Friday, July 13, 2012

Posed Photographs

I dont like them. I dont know how to click them.

She gave me instructions. Chose her spot, smiled and said, click.


She had chosen Hans Christian Anderson in Central Park. I realised whom she was posing with only after i clicked.

I should trust her judgement.

It was a very cold and windy day. We spent our time loitering around Central Park, too scared to go into the tunnel of winds on 5th Avenue.

And this was an unpublished post written six months back when i had blocked my blog.
I read out The Emperor's New Clothes to Sanah a couple of days back.

I must say I have neglected Hans Anderson in our reading sessions, given the sheer numbers of other exciting contemporary stuff available for children in India.

I recently bought this collection
of Anderson's stories, totally seduced by the illustrations.

For the longest while she debated if the fraud weavers were wily or stupid. My argument that they did pocket a lot of money and gold thread was contested by the fact that they pretended to weave, their hands going round and round in the air, for days on end.

And the child
who said the emperor has no clothes was honest and courageous, sanah insisted that she was a girl. Sanah was not convinced that the people around the child realised the Emperor's stupidity or their own in pretending that they could see the invisible cloth. Sanah felt that they had bought into the idea so completely that they would secretly imagine that the child was also stupid, like them, because she could not see the cloth.

Friday, June 29, 2012

I am starting special classes

It is bewildering. The play ground is empty of children. The little ones are there but the ones above 5-6 are missing. The kids my child used to play with show up only occasionally. She now plays with 3-4 year olds. She plays gently with them and does enjoy their company and is very caring but she is playing with little kids not her peers.

Her peers are in classes, after school classes, tuition classes, drawing classes, karate classes, skating classes, dance classes, yoga classes, and many more.

I am thinking of starting classes for children, for Sanah and her peers, classes for empty time in the park.

I will teach children to run without the sole purpose of learning a new skill. I will let them trip and try and let them learn to break their fall on their own, to cry or not to cry when they fall, to cope with ego bruising of others laughing when you fall, and so on and so forth.

I will try and keep quiet when other kids laugh and wait for them to learn on their own that its nicer to go help someone who has tripped than to laugh. But if the fall was funny, it is okay to laugh and to take care of the one who has fallen. The possibilities are endless. In my class I will let all the possibilities play out.

I will charge for this class. A stone, a mud ball, a fallen flower, a yellowing leaf...anything. This might assure the parents that I am providing a service and am getting compensated for it. That might make them feel that time is being utilised well.

The classes will be for girls and boys.

I find boys totally missing from the grass garden. The slightly older ones play cricket. It is amazing that the girls are not even remotely curious about a vigorous game played right in front of them. They just dont see each other, the boys and the girls. I look on at the boys using every part of their body to play their game, they jump, they run, they swing, they lunge back, forward, everywhere. The girls, at best, they run, i can bring in the skipping ropes and the cycles, but as a group I wish I'd see them use their bodies differently. They are already careful, pretty, delicate- yes they are grubby at the end of their play but just not in the same way as the boys.

In my class I will hope that the the boys bully the girls into being more physical. And I would hope that the girls teach the boys to catch their breath and maybe even sit pretty for a while. And hopefully in a few weeks there will be no distinction about who is teaching whom.

So now I will need to take time off from my hectic schedule to make sure that my child and others her age do what children do - muck around, push, shove, take care of each other without adult supervision.

And what will i do? Supervise the space to ensure that it is adult free, reassure the adults that the children are indeed learning skills, valuable skills, called life skills. As an added incentive I might add that it is scientifically proven that free play in the setting sun ensures strong bones, great hand-eye coordination, a razor sharp brain and social skills.



Saturday, June 16, 2012



To travel with the child is to take her to worlds far away from her comfort zone.

We were taken to this farm by a friend of a friend who gave up a long teaching career to live near a forest and grow his own food. He takes care of his neighbour's horses as well , a walk in the forest, perching at the edge of a cliff to see the grand Mississippi river, feeding the horses and running with dogs - she could not stop beaming.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Walking through spring




In college we would sing, Old friends, sat on a park bench like book ends...
There is time for that but for now i watch old friends lead my child through the world they are creating for themselves.
It was a cold day but there were many secret leaves and bashful flowers that Sanah had to be introduced to.

This is my friend's favorite- the trillium, a species that is fast disappearing in the wild.
This is from a long trip crisscrossing the US, I was there on work but after Sanah and George joined me we were able to spend time with old old friends.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Turning Six




These photos were clicked a year back.
She will turn six this sunday.

I wish her a lifetime of charted and uncharted maps.

We had walked past a see saw and some swings along the river. She hopped onto them and a little child, walking with her grandfather joined in. They spent a long time together, in perfect sync even without a common language. Her grandfather knew a smattering of hindi, they were from Afghanistan.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

A tailor

... At the Armenian neighbourhood


If all of us could hang a giant version of the tools of our trade out of the window then we could have some visually compelling neighbourhoods.