credit of their ward’s glory …it kind of fulfils them…I want to have my own avenues to fulfil me. With my kids, all I want is, simply be proud of their laurels and a tissue paper for catching their tears of failures. I want to be there as a confidant simply examining both and preparing further. The key word that I wish to emphasize is LOCUS OF CONTROL. I would truly sigh in peace if my kids have a locus of control, a sense of “I am in charge of what happens to me”.

Many situations came in life for which I was not prepared …for no one had ever prepared...maybe no one can prepare you. No one can really help you deal with cruel inhuman people or situations. Life is, at times, not fair or it does not go as per our plans. That is time a person’s inner power needs to take charge and say ok- this-happened-now-I-will-deal-with-this. Go ahead and devise intelligent ways of thinking and coping with it. Always the focus should be on creating something positive out of a given circumstance and add to it loads and loads of sense of humour.

That is another expectation from my dear Miracles. I have been to nasty hospitals where staff was at best inhuman, unkind and ill- mannered.  I have been to Police station, sorry! Have been dragged to one for no rhyme or reason and humiliated…….and I have been to a situation of helplessness and utter despair. Yet, when I look back at these events and recount them to either to my kids or someone close all it generates is a quirky take on human behaviour and gaffe…It has helped me tremendously to be able to take it all in my stride for I have this uncanny sense of humour for a companion .It cannot be given has to be inculcated by always observing keenly humans and the situations around. We are constantly living in the midst of a hilarious existence and it comes truly handy…to observe it and use it to weave anecdotes of your past- significant account of your past and present…I would love even today to put out my tongue at a kid whizzing by on a nearby bike without even knowing who he or she is and get a smile or frown…It helps me love life and smile .So yes I want that my kids learn to appreciate this truly circus of an existence…enjoy smiling ...spread smile wherever they go ..and not allow anything much to keep them down for long .Whatever, life doles out, they catch it with a Responsible shake of head (locus of control) and sassy smile at the twists and turns of life (sense of humour) Laughing at times gets back a sense of We- can- handle- it- grip so to speak….worst of quarrels with my hubby well went off due to one of us calling on this seedy side of us or one of us would have borne the LATE SO-N-SO-title for sure ...yes!!! We are foe to be reckoned with when we yell murder ...gross!!! but one of us pealing into laughter at the absurdity of it all and laughing at it through the rest of the times have kept us intact all these two decades…and counting…

On musing further a truly funny thought crossed my silly mind and that is I WANT MY KIDS TO BE ECONOMICALLY INDEPENDENT sooner than later…Honestly when I look back at our ancient society kids matured early mentally and gender specific they were ready to adopt their duties...girls learned household and culture management…boys ready to pool in with whatever it is that father did.
I am in no ways advocating child marriage or exploitation here…only the readiness created in that ancient society in them as to when they shall partake of their responsibilities and begin fending for themselves .Girls knew their way around the house and boys the outside zone…I wish to make my kids ready in every possible way to fend for themselves .It is an unspoken fear of mine “what if I am not there someday?” Silly but ask any parent and they will own up to entertaining this fear deep in the recesses of their hearts .I am only honest enough to word it. …So I want that my boys should cook, clean and have a knowhow of what to buy and how to buy of everything...from grocery to grains to stationery to you name it...I would love it if my boys would just as easily balance a cheque book of their personal account as much as they begin depositing money they themselves have earned .However in today’s time it looks not too likely .I have seen societal expectations allowing kids to be students till the middle of their lives...acquiring degrees and certificates. Later overcharging their customers for the money they invested...ok little judgemental am I!!!! Apologise for this, if I hurt sentiments.

Career too is something I feel is not static .In our times we studied for a degree and that was that our career was made were a banker, teacher, officer...nine to five slave….However today we live in fluid times... careers change ...people change…opportunities change …availability changes…so sky is the limit for kids living in this time. Who is to say if the kid chose to study engineering today would not be excited to paint landscapes few years down the line…? Who is to say that an M.B.A. may not give up the corporate path and walk the lane to spirituality or go on to become a renowned writer? Who is to predict anything ?There are examples galore to quote the above instances…All that counts is Being happy and to get that thing called Satisfaction out of life …contentment.

So, as a mother I share fully my traits with my kids. I share my humorous sad stories with them and affirm I laugh in spite of them. I cook with them in the kitchen different cuisines and demonstrate you can learn just about anything. I share my passion for everything with them …right from Spirituality learning new languages….to sharing my craziness on a tele–serial and its characters….to show them that sometimes I just feel tired and plonk on the bed lazy as a hippopotamus on leave…to being super active on exam schedules in tuition class ( kids exams for us) ….to being philosophical on issues which moms never discuss with their sons ...I do…From rape to racism…everything….to teaching them to rise to every occasion that demands flexibility…what applied today may have to change tomorrow and we have to be ready for it….

Whatever they do in life they will find me an excited friend onto a journey who has only pointers to a way. A readiness to walk with them as long as they want me to with them…and when the detour comes if it does…I have plenty yet to share...laugh and live…

Musings shall continue…do stay tuned, with me if you like and give your valuable may differ from mine but we all will learn from sharing…

© Sonnal Pardiwala

Unrequited love-How necessary is it?

                     Unrequited love-How necessary is it?

      As a culture , we Indians are an emotional lot. We have grown up on a steady dope of films depicting tons of characters this emotional drama. We have surely felt the pain of the ones whose love has not been returned .It is a sure fire cash in for today ‘s tele-shows to get eye balls and sure as hell drags the tears out.
As a person I am just amused at the absurdity and immaturity of it all. As a Mother I am worried..very very worried. My children are growing and soon they shall walk the lanes of finding their significant other .Soon they will harbour in their hearts feelings for that someone special. I feel responsible ,very ,very responsible as to how do I get to talk to my children on these facts. Sexual education will come a little later. Just now we talk about tender feelings and reciprocation of it.
As a tuition teacher ,I deal with adolescent kids who are too going through this phase.As a person who has been exposed to a whole gamut of relationships ,it is easy for me to see the smiles and the delicate exchanges first through the eyes and then …well…
What dampens my heart is to see a student pining away for someone who does not..will not..cannot return these feelings .They get so distracted then. They lose interest in their studies, in their work  per se. I guess even with adults the scene is more or less the same .For many of the so called adults are also stuck in the time frame of adolescence and have not yet grown up and out of the dramatics they nurture in their minds.
What then are the immediate effects?
First , loss of interest. Next ,intense sadness. Next maybe if the person is very sensitive ,lack of appetite and sleep.
What is of interest which seriously would require intervention is, Psychological and internal impact. There are various ways this can manifest.
Bitterness…intense and biting which may lead to unnecessary scenes and name calling…to subtle gossip and reputation tainting…depends again on the dynamics of the relationship and the clout of the person in question .Wider the network of people involved, broader the influence, deeper goes the darker side of this human nature. It can harm relationships…force people to take sides and create permanent gaps in otherwise friendly networks.
If the person in question is the silent sort, the hurt internalises. Somewhere the person finds himself or herself to blame. Feel one is unworthy not of the object of love but also of any kind of love .This can get so dangerous. Internalising the pain and probably carrying the low self-esteem to every other relationship that you may enter. What a waste, if it at times carries this defeated person to end one‘s life!!!!!
Where does the other party fit in? What can the other person do if he or she is just unable to reciprocate? After all we are here talking about an ethereal, zone called feelings. That is one thing maybe we can control but cannot generate voluntarily for any person.  You may like or not like a person. Love or not love a person. It is not a factory made product that can be cut to size or produced as per order. If the person is a friend imagine the guilt…resentment, awkwardness it may generate. Pity would be such an ugly word but another by-product for a poor thing in love but not loved.
Would it be not better if as parents we raise these topics and train kids to feel and respond!!! Ahhh !!! Respond a certain way and not react….??
If I have an Assertive right to feel for a person can I not give the same and sane option to another person to reserve the same Assertive right to not feel for me?
If a person could not love you would it rebound on you as an unworthy person of love forever or simply an equation not going our way for only and only that situation?
Why dramatize because tele serials and films do? Why think in letting go we are doing a huge sacrifice? That is what our culture endorses...we probably love tears and sniffles specially that are hidden ….
Why not give our gen next this point of view that they can take a mature stand and learn to recognise such instances as exceptions and not rules.
Each one of us has a unique space that we share in this world with others. Each one of us has something valuable we bring in this universe. Let us celebrate that instead of thinking as one slight on our ego?
If our gen next were to train…train in relationships would we not have less heart aches. Teach them to simply acknowledge a relationship that is not going their way .Talk to them that it has no long term bearing on what they are or who they are. Tell them that their mature shrug and let go attitude will make space for another special one to walk in. If they have less baggage they would soon bask in the new love. If they carry the bitterness of love spurned for sure they will begin playing unworthy me now you work double to convince me of my worthiness. The poor new one who has walked in to offer love now instead of loving has to indulge in damage control….
If we were to infuse our kids with their own worthiness…why should another loving or not loving define them? Their relationships would flow smoothly and they would be dignified in every encounter with any levels of relationships they enter. Relationships purpose to to enrich and enhance our existence but we make it a playground for games and the very people we love we push them into being our saviours.
Let us truly talk to our gen next about these important things that make up the tapestry of our life will be awkward at first our folks never did. But it will be worth a happy generation with less heartaches and more smiles as much for us as their near and dear ones…
Let us start early .We need to educate ourselves to educate our young beings…..pollution and global warming and poverty and injustice of the world maybe I cannot do much about. I can surely add to my kid’s happiness and I have begun the process …if only more would join me!!!!!!!
                                                                                 By SONNAL PARDIWALA

Monday, June 30, 2014

Reached Somewhere….Going Nowhere…

So , The decision to home school the kids was taken and the thought began to settle in our hearts….
In May , the feeling was pretty much subdued as the month of vacations was on and kids were  totally involved with well, boys’ stuff…cricket…video games …getting up late…
Come June and gradually it began to seep in. The routine began. Home learning felt as if we were moving house… take with you all the memories …good ones …you can take a few things with you to relocate but some things attached and unmovable …unnecessary maybe you leave behind.
We too had to decide what we will take of school and what we could leave behind for good or …
Suddenly there was no need to get up early and rush for school and that meant no need to forcefully get into bed early too. .we could linger a little and talk. We could watch a movie if we so liked. .there were suddenly no Monday Morning blues. Each one of us could have a me-time after a long day of work and spend time with our electronic friends…if we so desired. Kids did not have pressing deadlines to meet and that meant there was no demand on every hour. We actually stopped looking at the clock to ascertain how much time did we have to complete this or that or whatever…What relief!!!!
However we still belonged to the strong conditioning in our minds that kids need the paper and pencil and structure so we sat down and asked this all important question “What subjects would you like to study?” Language, math, science… History, geography was plain rejected. Then came the time to discuss HOW??Again we put the ball in their court. They decided mornings and certain parts of afternoons were good for them…we were delighted to actually find that we could discuss a lesson more in depth and they could write answers at length in their own interprets and I stopped putting in markings as previously I used to do…My first lesson…what is written is to be appreciated and maybe added to with your own tones. It cannot and should never be restricted to marks. 
That established…. lot of anxiety still lingered ….anxious heart beats over “Was it still the right decision?” We began our day at our class and soon another dilemma cropped up. We were asking other kids to do those same things that we opted out of. Now that needed balancing. I had to compartmentalise myself first as a mother…strategies that I used for my kids was a direct parental decision making arising out of changing the way we thought what we want for our kids in life. For starters we wanted that they should not have to go through the stress of bags and burdens of other people’s dictates of how they should acquire knowledge. Knowledge is everywhere …not only in textbooks but in little the visit to a watching a movie …in arguing and learning about pain and win and lose and make up or walk apart…learning is all around.
Yet come June and the kids in the class walked in with portion papers and exam time tables stating the dates when the stress period would begin. Announcing when and what the kids need to mug up. Kids as young as first grade walked in with long answers which they cannot even read but had to reproduce…their speed…their grasping...understanding not in question but …reproduce they had to…or remarks poured in “needs to write fast” “be neat “ “needs improvement”…and tuitions are meant to fix these so called errant behaviours. Tuition as a system is a direct consequence of school acting as the verdict giving faculty…No one questions the school that we put our kids in school so that they may learn to read or write or improve…!! Then on who is exactly the school putting the onus of all the education the child is to receive. As a teacher I could see where the child was …what needed working and how much approximate time would that require…oh, but it had to now match the time tables of constant tests offered in school. I had to drop the mantle of mother within me. I could not give the same freedom and leverage to these kids whose improvement [good grades] I was responsible for. I had to drop my patience and agonisingly devise short-cuts so that these little ones can produce a good test record. On Fridays and Saturdays I could actually feel the tiredness in these kids little ones I could give the freedom and say you do not feel like paper and pencil and book ….just leave it. I could not give the same respect to these first to ten graders to let it be. If they did not write some certain pages their parents complained...Give them heavy homework…WAS THE REQUEST.
Oh God!!! Was what they did throughout the week not enough? They needed to work even in weekends ….And I needed to compartmentalise….on a war footing.
I had to tell myself ‘this is work’ and had to follow the wily rules however much I did not agree with them. With my own kids it was a way of life. Our way of life! Two separate boxes and they needed to be kept separate. It took a while but I learned that bit by bit! I learned to tune out as soon as the last student walked off. I switched on when I entered the class. I tried my best to make it worth the class inventive in how I give my lessons...overlook a bit when Monday homework was not turned in….
With my own kids also I learned to relax…when they played heartily and came back perspiring and huffing…I truly relaxed. Suddenly the whole issue of Socialising seemed to fall into its place. I actually realised I did not have much to do. .they had their own popularity, we had people constantly at our door asking for their company…wherever they went, at the class, at home everywhere.
We human beings still hate vacuum...we love problems and anxiety...we cannot seem to live without them...we cook them up when we have a smooth life...if one issue cools down we sort of create another…stay with me & LIVE MY CONFUSION .
Suddenly an unknown fear began gripping at me. What are my children’s interests that I can fan? I had met and was in touch with many home schooling parents and I saw them doing so much creative stuff...someone doing scientific experiments…some maths...some were talented in dance or music and giving concerts...someone so creative with craft and arts…
My boys were well boys …they loved cricket…played video games...diligently followed textbooks that we provided and absorbed the material. That was that. I am not a scientific person…have no creative craft in my entire system…my work schedule did not allow that we take off to various destinations on whims, visit places.
What are we doing then with our kids? Will we ruin their life? What talents we can nurture? And I spent sleepless nights and harrowing days …..
Then I decided to give myself a break….absolute break…went down to my basics. We were cool…chilled. Our routine well established and our decision affirming every day. So there was no harm in giving this anxiety a break. Stop thinking and just be ….
I learned to appreciate my kids in a passive mode. Just observe and enjoy them. There was so much time for them to go and begin an economic life. Why the competition in my mind? What is the hurry? Are they not just wonderful the way they are? Why play at getting creative?
When you relax creative things happen….my elder one signed up at IndiBlogger and has kick started a series on chronicling his experiences in school and how he feels about home schooling…dash of humour, tons of insight and there I have a thinking, feeling individual expressing himself as eloquently as he could.
My little one found his energy in a tennis class and was so super excited two days even before his class would begin…he is happy with his cricket bat. Tennis racquet. His video games…and his life.
Now can as a mother I not learn something so simple? They have taken birth with a mission…they have a long life to discover, uncover and explore. What is the hurry?
So I sit back and drop this mantle of worry …only hoping that I have unlearned and do not go on to adopt another silly issue…humans abhor vacuum you see…till then.
With a silent mind and content heart
I put my worries and concerns apart …
I begin to live ….

Sonnal Pardiwala

Thursday, May 8, 2014


So for months we had looked at each other, nodded our heads at the school system which was not giving us the satisfaction of inculcating education for our children. Then my husband came up with the whole idea of HOMESCHOOLING. My first internal reaction was a resounding NO!!!!!!!!
I could not think of this as an alternative to our growing woes. To me it was the way to exist .That is what everyone does!!! My children were getting ranks in school .They were the toppers. It was a matter of pride to me and for me in the locality and for the family too.
Was I prepared to give it all up?? Besides I would tease my husband was he willing to let the school ways go?? He was the strict one!!! If we spoke of missing a day he was the first one to object….If the kids refused to get up he was the first one to disapprove ...I was more than happy to skip a day. .call it off after an outing…play hooky on a rainy day…We called him CENSOR BOARD…for he was very particular about the school  books and even would get down to packing their bags .I was relaxed and was ok if they got a remark or two.. mostly they would get for not carrying an art book or paints…well they did not like the session as it was highly boring according to them .He, the father, would frown and fret.
Now can you see what a mass of contradiction we both were .The strict one was willing to explore a completely uncharted territory hitherto and the relaxed one was frozen at the very prospect!!!
I thought we must work at changing the system by taking part in Parent teacher meetings and forums .We must actively get involved in the school by having high level meetings with the authorities and make them see the reason. Surely when they realise their mistake they would mend their ways!!! After all everyone wishes best for the children. I was so wrong. Then came a funny phone call that stopped me in my tracks!!!!
I did a major U turn and gave myself a chance to RETHINK…EVERYTHING THAT I THOUGHT!!!
My elder son is academically bright .He has grown up all his life observing me and his father express our thoughts in verbal form ... letters...articles books…So he was good at making up his own notes and articulating his answers, any subject… for ENGLISH LITERATURE, HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, HINDI, MARATHI. His grammar was perfect as per the school standards as many concepts he had learned as a part of my coaching class sessions with other grades so he managed to get full marks in almost all grammar papers and literature stood highest however low the score he was the one who topped. So if teacher decided to give 11\25..he would be the one in the class to get it .All teacher could deduct was a part of compulsory cutting [it never made sense to me why they had instructions to compulsory cut marks???!!!!] The foolish reasoning put forward was “to avoid overconfidence”
Coming back to the topic, it was well known that we, parents of Shahen are Teachers of maths and languages. Many kids from other standards would approach him for markings in history and take suggestions for English answers. I got a phone call from his SCHOOL’S ENGLISH TEACHER with an explicit request “I want tuitions for myself as to how to teach English better”. For few seconds, all my coherent being went for a toss. Tuitions as such are looked down and disapproved by school. It is a condemned practice for students though it is a parallel education system. But no one is to openly admit to the benefits of tuition. I was used to a student requesting my services but the very teacher in charge of giving marks to students in a school!!!
Of course I had to be very careful in how I respond. Definitely I could not have entertained such a request as if at all the school authorities would discover it would be perceived as INTERFERENCE. My immediate response was to engage her in some polite conversation and find a decent way to say “no”. I told her it will not go down well for authorities if they were to find out and why she is finding difficult to teach. Then she revealed that she was simply a B.A. in ECONOMICS and her primary subject is not even English. The school principal had enforced this responsibility on her. She was told to refer to Wren and Martin and solve an exercise every day!!! That would improve her English…Wow!!!! She said she tried but there were so many concepts she just could not understand. Even some poems and their interpretations she was unable to do and so she played safe and gave 50 % marks in each answer. That explained so many things …the spelling mistakes and the lack of understanding displayed to essays and compositions….Phew!!!!
After that conversation I had to THINK…hard…What am I sending my kids to????That was my first UNLEARNING .I used to think schools impart knowledge. Now I asked “REALLY”. Who should I take my disappointment to? The teacher??? She was so helpless in front of the management. The Management??? They are not now interested in child development and neither interested in paying high salaries to recruit the right personnel who would do the job. Some major overhauling is required in our educational patterns but can I wait that long???
Now I was ready to go to my husband and ask “Can we actually get our kids out of school and still manage to do a good job? I had thousand apprehensions and yet now I was ready to ruthlessly examine my own ideology “Does finding a school with a certain curriculum amount to Education?” Is school the only campus to receive an education? Did my Masters in psychology degree help me in anyway? What did I get from my institutes?  It evoked in me long delicious hours of soaking myself in books in the library…making notes…understanding depths of a topic…noting debates on various issues…not many teachers that I can vouch for…
The one word here is EXPOSURE …..Can I not provide that to kids?? It was frightening too ...will I be able to offer? I shirked and let go of this dependence on school to get my children information, exposure and in general education…in letting go I took a u turn and decided to change ways ….
Then came a lovely learning experience CONFERENCE AT KHANDALA 2014. Till then I had just offered to change ways yet my years and years of conditioning of this is how we go into financial world and earn money, prevailed.
I recklessly asked questions, shared my fears, interacted with every person who was willing to. The certificate issue too got cleared as some kids were appearing for IGCSE & NIOS exams. For the first time we realised that there were some people who did not even care for school system. All my life I  had come across tense mothers soliciting advice on the right school…books…tuition classes…phonetics….Here I met moms who were not even giving school a thought, they were happy letting their kids just enjoy their childhood. OH YES!!!! Why burden them with bags and marks and competitions??? Why drag them out of their play time to attend school where they are expected to sit a certain way…eat a certain way…draw when told…write when told…stand in line when told…in short grow up to be adults who will do anything after only when they are instructed ,and told to do something…
We, parents, adhere to conformist notions in order to do the best for our children. That day in Khandala… I realised…. I woke up too late to this fact. All those days went past my eyes when my little one hugged me and cried and refused to go in the school and we had two maushis and a teacher dragging him from me…why? Oh why did I allow that????…why did I not think of hugging him back and say nobody will send you somewhere you do not want to go. Is that really discipline to do something against your will? Or is it discipline to do something that you want to do and you have the zeal to arrange everything so that it all turns out beautifully and you come out smiling from the endeavour? Is it truly structure to sit for hours in one position and take out books and listen to someone you know does not know half of what is involved in the topic?
One dear girl very wisely pointed out “If your children are as intelligent as you say, why you want someone else to decide in which grade they should be or what they should read or write or do????”
That kind of philosophy emerges out of free thinking. Here was a girl fearlessly and non-chalantly asking a forty year old something she had never ever figured it mattered. Yes why should someone else decide what they should do? Their intelligence their time their interests…Why meddle?? Why not enjoy their life unfold…Again I took a U- turn...I unlearned about school directing and labelling my kids……
So we turned inwards to check how we had allowed ourselves to get hyper anxious. Why we had bought into all these philosophies which did not add value to our children’s lives? Why had we outsourced this important need of our children?
Because that is what everyone does…there was no other way to exist. Suddenly I saw that indeed there was! We were the primary Educators of our children and can take on the Mantle of exposing them to stuff that will help them grow...think...flourish..
I spend sleepless nights debating and discussing with my inner self, with my better half and asking repeatedly my kids if they were ok with the decisions…Will they miss their friends? School activities? That made me realise how deeply conditioned we are to not flow against the current. We are so deeply taught to go along and do what everyone does and do it better than others…
My major learning or u turn came when I relaxed my guard and say to myself it is ok I do not have to adhere to anyone else’s opinion .Mine is the only one that matters. When I cook or shop for my kids I do not enlist or entertain anybody else intervening then why now??? Why for school???
15th March 2014 was the last day of our formal schooling and instead of enjoying the vacation like usual I agonised ...did I do the right thing?...should we reconsider…to any one walking this path understand that this is a normal way of detaching takes a while to accept your own decisions when they are totally against the accepted norm .I no longer felt the need to criticise or condemn school viciously as again the relaxed me realised they do what they do ..It is your call that makes all the difference .I have stored this reasoning one liner. .PEOPLE DO WHAT THEY DO ...IT IS YOUR CALL THAT MATTERS.
Then came a different experience. The need to prove that you did the right thing…so on 1st April ...when the school restarts we too stood at the bookstore to buy books and oh boy!!!! We were in for a different experience…the book store owner refused to entertain us without the school name...we came back at a peaceful time we managed to get few…few he did not have and he still does not have... for us maybe…maybe not…he says schools have tied up with the publisher and so stores do not have books ...he is angry…makes sense [On a humorous note I felt like telling him to tie up with Home-schooling community ...He will have business galore and will never be let down]
Then in the midst of the crowd me and my husband we asked a simple question “Why this hurry? Previously there were tests …deadlines...notes to be made…school had started what??? Now why?? To show whom?? To prove what?? Why this rush in the month of April only? BECAUSE WE ARE CONDITIONED BEINGS.REPETITIVE…HABITUAL CREATURES…
Ok we learned a new lesson. We could buy whenever and start with whatever books we have got. Even if we do not start who will ask us? We literally took a U-turn of our car and did not go in the shop. We did not have any standards to adhere to...we were actually ...really free. Any which ways if they would be in state board school they would be enjoying vacations …so whose yardstick we go by…none...
At home we began with the elder one. English lesson and for the first time “WE READ”. Till now we used to quickly read through and go through the lesson and discuss the probable answers and …he would go and attempt the test the next day. But that day we enjoyed for we read and discussed and understood and connect other stories related to it and importance of “HUMANITY”. That was the topic of the lesson. He clicked on the links given for Robert frost and came to know about Russian wall. ..Berlin wall…AND DISCUSSION VEERED TO COMPOUND WALLS AND WHOA…!!!! We had a blast. The next day he wrote extensive notes from the back of text .Long answers that took almost a day. But he took his time ...sitting in front of television...watching his show…talking with us...taking a break. The answers were cool. Then he asked me a natural question “How many marks test will you give me? “And I wondered at the futility of it all!!! He knew the lesson. Had read it thoroughly, made extensive and expressive notes now where was the need of a 25 marks test??? The proof, if any was required, was there.
As if to validate my musings Shahen’s previous year‘s class teacher whose son was in the same grade as him came home asking about home schooling. She wanted to know what we were doing and why and how…She was shown the book that we maintained ..She quipped that even though her son has given the test he still complains he does not understand the lesson .According to him it was boring.
When lessons only object is marks it is difficult to maintain interest…especially text is the only resource. The children have never picked up a newspaper in life nor done more than gaming on videos. There is a whole world of Google out there that is a resource but between writing and rewriting and mugging the interest factor is lost…We learned there is no need of a formal testing. If my kids so desire we will look into it and devise.
The developmental needs of my kids are different so the younger eight years old is playful yet. He loves maths and can solve pages but gets tired faster. I chose [yes I did. Old conditioning yet hanging on.] That he should learn French .We did basic questions like what is your name…where do you live... how are you …how old are you…He can ask and answer them. He strung few sentences in French on “myself”. Now he went around asking his dad …me …his friends these queries…so when I made him sit a little longer doing writing in French…He looked straight into my eyes and asked “In home learning am I not supposed to do something till I am interested?”
That got me…I have so much to learn and unlearn and learn again…my kids are my teachers. So in May  holidays I have actually taken a sabbatical and promised them we shall not discuss any book ... we will let them do what they want...we will only chill...get up when it suits…sleep when tired…Guess I am happy…happier than happy…rested…at peace…
No activity…no classes... no I need to do something…It is major learning for me to be this way. To not direct my kids no matter where or what…only maybe at two in the night I request that I am sleepy and will appreciate if they sleep…or in the noon…please get up…water will go…are the only directions we give…they bathe when they want…
Every new parent who enters this world I welcome all of you. I will be happy if you find something useful from my musings. I will be happy to share your experiences if anyone does. I request each one to open their journeys so each one who enters this world without school may find a little of their confusions  and a little of their solutions.
Musings continue…

Sonnal Pardiwala