Often as parents we are frenzied over what to teach our kids and what to leave out. It seems the world’s encyclopedia cannot fit in everything that we may want our kids to learn. The most popular is of course, all the classes we want them to take; especially influenced by the ones their friends and cousins are taking. From all that could be possible under the sky, I give EXTREME Importance to teaching Kids KINDNESS and COMPASSION. These are ‘Qualities of Character’ which cannot be taught by ‘lecturing’ or by narrating ‘stories’. We – Adults, must be involved with the kids for them to see, to know, to experience. We must have a heart filled with Kindness which spreads joy and affection like a ‘contagious, irresistible hobby’.
Read this real life story, fresh from June 2015 ~ with Rima Desai
A story of 4 innocent hands powered by The Joy ofGiving!
As the car screeched Stop by the beautiful waters, we could see how the heat at 37 degrees Celsius had left the place to a mere silence. Not a single soul! Out jumped the 4 little Heroes as I clamped their caps 1,2,3, .. The walk from the car to under the shaded tree was a bit of a journey, as the soaring sun stared angrily at our path. Finally under the shade, I removed our ‘packets of kindness’. With the intention to surprise the ducks, all of our 5 hands began offering bread crumbs in the water.
Kids were thrilled to see that ducks that were snug and rested on the other side of the shore, began peddling into a flock and soon into a raft of little hungry mouths. The excitement was contagious! We saw some of the ducks fly in a frenzy. Our act of kindness drew not just the animals but also many ‘hidden’ pigeons and other birds into this ‘feast’. Our expressions clearly screamed more enthusiasm- “Where did they come from!”
We stood there for a good 20 minutes making our offerings in the water and on the grass. Most of the kids (except mine) were experiencing ducks up close for the first time; almost nibbling at their feet! It was a bit scary at first but soon became a sense of thrill and joy.
We walked further looking for more ducks as we saved 1 full bag of the ‘kindness crumbs’. The lake was huge and so was our need to feed!
Walking further, we saw a pair of ducks swimming towards us. We realized that it was a ‘New Born baby’ being accompanied by its Mom. A cry of extreme excitement filled the air as all 5 of us were overthrown with joy to witness a new born baby duck for the first time! Our love for the cute baby spilled out ‘as if’ it could understand all that we said. We wished we had more food to offer and decided to return another day.
Back home, we shared the pictures with each kids’ family. Parents were thrilled and overjoyed to know their kids were involved in such an act of kindness and that their kids were eager enough to share more kindness in days to come!
This post is brought to you by Facebook/Parenting Booth by Rima Desai. It is inspired by ‘It is a Happy World’s’ motivation to spread Happy News. Thank You Mihir Upadhyay for your contribution and for inspiring me to bring more ‘life’ to the post.
On this Special Day I wish to Say, You are My much Admired for all that you have brought into my life.
“The days when you picked me on your shoulders and ran around the home, talked for long hours and never made me feel alone. When all the Qs I asked, unanswered you left none; spending times together, messing the home, eating chocolate, and all your surprises were a lot of fun!!
While I grew, I learnt a lot from You and when I went to Boarding, things changed into something new. I remember the letters I wrote and out of desperation, waited to hear from You. The more I shared my excitement and experiences with you, the more the feelings of missing You within me brew. It took me that distance to realize how important You are to me and now, I could go on scratching our wonderful memories with a lot of glee. I must stop here to say I LOVE YOU DADDY, VERY DEEPLY!
I may have not expressed it like this before, but I do feel it with much rife, I am proud to say – You are the Greatest of my life!”
SOME OF YOUR BEST QUALITIES DAD
You explain anything to me in a Calm manner. Dad you have the power to make me feel Serene
You are super helpful. These are all your helping hands which I have observed over the years!
You are so selfless dad. You think so much for others versus yourself! You are such a loving and caring person, you have taught me to
Even though you don’t cook so often, when you do, it is SUPER DUPER DELICIOUS!!!!!! Dad I grant you the label of
You have another special quality Dad – You are Very
THREE THINGS I ENJOY DOING WITH YOU DAD
Going for a drive
Watching or Channelor just sitting together and asking you tons of related to these channels.
We’ve never done that but… I would love to cook and learn things from You.
Crepe is a French word for a thin pancake which can essentially be curled up. Crepes have been an integral part of North and West Indian cooking for several decades. They make for a nutritious and a filling meal, all curled up together.
Being an artistic leader is an essential part of my personality and that shows up pretty well in the kitchen too. Rarely do I read a recipe from start to end and follow it to the T! I have always preferred to be the one creating a recipe than the one who follows it. Today was something like that. I brought out the ingredients and then asked myself – how to use these to make dinner? ‘Ting’ went my mind – OATMEAL CREPE
Find the Ingredient Photographs below.
Oatmeal – 3 cups and churn into dry powder
Poha (Beaten Rice) – 2 cups and churn into dry powder
Urad Daal (Split black gram: split and hulled so that only the white part is used) – 2 cups and churn into dry powder
Kale – 4 cups
Spring Onions – One bunch – appx. 5 thin.
Salt to taste
Pepper 3-4 Tbsps.
Cinnamon powder – 1 Tbsp.
Red Chili Powder – 1 tsp.
Water to make a medium thick, flowy batter
Churn all well in as many batches as needed. The batter looks a bit grainy and that is ok. Add water whenever needed. If the batter is not used immediately, it may soak up water and look thicker when removed for use. Use your discretion in adding water. Spread on warm non-stick skillet. Make crepes as usual!
If it lumps up on the warm skillet, then it surely needs water. If it is so thin or soft that the crepe breaks on the skillet, then you may churn up either of the above dry ingredient into a powder and add it. You may even directly add Bengal gram flour which helps in binding ingredients. Remember at least part of the batter a churn in the blender once you add any dry flour to it. This will help keep the batter smooth and easy to spread.
The batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days however, best flavor when consumed within 3 days!
SUCCESS STORY! :D
My family over-ate today! They said they loved it! It is a great recipe for kids too since they can roll it and eat by themselves by dipping in butter, sauce, or cilantro and tamarind dips. Use it while travelling!!!
This article is brought to you by Rima Desai ~ Copyrights reserved.It aims to appreciate young dads for their contribution in caring for their kid/s. You may also read it here: https://www.facebook.com/parentingbooth
My Dad is years Today!
“Dad You are the Best!”
Words by themselves cannot describe my amazing dad. The day I was born dad was the first and the happiest person to hold me. He said, “Daddy’s little princess is here”. When mom worked 6 days a week, Dad spent an entire day with me each week. On that day he would take over mom’s role pretty well – he would feed me, bathe me, and also change my diapers.
Dad You are my Favorite because:
You love to crack jokes and make me
I love the way you tuck me in your arms and rock me to sleep with your sweet lullabies. For me you are the best singer in the world. Ha ha ;)
Dad, I admire that you do chores such as ironing all my clothes and mopping (Mom is lucky!)
Overall you are quiet a Cool Parent Sometimes you get impatient, but that much is allowed ;)
I enjoy watching TV with you while mom is already asleep
Dad You are not good at:
Cooking! You sure are a very bad cook and I see how you rely on Fast Food when Mom is not around.
Remember daddy my little poem phrase – “Fast Food is not Good”.
Dad You are my First Love and my Superhero forever! No matter what I do or what I say, I know for a fact that you will always support me. Dad for You – “Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a DAD!”
Spirit vs. Computer. With the Magic powers of my Spirit how much Tech do I need?
Last weekend at a site-seeing spot this person comes up to and asks me to click his family. I was surprised to see the camera was size of a cookie- Glucose biscuit size! I am not at all a ‘Tech’ person, uninterested! Yes, I like to use it and I need this laptop rt now to print this – but I need nothing Fancy and don’t find any interest in staying up-to-date with it.
On the contrary, ask me about what I personally call – ‘Spiritual Technology’: I can tell you and teach you a lot about: Clairvoyance, Intuition, Psychic readings, Hypnosis, Past-life regression, Astrology, Zodiac Signs, Polarity, Reiki, Energy related work, Meditation of Several types, Karma Theories, Heavenly bodies, Spirits, and so on..
Why should I find interest in Technology when I can feel your energies, know what you are doing, read your mind often even WORD BY WORD, feel your feelings even if you are a 1000 or 100,000 miles away; When I can tell who is calling or texting me before I see the phone, why you did what you did before I ask you, when I can look into my past life and tell you and me what was it like and give you proof of it, when I can dream in advance what is going to happen, when I can help myself with meditation and hypnosis to alter my life style for the better, when I can half heal my physical hurt with reiki….
…when I can tell you about your childhood or your relationships at home by just interacting with you, when I can look at your face and capture your overall personality, character, and above all: HAVE MY TEAM OF POWERFUL ANGELS WORKING WITH ME.The list goes on…. I am still on the journey but I sure have come far and realizing how powerful this magic is!! Those who are out of touch with that world, are missing out a lot!!!! There is so much out there in the Universe and within you…
“It is the most intriguing part of life. It is like all of us have 2 lands every where we step – it is either the Spirit land or the Material Land. It is what you chose to land on, that you chose to make more Powerful!” ~ By Rima Desai
This article is brought to you by Rima Desai ~ Copyrights reserved.It aims to appreciate young dads for their contribution in caring for their kid/s. You may also read it here: https://www.facebook.com/parentingbooth
SAGAR YERUNKAR – MAY 2015
At 13 years (sometimes I read numbers backwards), my dad is super supportive! There isn’t much of an age gap between dad and me. I turned 1 few days ago and daddy turned 31 on May 16th. See, we are only 3 apart ;)
One thing is definite – my dad has mastery over story-telling.
When he narrates me a story, he captures our attention. I may be distracted but yet, I get engulfed in his stories; mom too! You can see mom’s palm on her chin, eyes and ears in deep attention. And even if I hear less than half the story, dad continues it with a lot of enthusiasm. Love it dad! Now I can tell how dad charmed mommy. How many stories did you make up dad to impress mom?!
My dad is fun! Papa ensures he gets home on time to enjoy with me before I zzzz.
Mom says Dad’s face is a lantern of happiness when he makes me laugh. He does it every day and it is priceless to watch! Dad doesn’t know I just laugh because I don’t want to disappoint him. ;) (Just kiddin’!)
Mom is pretty smart too. She knows how to put dad to work. She uses her leadership skills with him too. Guess, that (shhh… mom shouldn’t hear), mom has stringed dad into feeding me breakfast, dinner, and cleaning my dirty diapers on the weekends. Pee yu! :p
Plus he does many more things to give her time. But I see why dad does it – he loves mom (nobody should know he is a little scared of mom too, like half a chocolate piece scared). Dad don’t worry, I didn’t tell mom how you sneak into the chocolate box.
There are 3 things that dad barely does half as good as mom (sorry dad, mom told me to write this ;))
Tear free bathing
Getting me to close my eyes for sweet dreams
Keeping me still while changing my diaper
But then Dad has his strengths too! Here is my SD – SUPER DAD
Dad is Super good at
Taking me to rides
3. And playing Peek-a-Boo with me!
Mom says: “Sagar is a super protective dad. Seeing them play together makes me wonder if boys will always be boys”.
Parent of the Month II (May 2015): LATE MRS. MAYA CHHEDA
Today: 14th May, is my Late Mom’s birthday – Mrs. Maya Chheda. ‘My Parent of the Month’ Series will be incomplete without her mention. I will like to dedicate this post to her with the intention that it will reach her wherever she is. I believe that she did a lot more for others than she received. I intend that with this post, her soul ‘hears’ that she is valued, loved, cared for, and MISSED by many of us even now; that I owe her my life and I Thank her for all the goodness that she instilled in my sister and me in early years. She passed away at an early age of 33 years and I missed out on learning a lot more things from her.
Today I was working at my laptop when suddenly my daughter began singing – “Happy Birthday to you…” Oblivious in my work, I asked her whose birthday was it? She ignored my question and continued singing in the end addressing it to her grandma (my mom). I was thrilled! :)
Mom was born in a large family of 10 children. She was the last of them all and sadly for her, she didn’t get a chance to even see her dad. Her father passed away when she was yet to be born.
The growing years for all the children including her were filled up numerous hardships. Her mom (my grandma) had to financially support the family and also look after so many children. Even though grandma was physically present, she was emotionally missing from mom’s life. Mom was brilliant in academics and she received support from her mom and siblings to study. She was about to finish her Doctorate but did not end up giving the very last paper!
In her own life, mom had considerable financial struggles while she brought us up. She did the best in giving us the love and support she could. There were times of severe financial difficulty and I heard from my elders that she would not eat a single slice of fruit because she would save them to give it to my sister and me.
From the vague memory that I have of my mom, I remember that she would have us recite religious prayers before sleeping, from a very young age. Those values which she gave me in the first years of life, did remain with me and I can say that they came to my ‘rescue’ in my dark times. It helped me immensely to have faith in God and believe in praying.
“Wherever you are Mom, I want to Thank You for embedding religious and moral values in me at a very early age and giving us all the care and love you did. We cherish that and love you”.
Below are heart-felt shares from some of her family members:
“I loved her a lot. She was very intelligent and religious. She had studied Jain religion in deep. She was an expert in cooking and her pani puri was the world’s best. I was very fond of her. She was my ideal and I always wanted to be like her. Your Mom always believed in equality between girl and boy. She never approved of gender bias and clearly corrected those who discriminate between their son and daughter. I still remember her saying that one should give equal love to all children. I am going to feel her loss all my life”.
“As her name suggests, MAYA, she was full of ‘love’. She was like a sister to me. She helped her sister (my wife) to get married in spite of her partial disability. She put an ad in Mumbai Samachar newspaper. Because of Sister Maya’s help, today I have a wonderful wife and daughter.
She was the most beautiful person in the family by looks and by heart. She would treat guests as God and her sacrifice and love for the family was unmatching. She has helped my wife in many ways. When our apartment was getting painted for 9 days, she took my wife – her elder sister to her home forcibly because she knew her sister had allergy to paint. And in those 9 days of stay, even though Sister Maya had her own difficulties, she treated my wife (her elder sister) excellent.
We all miss her a lot. Maybe God had a plan to have her meet her father in heaven and hence took her away from us so early. She has been a blessing and she has left behind 2 beautiful Angel Daughters. May God Bless her and Keep her united with all family members here and in heaven”.
We mutually remember that Mom used to knit sweaters for us. She was super talented. And she always made our birthdays special by making THREE cakes for us. I clearly remember one of the Strawberry or Pink cake that she had made. It used to be Chocolate, Strawberry, and maybe Pineapple. We know that Mom loved us a lot and did many special things for us.
I remember when I would go down to play without shoes and get hurt with nails from the playground or the times when mom would call us back home. She also taught us to help in the kitchen from young age as often her health would not be good.
“Mom I always bake cake for your grand-daughter’s birthday and she loves it. If you were here today, I would bake THREE cakes for You! I trust that you are well wherever you are and may you celebrate that life with Love and Joy You were a very courageous person and you have passed that on to us. Thank You Mom for everything!”
Maya was extremely talented and affectionate by nature. She was good looking, independent, and smart. – She was very fond of keeping a beautiful, neat, and tidy home. Her interests and talents included cooking, stitching, and socializing. She enjoyed inviting people and was loved by her entire family because of her loving and generous nature. She had wonderful handwriting too. She loved her daughters immensely; even though she was strict with them in her discipline rarely have I seen a mother who loves her children so deeply. I still resent the fact that she didn’t complete her doctorate and that she struggled a lot with her kids in the apartment she lived in. I always remember her sharing her wish to come to USA. Whatever I say about her will be less. She left behind a lot of memories in our hearts. Her sudden loss is a wound that cannot be healed.
If I have to sum up in just few words, I can say that Maya was my best friend.
When we were young we shared the same mattress to sleep together, knowing that we had a highly modest upbringing. We laughed, cried, fought, and confided in each other. Many a times she fought with entire family for me! She was the only one I could speak out my heart to about some things that I could not share with anyone else. I think I was v.protective about her. I miss her immensely!———
Thank You everyone for reading this article and for blessing her soul :) It is easier to write about others than to write about someone of your own.
Parent of the Month (May 2015): MRS. PUJA RAMCHANDANI
Today on May 13th, I am fortunate to celebrate the most memorable birthday – The Birthday of my ‘Adopted Mother’! Haha, yes! I call her my adopted mother. Well ideally, she adopted me as a child just a heart-to-heart connection, no official adoption, etc. She my best friend’s mom whom I found in my college years when I was lost, depressed, missing a mom figure in my life. My biological mother died when I was 6 and (Puja Ramchandani) Mom came to my life as an Angel!
This is the bio of a Parent who has faced numerous challenges in life with the best of courage and smiles. Even though she lost her mom at a crucial age of 17 years, she turned that difficult phase of life into a powerful journey. She has taught many of us to LOVE unconditionally, and to pass through the fogs with might. She epitomizes the word ‘Mother’ esp. for me as I call her ‘Mom’. Welcome our Parent for May 2015 – MRS. PUJA RAMCHANDANI.
Dedicated to You Mom, from all of us!
As a child, she was reserved, shy, and could not speak openly with her parents. After losing her mom, her elder sisters were there with her only for a few years. (In India, girls got married very early in those times). Her dad was strict and disciplinary. She learnt important values from him but it also created fear within her. Losing a mom at teenage feels like losing one’s spine. Not having guidance, and support, she turned out to be an innocent person. When she got married, she was scared to travel by the local trains. She would want to visit her sisters who lived in town, far from her home. Her husband helped her a few times but eventually she gathered the courage to go by herself.
She steered through the challenges of her newly married life and built great relations with everyone within the immediate and extended family. After finishing house work, in the afternoon, she would find time to experiment with new recipes and soon her recipes were the ‘talk of the town’. She was always identified as a person who took great care of everyone in the family, her in laws, her children, and many others.
Mrs. Ramchandani’s life called for sudden and heavy adjustments. Often the dynamics altered between joint and nuclear family. Both of the family systems have their grave challenges and imagine having to make arrangements in the home according to how the family structure changes. Over and again, she took care of extended family members who lived with her for several months and being a mother, I can understand how that impacts one’s daily family life. The beauty is that she embraced each situation and ‘change’ with grace! Each time it was a different type of adjustment required and she stayed up to it powerfully.
Personally speaking, I have seen the small house they lived in. Having two young children, the way in which she adjusted in that short space and yet made it into a beautiful home is admirable! Even though she had a lot of family responsibilities, she ensured her children grew up with fun. She encouraged them to participate in activities, competitions, sports, and academics while also caring for all the other family members. She has always been very involved in her children at all stages and given them all that she has missed in life. I have also witnessed the dedication with which she cared for her ailing, bed-ridden father-in-law for more than 8 years. I am in awe of her!
In her mid-life, her husband and son relocated to a new country in their need to support the family and take the upcoming opportunity. It was a massive change. The responsibility of finances, caring for the home, in-laws, and getting her daughter through with her education, all fell on her shoulders. At this juncture Mrs. Ramchandani came out even stronger than before. Like the saying goes – The difference between ordinary and extra-ordinary is the ‘extra’.
We have a lot to write about Mrs. Puja, but we have more to hear: heart-warming words from all of her children. Her son recently got married and now her family feels complete!
Son: NILESH (NEEL)
“Mom, you know I do not express much with words but you mean the world to me. You are the most amazing person I know. The things you do, not just for our family, but for everyone are greatly appreciated… You have given me strength, values, and love. You are the best chef of the world. Your food has healing powers! You are the Angel of our family Mom, Thank You for everything you do!”
Daughter: SARITA (HANISHA)
Mom has given me so many gifts by just being the person she is. She has given me ‘LIFE’ and an opportunity to be a part of GOD’S Manifestation and a bond which is going to last forever. I cannot thank her enough for all the lessons and values she has given me as a priceless treasure.
“Mom you lift me up and never let me fall. You see me through and you see the best in me. You inspire me to be a better mom. Most of all, I cherish your hugs. Even when you scold me, when we argue, I am learning something from you. I am grateful for all your teachings. You are the Miracle of my World. You have Shaped me to the best of me and You are the reason, I am me. I am blessed that God chose me to be your child, my love for you is infinite!”.
Memories with You MOM:
Story time with you as a child; esp. the bedtime spiritual Gurbani was just so relaxing and every night you gracefully taught me to face life with courage and moral values.
You stayed up with us for studies and exams like it was your test. I still remember how you stayed up praying and studying with us in our crucial years. You made us coffee / milk to keep us awake. You were so involved with Neel and I that we felt our classes and projects were as much yours and our competitions were incomplete without you.
After Neel and Dad relocated, I saw a stronger, different person in you. Those days are memorial to me as we shared our tough times together adjusting and making sacrifices.
You spend an awesome time with Nishika; you make a wonderful grandmother!
5 Special qualities of Mom:
Very helpful: You go out of her way to help others
Active and energetic
Quick and spontaneous on any task
Forgiving – even when people do bad things to you, you move on without grudges
You create happy surroundings wherever you go
I appreciate your chirpy, jolly, and hard-working nature
Daughter-in-law: PRIYANKA (SIMRAN)
“Mom, I am lucky to be your daughter-in-law. You give me the strength and power to adjust in a new place and you also make me feel comfortable. Even though I am away from home, I feel at home :) You are a special person because of the priceless heart you have. You are so loving and affectionate!”
My special memory with you is our welcome dinner dance on the song – “Tera mujhse hai pehle ka naata koi”.
Son-in-law: AMITH MELVANI
When I came to India before marriage, mom made me feel extremely comfortable and because of that I enjoyed my wedding shopping with them.
“Mom, this is the perfect platform to share that when Sarita and me needed you the most during my challenging times, you were super supportive; you helped us immensely even with relocating our store. I was very moved by that. Mom I have known you as someone with a heart filled with so much love for everyone. You go out of your way to be of help without bias, even if that person hasn’t been nice to you. I am fortunate to have your daughter as my wife because she has imbibed your forgiving and caring nature. By law you may be called my Mother-in-law but I relate to You as my Mother!”.
Notes from me: RIMA
Writing my heart out to ‘Mom’ can be the toughest thing for me because there is so much for me to express that a sea of emotions explode. I am grateful, I have received this opportunity from the Universe to write about Mom. After God sent her down to earth, he listed – “No more in production”. Sounds hilarious but she is the Only one of her kind. ‘Grateful’ is a very small gesture I can say to her.
When I lost my mom at 6 years of age, I grew up feeling ‘greatly deprived’. I had a lot of internal pain from hearing other children use the word MOM. I had no one whom I could call Mom and as simple as that sounds, it is extremely painful for a child. Many people would SYMPATHIZE with me but mom was the the only one who went a step further. I was a complete stranger to her. She didn’t know my family, had never come to my home, and knew nothing else about me besides that I was her son’s classmate in school. Our religions were very different too. In those times, not many would openly embrace a person from a totally different religion.
Unlike all others, Mom made me her ‘Daughter’ and allowed me, in fact, declared that I refer to her as ‘MOM’. There is no other gift I can receive that can be more PRECIOUS. After so many years of lull, it was hard for me to even speak out the word ‘MOM’.
For several years, I had nobody to talk to, nobody who loved me unconditionally, no one who cooked food of my liking. I craved all of this deeply and often cried several hours at night. From all the friends and family – tons of cousins I knew, I was the ONLY one who belonged to a Single Parent family. This feeling slowly got healed as Mrs. Puja (Mom) made for me a place of great love in her heart and home.
Mom would invite me at her home and hear all that I had to say. She would go out of her way to cook food of my liking, food that she hadn’t cooked before. Being a Jain by religion, I wouldn’t eat onions, potatoes, carrots, and garlic at all. Cooking food without these ingredients was a challenge because it was totally new and unknown to her. But she LEARNT to make my favorite vegetables EXACTLY the way I liked them. She made the most delicious BHINDI (OKRA) veggies – the taste of which from the year 1999 is still in my mouth! Who would do all this for a stranger?
The way she has brought up her two kids speaks volumes of her character, her courage, her strength and her love. I will fall short on words and space to write for her.
“Mom you are way too special to me and I there is no way I can repay You for all the love you have given me. In cold, screeching blizzards of my life, you covered me with a warm blanket that kept me going safe and strong! You came specially to my engagement ceremony, that meant a lot to me. Thank You Mom.
I am more than grateful and I sincerely hope God will give me a chance to SERVE YOU, to CARE FOR YOU in return. Your love, comes out in your food and in your talks. You are so much fun, so loving, spiritual, courageous, and such a sweetheart. I know it is not only me, you have opened your heart to many children, many people, and helped many more than we all even know. I am far from you since several years but yet, I haven’t felt that distance. Even if we talk once in several months, you are there, just the same.
I was happily surprised to know how much Simran knew about me even before I spoke to her. Thank You for introducing me to her, even in my absence… what more should I say?… My eyes are full with emotion. I am sure there is a great reason why my Mom’s bday and your bday are next to each other and why I met you in this life-time! Over the years, you have allowed me to be myself and loved me unconditionally. I remember how I used to save money and call you from phone booths to talk to you. I LOVE YOU MOM”.
Husband: VIDU RAMCHANDANI
Puja is a very cordial, loving, and caring wife. I credit her for raising mature, wonderful kids and adjusting gracefully when both of us had to be away. She is very affectionate and very well organized in caring for the home and entire family. I am lucky to have such a loving and caring spouse who has blessed my family with her presence.
“Puja, you are the perfect wife and the perfect mother. I admire you for who you are!”
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Although we may see fault in the ways of people and clearly mark out ‘souls’ that bring love and light vs. those that create painful surroundings, I intend to appreciate the greatness shown by each person in some way. Many film stars display heroic qualities but there are many more real-life unspoken ‘stars’ that have left behind examples of inspiration. I began the ‘Parent-of-the-month’ series with an intention to celebrate these ‘Parent-Heroes’, acknowledge their greatness, (leave aside any of their shortcomings), and inspire the ones on the road.
THE BIOGRAPHY OF A LADY WITH GREAT VALOR
Today I am introducing an Iron Lady who proved her buoyancy over the consistently frosty waters of life during her 91 years of courage and commitment.
Read her short story to know how she waded through the troubles of poverty coupled with many mouths to feed.
Kasturben (Ba in short) was overall a cheerful, outgoing person. In India, 80 years ago, girls got married as early as in their teens and the cultural tradition demanded a troupe of children. It sounds funny to hear but I can only imagine the burden that comes with it.
Kasturben lost her husband at the age of 35, leaving 9 young mouths and a 10th one (my mom) on the way. The tragedy of life was emphasized by severe scarcity of finances. She had some experience in running the provision store with her husband but after his death, it was a tough balance to create between her work and so many children. At that juncture, she did receive remarkable help from her brothers; yet, the path ahead was for her to carve.
Without a doubt, she worked day and night to ensure enough food and shelter for her little ones but there were severe challenges with her business. Most of her clients were construction workers on the airport building. Often, customers crowded at the same time after their work was over in the evening and this demanded bone-breaking work from her. The fact that women were considered as the domestic, weaker section of society, and many of her customers as well as workers would be males, demanded that she step up with exceptional bravery to assert her power.
Running a provision store requires work not only when there are customers but also before and after: bring in products, arrange them, clean up, manage the accounts, ensure that groceries are free of insects, and much more. Even after her workers left, work demanded her presence and it left her requesting help from her elder son and daughter. Her children showed similar qualities of courage and hard work and they all stepped up to drive through the dark times of life.
Ba’s sense of responsibility was very high. She looked after her parents until the end, while being dedicated to her 10 off springs, on a limited income.
WORDS FROM HER FAMILY:
Narration from one of her daughters: “She would ask us to recite poems and tables before going to sleep. As a result, our studies were not neglected. In fact, she taught us the importance of education and sent my elder brother to USA in those times when there weren’t even proper flights from India and only 1% of the population ever left the country. It encouraged me to do my Masters and eventually I became a successful college teacher, because of my mom’s dedication and support. Had it not been for Mom’s hard work, we would not have had a shop at Church gate and a home in Juhu scheme. (Both are one of the best suburbs in Mumbai). We younger siblings were lucky to study in the prestigious -Mithibai College. Everything that she did helped us in our lives tremendously”.
As per the Indian tradition, a widow must wear only white saree (Indian dress) and Ba willingly followed that tradition too. Even though times were horrendous, she had the determination to keep moving forward with faith and courage. While fulfilling duties of the family she also became very religious. She did every possible fast from her religion and attended several religious ceremonies. Highly inspired from her, her elder daughters continued the religious tradition of fasts, known as ‘Tap’ in Gujarati and until today, they remember her for that.
LACK OF A FATHER:
While Ba was swimming against the odds of her life, all of her children had their own trials. They did have a powerful mother to show them care and strong will, yet they missed the roof of a father that would shade them from the heat of life. They deeply missed having a father figure to give them the confidence to bring themselves out in the world and guide them through. Her children showed their own kind of courage which cannot be worded in any way. Later in life, her son who flew abroad gave her continuous and immense financial support.
As if life had not offered her enough trouble, Ba had her biggest blow with the untimely death of her last born (my mom) at a very young age. This was an irreparable loss for her that left her completely shattered. She also steered through the pain of losing her sister, eldest son, and her grandson! Ba showed her high morals and helpful nature by caring for her Special Needs’ cousin brother and for her sister’s children like her own.
BA with her GRANDCHILDREN:
Ba had a lot of affection for her grandchildren and enjoyed cooking for them. I remember how she would insist we eat (more than we could) to show her care. Most of us enjoyed her white dhoklas and rice flake treats (mumra ladus). Her cooking clearly reflected her motherly love for us. One of her daughter-in-law says that Ba’s cooking skills sparked interest in cooking for her.
One of her grandchild says – “She did not have just will power, she had horse power, she was such a strong person”.
My memories with my maternal grandmother are surrounded by the moral stories she narrated. I saw very little of her until my early 20s but the time I spent after my 20s was highly memorable. The fact that her face would light up just when we entered, told me a lot about her affection for my sister and me. Last, I saw her in 2007 when I had visited my home country. She had severe health problems, yet she would daily give food to the birds on her window roof.
Ba was extremely strong-willed and I applaud her for the way she waded through getting her children to study, the girls to get married, sending her son abroad, and being at the funeral of her own children. Wherever you are Grandma, know that it is my honor to write about you and be inspired with courage and determination like yours! We all Miss You and Love You!!
————-Original article and copyright by Rima Desai May 3, 2015—————–
It is fascinating to see our children grow through their different phases and one such thrilling phase is when they begin to put words together into sentences. Next, they begin picking up sounds of letters to make more sense out of them.
In simple words, learning Phonics is about learning the sounds of each letter so that they can be put together to make a word. This means that instead of rote learning CAT with the letter C, A, T, the child would learn to ‘develop’ the word CAT by saying the sound of each letter as in C-A-T. Today we will learn simple exercises to boost your child’s phonic awareness in powerful ways.
I want you all to know that the activities I list here are the activities I do with my daughter sincerely and many of the activities in my articles are MY OWN ORIGINAL ACTIVITIES which came about with the need for ‘creative play’ with my daughter to teach her more by spending less!
ACTIVITY ONE: The first step is to get your child interested in the alphabet per se. We need a magnetic surface and magnetic letters. Place toy letters on the fridge top or a magnetic surface to attract your child’s attention. Playing A-B-C nursery rhymes and showing them letters in their environment makes them more aware that letters give meaning to our world. When we are waiting for our train ride, or parking at the airport, my daughter and I have fun playing I Spy and spotting letters.
ACTIVITY TWO: We need lots of blank white paper, a dark color marker, and some cello tape. We are going to write names of simple objects around the home and then stick the paper on that object. E.g. Write DOOR in big bold letters and tape the paper on any door. Same with Fridge, Wall, Chair, Table, and so on; this helps your child associate words and letters to objects in their environment and learn spellings at a later stage.
ACTIVITY THREE: We need some wooden plain blocks, (preferably rectangular) and a marker. Along with your child, write the name of each of your family members on a block. Encourage your child to place that name block on the dining table assigning each family member a place to sit. This way the child learns to spell names and gets more involved in mealtime preparation.
Another alternative: take more blocks and write one letter on one block to spell out names of all family members. This is an advanced version in name spelling and can create a lot of fun for your child especially if s/he likes challenges.
Below you can see I have used the same block to write both words on opposite sides. This way my daughter learns the spelling of and associates both the words. Similarly, you can take 3 cubes and write M on one, O on the other and M on the 3rd one to help them spell it out literally by themselves.
ACTIVITY FOUR: This is my daughter’s favorite activity. We began it when she was 4.5 years and now 7 months later she enjoys it just as much.
We need – pencil, paper, eraser, you and your child in a place comfortable enough to write.
Pre-requisite: Child must know sounds of each or at least some letters and must know how to write them.
Aim: To help your child spell a word, write it, and then draw a picture of it.
How to: You will begin by thinking of a word, let’s say STAR. You will now tell your child that you are going to spell out the word for him / her by saying the sounds of each letter in your word. Begin with ‘S’ (just make the sound of S, don’t say S). Your child has to guess which letter it is and write that letter on the paper. Next letter is ‘T’ (Just the Tah sound) and so the child guesses and writes T. In this way, you finish S-T-A-R and then allow your child to guess what the word if. If s/he cannot get the word, you say it for them by putting the sounds together like ‘St’ ‘ar’ = Star. Now s/he must draw a star in any way s/he can.
Remember, it is ok if the word letters and pictures are not aligned or in order. The presentation is not important here, the learning is!
Below is my daughter’s paper at age 4.7 years. She spelled and guessed all of the words below and drew pictures. Mostly we do this when I am cooking in the kitchen, she sits nearby, and we enjoy the game together. My other articles from ParentEdge magazine: