there’s always a middle path….

the bully issue keeps coming up ever so often when there’s kids around you…. this time it was Ira. Past few days she’s been complaining about a boy at school who pushes everyone around, spits at her friends, pulls her hair opening her plaits …well essentially he is a total boor. I recommended talking about it to her class teachers. During a PTM I also brought it up casually saying “I guess the boy wants to be friends with her and is not sure how to go about it so just see if you guys can get it resolved amicably”….

for a few days the complaints were still there but not so angry and frequent…. yesterday at dispersal time she came with her plaits undone. Recently she’s started getting plaits made as her hair is a bit longer now and she’s totally in love with them. So yes this was a big deal. She was quiet but I understood. So I asked “what happened?” says “Ansh pulled my hair and opened my plaits”. So I asked her “did you tell maam?” she is like “no use telling maam, if maam shouts at Ansh to stop doing something he just goes and shouts right back at them calling them idiot…. he was pulling Rhyka by her arm and spitting on her yesterday so I went and told maam so he was sent to another class but today he pulled my hair”….. So yeah I was a little disturbed and a little amused as well (after all what goes around comes around and heaven knows I was no paragon of virtue in my day)…. anyway I said “lets go talk to Shalina and Falak maam about it”. So off we went to meet the class teachers. The teachers were very receptive and apologetic about it, they explained that they had spoken to his parents about it as well and he had improved a bit but after the Ganpati break he was back to being a brat. They agreed between themselves that they need to talk to his parents again. So we came back reassured.

On the drive back home I thought I should maybe give her the “go codes” for handling bullies…. the way I had given the gyaan to Ria some time back. So I started talking about the escalation matrix…. first talk to him clearly tell him an emphatic “NO”. If he still persists warn him once more. If that too does not help go to the class teachers and complain to them. Finally if that too does not make any dent in his persistence beat him up!… I explained to her how it is perfectly ok to hit back in such a situation. I also advised her to form a gang of kids bullied by Ansh essentially include the others who have been similarly affected. She loved the idea and was all gung ho about going to school and beating up Ansh after forming her gang today.

Afternoon dispersal time, expecting to be summoned to the principals office (for having incited kids to violence) and prepared with my defence I landed up at school. Madam comes out all chirpy as usual. Says “I didn’t hit Ansh” so I’m like “right!! dodged a bullet there”…. further explains “see if I hit him then he will hit me again, and then I will hit him again and it will go on”….. so much for Khan ka gyaan!! I asked her “did mamma explain that to you?” to which she says “no I thought about it in the morning and figured it out, I’ll just ignore him.”

This is a 4 year old who can’t get into her dungarees without asking me to help her…. daymn I should’ve met her at least 36 years back when I was 4…. would’ve exchanged valuable life lessons…. maybe made some friends….


getting out to pick up Ria it was raining heavily. I had forgotten my umbrella at the Ford service centre last Saturday. So hesitantly I asked Ira, do you want to come or will you stay at home with auntia (Kulsum, she takes care of the girls and the house during the day time) while I go and pick her up…. almost instantly the reply came “no, I’m coming”…. downstairs I asked her to wait in the portico while I went and fetched the car. It was raining pretty heavy and I was decently drenched in the walk to the car. As we pulled out of the gates I started imagining that we were going to park right in front of school as that parking was going to be empty….. my visualisation trick to line up parking slots….

As we reached the spot it was taken and so were all the spots near it…. so we just went and parked a little further down the road and waited… at 2:45 we got out of the car and walked to the gate to pick up Ria. It was still raining but not as heavily. As we reached the gate we saw the slot right in front of the gate, the one I had been visualising all along, was empty and so was the one two cars behind. I checked and realised Ria’s class was not yet being let off. So Ira and I looked at each other and ran to our car some 400 metres away. Drove up and parked right in front of the gate….. no this has never happened earlier and no it is not something that can happen so easily in such heavy traffic…. thoughts do become things…. just believe in them long enough!

One step at a time

Today was a milestone day in Iras life, she walked over 4K with no tantrums.

We woke up around 7AM since it was an off day for the kids owing to Janmashtami. The kids got ready with us and we decided to drop Sonali at her office as it would be chaotic in the evening owing to the dahi-handi related crowds on the road. Once we had dropped her off we decided to go to the Bata store at Belapur, buy a pair of bathroom slippers for Ira and come back. She had been asking for one since we got a pair for Ria last week so this was kind of on the agenda. On the way I asked the kids “do you want to walk from the “dudu wala cold drink shop to the shoe store? I’ll get you lollipops for having on the way”. It was greeted with an excited and unanimous “yes yes”. It was pleasant weather, not raining and clear skies. So we went and parked in the parking lot near Seawoods Estate. Took Rias’ raincoat and an umberella just in case it started raining. Got the lollipop stock from one of the stores next to the gate and set off. Ira and I have been doing this circuit fairly frequently of late. If she wakes up at 5:30 with Ria she insists on going out with us to drop Ria off at school. So instead of running after I drop off Ria I go walking with Ira on this route. With an air of a pro she starts pointing out the familiar landmarks to dida… “dekh yeh horses ka ghar hai, potty ka smell aa raha hai naa?” “yahaan is lake mein samingos hote hain” (her word for Flamingos)… as she’s walking she tries to pass on acquired gyaan as well “dida agar hum log walk karte hain to hamari tabilat theek rehti hai, meri bhi, dida ki bhi, mamma ki bhi aur papa ki bhi… haan walk karna chahiye”…. then we reached the entrance to the forest she points it out and says “yahaan monkeys hote hain, yahaan dida ko gira diya tha monkey ne, iske andar nahin jaayenge”…. so on and so forth…. in the process three lollipops stumbled out of her mouth.. one every time she opens her mouth to give gyaan without first securing the lollipop…. Ria tells her the story of the greedy dog with the bone….

We reached a patch of the service road where it narrows down to a single lane and there’s a bit of slush in the usable section of the road…. carefully we navigated through but shoes were all mud caked. Ira promptly attempts to clean her shoes on my feet (I was wearing my floaters). Anyway we get to the end of the service road and then timing the signal properly cross the main road. As we are reaching the Bata showroom finally Ira starts showing signs of getting tired so we gave her a little bit of a pep talk about slippers and she’s fired up again. We reached the block which houses the Croma and Bata stores and realized we reached a tad early as the Bata store is not yet open. So Ria gives a bright idea “lets go into the Croma store and look at stuff there while we wait for Bata to open”…. I asked the Croma guy who was opening the store “when does Bata open?” says “11AM”…. we are about 28 minutes early. So I look at the two eager pair of eyes wondering “what now?” and think “ok that’s going to be a bummer Ira is going to get a little cranky if we do not get the slippers”…. then I ask them “do you girls want to walk back to the car, pick up the car and then drive back here, the Bata store would be open by then”…. a very emphatic “No we’ll wait here” comes from Ria. Then I spring the camouflaged option “how about we walk a little more to the MacD, get something to eat… this store will be open by the time we’re done at MacD”…. “YES! YES!! MacD MAcD”…. so that’s what we do…. had I asked them to walk more they would’ve cribbed…. you need to be very tactical about such things…. both of them walked without an issue….

At the MacD we got us a Pancakes meal with a chocolate milkshake, hashbrown with an egg-cheese burger for the kids and a filter coffee for me. They insisted on sitting on the bar stools rather than the low seating sofa…. a relaxed leisurely 45 minute affair… 11:19AM we start heading back after visiting the wash room and ensuring bladders were ready for the walk back… The Bata store was open this time, they were busy removing the sale stickers and decorations apparently sale ended last evening. We go up to the kids section Ria spots the slippers that we eventually buy…..

the slippers we went to get
the slippers we went to get
super excited kids now as they can’t wait to break into the slippers at home…. they practically ran all the way back racing with each other…. this service road is a blessing in that manner… not used by any vehicles so kids can be free… of course within limits…. I still had 2 lollipops left over which they worked through on the way to the place where we had parked our car…. Ria was very thirsty by the time we reached the car and wanted to keep walking to the shop so we could buy a bottle of water…. but I somehow bundled them in and drove off…. stopped at the shop on the way out of the parking lot… got a couple of lollipops and a bottle of water as they vociferously shot down the suggestion that we could have cold drink if they wanted it (yeah strange kids they do not want cold drink)….

Back home by 12:20 I suggested they get a massage from Kullu aunty before having a bath… Ria agreed to that Ira was too excited to bother with a massage…. she has never liked the idea of a massage all along. Lunch went down pretty easy and then Gauri, their friend from A802, came over…. I was in my room upstairs but from the sounds it was a happy bunch of kids playing, telling stories etc. etc.

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In the evening around 6:15P we left to pick up Sonali from her office (it being dahi handi day the roads would be overflowing with rowdy idiots and SG didn’t want to take a chance driving in that sort of drunkard infested traffic)… Ira slept off around 6:30 just as we were reaching office…. long day longest walk so far…. it was a total of 4.46Km. Broken up with the almost one hour break (MacD and Bata) but even so I think commendable job for a 2 year 4 month old. I don’t want to turn them into any sort of athletic freaks, I just want them to make healthy choices in life. That they choose to run marathons or whatever is up to them all I can or want to do is to introduce a respect for the active life…. So yeah big day for a small kid….

The meaning of a name

A friend today asked about the meaning of the names of the two kids. I began by giving her an explanation which went something like this:

we wanted a short and sweet name for the elder one…. also since my last name was anyway going to be slapped to the back it was entirely Sonalis choice…. Ria is the name of a Greek Goddess the mother of Zeus…. but that wasn’t on her mind when she picked that name…. I found out about it later on and it was a nice coincidence as we are a lot into those Greek mythology related games …. so yeah anyway that’s the origin of Rias’ name… as for Ira we asked Ria to suggest a name and she came up with “Ria”… I said ok lets keep the letters and make it Ira and that kind of went down well with everyone…. so yeah very simple story behind the names…. Ria it seems in Greek means River…. and Ira means “watchful” in Hebrew

….then I went and googled her name and landed up on this wiki page Turns out we named her something meaningful….

Ira is actually extremely watchful she never misses anything that’s going on around her…. even from a very small age she is very careful and protects herself much better in a fall than Ria used to at that age…. now a little older she is extremely observant and protective of her big sister even getting into fights with other kids for Rias sake…. . That’s the part that is related to the “watchful” and “warrior” interpretation of her name.

Neighbors are surprised about her ability to communicate so well and speak so clearly at less than 2 years of age.

Ria on the other hand means River in Greek and our elder one is exactly that…. always giving every calm…. it’s a humongous blessing to have such a person around us… she is always willing to give away even her last toy if it someone asks for it and talking to her is therapuetic the way she resolves conflict and cools you down…. so yeah name meanings do make sense… and unknowingly (to a large extent) we got ourselves two amazing names for our perfect daughters 🙂