Motherhood or not

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“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

 

In the spirit of Friday night, Amber and I had gone to catch the 8pm show of Talaash, Amir Khan’s new movie. While returning I began to share my thoughts on motherhood with Amber.

I explained how women are Nurturers by nature. As little girls we shower our love and motherhood on all our toys and dolls and dogs. But as we grow up, we forget this gift within us and start walking on the usual ambitious, self absorbed path to get to the right job, the right guy, the right city, the right possessions and so on. All through, motherhood, which is the love to give and nurture, stays trapped inside us, waiting to be realised as and when we have a child of our own.

Something in me said this wasn’t God’s initial plan. Love is to be shared, not preserved. Love is meant to be given to whoever needs it and not to be locked up for a special few. Why should a mother be so absorbed in the love for her biological child that she forgets to look beyond and practice the unconditional power she possesses to love.

And while I was going on and on with this saintly sermon of mine, I realised Amber had bought two sets of balloons and was giving them to some children sleeping by the roadside. Their eyes lit up and touched our hearts.

My sermon ofcourse did not need to be completed. I am grateful to Amber for showing me that it isn’t motherhood but parenthood that lies within each of us and can be realised through the countless children of the world.

 

 

Diwali – the light within

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“To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

 

The custom of giving gifts on Diwali has been around for ages, in all Indian households. Gifts to friends, to helpers and to anyone who helps makes our lives simpler.

So Amber and I set about hunting for the right things to give, keeping a close eye on our budget. We bought warm blankets and sweet boxes for the following people who make each day possible

  • Nirmala aunty, who comes in every morning and makes sure our house stays spic and span. She is the pseudo mother-in-law, who is always looking to guide me with just about everything, from washing onions the right way to customs/rituals and inspiring stories of courage and positivity from her own life. She shares her experience without qualms and if I ever ask her what she needs from me, she blushes and says, “Nothing at all.”
  • Ram Bahadur, who cleans our car and bike every morning after his night shift as the society guard. He has a knack for finding our car, no matter which corner of the society we park it in.
  • Ram Bahadur’s younger brother who serves as the security guard around our house. He only knows Nepali and does not comprehend a word of what we say. But there are times when we go out for a dinner or a movie and we come back, only to find him waiting for us with a nice parking spot he managed to reserve for us. The communication barrier does not seem to stop him from understanding people’s needs and helping in his own way.
  • Ram Bahadur’s older brother, who has been waving and smiling at us from the day we moved into this neighbourhood. There are no actual services he gives us. We just happen to love his presence.
  • Asha aunty, who comes to our neighbourhood with her aged father to make sure we all have perfectly ironed crisp clothes to wear. Her son lost his job recently and has been accompanying his mother these days. Her father’s eyesight is failing but he brings her to work on a scooter each day. Her husband is no more and she is the sole bread winner for her family. There isn’t a day when she does not greet me with her huge infectious smile.
  • And lastly, the Kachre-wale bhaiya whose name we still do not know. We have never seen him on holiday. He is young, has a cool air about him and always looks happy to be taking away our garbage. He seems to have a sense of maturity and sensibility which most people even double his age lack.

 

We gave them their blankets and sweets with a nice warm hug and Diwali greetings. They seemed to be used to the gifts but what caught them unaware were the hugs. And I think that’s what made them smile from ear to ear.

 

During the same time, Amber and I happened to be discussing how in the past we have been very verbal and proactive when it comes to making a complaint about a certain service or individual. But each time we are happy or satisfied, we forget to even appreciate the person responsible.

So we wrote letters of gratitude and appreciation for two people, as gifts for Diwali.

  • Our personal banker, whose first encounter with us was when we were highly dissatisfied with HDFC Bank. He has always been very patient with us and solved all of our problems to the best of his abilities. His courteous ways and simplifying acts have made our banking experience so much smoother. We had been so hasty in expressing our disappointment but we never bothered to express our gratitude. How easy it is to take the good things for granted! So we wrote to his superiors sharing all the wonderful things about him with them.

 

  • The salesman from Policy Bazaar, whom we kept on his toes for a long time before bombarding him with all our questions, queries and doubts to look for the policy most suited to our needs. His unshakable patience and graciousness was worth praising. He was never too tired to run around in circles with us. We usually end up criticizing sales people, as we feel we have to tolerate the constant pestering from them. What we do not realise is – they are just having to do their job and in that they may be the ones having to tolerate our whims and fancies endlessly. And so we expressed our respect and gratitude towards him.

 

All this happily concluded in an interesting & beautiful Diwali. We decorated our house, said our prayers , spent time with friends and celebrated the light within. 

The DOG Family

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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi

This September, my husband and I moved into a new rented place. One day our landlords, an old Bengali couple, informed us that they were travelling to Mumbai for a week and we should feed the street dog outside every evening, on their behalf. Being animal lovers, we happily agreed.

That very evening, we were greeted by a frail Indian dog waiting outside, wagging her tail for us. She had very little fur and was constantly biting on the infectious wounds all over her body. This was preventing her wounds from drying. After having fed her milk and bread, we found rescue with Google and stumbled upon a blog describing basic medicines and their dosage for dogs. The next day onwards, we started giving her medicines to dry her wounds, antibiotics to reduce her infections and de-worming to make life a little easy for her.

Our landlords, of course were back but we continued feeding Pagli (if you see her wagging her tail, you would not want to call her anything else either!). Soon, her health improved and so did our bond.

Meanwhile, another dog began paying us a visit. For some reason, which only my husband knows, his name is Paglu! To me Paglu is nothing close to his name. His ways are truly army-like. His walk, his manners, his sense of pride is nowhere close to those of civilians. He would not run behind us. He would wag his tail just once; to let us know that we can feed him if we want. Handsome, groomed and proud, I adopted Paglu the moment I saw him!

We bought two earthen bowls for our new children and feeding them every evening has been a ritual since then. As winters approached, we realised they were having trouble with the cold milk so we began warming the milk and adding eggs to keep them warm through the night.

Some weeks down the line, Pagli stopped coming. I began to get worried that she may have been caught in a road accident. Amber went about looking for her in all possible places but she was nowhere. Then one afternoon, as I was talking to the cylinder-guy from Indane, I saw Pagli jumping from behind the gate, wagging her tail and trying to tell me a million things. As I went closer, everything became crystal clear, as we shared eye contact with our teary eyes. She had given babies. They were hiding right under the cemented drain near our house. Since the last couple of days she had been too weak to come out for food or water. I was so happy for her. She had been a brave girl!

I rushed inside to get her some warm milk and bread. She ate hungrily and came back to me, thanked me with her wagging tail and crawled back into the drain. Following this, Amber and I read up all about nursing dogs in trying to understand basics of feeding them. We realised their appetite increases manifold and so we began feeding her thrice a day.

Her babies are still in hiding. We peeked inside and counted five of them, tucked in each other’s arms. Every time we bring food, we call out for her and she comes out of the drain. That’s when we get to hear the sweet “kooyi kooyi” of her babies.

I am very grateful to Pagli for letting me be a part of her motherhood. Before I have my meals, I feed her. Sometimes When I feel she may be thirsty, I put water outside for her. And then there are other times when she seems too tired to come out and eat. So, we leave some food right outside the drain, to help her conserve energy.

Paglu, on the other hand seems to have softened a bit too. He sees that we wait for him to finish his food so he has started coming and letting us pat him a bit before he heads off to grab his place on one of the car roofs.

As for us, we are happy that Paglu and Pagli came into our lives and chose to love us. Often, we find ourselves discussing them like proud parents. Seeing us, they come jumping and running and there is no better feeling than that.

I cannot wait to meet Paglu and Pagli’s babies and tell them all about their awesome awesome parents!