Friday, June 13, 2014

A KID n I


½ a dozen Lessons of Life (re) Learned

Ok! I accept it’s been far too long since I’ve connected. Sincere apologies….N then again in my defense it’s been far too long that I’ve had a 9 year old living with me.

That would be my nephew.  He was super excited to spend his summer break with us. And so were we. It was his first visit to the Unites States and I wanted to leave no stone unturned to ensure a childhood imprint which would last a lifetime. So these past (close to) two months has been an ecstatic enthralling roller coaster ride of zoos, aquariums, nature and science museums, picnics and parks… and Oh! Yes roller coasters too!
Did he leave with engraved memories which he will remember for years to come? Was his innocent and curious mind sufficiently inspired?

Well I dunno about that… only time will tell.  For now; all I can say is; he surely left me with engraved memories which I will remember for years to come.  And without a doubt his innocent and curious mind (more than) sufficiently inspired me.
Here’s how.

Ask (many) questions

From the time he woke up to the time he knocked off; he asked questions.  Why questions, what questions, how questions, questions which made sense to me and questions which made no sense to me. He asked them all. With the same earnestly and deliberation.

Lesson (re)learned: Somehow we stop asking as many questions as we grow up. We just accept. At times we accept things as they are without fully understanding why. At other times we accept injustice, bias, unfairness, prejudice, lies, abuse…. The list is endless. When to begin with, the first step to solving challenges lies in asking yourself or others some very crucial questions.

 Touch someone today
Every morning he’d run into my bedroom and hug me…sometimes gently as if not to wake me up and at times hysterically as if urging me to jumpstart the day ahead.  Often, he held my hand as we’d walk down a museum aisle or he’d kiss my cheek excitedly and say thank you. Just when I thought he’s too well behaved to be a kid he’d run berserk and just do his thing. As I think back even though I was stretched and tired juggling many activities I was happier than I otherwise am handling less.
Lesson (re)learned: In today’s fast paced life it is perhaps actually possible to be "touch deprived." According to research physical affection has measurable health benefits. Stimulating touch receptors under the skin can lower blood pressure and cortisol levels, effectively reducing stress. And it doesn't matter if you're the toucher or touchee. The more you connect with others on even the smallest physical level (a hug, pat on the back even a friendly handshake) - the happier you'll be. Make it your goal to touch someone in some way every day – Please! In a non-creepy way of course!
Love YOUrself
Umpteen times during the day he’d love to knead the soft fleshy parts of my arms with his small bite sized hands. ‘I love this part’, he’d say. He’d hold me by the waist and it didn’t matter if I was 26, 28 or 30. His hugs were size-free and his love, unconditional.
Lesson (re)learned: Now; I’m conscious of the slightly loose flab on my arms and an increase in dress size over the years.  Haven’t really been regular with the gym and I’m just not used to seeing myself not as slim as before. Yet, he reminded me to love me for what I am first. Unconsciously I was sending signals to myself that I am not good enough…I will be though when I get back to my desired weight, I thought. Many a time we are so busy loving and pleasing others that we tend to forget to love ourselves. Or we somehow decide that we will when we get that much required job, get married, start a family, achieve this, that or the other. Come on; wake up and F.L.Y. – First love yourself.

Yes, health and fitness is indeed on my agenda. However I’m gonna love myself through the journey too.

Persist

He played ball in the house. It went all over the place and it made our hearts jump into our mouths as we saw it barely miss a porcelain jar or the prized antique glass cabinet. He was told to play outside one day, he was told to stop immediately the next and he was even shouted at once. Did it deter him? Nopes. He played ball. He was going to be very careful though, he insisted.
Lesson (re)learned: Children never give up. Come what may, whatever the reason, the rationalization or the danger, they persist. As we grow up we tend to give in or give up. Sometimes people around us deter us, warn us, make us fear what lies ahead. And at other times we self-talk ourselves into quitting. Persistence does not mean you should never change the course or direction of your life. It simply means those who are successful persist with determination.

Right to Write

He took the time to diligently write welcome and goodbye cards. He even had us playing a treasure hunt with hand written notes guiding us from one clue to the next.  The words were not perfectly synchronized; neither were they auto corrected nor were they as Webster would have wanted them spelled out. Yet they were perfect. They were special beyond measure and spoke unabashedly straight from the heart.
Lesson (re)learned: The internet age is one that has lost its personal touch. Little personalization is done. Everything is digitized, automated and delivered but it’s done without compassion and personal style. The ready communication through electronic means that has replaced the handwritten letter is wonderful. But we have definitely lost something here, and those Skype and Wats App texts, FB posts and tweets, email and text exchanges won’t be treasured in the way that my teenage letters, scribbled journals and postcards have been for years. Let’s not lose the art completely or our memories and sentiments will disappear into internet purgatory when in-boxes and software of our smart devices automatically delete old files.

Give priceless gifts

Over his stay I received the most beautiful bouquet of the most unique flowers. On the eve of his departure, we were even surprised with a treasure chest full of memorabilia and a flower pot growing flowers with smiley faces. These could brighten any dull day. Where did he buy them from? Nah! They were all handmade Origami marvels. Painstakingly made bit by bit, secretly in his room, every night before bed time. You just cannot put a cost to those. They were genuinely priceless.
Lesson (re)learned:  No store, designer or brand can compete with your own two hands. They speak volumes of feelings that money can never buy. Occasionally, instead of running to the nearest mall say it with your own two hands. Material value is truly inconsequential when it comes to gifts. In fact, the most significant remembrances often have no commercial value at all.

In conclusion; I am grateful for my ½ a dozen truths of life relearned. There’s so much to learn from the little things and little ones in life.
I truly wonder if I made such an immense positive impact on him as he did on me. As of now I’ll just believe his beaming face at the airport as he hugged me a tight goodbye.
Dedicated to Mehlam Songerwala n all kids out there; may the child in you forever live on!
www.tasneemkagalwalla.com

2 comments:


  1. thank you for sharing this beautiful expirience:
    I LIKE :-"Yes, health and fitness is indeed on my agenda. However I’m gonna love myself through the journey too. "- balance- we often forget to enjoy the journey :)
    and it is amazing how kids are able to restore genuine smiles , and the joy of life
    MeshackAli :)

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  2. Thank you for your appreciation +MeshackAli. Yep...you're absolutely right! Kids have an innate ability to bring your awareness back to what really matters in life! :)

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