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Finding roots

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The flowers beckon me. It’s a new place….everything is new but the tree makes me feel at home. Growing up in a small town with lots of greenery all around, my mind had always yearned for a place where I could stretch out of  my balcony or window and touch a leaf.

past month has been hectic. I have left the place I called home for the past 15 years and moved back to  my motherland. A land which has transformed drastically and now has little resemblance to my memories. But still is a place which is my own.

As I take my son along familiar routes and explain to him. He looks at me and says, ‘You love India a lot don’t you’. And though I pride on that; I know how he feels. He has left the only place which he called his home and is struggling now to find his roots. My heart aches for him but i know that one day he too will feel the same love that I feel for this country which is ours.

Ruminations of the motherly types

As we stand waiting for the car to pick the son up for school; there is a bunch of boys. Some 15 of them, all school going. Their school is about 300 metres away. I can hear the assembly in progress but these boys…..they are yet to reach school. Before that they have more important chores to finish.

Like pulling each others legs. Like pulling stuff from the dustbin and throwing it on the road and most important, getting the first smoke of the day. Young boys some as young as 11 or 12 look at me and draw a puff in. And I become desperate. They pass a cigarette to a boy who is maybe 9 or ten and I can hear my blood boil.The  mom and teacher in me wants to go right ahead and give them a tight slap. One which will keep ringing in their ears for days together. But today is not the place. I have two young children with me. I have to look after their safety first.

My anger shifts to the cold store fellow. ‘How dare he sells cigarettes to juveniles?’. But then I understand him. He is an Indian. what can he do against the locals. He must be worried about the safety of his staff and his shop. So he has put this sign on the front’ no sale of cigarettes to juveniles’and has done his bit.

I think of going to the school and talking with the administration but I don’t think they will be able to do much. I remember once the school timings were extended because the portions could not be completed as they had had too many holidays during the academic year. Some boys had created havoc. Security forces had to be brought in but to no avail. The boys just climbed the high fence and ran away. From the next day extended hours were for those who were ready to attend.

Yes, it is a government school. For these reasons only parents now opt for private schools. But not all can opt for private schools. Private schools may or may not have local boards. Which means the kids will have to go for British boards which means they will need extra tuition which means additional expenses.

And it is not that the government schools are not equipped. They are. They have the best infrastructure possible. Also the best facilitator. But what lacks is the environment and the lack of dedicated students. One rotten egg spoils the rest. Or in this case some spoilt brats spoiling others who in turn spoil some more and so on.

Both as a mother and a teacher I keep an eye on ‘my children’ constantly seeing that they don’t fall into bad association. But it is so tough particularly in this age with our dependence on gadgets.

In my class mobiles are banned except to attend calls from the parents who knowing me generally give a  miss call to inform that they have come to pick them up.I am strict but I stay with them for just about 2 hours and what after that.

When I see young kids spoiling their life, I get a dull ache in my heart, how do I make them understand, how can we nourish their lives.

I wonder…………

 

Bidding adieu

Yesterday someone asked me for the name of some book….I tried hard to remember it but could not. Maybe age is catching up but then I remembered that I had mentioned it in my blog and so came down here and started browsing. And then memories came flooding by. How active I used to be. I remember there used to be at least a 100 posts a year.

Yes, priorities change. when Searching self was born, I was doing just that…’Searching self’. But then when I found my true calling the writing reduced or rather it moved to other avenues. But when I read through my old posts I was inspired. Am I a narcissist….who knows; maybe.

But then there are people who have been writing blogs for quite a long time. I really admire them. Consistently writing for a long time is really an art. Some of them have evolved into professional writers; maybe that helps.

2016 is about to end and a New Year beckons. Personally there will be a lot of changes. I just hope that everything happens smoothly.

So here is wishing you all a Very Happy New Year and hopefully lots of writing in 2017

”BACK”

I move my hands over the keys. Everything looks new. The screen, the words everything. Thats what happens when you try to write after a two and a half month break.

I remember 2009 and how I would be eager to type away my present,, my past and some fiction. And now, no more. I am more relaxed, no more in a hurry. There used to be a need to write, to revolutionize thinking and make a change. Not any more. The change first has to become with self, how can I try to change someone else when I remain the same?

The India trip left me in a tizzy. But that is usual, it happens all the time. India has become like any other place; more global maybe. ‘Indianess’ is lost somewhere.

Or maybe just maybe I have become a ‘Bahraini’

Who knows!!

Thankful

I read a few posts on 1000 speak for compassion and it sure gladdened my heart. And regret too. For I didn’t even know that such a thing/event was happening on the 20th. Talk of being ignorant or busy whichever way you take it. But then on second thoughts 20th was a Friday and even if I knew, I wouldn’t have been able to post anything that day….it was a Friday and a holiday here. Yes, I could have scheduled it but then…..I didn’t.

Generally I hate the present  trend of society. The selfie clicking, selfish, narcissistic people that we have become. But then there are people and occasions who restore faith in me of humanity in general.

The laws here are strict. Children are on fathers visa. A woman on housewife visa is supposed to be just that. So what happens if the man of the house dies. The woman generally is given indemnity, insurance money, some compensation, the air ticket and packed off to the home country along with her kids. The end of the story.

A young man while jogging in the park collapses and dies instantly. Reason-cardiac arrest. The family is shocked. For all reasons the man had been healthy and quite active too, who would have imagined that something like this would happen. The wife is shattered but there is one consolation her sister lives close by.  And while everyone expects her to be sent away. She gathers courage and walks to the employer of her deceased husband tells him that she is a commerce graduate. She can handle accounts.  Everyone shake their head, employers are not generally compassionate are they. The employer pays her indemnity of her husband. And then employes her too. And whats more he sees to it that her daughters get visa on her name. Which is a little uncommon here in Bahrain. Everyone pitches in. The neighbours take care of the girls till she arrives from work. The sister sees to it that whenever she goes to get provision, she tags her sister along because the young widow does not know driving ( Women here generally do not use public transport) and so on. The woman then decides to learn driving and lo, the driving instructor gives her a discount.

Today she is a self-confident woman who is caring and compassionate. Her lovely daughters and just like their mother. I often wonder if she would have been the same, if the situation had been adverse to her.

I have a student…bratty and a slow learner. I assumed that she must be a pampered kid. One whose father brings her gifts for no reason. Talk of assumptions and judging others and a over imaginative brain). Until I come to know that her father expired long back. Her senior in school took her under her wing. They go to the same church, so their mothers knew each other. So this senior saw to it that her mother get a job for her juniors mother. Not only that whatever her parents got for her, she would demand the same for her junior. When she started going for tuitions, she took her junior too and so on.

I often wonder if the senior girl is an angel. So much compassion and thoughtfulness at such a young age…

I got a message that a mother wants to meet me. The student has just joined our institute- a slow learner again who made me wonder, why I get all these gems. I have to rack my brains how to make my classes more interesting and which makes recollection easy.

So I go and meet the mother. She tells me that the child is a slow learner. I nod. She says, ‘her father died two years back and it was such a shock to her that she has still not recovered’. I wonder again, why am I the special one.

She tells me the shortcomings of the child. I nod again and ask her not to worry and send her off.

Yesterday I get a message that she wants to meet me. I go down, a little angry, what changes can one bring in just 2 classes.

I see that she is with another lady AND she is the child’s mother. So who is the lady who came first? It seems they first met when they used to meet in the school bus stop. Then the man expired and this lady stepped in to help.

In a world where we don’t even know who our neighbours are, a stranger steps in and helps you…not just once but continuously for the past three years. Incredible isn’t it.

And in all the three cases the employer saw to it that the spouse gets a job if not with him at least somewhere and then gave visas to the children too.

Compassion is not dead…..not yet.

The worried and the worries

The Indian community here is always in a frenzy. The middle class is worried about tomorrow, or to be more precise, whether they will have their jobs tomorrow while the upper class is worries about which vacations to take. of course to spend the moolah they earn.

Of course there is another worry too. As the residency permit laws are strict and no one can get citizenship, parents have a different set of worries. Whether the children will be able to adjust in India? Understandably children raised in the confined and protected areas of Bahrain have problems to acclimatize back in India, both weather wise and otherwise.

The parents of girls have some more worries, how to protect their daughters. I understand their worries. If I had a daughter I would myself become a bodyguard for her. I keep a hawk’s eye on my girl-students, I have to, aren’t they my responsibility in the premises of the Institute.

It sometimes amazes me how we change. Just a decade and a half ago I was carefree, daring and well……. free. And now I fret even if a single boy is extra cordial to a single girl. Have I changed that much or have the times changed.

I remember the boys in my class thinking of me as proud because I was independent and kept my stand and of course kept them at arm’s length. I remember slitting a mans wrist slightly because he was acting smart in a movie theatre, I remember kicking a man on his shin because he was trying to touch me in the train…there are numerous other examples but today I am scared. Why?

I remember once I was homesick. I was working in Mumbai and my parents were coming to Mangalore to attend my grandmothers first death anniversary. I just decided to visit them. Of course I would not get train reservation. So I took a bus. The bus was su;posed to be delayed because of the monsoon but it reached right on time at 4.30 in the morning. Everyone got down, me too. The conductor asked me if anyone was coming to pick me. I looked around, there was nobody, so I said no. He hailed a rickshaw, noted its number and made me sit with my bag. Ten minutes later I reached home. I became a star of the moment for having dared to take a rickshaw in the dark of the night/morning. But then I explained about how the conductor had helped me. My parents were proud. Proud that finally their daughter could manage alone.

Times for girls I feel have remained the same. They always had to take care of their safety. But then earlier trust was easy and today it is not. As we move ahead technologically the basic qualities of trust, faith, integrity are all dwindling. Sad isn’t it.

But then I had been tough. Today when I see my girl students they seem to be in a world of imagination, obsessed with their lifestyles and their mobiles. And I worry, because life isn’t that easy or that straight.

So I will keep on looking out for all the females around me, you can do that too.

Musings

The weather has suddenly turned cold. What was a moderate weather till now, is suddenly cold and moist. Lethargy creeps in and all you want to do is curl up in your quilt and sleep.

As I go to wake the son, I feel a pinch of guilt, he is in his dreamland, fast asleep, should I be the villain and break his reverie…but then school is essential too and I call out his name. He for a change, waked up in a jiffy. I wonder the lethargy that I feel in this cold, is it just me??

I hear the sounds of the hookah, someone is feeling cold and is trying to be warm. I smile, so it is not me alone.

I long for summer, when this bitterness will go away and I can walk straight but then in summer I will lament that I have to use the A/c. And then I will long for times when I can  breathe in some fresh air.

But then we adults are we ever satisfied.

I see a car turning inside our road and stop. The driver gets out and goes somewhere. A cat purrs contentedly, goes underneath the car and sleeps, obviously the warmth of the machine will heat her up. I smile for simple joys.

Picture courtesy Bahrain news agency