Babying Around

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 litt-sml

Babying Around

Oh! If I were to be born again
To feel again the newness
Of being a brand new human

Cradle cap that never heals
Slippery skin that peels and peels
Changing color like a chameleon

Making bitter-sweet faces
Secretly smiling for no reason
And crying loud for every little

Looking around wide-eyed
In huge awe and wonder
At bright undefined hues

Amazed at all odd shapes
Jerking alert at rattle sounds
And at human voices

Sleeping the whole day
Waking the whole night
And keeping others awake

Lie on my back full day
Waiting to be picked up
And taken around

Convey hunger in loudest shrills
Making people run around
My family at my beck and call

Let everyone try to please me
While I amuse everyone around
By sucking my little foot thumb

Try to roll-over on my own
Fall from the bed crying
And get my mommy crying

Skin-to-skin with mommy
Looking at her angelic face
As she feeds me calmly

Cradling secure in dad’s arms
As and when he’s around
Till I grow too old for all this.

~Alka~

~~~ ~~~~

. Now I am too old for all this babying around and fancying doing cute stuff.

But we are still like a brand new baby on the day we are born, aren’t we?
And for me, that’s today…my birthday

Also a great day to be back to my blog…with my new baby poem

These Veterans of Motherhood

motherhood

These Veterans of Motherhood

Young moms are moms. Sure!
Are older moms moms too?
Seen it all. Been there. Done that.
Rotund tummy, birthing nerves, joy at the new-born
Ones, who once changed and washed far more nappies
And soothed their colicky babies
Have now left teethers and rattles behind
Disposed them, barring a few…for sweet memories.

Arriving in an alien land, landing double-shift jobs
No extended families ever, lonely media-less times.
Walked their toddlers to child-care, settled them in a kindy
Initiated their primary schooler’s A, B, Cs and Ds
Exhausted weekends at (selective-school) coaching centres
Helped their prodigies with high-school projects
Made secure their future, saw them soar high
Empty handed moms – from their nest the kids fly
Soft-hearted moms become hardened moms

Young moms, still learning about motherhood?
Older mommies, the walking encyclopaedias
Been there. Done that. Seen it all.
Kind of still young, but growing older
Preparing for another dose of mom-hood
Booster shot, of becoming a grand(er) mom.
Some already are content grand-moms
Older moms, not less of a mom, if not more.
Not exactly passé, definitely not past

©Alka Girdhar 2016

~~~ ~~~

While writing this poem I had in my mind women friends who once arrived here in Australia as newly weds, or pregnant with their first child, while some had a toddler or two.

Over the years I have seen many of them undergo most of the above experiences as busy mothers, and now some of them are getting their children settled in jobs or marriage, while other moms would probably join them sometime in the coming years.

Recently I joined a mothers club. Many if not most women there are young mothers discussing problems faced by very new moms. There still are too many motherhood problems in this easy era of social media, even when most of them have plenty of helping hands around, that older moms never had.

Hence, I felt a need to remember the evolving role of the older, or should I say more experienced, mothers as well. Because the joys as well as responsibilities that come with motherhood continue for the whole life..

He Never Died…

 

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He Lives On…in me

Today
This day
He was over.
Long lost
Long gone
Does he now live in heaven?
Possibly he took birth again.
Will never know
But for me…
He was
He is
He will remain
My one and only father
For, a father is a father
He continues…
Flows in our blood
Lives in our cells
Runs in our veins
Thrives in our thoughts
Forever in our hearts
Did ‘that’ day
When he left us
Does this day
Today
19th of April

Alka

Quantum Professors

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illustration-nutty-science-professor-7676296

 

Quantum Professors

“Hellllooo Professor! Nice to meet you!”

“Ha Ha! A long way to go still”, amused Josh laughed it away

“Well Mr Quantum! Aren’t you almost there, as you’ve started teaching at your own university?. That’s pretty much like being a professor”

“Just a quantum bit”, replied Mr Quantum, aka Joshua, a twenty-two Continue reading

Empty Unhappy Youth who Kill Themselves or Kill Others

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For the last two days, my mood has been strangely introspective.  My son’s friend, who was a student with him at the same university, committed suicide.
Thereafter, we also heard news about campus killings in Oregon, America.

Although the real reason can never be known, people deduce all sorts of reasons for a young person’s suicide. One reason given was ‘parental pressure’.  Also, that the day he took his life, he had said to one of the girls in his class, “I feel empty inside.

Parents again. Oh, but isn’t this a question being raised all the time, that ‘parental pressure’, which itself has its roots in ‘societal pressure’, lies heavy on many students’ head when they do not come up to their parents’ expectations?
Most students deal with it, some can’t cope.

My son’s friend is (was) actually the older brother of one of his classmates, with age-gap of only a year, but they all studied together.  Although both brothers are/were academically brilliant, and both got along well, but in a way the younger of the two was doing better. And now that this tragedy happened, people are quick to deduce that the older brother was probably not happy with his academic career, howsoever good it was.

That said, I couldn’t help probing further reasons for this unfortunate incident. Why did he feel ’empty inside’?  He had three loving siblings and had both parents alive. Then where and why was the parental pressure? Is it that the child assumed there is pressure? Is it that the younger sibling was out-performing him and he felt left out?  Probably, day-to-day comments and harmless little nagging within the families is not so harmless after all. A growing child, and a young person being consciously or unconsciously compared to others, loses his self-esteem and self-worth. I feel like hugging his soul. How lonely he must have been during his last hour or so!

loneliness

Photo Credit: animalnewyork.com

Essentially, loneliness is a part of growing up. Late teens to early twenties – this is the phase when children are no more considered children, even if, due to their lack of life experience and not much exposure to the world, most of them continue to be a child at heart.

As they leave their teens behind, they are full of anxiety. Anxiety of behaving sensibly like a new adult, that of being a role model for younger siblings, of performing well as per the societal or parental expectations, of getting admission in best possible courses, of out-performing others so as to secure a great job, of issues related to a girl-friend, of not having a girl-friend while others have; all this while out-doing many others who themselves have similar mind-set.  Each young person trying to excel in this rat race because eventually the fittest will survive.

While I was deeply brooding on all this, I shifted my thoughts to the other news, that of mass killing at the community college at Oregon campus. News about campus carnage in America is no more news for the international community.  This time too, the culprit’s age-group is the same as in most other campus killings, and the victims too are mostly young students or else teachers.

Oregon massacre, as the news slowly reveals, was based on hatred for organised religion, and quite like previous campus killings, this is also related to frustrated youth – an acrimonious revenge of some sort, for it is strange that the shooter was at some stage enrolled in the same college.  So it was about rebellion and about getting noticed. This too is about perceived or real societal pressure to conform (to religion), and it’s about retaliating and giving back pressure to the society. It’s about saying: Look you mean society!! I don’t believe in your dictatorial religious dogmas and pseudo-principles. I shun you. I have the power to kill you all.

As I mentally compare a young man’s self-killing to that of another young man’s mass-killing of others; both have similarities as well as differences.

Suicidal youth are the ones who have lost all hopes from life. Their needs are not being met, they’re crying for help but unable to say it, or else they try to convey but no one pays enough attention to their feelings. Eventually, when they feel life is more unbearable than death would be, that’s when they escape life via one impulsive step. Likewise, the youth who finally resorts to a killing spree, he also conveys or protests spitefully via media and other means, till one day he decides to take some rebellious action. As the Oregon killer said ‘He did not like his lot in life”.

Youth on the verge of a suicide assume they haven’t found their rightful place in the society and can never get it, hence they finish their life.  In comparison, aggressive young men who kill others also feel the same, except that killers try to get their place forcibly, by attempting an act that would leave a larger statement behind. Both seek attention, one does it passively and the other aggressively. A suicidal introvert passively punishes the family and society by withdrawing from it; whereas the shooter does so aggressively by taking lives within unsuspecting campuses.  

Taking one’s life via suicide, or that of many others…these are angry, unhappy, lonely, frustrated youth, not born that way but possibly they had been seeking attention since their early age as is clearly visible from the early life of this campus killer. Their mental tension and loneliness took root in their childhood, that is long before they culminated their anger or anguish in this extreme manner.

This amazes me as a parent, and I wonder at what stage do parents mentally lose contact with their child and why does this happen. Is it from early childhood that some odd behavior goes ignored, or else at the age of 10, 12 or 15?  Possibly more so after they turn 16 or 17, as that’s when they start to go out on their own.  In a nuclear family, which is a norm these days, there’s no support from extended families, hence the pressurized parents are either too engrossed in balancing their career with family life; or busy looking after their younger kids while getting more and more detached from the older kids. The older ones thus grow distant from their families and soon their lonely voices go unheard.

Here the problem is, how much parenting is enough? There are parents who would like to be forever involved in their children’s life, but they face another ‘societal pressure’, one that reminds them that parents should let their kids be; should set them free, let kids grow up on their own. Over-caring parents are considered helicopter parents – over-anxious and too fussy about their grown-up child or new adult.

Well of course, good parents need not be helicopter parents but they should not be so unobtrusive or unavailable that if their child is feeling “empty inside” they don’t even know it.

Likewise, parents of a teen, who is soon going to to evolve into a monster with head full of bloody ideas like mass massacre, are either parents who are themselves party to such vile things or else totally ignorant about it.  Either way, they are not playing any positive role in the lives of humans they gave birth to.

Throughout the life of their child, parents need to constantly sow seeds of ethical, moral and righteous living in their children. There’s no age for that. Parents need to be present in their kids’ lives forever. There’s no age for that.  Parents need of watch out for signs of killer instincts in their growing children and youth. There’s no age for that.

There’s no age to fix things that have gone even slightly wrong. It’s better to mend them in time.

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Copyright © 2015 Alka Girdhar

Our Fountains of Joy

Have you ever tossed a coin or two into a fountain and made a wish? Did it come true?

I try to recollect but I do not remember putting coins in any fountain to have my wish come true. Sometimes I’ve looked at the sky and wished upon a star or should I say moon.

More than that I’ve prayed at religious places, asked for something and the wishes did come true. Yes, they do come true if we do not make it a habit. Generally speaking, be it a fountain, a star, dandelion or God, we should be careful what we wish for.

But nowadays, I do not ask for anything from anyone or anywhere. I’ve discovered, it doesn’t matter either way.

That said, we’ll look at a fountain. The picture below is not exactly a fountain with waters gushing out upwardly and some musical lights creating a spectacular sight. This is more of a fountain where there are subtle bubbles that slowly spread water all around.

With the architecture of circulating pathways, the Spiral Fountain at Darling Harbour in Sydney is a favorite place for kids (and adults) to wet their feet on steps filled with water, go walking round and round to finally reach the rotund centre and sit there in glory.

My son also used to love doing that when he was a little boy – splashing his feet around this path, laughing and giggling non-stop while descending down. Finally victorious upon reaching his destination, sitting comfortably there, he would wave at us from far as if he was now in some different land.
20070322051155_00011mw(My son’s picture is not too clear. Here’s another one with a wider fountain)

When we see our kids, or see any kid for that matter, enjoying their little things, we heartily wish them to be always happy like that.  They are our fountains of joy.

When they grow older, we continue to wish the same even though we inevitably cannot always be a part of their social activities, their trips and tours. We still want them to reach their destination and achieve great heights.

These are the secret wishes and open desires of every parent in this world. I look at this fountain now and make a wish for my son’s happiness.

~~~

In response to Daily Prompt: Three Coins in the Fountain

I rock!!!  By being my own rock.    

With time, I have learnt to be my own rock!  Even in times of dire need I’m well able to keep my worries to myself till I can.  I feel, any time spent asking others for help, can be utilized trying to do it myself. That’s because now I know many life answers.  Other than that, even though I try to help others whenever possible, I do not find it easy to ask others for help.

Not just asking, I sincerely do not expect or demand any help from others. Life is very busy for all such families who are working full-time or over-time so I try to avoid telling people to take precious time out from their busy schedules. I also do not judge anyone for not having helped me.

But I was not always like this.  Being born and brought up in a big family was a different thing altogether, when we all were dependent on each other.  Later on, the family I got married into was also the same, quite big though smaller than my birth family. In both these cities, both families had huge extended families with all their social events, perpetual marriages, birthdays, religious events and what not.

In big families people are just there for each other – simply by being there.  They do not have to ask each other for help yet all the work load, little miseries as well as bigger problems, literally every little thing is automatically shared, often without a word. Emotional problems also get taken care of.  Thus, inside home-front or outside, my native cities were full of relatives and friends who, despite occasional conflicts, were co-dependent on each other as well as stood by each other.  I too found strength experiencing the merits and the demerits of such dependency.

These were the lessons learnt during first half of my life.  But that’s that. Thereafter it’s been a life that was pretty much lived alone.  Alone means, as a couple with no extended family at all in the city I live.  A growing child is a company but he could not be our rock as such.  By the time a child is grown up enough to understand what life is all about, parents have already become their own rock.  So it was for me.

Years ago, when we initially migrated to Australia and we were younger, there were friends galore, rather one too many. There was too much of mutual dependency as our kids were born, school issues arose or we were generally helping each other settle down in a new country. But soon people got busy and scattered to different locations. Actually my family moved away. More new friends came along but we left them behind after once again moving to a distant suburb.  All these wonderful friends, who were very close once, seem to be totally changed whenever we see them after a long time. Our priorities changed, lives moved on. None of these groups could ever be our constant rock so we learnt to rely primarily on ourselves. Of course, other than these ever-evolving friendships, there are ever-changing workmates, besides the wider Australian community, new neighbors as well as Indian-Australian organisations. Helpful but they can’t be our rock.

Overall, when this process of change occurs a number of times in life – this parting from family and friends – we become stronger. Thus after this vagabond life, at some stage I became my own rock.  Literally I seek strength mainly from myself.  And it comes. It always comes. It’s there inside us.

For example, owing to my husband’s work hours as well as work-related tours, I often got to experience a life where, along with my own career goals, I had a major share in household work as well as taking prime onus of bringing up our only child who never had any grandparents or extended families around him. I had to do my best. I could do it.

Only after his schooling finished that I finally felt free to spread my wings around, to seek local people who can be of some help.  Such people are many and yet they are not many. Because only a handful of people in the world truly care for us. That’s not surprising given the fact that most people can’t relate to our life and circumstances, esp. those who live far away have not seen our life’s ups and downs.

And yet, through all this, my mother who lives in India has been my constant rock, even if it is more of moral strength.  I should not and do not expect her to be my rock, as it is rather they, our aging parents, who need us to be their strength which we cannot be as we live so far away.

Lately, as my son got busier with his higher education, another realization has dawned upon me that parents can’t keep centering their lives around their children, as they eventually leave the nest sooner or later.  Getting prepared for the inevitable time, I too am gearing myself to become stronger than I have always been.  Moreover, if the family structure and priorities change, all my previously acquired strength is not going to be of much use. That’s because growing young children need a different kind of all-round support and love.  But soon it will be more of mutual exchange without any expectations from parents’ side. Parents need to become a rock as they learn to let go of the usual smothering and clinging love they once had for their off-springs.

Parents approaching middle-age also need to strengthen their physical health, while fulfilling their pending career dreams and hobbies, as well as learning to be happy for themselves rather than seek joy only through their children who are about to move out to have their own life.  When children become less dependent, parents also need to renew or strengthen their family friendships and look after their own social needs. At this stage, I too will need more friends for things big or small.  Being busy with our young families and career issues, we ourselves drift a bit apart from our close friends and families, we isolate ourselves mentally.  That uncaring attitude has to go to a certain extent.

And yet, I may still not rely on too much help from others. I will always try to be my own rock – mentally, emotionally and physically – at least till I can. I usually seek internal strength through prayers and music. That will continue.

~~~

In response to The Daily Prompt:  I Am a Rock
‘Is it easy for you to ask for help when you need it, or do you prefer to rely only on yourself? Why?’

Best Bargain Ever

It was too good to be true
like some dream come true
when he said to me ‘I love you’
Till now he never said it
much as I asked him to.
Asked many times, he never did.
I think, he didn’t know he should
show his love, so when he obliged
it was too good to be true.

I remember, the other day
He and I were in some shop
As usual he vanished to his nook
Then came out and proposed,
that if I buy his favorite ‘thing’,
then each day of his whole life
he will say to me ‘I love you’.
I laughed but agreed.
This offer I couldn’t refuse,
for it was too good to be true

And next day he did that.
As I woke up dreamily
rubbing my eyes lazily,
there he stood by my bed-side
his little hands holding my face
thus spoke to me, my little boy
“Mama, I love you!! Now will you
please please please
get me my favorite toy?”

 
**

The above incident actually happened with me many years ago, when my son was little (as in pics).
khj

 

Born Again

When a child is born, the mother is also re-born. It is like starting one’s life afresh with a fresh new baby. Most mothers can relate to this…

Born Again

Drowsy after a caesarean I lay
As if I forgot why I was there

The nurse woke me, handed me
A beautiful dimply babe

As if saying, take care
Here it(he) is, now all yours

As I held him, there he was
Frantically sucking his tiny fist

His nervous half-open eyes
As if scared to be in this world

Our eyes locked, well so I thought
And I was changed forever

That moment I was ‘born again’
As I had become a mother

He was my bundle of joy
My onus and my prerogative

With trembling unsure hands
I dressed him up in red

He belongs to me, I thought that day
This little soul is solely mine

But no, from that day till now
It was my life that was no more mine

My life could never be the same
As it became much better, all too fine.

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My son’s first photo, on the day he was born…long ago.   

~~~

I wrote this poem in response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First!.”
Later posted it for the Photo Challenge Fresh as well.

~~~