There are no museums here…. practically no public libraries for little ones, no national treasures maintained with real feeling, practically no public restrooms, no playgrounds (unless you count the metal junk with bird droppings excuse for one), no wide open green spaces within easy access of all where one can commune with nature and still be within a short ride of home, and on and on the list goes in my head.
Yes, in many ways India sucks. Had to say it at some point despite my upbeat, lets get with the india beat mode until now.
I hope my friends and family in NJ and other parts of the US appreciate the treasure trove of basics that lie all around them. Within a short 10 minute car-ride of our old home in West Orange, NJ, (not a fancy town… just a simple suburb) i had access to at least 4 different libraries, 3 large parks, plenty of little ones (each park had at least one if not 2 play-climbing equipment, a reservation area with streams, etc. If i drove a little longer i was at the Liberty Science Center, I had access to NYC’s multitude, access to a community toddler’s museum, a chilrens museum, etc…
I miss all that so much. But I am very grateful for that experience in the US. People here can’t imagine supporting that sort of a community need. I know how much more can be done and enjoyed by all. Here Schools become a way to get access to libraries, gyms, etc. Outside the schools is an adult treasure trove maybe…but not really for young kids.
Anyway… like i said… i could focus on the lacking. But I choose to focus on the stuff i can do. My parents live in the neighboring state and bring me and the kids much joy. My m-i-l lives closer still and is very loving. Other family and friends whom i had only met occasionally over the years are giving their time too.
We get to see a less polished reality here… if you want to get craft material… you have to buy things and make your own kits,,, no Rag Shop here… so it makes us look at things differently. I have a helper who helps me out everyday now. I am able to read for a longer time to Raghu and can support Zoya in her endless painting of herself adn the floors. There are places to go and see… albeit too far away for quick morning outings. There is a small, only-one-of-its-kind-children’s library near by. You can only take out one book per person at a time… but still its something. It even has the Magic School Bus series that Raghu loves.
There are many things out here…. but India needs a few more RUers… and a lot more respect for children’s needs.
Anyway… grateful for this opportunity and for the abundance in our life. While i may have very few friends with whom i can be candid about our RU path… still there seems to be something within that is embracing the isolation that is inflicted upon us. Isolation within this crowded, teeming with humans place. Where the first and usually only question people ask of children is “which school do you go to?” We can afford things like house-help, travel, seasonal organic produce, wooden carpentry tools, etc at a fraction of what it would have cost us in the US. All this amounts to a comfort level we never had in the US that leads to larger chunks of time and energy available to spend with the children.
I could focus on the lacking (that list is now growing larger as Raghu asks for lego clubs or at least a friend who has an intense lego interest)… but that does not help me be a peaceful, joyful person. So i’ll go make a list of wishes and see if we can manifest some of them out here in India.