Till about two months ago, I was worried that my child, a soon to be six-year-old was getting too attached to multiple gadgets. She spent all her time sitting glued to the iPad or to one of our phones. That she could navigate through my phone much more easily than I ever could, is no surprise. The gen-next is always a step faster than the previous generation. But seeing her like this caused some anxiety in me. I have always been a nature person, having even met my husband on a trek.
I spent the maximum part of my life in Vasai. When my parents first moved to Vasai, when I was just a one-year-old, Vasai was nowhere even close to being “developed”. There were buildings coming up time and again around our building, but they were still few and far. We had a vast and open area to play in. It helped that all the families who had settled in our building were young families with kids. We managed to develop some awesome friendships over time as a result. There was a pond where we caught fish, tiny little things. My brother once caught a chameleon and brought him home. I was a notorious animal lover. My mother was always harrowed with me because almost everyday, I’d come home with an animal or two, begging my mother to keep them or at least feed them a little. There were cats, dogs, kittens, pups and once a tiny little new-born mouse I had found on the road. His eyes were still not opened, and he was walking on the road, and was about to get crushed by a speeding vehicle. My mother was shocked and disgusted when she saw the mouse crawling all over my hand. 😀
This saga of bringing home animals didn’t quite end there. A friend at my dental college told me that her pet rabbits had given birth. She was looking for a home for the baby rabbits. One look and I fell in love with the cute bunnies! It was a mad ride, from Kharghar to Vasai in the crowded Viral locals. But people saw the cute furries in my hand and gave them a breathing space. I have found amazing kindnesses in people in crowded locals. I showed them excitedly to my mom, only to be met with a cold stare and a reprimand, “They have to go, or I’ll throw you out!” Though once I had committed to taking them back, she immediately warmed up to them, feeding them coriander stalks and giving me a box with some old cotton cloths to keep them in for the night.
Most of my friends have by now witnessed what happened when I told my kid to go down, play in the mud and get a little dirty.
Following that episode, I am happy to report that my kid has now found a new interest. Playing downstairs. She doesn’t get dirty like this everyday, but I ain’t complaining! As long as she gets some (somewhat) fresh air in her lungs and comes back ravenously hungry, I am okay.
Earlier she used to hate her veggies too, but moms have to come up with new things. I also add Kissan’s tomato ketchup which comes in these cute squeezy-easy bottles to make her food a little more appetizing for her.
With my younger ‘un I have no doubts that she is a nature-lover like me. She has to only spot a dog in the distance to start dancing wildly. The resort we were staying in recently during our vacations had a couple of cats. I was surprised when my younger daughter bent down and picked up a cat and the cat purred happily in her arms.
It was during this vacation that we all built some sand castles on the beach. As I struggled to build one, my mind raced to the images of sand sculptures I have seen till date. These men and women have extraordinary capabilities and patience, I tell you! The sand kept slipping even with the slightest mistimed touch. My baby enjoyed in the sand too. So much so that when we were leaving, she had to be almost dragged back home.
My next plan is to take them on a nature trail. A trek maybe. One suited to their needs. While I don’t want to force them into loving nature, because it is a personal choice after all, but I want their lives to be enriched with different experiences. Experiences valuable enough to draw from. So that when they come to their crossroads in life, they know what they want and they are able to make their own choices.
One day, I can only hope they remember the good times they had. The way I do about my own childhood.
An apt song, much beloved, dedicated to us grown-ups.