Today is 09.09.09

Ravi landed in the US for work on 09.09.90, 19 years ago. He stayed there till 2007 when we moved to Singapore and then here to India a year ago. He worked there for almost 17 years. Ravi and i were just enjoying the rare number combinations.

Raghu and Zoya created a Bed-Cushion-Sleep-Game. We rolled in all our cushions on the floor this morning. The 2 have been inventing games… mostly raghu invents and zoya adjusts things to suit her tastes… like blankets and dollies must be part of the said game. Raghu has been hooked on his DS… which got a whole bunch of new games loaded thanks to an adult-gaming-friend we’ve met recently. Raghu is in gaming-nirvana.

We are getting ready for our trip to the US. Amazing that it is really happening. Ravi has been incredible at making this trip happen. He has been wanting to go back to NJ/NYC with us… for a trip at the very least. So we leave end of October and get back end of November. All in all about 5 weeks. We will get to spend the first 6 days in London as he has work there as well. Our US trip will include a week in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe region. Since we could not time our trip to match any of the unschooling conferences that happen thru the year across the US…. Sandra Dodd ( very kindly offered to plan a conference for when we are there. Her generous offer means we get to spend time with her and other families and watch unschoolers in action. Can’t wait 🙂

Raghu is very thrilled about the upcoming travels. He has been reading about castles, Robin Hood and talking about Harry Potter and related stuff. He knows Roald Dahl was British and we’ve been talking about visiting a castle with a real moat and seeing a portcullis in action. Interestingly its not like i said “we’re going to London.. lets read things that relate to it”… nope. He has been connecting the dots and telling me about all the books he borrows from the library or hte ones he likes at home and how they have roots or are based in London. Even Asterix and Obelix speak of Londinium 🙂

I’m looking forward to the US part of the trip so i can spend time in familiar places with family and friends, enjoy playgrounds and museums and such, eat lots of old familiar foods, walk the streets of NYC again, and very importantly… meet and interact with Unschooling parents and children. Something that we as a family are sorely missing out on here in India.

Zoya is talking in bigger more complicated sentences and is engaging Raghu in conversation more often these days. The age gap is reducing. Till now she was only a physical playmate… someone Raghu could run with and catch or jump with. But she is changing rapidly. She is 3 inches short of Raghu’s height and is wearing shoes that are one size behind. Raghu says she is the biggest 3 year old he ever saw 🙂 She cracks jokes and will look at us with delight when we get her jokes.

Raghu, reading and ramblings

Its been a big deal for Ravi and me to see Raghu reading more and more this past week. We come upon him standing in underwear and pants around his ankles with an intent look on his face and his mouth making phonetic sounds, sometimes just plain reading and otherwise sounding out words silently… its such a delight. It might be the cover of a cd or cartridge or a comic book or like this afternoon a book on ants that he is trying to read. Its magical to watch. Just like when he learned to walk. Perhaps i feel validated a bit? I feel like saying YAHOOOO…. you see they do learn to read… because they want to. Of course we go on reading to them and do not say “well you know how to read that… so why do you want me to?” or some such short-sighted comment. I can see how reading to them whenever they want me to is the best thing to do.

I think I have been a struggling a little lately with Raghu being so focused on the PSP and hence i am the primary playmate for Zoya. I miss the game sessions and other lovely times the 3 of us enjoyed before this psp phase. I keep reminding myself that Raghu is happy pursuing his interests. So perhaps seeing him read makes me feel a bit like…”right… there are many processes at work… even as they watch the 100th re-run of Little Bear or Magic School Bus or play seemingly endless video games… they are processing so much info inside their heads” They are contacting the world around them on their own terms. I shall strew interesting things and be available to converse and be a good facilitator etc… yet the final word is theirs. And that is how their inherent interest in learning (whatever they want) is preserved.

Its beginning to rain a little each day… even just a small drizzle… but enough to feel monsoony in one’s heart. Its a delicious feeling. The smell of wet earth and the knowledge that the surrounding hills will be green soon makes me so happy.

Raghu has been explaining rain-shadows and other interesting weather related things. He asked me to walk without bending my knees. Impossible unless i allowed my hip bones to lift. He is so alive and full of information these days. He may spend upto 6 hours a day in his DS nintendo. Something that i’m getting used to. Its like getting used to a new family member almost… he is busy and involved in things that can’t involve his little sister any more. She is not even able to use a mouse very well or perhaps just has no interest… or perhaps we’ve not found the right software for her yet. All in all.. she has been fending for her self and finding her own fun.

She took her Barbie doll and a scissor and looked set to do some serious hairstyling. I asked her to cut in the balcony… not in the house. So she went out and wet the doll’s hair and cut it. She had fun. I was slurping soup and watching her. Earlier today Z allowed me to cut a fringe for her… she wants to grow most of her hair so she can put it up in a pony soon like me.

Raghu and Zoya are having a lot of fun-filled moments with their cousin. My s-i-l, Meghna and her daughter will be with us on and off these next few weeks. Its lovely to watch Z and Kaveri in the bathroom. They had shaving cream and baby powder all over the bathroom adn themselves today. Its a routine… every few days they get into a long session in the bathroom and then shower together.

I’m feeling much better today and am beginning to look forward to our road trip. We head to Dharwad tomorrow.

Raghu has been asking a lot of questions about words in the english language. He said the word Night is spelt wrong. I have to look up why the english language is this way. Pneumonia and Psychiatry. I mean there are millions of exceptions. Its hard to read this language. Sanskrit-devanagiri based languages are so clear. Hindi is read as it is written. Rare exceptions. However Raghu is into the english language and very keen to read. I mean not overtly. But he has been reading steadily these past few weeks and i’m surprised at his new skill.

Clarifications and DVDs

Clarification about the post about the Dharwad trip and DVD player: I meant a Car-DVD player. We have a DVD player at home.

DVDs: Just wanted to post here our favorite videos these past few months:
The Clone Wars
Dunstan Checks In
The Magic School Bus series
Motorcycle Diaries (Raghu sat thru this and asked me to read the subtitles)
Angelina Ballerina
Little Bear Series
Batman.. cartoon
Asterix and Obelix… cartoon
BEN 10… should have been posted as number 1 🙂
Snoopy come home
Richard Scarry Busy Town
Night at the Museum
Tom and Jerry.. old and new
BBC series on Gerald Durrel’s My family and other animals
Dora the explorer

I’m sure there are more… but these are the ones we’ve seen off and on over the past couple of months.

We can all be happy.

We are going on a 6 hour road trip this Friday. Meeting up with family in Dharwad for a nephew’s ceremony. And then we return on Monday.

I have been a bit under the weather since last afternoon. So while Raghu and I were settling into a nap.. he asked who would be coming to this family meet and how long the trip would take and other related questions. Then he asked me if the Car/jeep we are hiring has a DVD player. (we don’t have one .. portable or otherwise. But Raghu had experienced a Family van with inbuilt DVD player a while back…. again a longish road trip… the DVD player was used non stop by Raghu. It bothered some of us. We were a large group.)

Back to his question…. I barely did any deep breathing or checking of my emotions… i simply blurted out “Raghu if you want to keep watching videos while we travel thru lovely fields.. the trip is on a good road known for a beautiful ride…. then you may as well stay back with your grandma.” He looked surprised at my outburst and said “no, no i’ll come.”

At that moment i could think of nothing else to say except “we really want a road trip to enjoy the sights and be exchange stories and sing along with our CD player etc. So we did not consider hiring a car with a DVD player.” Then my head throbbed too much to talk. and we fell asleep.

A few hours later i had a quiet walk (baby sitter at home) and called sister for advice about this… she is my baby-sister all grown up now… and she is the one who gets RU the best. She and i discussed my choice. But i did not feel good inside. I felt rotten.

I called Urmila (the only other RU mom in Pune). Based on what we exchanged…. i felt a lovely shift happening inside:

Raghu’s choices are as best as they can be for him… as are mine for me. I love watching the rolling fields and talking to Ravi and kids and exchanging stories/singing along with cds etc. I love stopping and tasting some local food item (food and language changes every 50 km in india i think 🙂 Or taking a small detour and stretching our legs and clicking a few photos. Raghu, per his current interests, would love to carry his DS Nintendo and enjoy our company alongside his playing. He does not mind not having a DVD player since he has his DS. He may want different things from this trip than i do. If he does nto choose to enjoy the scenery the way i do… i need to stay smiling.. happy for his choices. And i can continue to enjoy my choices… i can stop the car and stretch and take in the view. And i shall smile at my child’s and husband’s choices. We all make different choices and they must be honored as far as possible.

I immediately felt a weight lift and i felt light and airy. We can all be happy and supportive of each other. I can’t even begin to write the ramifications of coercive living… but i can begin to write about the beauty of RU living. No one is martyred.

Zoya has been feeling sad whenever Raghu is on the DS for too many hours of the day and he refuses to join our games. But i make up for his absence as best i can. Last evening she told me that she wanted to get her own DS. I said yes… that was a great idea. She smiled and kissed me and said… “me happy, you happy?” Then she thought a bit and said “I will play with Raghu”. 🙂

Sure… i’m not fond of screen time for myself… but if it is a passion for my child or children… i shall make shifts within and accept their choices… as they accept mine. Raghu i’m sure would never stop me from taking a break for photos while we are on the road. He is so reasonable about our choices. Why can’t we joyously accept his?

So looking forward to this trip and to making it joyous for all of us with our different/overlapped/similar needs.

Our little conference and other things…

My dear sister and her endowed with the most fantastic sense of humor husband are coming down from Bangalore to be with the kids for 3 days. This while Ravi and I take 6 hours off each consecutive day to read/talk/discuss/delve into/play with/explore UNSCHOOLING in all its glory 🙂 We plan to read Sandra, Ren, Pam, Kelly, and so many others who dish it out well cooked, seasoned perfectly.

We were hopeful of attending a conference in the US where all the radical unschoolers would gather… there are many happening thru the year in all parts of the US. But we were unable to commit for various reasons. So instead we decided to do the next best thing. Give ourselves some time to sit and mull with the internet as our conference room. We then figured out the the only way this would work was if the children got their fav aunt and uncle to baby sit… with some help of our local lovely baby sitter Anandee (a fantastic, recent manifestation :-).. happened thanks to Sandra’s chat session)

We will give the newly married couple the evening off each day. And the morning/afternoon will be ours… about 9-3. Living this life involves a tremendous effort in deschooling ourselves. In focusing on healing ourselves of past issues. Our inner voices shape our lives and if i am today able to smile at chaos (i used to be a stickler for list/order/plans etc) it is because i could let go of internal issues, could heal myself and allow chaos 🙂 So while i may still want to make lists and have a plan in place.,.. its okay if the kids make changes, cancel things or if the lists change. I”m able to go with the flow mostly. Kids are already perfect in a way… they are happy, learning, connected deeply with their inner voices… i just need to get out the way. So this conference is for me and Ravi to look within and learn to get out the way… and allow ourselves freedom to just “be”. We need to baby ourselves. We need to listen to our needs… if i want to explore eating lots of snickers bars… then so be it. LOA is also helping me here. I no longer associate food with guilt, boredom, gain in weight etc.

Ravi often has issues with Raghu’s hair falling over his eyes. Raghu has longish shoulder length hair. A while ago Ravi and Raghu played with styling hair… and Raghu found that he could use oil and water and get his hair to stay up. I coudl see that it was Ravi’s issue. Raghu was fine the way he was. But at some point Raghu foudn his hair bugged him when he was trying to concentrate on something. And that day he decided to use gel, oil, water to style his hair off his eyes. So while it was nice to give Raghu a way to help himself…. Ravi can now see that if its his own issue… he needs to be able to talk without coercing. And if Raghu feels the same… as he indeed did the day his hair bothered him….. then he will ask/use our help. Ravi is happier when Raghu’s hair is off his forehead…. but he is only now beginning to see the implications of coercion and how it affects the relationship. And at the same time he sees the beauty in simple non-coercive conversation, offering solutions/help and backing off.

Sitting with our own needs/desires and seeing how they affect our children… esp when its not something that has any true consequences… is so important to this whole process. For this and many other reasons… we hope to sit with and distill the parts that seem to act as blocks to our otherwise lovely life. I think TV, Video gaming, what are our obligations to friends and family etc… are some of the areas that we will be pondering and unblocking 🙂

Meanwhile Raghu had a wish for home-made pizzas with the works… fresh mushroom, olives, mozzarella, home-made sauce, etc… for his little party of 7 kids! Zoya, my 3 nephews and nieces down for a longish stay during their school hols, Aarohi and her brother Rushabh and Devesh. Wow it was quite something today. For about 2 hours the house was in chaos/laughter/some tears/jumping on the bed/crazy conversations about babies coming out of stomachs.. correction from Raghu… uterus etc… It was a blast. but at the end of 2 hours i requested the 3 building guests to make their way home… moms were ready to pick them up. The remaining 3 cousins and my 2 are now chilling out with individual games/interests.

Raghu in the middle of his pizza looks up and says,”Amma… 3 glasses of iced tea with one ice cube each please”. and a smile that made me feel so happy to be able to comply and give him such pleasure. He loves sharing his home, food and loves planing elaborate meals.

It has been quite an experience for Raghu to have his cousins here. He seems to find it easier to switch to Hindi from time to time so his cousins understand him. They do speak English but are more fluent in Hindi and probably think in Hindi and Marathi. They live in Indore, way north of here.

"Find the part where i marry myself"

Raghu has never, ever played a board game until this past week. I mean he may pull one out and set it up and roll the dice once… but thats tops. I love board games, cooperative or otherwise. I’m not very competitive by nature. But i do love Cluedo, figuring out how much money i can make in Monopoly, coming up with unusual words in Scrabble etc. So i was really waiting for raghu to start playing them with me.

Anyway.. time passed… and this past week raghu pulled out “Caves and Claws” a cooperative game. To my surprise he set it up, allowed me enough time to read the instructions, wanted to play by the rules (he could have made it up as he went along like his usual calvin-ball-esque games) and completely enjoyed every step of the game. It was amazing to watch.

Now to explain the title…. He asked to play “Life”. he had played it once when his cousins were playing it. He only remembered it as that “car” game. So we set it up… again he was patient and wanted everything just so. Then we played it… and it was hilarious. He went to college before me, married and had about 5 kids in the course of the game… all ahead of me. Here i thought that those things might not appeal to him… But nope… he loved it all. At a later stage in the game he had to pay 50,000$ per child (and he had 5!!) for their college tuition. Now all along he was thrilled that he had a $100,000 yearly pay. He loved collecting payday. so i thought perhaps he’d balk at this turn. But he simply said “Sure, no problem… i love helping my children out” LOL i was ready to roll on the floor.

At another turn he was on a space that said “vacation time with family at Colorado, pay X $s” Again he said “Oh so cool… i get to take a vacation with my wife and kids”. So funny, lovely and sweet. Today he said “can we play Life again? I want to find the part where i marry myself” LOL

Things we do…

The first photo is Z playing with the marble run… which was built by my helper, Roopa. Z had a long, mostly enjoyable time with her this afternoon as i was busy helping Raghu with his first time exploration of Magic School Bus cds on the computer. He had a great time doing insect match ups and traveling in the time-machine with Ms Frizzle.
The second is of Z, Arohee and Rushabh having a long playdough session.
The third is of Arohee and Zoya enjoying my bangles…. they mixed it all up and enjoyed piling it on.
The fourth is is of Raghu and Zoya enjoying a crazy long bath… filled with cornstarch-powder, avalakki (flattened rice), bath salts, toys etc. And Z actually was asking raghu to throw water all over her!

How Raghu SOARED………

My newly returned-to-india, youngest sister, Veena, Raghu, Zoya and I went camping at Kamshet… that lovely place I’ve posted photos about before. The garden we camped in is part of a largish house that is like a bed’n’breakfast. The BnB is used mainly by pilots training in the vicinity and for para-gliding folks. They have a team that conducts training courses or gives you tandem rides on request. So this is what transpired while we were there…. Written in Veena’s words….

“It started out of the blue. I didn’t expect to really paraglide, and even if we did, we would go together and figure it out, right? All four of us, with Mother Hema taking charge, taking care of us all. Needless to say, it didn’t happen that way! Zoya fell asleep just as the guy came down to announce that a paragliding team was leaving in 45 minutes. Raghu really wanted to go. I really wanted to go – but not alone, not without mother Hema.

“How many minutes left?” was the main topic of conversation for the next 45 minutes. I was praying for the tent to cave in so that Zoya would wake up and then we could all go paragliding – but it didn’t happen. At 3 o’clock, the guy said they’re ready to leave. Zoya was in Lalaland, with mother tied to her. Raghu nearly pulled my arm off my shoulder as he led the way up the stairs towards the exit. A bunch of guys hung around the exit, some smoking (no comment), all with enormous rucksacks and fancy gear. You know how you can always spot the aplha male in a troop of gorillas? Well, I spotted him – he took one look at us (woman with backpack holding hand of six-year-old boy, more for her comfort than his), and he said, “You know, we’re not getting back until 6pm at least. All these guys are training to be paragliders, so we’ll need time.” It was 3pm – A-ha! A ray of hope for me – maybe I didn’t have to shoulder the responsibility of taking my 6-year-old nephew paragliding after all! 3 hours to go paragliding was ridiculous, right Raghu? “No, that’s okay, let’s go.” Yikes, this kid was serious.

So of course Mother Hema just added some dried apricots, raisins, Masti buttermilk, energy bars, and water to my little backpack and with a non-chalant “Have fun!”, she headed for the hammock. The things I do for this girl, I tell you. What’s the big deal, I hear you say! I’d never been paragliding. I’d never seen paragliding being done, heck I didn’t even know what it meant, what it involved – and I hate free-fall – and I didn’t want to train to be a paraglider, I just wanted a ride, and I’m taking my nephew with me….Can you imagine the dialogue in my head as we climbed the steps to leave the building?

We stood outside a van, waiting for the guys to load it with the rucksacks. I needed a source of comfort. So, I looked at Raghu. He stood there holding my hand, watching this skinny, all-muscle, guy standing on top of the van, hauling up these gigantic rucksacks with the ease of picking daisies. Raghu watched, so I watched. We took guesses at what was in the rucksacks… the parachute? i suggested… but raghu said it looks heavy – maybe food. Why not? I’ll take my cues from him. I relaxed. The van was ready. We boarded. He climbed in on his own and on the advice of the alpha male, we took our seats in the corner, by the window, facing the back (I guessed we were in for a bumpy ride). We left with the alpha male in the front with the driver, and 5 guys with us at the back. I was glad to see one older white guy with a decent-sized belly – he must be a first-timer I thought…like us (I was wrong). The other older guy seemed like one of those healthy, fit, grandfathers. The other three were all skinny, all-muscle, younguns. The ride was terribly bumpy as we drove through winding fields and little villages for a good 30 minutes. Looking around in the van, I found boots on everybody’s feet, except Raghu’s and mine. I had on slip-ons and Raghu had crocs. I tried taking more cues from Raghu during the ride but he wouldn’t give me any. He sat there, silent and serious. I finally asked if he was nervous. “Nope, I like the paragliding part. I just don’t like the ride part”. I was brimming with confidence once again. That led to an increase in curiosity so I asked the big-bellied, white guy if he had come here before. “Oh, I’ve been coming here 6 years now – I learnt to paraglide here, am an expert now – love it.” Confound curiosity.

We reached a flattish ground, parked the van, and filed out. We were surrounded by farmland bordered by hills. Raghu held on to my hand tightly now – “We’re going to paraglide together, right abucha?” Right Raghu. A group of teenagers from the local village helped to carry the enormous rucksacks in return for some money. I explained this to Raghu when he asked what they were doing with “our” stuff. Mohit then came and introduced himself – the fit grandfather guy – and revealed that this was his second time and he was training to be a paraglider, etc… I thought Raghu was a little suspicious of him – just my guess cause he kept holding my hand tighter, pulling me slitghly away. Mohit was the kind soul who informed us of our next step – a 2km hike across the fields to those hills there, where you can see the parachutes. Indeed, you could see them – beautiful spots of orange and yellow against the distant brownish green hill. But my attention soon turned to the fields inbetween – typical adult reaction. Raghu of course simply focused on the colors and marched on ahead, pulling me behind him. That’s my cue! Mohit kept a kind eye on us as we trudged on, avoiding the sharp wheat stalks in holey crocs and slip-ons. Alpha-male and his troop of course were out of sight in no time. Raghu has great timing. Just as I felt my adult-ness take over, he exclaimed, “Look! It’s wheat, this is where my cereal comes from. Can you believe it? They just crush and make flour and cornflakes – like what I have at home!!” Even Mohit was hooked – “He’s six? He makes such connections? He’s amazing” “He’s my nephew” I replied. We spent the next 30 minutes focusing on the colorful spots and letting our legs do the work, distracted only occasionally by wheat, mud, snake holes, binoculars and windy paths. It was a hike – not easy in crocs – and Raghu was amazing. He just held my hand and took step after step, every few minutes reassuring me, “Look, we’re getting closer, we’re nearly there, just a little more to go, then we can paraglide together, look at the colors abucha, look!” I remembered the time when he didn’t like the feel of lawn grass on his feet! The best part was when he turned and said, “You know what? I’m not feeling tired, even if it’s sunny and hot. I’m not feeling exhausted. Can you believe it?”

“We did it abucha!” We plopped down in a shady spot under a tree, sitting on dried, cracked, mud, sticks, leaves, at the foot of a large hill… I asked if he wanted to eat anything (he hadn’t had much of a lunch), but this wise child just drank water and Masti – I bet he knew that paragliding should be done on an empty stomach. We relaxed and watched our surroundings – people strapped on to these enormous wing-like parachutes, running, taking off a few meters into the air and gliding over the ground. It looked interesting, fun, but hardly doable for us – those things are huge. Then Raghu spotted a tiny flying dot in the sky – high above the hill was a guy paragliding alone. “I don’t want to go up that high abucha. I want to paraglide with you, but not that high.” “No Raghu, neither do I.” Was anyone going to tell me what we were going to do? “Raghu, I’m going to find out what we’re doing next.” So I asked our bellied, white friend. “Well… it depends… are you training?” Training, he asked!! Perhaps it was the look on my face, for just then, one of the lean, muscle-fellows came over and said “You see that guy with the orange rucksack on that hill? see him climbing? You just have to follow that path about 400 meters uphill until that plateau there. You’re going to take off from there.” He left with those words. And so did my temper. I didn’t want to express too much emotion in front of raghu, lest it was unnecessary emotion, so I got up, found the guy and told him “Can you please tell me exactly what we’re going to do because I have a six-year-old kid with me and we need to know what’s happening. He can’t just climb mountains on demand.” So I learnt that the gliders on ground level were trainers, just practising parachute control. And that we were going to take a ride with a professional pilot, who would have to take off from that plateau. So, if we wanted to paraglide, we had to climb up 400 meters. Well, cues from Raghu, I thought. So I carried the information to him and he said, “OK, let’s climb”. Ah – what do I know – I guess 6-year-olds do climb mountains on demand…

So, we climbed in crocs and slip-ons, on a windy, slippery path of hay, up the hill, behind a skinny-muscle-guy, followed by our white friend. I climbed ahead, and Raghu held on to my hand with both of his, pulling himself up every step of the way. It was tiring. But what did I care – we just kept telling each other, “watch out for that rock – it’s loose. wow, look how far up we are. amazing abucha, look everything looks tiny, it’s pretty cool, watch out, wow, keep going, then we can paraglide together, not too far left, look look at the view, wow….”

We reached the top and sat down for a well-deserved break. We shared a Masti in silence, savoring the view. A few minutes later, my adult mind was back in top gear (we never learn do we?) and I started watching for clues. I spotted the alpha male, who said “Ah, good, you reached” No comment, just what now? “Well, you see that man there – Ravi – he’s the pilot, he’ll take you on the ride one at a time. Just a few more minutes while these other guys take off.” One at a time?? I confirmed it with Ravi – no double harness sorry – one at a time. But how? Ravi explained, showed me the harness and said he’d do one trip with me and one trip with Raghu. Notice the number of the times Raghu kept saying “paraglide together” – now what? Once again I thought, cue from Raghu. So I carried the information to him once more. I still hadn’t learnt! “Raghu, see the pilot over there. His name’s Ravi. He says we can only go one at a time. That means I have to wear this harness and helmet and can go for a ride with him for like 15 minutes, while you’ll have to stay down here. Then, after my turn, you’ll get a turn to do the same thing. But we can’t go together.” “OK” “So, I go alone and you go alone, you understand?” “yep, OK” “So, I’ll go up and ride in the sky with Ravi and then land back here at the same spot and you’ll wait for me here and then you get a turn.” “Uh-huh, OK” “Are you sure?” Raghu must have thought me insane “Yep, I’m sure, go, I’ll wiat here”. Of course I asked him a few more times and then resigned myself to leaving him sitting on the hill, surrounded by people he didn’t know, with a bag, as I put my harness on. He watched, with a look on his face that can only be described as contented acceptance – he wasn’t ecstatic – he was content with accepting the turn of events. At least that’s what it seemd like to me. My face probably just showed incredulity.

So I took off and enjoyed my ride – floating in the air, waving to Raghu (a little red spot on the hill) and flying higher and higher. Ravi was a very good pilot – I had to test him of course – I was going to send Raghu with him. He listened to me, made sure I was comfortable, answered my questions, helped me relax and enjoy the ride, etc… I told him that I didn’t think Raghu would want to go this high and he assured me that he would listen to him. We landed and Raghu watched carefully. He seemed happy to see me again. But he was very clear, “I don’t want to go that high” Alpha Male joined us too. Raghu explained his idea to both of us. “I want to take off from this hill and go straight down, okay? Not high up there” I spoke to Ravi about it and he said that he would listen to Raghu and I felt more confident that he would make sure Raghu felt comfortable. I suggested to Raghu that he talk with Ravi and Raghu readily agreed. As they got his harness and helmet on, he looked so tiny but not vulnerable. He turned and said, “Listen” and Ravi listened. “I want to take off from here and go straight down to the ground, okay? Not high up there.” Ravi said, “We’ll see. We’ll do what you want when you take off”. I told Raghu that I would climb down hill and wait for him at the bottom, where we were sitting in the shade. He said ok, and then took off…

I watched them glide off into the air for barely a few seconds. I rushed to go down hill to meet him there – I figured it would be a short flight. I kept turning and looking for his bright orange parachute in the sky, but instead of coming down, it seemed to be going up. I reached the bottom of the hill and waited and waited and waited for a full 15 minutes. They were just paragliding all over the place, as high up as I’d been. Somehow I wasn’t worried though. Raghu flew for 15 minutes at a height over 700 feet!!! When he finally landed, I asked the obvious question. “Good. I can do that again”.

That summed up my attitude to the hike across the field back to the van. Before that, we settled back down to relax under the shady tree. This time we were both hungry. He ate both energy bars and I ate all the dried apricots and we shared the Masti. We watched the others still paragliding. We took guess at which ones we thought would land first. We admired the distance we had climbed uphill, watched the others climb down, and were finally ready to head back. We waited until the last paraglider landed as every began packing their parachutes into the rucksacks again. An ancient, white-haired, dhoti-clad man offered us chai, which Raghu declined. The man asked where we had come from, told us about his farm and left after announcing his prediction that Raghu would become a pilot when he grew up. Raghu pulled my hand “Let’s go”. We trudged on ahead towards the van while the alpha male and gang finished packing their rucksacks. My head foggy with confidence and happiness, I decided that I knew the way back and Raghu wisely would periodically ask me to wait and keep a look out for the others. We did and eventually, reached the van at dusk. “I can’t wait to tell Amma and Zoya”.”

Abundance and what it means to me

“Just want to say that there are parts of this post that are Bashar’s words (see the prev post for his utube link). And i’ve used them in conjunction with my thoughts.”

Definition of abundance: The ability to do what you need to do when you
need to do it. Period. That’s it; that’s abundance.

Amazingly… this simple definition encompasses many many areas for me. Money, love-connections, things i want, toys, trips, etc.. Anything i want seems to be connected to money, career changes etc.. and this does not have to be based on this definition. I feel its true within me… not quite sure if i’ve caught up with this idea in action… Still it rings true. What I need i shall get when I need it.

Bashar: But if you simply trust that you are abundant, and follow at any given
moment what excites you the most, then that is the most important key:
what excites you the most. Then life will support you 100% as life has
always supported you. And it will allow you to attract into your
reality whatever situations will allow you to do what you need to do
when you need to do it. If money does not come with it, then take that
as a sign that money is not necessary for that particular interaction.
If it were, it would have been there first.

Therefore, following at any given moment the situation that brings with
it the highest degree of excitement is taking the path of least
resistance — is living an effortless life. And it will bring into your
life all the individuals and all the situations necessary to allow you
to continue to be that effortless being. That’s the way life works, and
it does work that way when you let it. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!

Back to me: So here everything i’ve been trained/educated for comes crumbling down. Should we not be saving money? Putting away for a rainy day? No is the simple answer within. I don’t think ravi is going to fold up those college/retirement accounts just yet 😉

I feel abundant and expansive. I want raghu to feel this expansiveness (i want to model it for him). I want to make these shifts within that allow me to truly believe in this implicitly. I already feel comfortable saying that the issues i see in the world or in people around me are actually reflections of my own issues. the issues are in me. I can’t overemphasize that enough. the moment i look within and work on my letting go, staying with, observing etc of my own inner fear/trust/belief etc the outside issues disappear. it sounds subjective and very personal. it is. But this works for me.

Something in Raghu’s insistent ben10 demands reflect something of my cringing, yikes-another-toy, mindset. And i need to let him live. And i trust that the money for his needs shall appear as he needs them. I cannot live his life. His needs will be fullfilled of their own accord. I’m not the sole provider. the universe takes care of us all.

raghu recently asked me what happened to the body after death, cremation, burial etc. then when i proceeded to give an expmple of everything being energy adn energy expressing itself in different forms… physical and non etc… he suddenly stopped me adn said “but don’t talk about your body and death/cremation” I realised that for him death of either parent or some one close was not something he was choosing to reflect on right now. he set boundaries for me and himself. Amazing how the child knew how far, how deep he woudl travel on this day. another day another dimension.

To connect back to my abundance thread… I had a fear until reecently about his off and on conversations/questions about death, his Tathayya’s (dh’s dad) death, burial, cremation etc. i was not sure if i’d be able to answer. but in my new abundant, all shall be well mode… i let is go and felt sure that the answers would come when the time came. Sure enough that conversation was a lovely one. Both raghu and I were at peace and able to make sense of things in our own way.

Working from a place of fear…. saving for a rainy day type mode is something that does not beget the best results for me. It saps me of energy. energy that otherwise can be put towards what i do want. What I want in that moment. No need to think of years down the line.

Abundance of love, joy, paint, beautiful vistas, experiences, fun, laughter, positive vibes, connectedness with the earth i live on…. this is what i wish for myself. And as they said in all my old amar chitra katha books… “tathaastu” “So be it”