Growing up in a multi-culural environment

Last evening, I went out to see a documentary film, an indo german collaboration, Amma and Appa.

While the intention for me to go and see it was also to understand how children grow up in multi faceted cultures, it was also to figure out if differences in inter country marriages are more difficult to manage than inter state marraiges.

While I do not want to judge the film or which marraiges are easier to sail through, increasingly I do feel it is important to teach children to respect and tolerate others cultural and religious views.

Fanatics are present everywhere and I do hope future generations will not be misled in the name of religions and learn to live in a literal global world.

I do hope I can pass this message to my family at least.

Bruno & Bunny – Friends story for kids

 

bruno & bunny

Bruno a small growing puppy and bunny a rabbit, of the same age who were going to the animal school in a far away city.

Being the brats and the naughtiest of the animals in the class, they were sent outside the class as punishment. They had to stand for a good three hours until the school was over just outside the class.

” Bunny, do you think Rhino Madam will call my papa to tell him that I got the punishment today?”

Giggling, Bunny says, ” It’s okay I think. We’ll handle your papa. After all he knows us too well. Don’t you remember what your parents told us the last time we were caught on blowing soapy bubbles in class?”

” Yes I think as long as we don’t injure other kiddos in the class, it is fine.”

Just then Rhino madam walks out of the class and looks sternly at the two mischief mongers. ” I don’t see any regret on your faces darlings. Maybe it is time for stricter punishment” she says.

” Bruno, you will stand in the classroom and Bunny will be here outside, both of you not seeing each other for the rest of the day.”

Suddenly the slight smirk vanished from the two and they pleaded together, ” Sorry madam, please this will not happen again, never again we will throw paper rockets in the class. But we request you to let us stand together. Our legs are aching but it is conversations that is making us go through this turmoil smoothly.”

Rhino madam thought for a few seconds and said, ” Never means never again. Or else you both know what would be the consequence.”

As Rhino madam left the two naughty ones, Bruno and Bunny looked at each other and laughed as they were just happy to be together, no matter where they actually landed themselves for the day.

BY RESHMA KRISHNAMURTHY SHARMA

Holding on to the treasure of creating a new life.

This is the second short story I am writing for people other than my general audience of children.

You might find a few stories that are abrupt in ending but I would like to keep it that way to let it flow on the reader’s imagination. Hope you enjoy reading this story.

*****

Apoorva was ecstatic about the news she had received from the nurse. Standing outside the obstetrician’s room she was holding on the report that indicate she was pregnant. A flood of emotions ran through her mind as she was holding on to the report, emotionally. It had been seven long years since she was hoping to get into the pregnancy state but every month she would be disappointed.

During her cycle of menstrual phase, she would vent her frustration on being deliberately being moody, irritable and binge on food. From being an efficient professional as a HR professional she had turned into an obsessive woman who wanted to be a mother at the earliest.

It didn’t help when her friends, colleagues and even family told her to take it easy. Saurabh, her husband too wanted to have a new member in the family. He tried every month explaining to her that a baby will definitely come in their lives but yet he couldn’t pacify Apoorva. Somehow her state of helplessness and constant crying and cribbing fits had strained their relationship. She did not want to go to restaurants, movies or outings. She wanted to have a baby as though it is a prized toy that she was unable to have due to unknown reasons. The doctors always told the couple to keep trying and there was no reason why they didn’t have a baby.

Just then the nurse asked Apoorva to wait at the waiting lounge while she will be attended by the doctor. Apoorva immediately called Saurabh over phone and pleaded with him to come from office to the doctor’s clinic. She had not yet told him the joyous news.

After a while when Apoorva saw Saurabh she rushed to him and hugged him. She showed him the report that confirmed that she was pregnant. Strangely Saurabh didn’t seem happy to say the least. Apoorva couldn’t understand what had happened. Why was he unhappy over the information?

Saurabh just sat down on the chair keeping his head low. As the nurse called out for Apoorva’s name to go and see the doctor with the report, Saurabh looked at her and said, “I cannot have this baby. I do not want it”

Apoorva was stunned and disbelieved what she heard. She ignored Saurabh and went inside the obstetrician’s room and saw Saurabh walking out of the clinic. Strangely in a matter of moments her joyous phase was not turning out as she had expected.

BY RESHMA KRISHNAMURTHY SHARMA

 

 

Shiro the Dino goes veg

Shiro was a cute little dinosaur born thousands of years ago. He liked being himself and not imitating what other dinos did. He would play with little animals, show concern if anyone in the jungle got hurt and had lots of friends.

His mother though had a tough time with him when it came to hone his eating habits. Shiro just hated meat and that happened to be the main food for these kind of dinosaurs. Shiro couldn’t gulp down his throat anything that was offered to him on the dining table. He would feel extremely sad at the thought that a goat or a lamb or a buffalo had been killed for his food. His mother, ‘Mama Dino tried hard in explaining to Shiro that dinosaurs were born to eat meat and kill animals. There was nothing wrong in it. But Shiro wanted to find a solution where he didn’t have to eat meat.

One day he saw a few cows grazing at the farms and just went and plucked a bunch of shiny grass to eat. Initially he found it little weird but soon liked the taste. Then a small bird flew near him and said that he could try some berries and fruits that were on the nearby tree.

Shiro perched his long neck and ate the fruits and he really liked them. The bird who was watching him said that it was surprising to see a dinosaur eating fruits and vegetarian food. Shiro asked “What is vegetarian food”?

“Well you don’t eat meat, egg or anything that has to kill animals.”, said the teeny weenie bird. Shiro was delighted when he heard this. “You mean I can live by being vegetarian, right?” he asked the bird. “Yes I think so said the bird skeptically.

Shiro had all the answers now. He went back home and told his mother that he has decided to become vegetarian. His mother, Mama Dino was flabbergasted. How can a dinosaur be a vegetarian she asked?

Shiro said, “ Like all the animals who are vegetarian, I want to be one too but out of choice. Please help me Mama.” His mom decided to give this try as no amount of coaxing and informing Shiro that eating meat will give him strength helped the little dino change his mind. He promised to look into all healthy foods available in vegetarian food and let her know how he could build on his strength too being a vegetarian..

Until Shiro lived he was always a vegetarian. And he had loved it as it dissolved him of the dilemma of not wanting to eat food on the dinner table.

BY RESHMA KRISHNAMURTHY SHARMA

A trip over the universe

This story has been rotating in my mind for a few days. Hope parents find it interesting enough to narrate it for children who are curious about planets.

Story for 4 to 7 year olds.

Adam was lying on the lush green grass at his grandma’s home. It was almost 9pm and he was surprised, no one yet had come out to the garden to instruct him to get back home. It was close to bed time.

Suddenly he saw a shining star in the sky. The black sky with stars looked as though it was a magical carpet with glittering artworks on it. 

Adam closed his eyes with these thoughts and went to a dreamland. When he opened his eyes after sometime, he saw a space ship. He quickly got in and wore a custom made silver grey astronaut suit in the space ship. He was asked by a computerised voice to sit on the driver’s seat.

Then on the screen inside the spaceship appeared a video saying ” get ready to tour the universe”.

After sometime he  saw from inside the spaceship that he was getting close to SUN. It was too hot and too bright. Adam quickly pressed the button NEXT and he was taken to MERCURY.  But on this planet, he felt it was too hot. Then he went to VENUS. It wasn’t as beautiful as he had heard in stories.

The computerised voice told him to enjoy the ride. He pressed the button NEXT and was led to MARS. As he was wondering what happened to EARTH, the voice told him that he is advised to visit all planets before coming back to EARTH.

Adam found MARS very strange, a land mass full of volcanoes. He didn’t like it at all.

Adam was missing EARTH already as he was very thirsty and there was no water anywhere, neither on MERCURY, VENUS or on MARS.

Then the spaceship led the curious boy to JUPITER. Adam had by now forgotten that he was thirsty. JUPITER was beautiful with rings around the planet. It looked really huge too but he felt if he chose to stay even for a day in JUPITER, he would become lonely. There was no sign of life at all unlike EARTH.

Then he pressed the button NEXT and  Adam was near SATURN. This planet had so many rings around it that it seemed too confusing even to step on it.

Soon Adam was on the next planet on this journey and that was at URANUS. Suddenly this planet appeared too cold. Strangely, Adam could feel the temperature of every planet even when he was in the spaceship. He didn’t require to step out at all.

When he pressed the button NEXT, the computerised voice told him that he would lastly see NEPTUNE. Adam quickly responded that there was PLUTO too. The voice replied that recent astronauts do not recognize PLUTO, so NEPTUNE would be the last destination before going back to EARTH.

NEPTUNE was even colder than He thought to himself, probably because the planet was do far from SUN, it was so cold at shivering temperature. 

Adam asked in a loud voice the spaceship and the voice to take him back to EARTH. ” I want to go back to EARTH, please please please I want to be on the beautiful EARTH, my planet.”

Adam was awakened by  a loud noise. Oh god, it was all a dream. His mom was calling out to him to come inside the house.

Adam hadn’t gone anywhere,perhaps no. But was he really on a spaceship? He still wasn’t sure. If he had gone, where had the spaceship disappeared?

Adam went inside home to his room and went to bed. It was a beautiful journey over the universe but he knew now, EARTH was the most beautiful. It was his planet, the land that gave him all the right reasons to live and to be happy.

 

 

Green zones that are going to make a difference in cities

park fitness1

It was indeed a pleasure to see people in Bangalore utilizing fitness equipments in a public park today. I definitely want to thank the authorities who are making some effort in making parks a wonderful space for young children and adults too who want to manage the fitness regime in their daily schedule.

Obviously these initiatives will make people think of fitness in outdoors in the natural way, running, jogging, walking and exercising in parks with the equipments. Everyone need not go to gymnasiums alone to be trendy and fit.

Dressed in the attire of their choice and not necessarily fancy fitness attire as dictated by fitness gurus, women of above the age 25 were in saris and exercising in the evening.

park fitness2

In the times when everything is charged in monetary terms, it was a good feeling to see that parks are not just for children but also adults who want to be healthy and they need not pay hefty amounts to be healthy. In fact I was happy to see so many women after office hours coming to the park and using the time to exercise.

Pictures taken in the park in Bangalore, Basavanagudi where children were playing in the adjoining area and adults utilizing the space than just watching over children. The park is next to Bimba Art Ashram.

 

park3

Waiting for the train at 9pm

Apart from writing for children, particularly the age group of 4 to 7 years, I am trying my hand in writing short stories for adults too. Some may have traces of biographical tinge; others may be completely fictional. More importantly, I hope you find them interesting and would want to read them more.

Waiting for the train at 9pm

It took Anita over half hour for a distance of 2 km to reach the station. She was feeling miserable when she got down from the auto. It was raining heavily and she had four bags in her hands. Soaked, drenched, dirty, these were the words that came to her mind when she was giving the change to the auto driver.

She hoped Karan would have reached the station. Whoever imagined hindi film songs with rains and cheerfulness. Anita just wanted to get over all this and hop on to the train. She hoped the train too would be on schedule. One of the porters came running to Anita as she was climbing the stairs of Savanpur station near Meerut.

She refused the porter and went to platform 3. She knew where the train would stop at 9pm. It was already 8.40pm. Karan should have been here by now. But he was no where to be seen. She hoped he would not break his promise. She had left her family and come to this decision of pursuing a new life in Mumbai.

It was time for the train to arrive. She was walking up and down the station out of nervousness. What if Karan didn’t turn up? Would she still go from here. As the train screeched to a halt, she picked the bags from the chair and got into the train.

It was a gut feeling that kept telling her that she will have to pursue this journey alone. Karan probably got scared and didn’t want to take the risk. After all what would she expect from a 14 year old teenager. It was the first time perhaps for Karan to say lies to his family, steal his family jewellery and run with a woman who promised him a dream.

It wasn’t the first time for Anita.

Be cautious of the digital eye

It has been over a year since I am observing my attachment to my own social media profile. My daily routine doesn’t seem complete without checking my facebook account for updates, comments and likes. Now even news feeds that get infused on the pages have become a must-read activity as though reading the newspaper and few news sites weren’t enough.

Checking my social media page has made feel obsessed over something that I want to get rid of at the earliest.

A few days ago I happened to get on to my FB account and search for my old classmates from school. I almost got lost for half a day in going through the old classmate’s pictures, posts and updates. I even sent a message to one of them on her profile, hoping to be in touch with her again.

The next day I began my search for an old colleague. Now this was someone, I didn’t particularly like while working in the organization. Soon I found myself spending close to 30 minutes on reading his posts, pictures from his life. As I went back on some bitter memories I felt a little uncomfortable and thought it is best not to look for people that you never really want to look for in real life. Worse, I almost went on a guilt trip of that I was indulging in snooping, least of all some form of ‘snoop gate’ among all other gates that the country is witnessing in recent times.

And then I realized people can actually read your personal life through what you comment, like a post or a picture, share a story or a link. It is not just friends and unknown people depending on your social media’s privacy settings that you have opted that allow others to know about you. But you actually are recording your life through every photograph, every comment and link that you put across and making it so very open for the world to see. I do know a few friends now who were so hooked to this social media updates that every hour a post would be seen until it became really irritating for many. Today these people have opted out of any form of digital strolling be it spending time on search engines, updating their lives on facebook or posting their hourly pictures on Instagram.

Thankfully many of their friends have got back to get in touch with them through landline mode than any other form of communication tools. It is also a favour on people like me who out of courtesy would ‘like’ most pictures they shared even though they weren’t good. Today I feel I am soon going to go into that irritable obsession mode. What gave us the option of new form of entertainment momentarily; is soon turning into obsession for self and letting people know everything about you. It is time one sets a guard on updates and posts.

A little privacy and not uploading that selfie or that family picture in the restaurant can be fun too. I have taken a small step out of leaving my cell phone at home once in a while so that I enjoy the place and the moment than feel compelled to take the best angle for the selfie to be uploaded that very minute. I have also realized that the occasional habit that has now become more regular needs to be addressed before I need to seek help on the same. Hopefully I will soon go on a holiday where I cherish the moments as they are and not want to share it through pictures.

Hold on, I haven’t checked since morning, if the likes have increased from six to more since yesterday, on the photograph that I posted last evening. Maybe it’s time to tell Mark, this is going completely off the mark.

But does he care?

The New English- Indian English

Since the time I have been taking interest in books for children, I have noticed my own inclination when I go to pick books from a book store or browsing inclinations at the library.

I like to read magazines, articles written by Indian writers. Likewise I quickly pick a book for story narration for my own child or others; the books which have been written in Indian context. But most importantly these are in Indian English.

Yes facebook and other digital tools may ask you which english you want to store in your laptops and mobiles. Not just UK English, US English but I think the world needs to start noticing the Indian English too.

With the number of increasing parents talking to children in English along with other Indian languages, there have been certain words that are used and understood particularly in Indian context. Also it is common for many urban Indian parents to mix a few regional words in Indian English usage. And this is not just limited to children but seen in offices too. Now, earlier I would think this is disturbing the purity of the Queen’s  language. Not anymore.  I think attitudes and perceptions need to change.

After all, after nearly 70 years since the British left us with their language, I feel we have developed our own way of communicating and paved way for the Indian English.

A few examples would be:

1) “Accha, I will see you tomorrow”. ( Accha is a hindi word and refers to okay or alright).

2)” No Yaar, that’s is not what I meant”. ( Yaar again in Hindi means friend or acquaintance).

3) “Chumma, don’t have toget angry on this issue.” ( Seldom used in recent times, but chumma is a Tamil and Kannada lingo invention which means just like that.)

4) ” pakka”, will you be there tomorrow at 11? ( pakka in north India and in south refers to ” are you sure?

When the world has accepted and known words and concepts of Guru, Desi, Yoga, Ayurveda. It is time to know and least not frown at the Indian English language. It is all about communication. No one is talking about purity here.

 

 

 

 

Gosh! it’s a Monday! Yippee it’s the weekend! –Do specific days set our moods for our daily routine?

Had written this for a publication, hoping it would be published. But a freelance writer would know it for sure, like many creative pursuits not necessarily everything you write will be published.

Remembered about this piece this afternoon on a Monday.

“Khoon choosne aaya, khoon choosne, khooni Monday –kyun aaya khoon choosne?” a track from a Hindi film questions and describes the emotion of why many detest Monday mornings. It is essentially the beginning of the week and the weekend that gets a lot of associative thoughts. Right across age-groups from students to working professionals, many feel Mondays and the dual-days weekend have a lot of significance in their lives.

There are tees dedicated to the most hated day of the week and worn by many. ‘Pretend it’s not a Monday’, ‘Upgrade your weekend-take this Monday off’. Monday blues hit several people who believe that it does exist.

Of course there are more positive one-liners reserved for the weekends with even restaurants having titles like Thank God It’s Friday or parties inviting young at heart ‘Welcome to the Saturday Night Fever’ and so on.

But do people really feel anxious on Monday mornings and more relaxed on Friday evening onwards?

“Monday mornings or even any weekday are chaotic, stressful and involve a lot of multi-tasking. Either I am hurriedly preparing breakfast or trying to finish my chores against a deadline. It is stressful. That’s the reason, I absolutely love Friday mornings. It is the thought that next two days I really need not fret about morning chores like a clock makes me feel good.” says Veena P, a mother of a pre-schooler.

If one analyses, we do find that it is the holiday depending on the profession or role that we are in like a student or homemaker, that makes us cherish the day. Sunday has become the rest day following the global pattern that is followed in several countries.

Again though work-at-home and several other flexible working patterns exist, one does feel Sunday is more treasured as it becomes the day to finish chores. Many working professionals get to wrap up unfinished chores at home only on Sundays. So it is a day with a lot of importance.

A good number of business corporations following the IT industries began with the five-day week culture and this became more pronounced with media awareness. More so even Friday dressing as a concept got introduced a few years ago to make employees more relaxed and look forward for the day. This was also the idea to make people feel good and go home with a smile and come back to greet the long week with a much longer positive attitude.

Of late one finds that malls, pubs and supermarkets want to make even mid-week interesting with ‘wow Wednesday evenings for women or super value Wednesday bazaars to name some.

Even entertainment and leisure activities are made more colorful for weekends than on weekdays. Several restaurants have not only varying prices but also enhanced menus for the Saturday and the Sunday foodies.

RJ Shraddha, from Fever 104 says, “I long for the Monday morning as I have so much to talk which I wouldn’t have done on the previous day.  I have been in the IT industry before making the switch to my current profession of being a radio jockey. I exactly know how people feel over there during mid-week and how people long for the much coveted weekend. Today I love each day though I have to say that the mood of the listeners vary with each day. One has to also take into account that there are many who wouldn’t have slept over the so called weekend and love the Monday sleep.”

Many would agree that it is often only during an ideal vacation that we do not really feel the grind where even the beginning of the week seems lovely and energetic. Hopefully there would be Mondays in our lives which will be refreshing and gets rid of all negative tags. And yes we like to admit or not, weekdays and weekends do have some effect on our moods and our attitude for the day.