Quota on seeing the Evening Sky

“That’s the nature of being a parent, Sabine has discovered. You’ll love your children far more than you ever loved your parents, and – in the recognition that your own children cannot fathom the depth of your love – you come to understand the tragic, unrequited love of your own parents.” – Ursula Hegi, Stones from the River

As I was driving Adi back from school, he was trying to get a head start on his quiz prep with heads down (pun?!) pouring over a folder.

We drove over a high bridge.
From that vantage point, the colorful sky and the sun setting was a sight to behold.

I urged him to look up and enjoy the beautiful sight.
He glanced up for a bit and said “Oh…nice”.
Then, he looked down again at the folder.

That signalled the mark of my math based lecture.

Here is what I told him – “We all have a quota. Let us asssume that I live another 4 decades.. then I have approx 15,000 sunsets to behold. Let us asssume you live another 7 decades, then you have approx 25,000 sunsets to behold. Of those, there are going to be many cloudy, dark days of fall and winter. So, the actual days that you are out and about on a beautiful evening and have the chance to see the gorgeous evening sky….will be far less than the 25,000 sunsets number. So, please, enjoy it…while you can.”

I am sure he won’t get it now.

Sooner than later, an evening will arrive, when he is on a lake, mountain or ocean …sunggling beside the person who captured his heart. The sun will be setting. He will behold that evening sky. And, think it the most beautiful thing ever. He won’t want the evening to end.

Do you think he will remember my math based lecture?

No way.

This whole parenting thing is so tragic.

I need to exercise self control and stop my stupid long winded lectures. What is it worth? Nothing?


My friend Priya Bala had this witty response to my post:

What is it worth? Nothing.”

Hah! That boy, if he takes after you my dear, will be a player. A more likely scenario will be when both of them are snuggling and he notices the beautiful sky, he’ll remember your math lecture. He’ll assume a far-away look. Then he’ll chuckle gently. She’ll probably ask him what he’s thinking. And he’ll look deep into her eyes and he’ll respond:

“We all have a quota. Let us assume that we live another 6 decades. Then we have approximately 22,000 sunsets to behold. Of those, there are going to be many cloudy, dark days of fall and winter. So, the actual days when we’re out and about on a beautiful evening and have the chance to see the gorgeous evening sky….. will be far less than the 22,000 number. I’m just so glad I get to spend this precious one with you.”

And she’ll sigh and swoon. Mission accomplished!

Glorious Childhood

“Because children grow up, we think a child’s purpose is to grow up. But a child’s purpose is to be a child. Nature doesn’t disdain what lives only for a day. It pours the whole of itself into the each moment. We don’t value the lily less for not being made of flint and built to last. Life’s bounty is in its flow, later is too late. Where is the song when it’s been sung? The dance when it’s been danced? It’s only we humans who want to own the future, too. We persuade ourselves that the universe is modestly employed in unfolding our destination. We note the haphazard chaos of history by the day, by the hour, but there is something wrong with the picture. Where is the unity, the meaning, of nature’s highest creation? Surely those millions of little streams of accident and wilfulness have their correction in the vast underground river which, without a doubt, is carrying us to the place where we’re expected! But there is no such place, that’s why it’s called utopia. The death of a child has no more meaning than the death of armies, of nations. Was the child happy while he lived? That is a proper question, the only question. If we can’t arrange our own happiness, it’s a conceit beyond vulgarity to arrange the happiness of those who come after us.”
― Tom Stoppard, The Coast of Utopia

The Smell of the Ground

Today, my thoughts are about “munn vasanai” (In English: the smell of the ground)

Home.

What does the word mean to you?
Is it a place? A house…..4 walls….nice roof? A mountain perhaps? A country? A town? A sweetheart’s arms?

Home.
Is it a thing? Is it a feeling?
What is it?
What does home mean to you?

Home.
Not house.
Home.

It means so many things to me. I have moved so much…that the material world meaning of house doesn’t mean anything to me anymore.

I still remember Thatha’s house. His fields. The tamarind tree in the back. The swing on the tamarind tree.

I still remember Appa and Amma’s house. My favorite spot there to hangout….where I spent 1000 hours of reading, studying, chatting with Amma or Appa. My favorite spot there to eat.

I still remember my dorm rooms. Filled with cheer and fun. Filled with so much studying.

I still remember the first apartment that Kumar and I were together in as a couple.

I still remember the first house that we moved into. All the lil things. All the plants we planted. The house that the boys were born in.

I still remember all my friend’s places where I felt like I home.

I still remember all that. Yet, I don’t.
Those “homes” have passed me by.

There is a term called “munn vasanai” in Tamil. It literally means, the “smell of the ground”. Figuratively, it means a place that you remember and cherish. As the first rain drops fall, the ground gives out a fragrance. That is “munn vasanai”.

Today, as it rains, here is Austin, I can smell the same “munn vasanai” of Thatha’s fields. I can smell the backyard in Appa and Amma’s house.

I think, home is where you are.
The rest of the mumbo jumbo about home is just biochemicals in your brain.

I am home. I am happy wherever I am.

I hope you are home and happy wherever you are too.

Spring like feel to Late Summer

I know.
It just looks like some road side yellow color flowers.

It is.
It is also more than that.

As I take a walk with the boys discussing something utterly foolish….this bright colored flower bush catches my eye.
It adds a spring like feel to late summer.
It also add a spring (pun intended) to my walk.

I observe. Therefore, I am.