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unschooling takes nurturing, understanding , letting go

Until about three weeks back, the tomato plants in my yard were all green. They had grown to a size that I was expecting them to flower. But the flowers weren’t blooming. Every morning and afternoon and evening I would go inspecting in the hope of spotting tiny yellow flowers. But, only beautiful green leaves greeted me. And then, one fine day I spot a few flowers. A few days later some more. Within 10 days, most of my plants were wearing their flowery yellow embellishments. Oh, how it suited them! I couldn’t stop admiring and telling them how gorgeous they looked. My yard looked like a cosmos of stars, only they twinkled in bright daylight. (My home is a cosmos too. My children the stars – the tomatoes – waiting to ripen to their bright red, ripe, juicy glory – given the nurturing environment, the time and space and the creative freedom.)

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sustainable menstruation #PeriodofChange MommyLabs

(this painting is from my #30DaysLeafArtChallenge in 2014)

It’s the Earth Day week. Earth Day was celebrated on April 22 – around the world, and it’s heartening to see so many indivuduals, organizations, groups, families and communities pledging to restore the earth and diving into action. The causes to take action for are innumerable. From – waste management to clean air and water to chemical-free farming to cleaning the rivers and shore lines.

But, being a woman, a mother and a child of this mother earth, the one thing that I personally feel for is women’s health, our natural (menstrual) cycle and it’s connection with and impact on mother earth. The fact that this natural process that’s at the core of a woman’s being can be so life-threatening to the health of our planet is really disturbing. That, this bodily cycle so intrinsic to female reproductive ability, her health and well being can lead to health risk for women herself, is an urgent matter to look into.

In this article, I’m sharing my own story about my experience, trials and errors and learnings in my search for sustainable menstrual wearing. Also, read on to know what cost we women and our earth need to pay for those seemingly hyigenic and ‘convenient’ disposable menstrual pads; and what viable and natural options do we have available today.

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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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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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