Nurture with Nature

Sun Flower
When I was a small kid, I was fascinated with mud. It was great to play after the rains in the mud. We made caves and decorated them with sea-shells glass pieces and flowers. It was fun playing in the open, running, screaming, laughing and touching the earth.

One of my loveliest memories of childhood is holding the hand of my grandfather and going for a walk at night. He would tell me stories of his childhood how he would walk through a patch of woods to go to school, how he met a hyena one day and how he climbed a tree to escape. We would come back home and on winter nights, grandmother would have hot chocolate waiting for us. As we drank the delicious chocolate we would smile as our affection spoke silently.

I wanted my daughter to experience the beauty of togetherness with nature. When she was a toddler, we chased butterflies together. When she turned six, we started a nature journal practice. It is lovely to go for walks and collect twigs and leaves. We observe trees, the sky, seasons, animals, insects and birds. We make notes. It is fun to paste these notes, draw, paint and sketch with the date and time.

Last year, we discovered a tiny nest on the top of a tree next to our terrace. In this nest, small babies waited for their mother to come.

A lone woodpecker used to visit a leafless tree near our house. We used to wait for the bird (our Woody) to visit. Every morning we observed Woody religiously visiting the tree.

However, that tree was cut down, and we lost our Woody forever. I could teach an important lesson to my daughter. We need to accept the change as only change is constant. Friends may come and friends may go, but life goes on.

I want my daughter to discover relationships beyond SMS, emails, social media or the Internet. Today an overdose of digital media and 24×7 connectivity is making us isolated ‘islands’ existing in a zone to become a zombie.

I want my daughter to experience the sunrise and sunset, to feel the difference between a breeze and a wind, to sit under the canopy of star and have conversations in person not on a mobile.

I want her to know that nip in the air announcing the winter and observe the slanted rays of the sun telling us that the days are getting shorter. Our nature journal consists of lovely notes of all these occurrences.

Nature journal practice has bonded well. It has also made us revere and respect nature in an amazing way.

Life changes literally and figuratively. These lovely moments of togetherness keep you grounded and become an anchor later in life.

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Magical Kingdom

Those were the days touched by magic. Everything was enchanting, wonderful and waiting to be discovered. Those days everything seemed attainable in land of infinite possibilities.  When the twin sisters; astonishment and wonder held my hand. The days jumped happily, and nights provided wings to visit the dreamland of fantasies.

 When running happily everywhere, competing with the wind was the norm.  The mud fascinated, and clay took any shape in tiny hands. When clouds looked like giraffes, and the wind whispered magic spells.

A square box which was guarded fiercely, which contained treasure of feathers, pebbles, sea shells, ribbons and paper cuttings. Many pleasurable hours got immersed in this treasure.

Seasons were accepted with great glee without any complaints. Each season had ample and varied temptations.

Red, orange and yellow kites would allure in the windy months. The sight of kites soaring high in the sky is mesmerizing. Even today when I watch the kites a smile touches my lips delicately.

The tangy summers were spent in hours of reading books in the afternoons and drinking chilled fresh lime. Indian summer is like a mango all sweet and sour. Raw mangoes are eaten as a salad with a bit of salt. The variety of mangoes we get is huge. There is a new flavor to look for every week. Freshly pickled mangoes with rice would add tanginess to the lunch.

 Paper boats floated in the rains. I loved the rainy days when schools declared holidays. Those days nothing mattered except discovering the universe, at least a part of it.

I don’t exactly remember when things changed. The colourful world became black and white and gray. Things and objects lost their ability to fascinate me. Life was more of routine with clock stress creating strife. The seasons brought additional chores. I started walking instead of running and became skeptical. I accepted life out of acceptance, and the wonder vanished. Then….

The magical Kingdom visited me again with my daughter arrived. Today, I get a glimpse to this wonderland holding her hand. I am touched to notice the dancing stars in her eyes when runs after the crimson butterfly. A ray of sun from the window makes her eyes huge with wonder. A little bird, a bunch of small puppies are worth all the time. She is my teacher in this innocent world.

The pictures are from the net.

November Tales

November Tales

 The cool winds of November have started embracing us. Schools are ready for the winters and the uniforms have changed.

It is amazing to watch the sunlight changing direction to enter the dining room. We are blessed with a house which gets ample sunlight in the winters which recedes after the winter scholastic to remain just outside. Every year we watch it with great interest. Many delightful hours are spent in the afternoon sun on the terrace singing, talking, writing reading and studying.

Yesterday, I took out the winter clothing. As I kept everything on the bed to sort out, my daughter was fascinated to see all her stuff.

This year she has grown taller and many sweaters would have to be discarded. Observing the heap I found many moments of certain days entangled in the soft woollens. Here was a lovely pink cardigan with white beads she often wore for parties consecutively for three years.

A bunch of winter caps sit on the edge of the bed as if trying to run away. She picked the red one to try, which was a tight fit. She unhappily puts it. away in the discarded heap. The yellow cap with a Mickey Mouse was fine but had a big brown stain.

“Mama the stain did not go away even after a year! “

I smile and look at the cap which had accompanied us on many Sunday trips to so many places. In fact, the image of her small head bobbing in this favourite yellow cap is so etched in my mind that I am sure I will remember it even when she is grown up.

The bed is covered with a melange of colours and soft fabrics. Dried neem leaves fall off from folds. There are silks, a light pink khadi silk one which was a gift from a friend from college looks beautiful! I remember the first time I wore this sari for a college function. We were not well versed in the art of draping a sari in those days, and I had put many pins to add to the ‘safety’. Today even without one I manage effortlessly.

How you change with times is an amazing realisation. We all journey unknowingly through the train of time which passes through tunnels, meadows valleys…and we are on the move literally and figuratively as well.

I glanced at my daughter; she was busy trying out a jacket which had outgrown her.

“Mama I am tall and grown up. I cannot fit into this anymore” she happily chirped. A child is always in a hurry to grow up.

A smile touches my lips as I recognize an ephemeral moment fluttering around on invisible wings of mindfulness. Days walk and years fly.  I will remember this moment captured exactly as it is in my heart. Happy to have the awareness of conscious mindfulness to recognize these moments when they visit.

Whoever said life transformation is a big deal? Not at all! It is hidden in these profound moments where ever they find us. By being receptive and open to welcome these moments into our life for all of these will make their way to the treasure trove of memories. It is not the big adventures that make life worth but some precious moments of serene joy of everyday life. The day I discovered this simply profound truth, life became a series of joyous adventure.

There are days when I am too busy with work and playing house house. There are days when I encounter people with extreme negativity. On some when I just want to sit and do nothing but a million tasks are calling me. At such time I take a deep breath and say ‘This is what is’. I put a ten-minute alarm on the mobile to do just the thing at hand. So if am chopping an onion it gets all my attention, if I am sorting papers my mind is the paper. If I am writing I just write until the alarm.

At the end of the day there are a lot many things, which loom around on the orbit of urgency like planets gone wild, I hear all the family members who jostle for my attention but within this chaos, there is calmness. I recall that story, which has 200 words, or the neat drawer, the dal tadka I made for the evening dinner, those two pages the book I managed to read, the small Chrysanthemum bud which was dancing in the afternoon sun. I know I have achieved a lot with a reason to smile happily, because I just count what really needs to be counted and don’t feel the need for accounting.