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A Place Where Children Can Play – Free Play.

learning by playing

“So, how are you feeling after moving to Goa?”

“Are you happy with your decision to move to Goa?”

“How’s Goa coming along for you? Are you satisfied?”

“I do know you like being in Goa, but let’s chat more about how you really feel about the day-to-day experience.”

These are the type of questions, inquiries that come our way these days from family members, close friends, casual friends, former colleagues. They all are basically curious about how it’s going for us here in Goa. Some are curious because they see a possibility of moving in the near/far future. Some are just plain curious (even astonished) that we should take such an extreme step – of suddenly abandoning the years of life and living that we made in Delhi and move over-night!

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cardboard box free play

I was running out of options that evening. Avie was out of town for a few days, and Sufiana, who’s very attached to Avie, was getting cranky and clingy by the moment. Balls, wind chime, stories, paintbrush+paint) songs – none of those things that she’s fond of – was catching her attention for more than a few seconds. She was tired and so was I.

And then, suddenly, I see a ray of hope in my mind’s eye!

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 it takes time to nurture the relationship with your child

Pari is a home-body. She loves being at home, reading, doing art, watching movies, listening to songs, cooking in the kitchen, writing blog posts, conversing with us. We understand this need of hers and try our best to balance – between the fun of going out and exploring this beautiful place where we live (Goa) and her need to cocoon at home.

Children need the TIME to BE themselves. Give them the time and they will surprise us all in more ways than we can imagine. And, when our children can just BE without being driven by the clock all the time, that will be the best TIME for this planet, for they will know how to be happy from within rather than go seek happiness in external factors.

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My Salad Days Are Back With My Children

my salad days are back with my children

My Salad Days are back and here to stay. Did I just say that? Do I mean to eat a salad a day or am I thinking back to the days of my youth – innocent, carefree, inexperienced, for that’s what exactly the idiom ‘Salad Days’ mean.

Well, to me, on the one hand it means innovating some brand new flavours of salad every day to add more and more greens to our meals. Yes, that’s a new-found interest for me. I’ve been experimenting with salad making. Will share one immensely yummy and healthy receipe at the end of this post.

But, at another level, it means something deeper and profound and intentional.

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 how babies learn

Right from her birth till today, I’ve eagerly observed to understand how she learns – my baby, Sufiana. Actually, it was not just my own curiosity that made me take notice. It was a lot about the nature of her learning that made me marvel, wonder and gasp at her spirit. She’s been a very, very passionate, committed and tenacious learner. I’ve seen her stick around despite failing again and again. I’ve seen her cry and kick and yell – so she could take her tiny thumb in her mouth. Her desperate struggle at day 5, day 6, day 7 and many more days and months after her birth – to put that dear thumb in her mouth to suckle at, was heart breaking for me. Sometimes, I felt compelled to show her how to do it. Other times, I thought it apt that she should try and figure out herself. Who am I to steal from her her zeal, her purpose. How can I not allow her the joy that’s truly her own when she figures it out. All through, I was just dazed with wonder at her persistence.

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IMG_20141225_092500

How long was the longest letter you’ve written to someone? Mine was 16-page (A4) long. I wrote it to my brother who was studying Engineering in another town. I missed my one-on-one conversations with him so much, I would write each and every thought in those letters. And, the best part was – he was a snail-mail/writing-enthusiast too. So, we wrote epic letters to each other. In the middle of all this, our postman was the one who enjoyed the show the most. He would at times take the liberty to ask me what I wrote, what reply did I receive, how do I find the time to write so many letters when I have academic books to study and homework to take care of.

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no cable television

We don’t have a cable connection at home, which means no television programmes for us. Not that we never watched television before. We used to. But, for the past one year or so, we’ve disconnected cable. We still have a television set (and a DVD player) which we use to watch movies. A lot of movies. And, all sorts of movies. Hindi, English, Regional, World movies, Documentary movies.

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choices and flexibility in unschooling
Into the 5000 years old Pandava caves going over the stories from the Mahabharata; in the flea market examining old coins, spices, antique furniture, carved wooden blocks; at the wholesale vegetable market admiring tiny Chinese oranges, at an ancient church over a hill-top watching the sea-scape hundreds of feet below, in an oldest Portuguese house listening to the 80-years old lady narrating stories from the bygone era, in a stream of fresh water floating dry leaves, by a lake-side watching migratory birds and wild flowers….

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stories are worth a thousand pictures, create a happy one with your children

I’m listening to a song right now and my heart is warming and melting with nostalgia, love, truth and light. But, more than that, couple of lines in the middle of the song struck a chord with me instantly. Of all things, it focused on the truth about “stories”. What! Isn’t this what I’ve been pondering on since yesterday evening? Synchronicity, ha! I’ll share those lines (in Hindi/Urdu) with you and then share the meaning in English too. You’ll then know what I’m talking about…

These lines:

Ek baar waqt se lamha gira kahin,

Wahan daastaan mili, lamha kahin nahin.

Once, a ‘moment’ fell somewhere from the lap of time,

There, stories were found, the moment – nowhere in sight.

(waqt = time , lamha = moment, daastaan = story)

Since morning, my thoughts have been revolving around this word, “stories”, in more ways than one. And once my mind made a note of it, the whole day I kept bumping (not intentional) into things – an article (by Peter Gray that says how stories make us relate to life), a song (that says stories remain, moments fade), some pictures (from my Delhi collection) – that kept reinforcing my original thought about “stories”.

So, I was thinking about the significance of stories in our lives. Stories, that we share using words. Words that can weave magic and create pictures and scenes in the minds of the readers. The stories crafted using the apt words, tones and expressions can leave a lasting imprint on its listeners.

Pictures are powerful, all right. They say, a picture is worth a thousand words. But, can we ever over-estimate the power of stories created using words, without a single picture to support? Surely, words are more than just words. Aren’t they?

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My Baby Doesn’t Want Distractions

my baby doesn't want distractions

By being with Sufiana and trying to understand her with awareness, I’m getting to understand more and more what enriches her mind, heart and soul. And, day after day, my conviction that babies don’t want to be stimulated (distracted?) with toys, artificial sounds and sights, a fake, pretend world, is becoming clearer and crisper.

No matter how colourful the toys, no matter how animated the sounds from the battery-operated gadgets, she moves away from these within a matter of minutes.

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