There was no cake, no candles; nothing else that might be testimony to a first birthday. Yet, it was a beautiful birthday celebration for Sufiana, who turned one on November 2. Avie, Pari and I discussed a few ideas for how to make her day special and then we all agreed – unanimously – given the curious, observant, aware, nature-loving and water-loving being that she is, the best birthday celebration and the best gift for her would be a day out in the nature. Nature would be her perfect play-mate showering her with curious finds, playful moments and wild fun.
So, it started with couple of hours in the swimming pool, then some lazy, casual, together-time in the greens where we got to see a monitor lizard, a lightening-fast snake (it was viper, I think), dozens of butterflies, bugs, birds. The second half of the day was the most special – we spent early and late evening at the beach – allowing the waves to overwhelm us with joy and wild fun.
This girl really knows no fear when it comes to water
She was so at ease with the waves flowing all over her, the salty water in her mouth and eyes; she playing with the wet sand, feeling the crushed shells between her fingers.
Well, synchronicity or not, it felt amazing that the time (last year) when Sufiana was in my womb (way down nearing the birth canal) between massive surges (contractions), at that exact same time we were at the beach on her birthday – sitting under water – the waves surging and swelling, the half moon behind our backs and the deep orange sun right in front. All this was definitely not timed but when I realized this, it felt surreal!
As some of you know, Sufiana was born (infact, conceived too) in Goa. We’d decided to travel to Goa all the way from Delhi to give birth to her naturally, and in an environment that’s rich in nature. Two weeks after Sufiana’s birth we went back to Delhi without a hint that we’d decide to come back and settle in Goa. It was whimsical; it was eccentric; it was a calling that we’re glad we heard.
And, now we’re here.
But hey, now that we’re here, it’s not as if one cannot get stuck in the rut of life.
It’s not as though those connections with nature will happen without being conscious. It won’t happen even in Goa. The rut that one can get stuck it – is like the rot, the decay, which invades when there’s no light – when the light of your consciousness stops shining on your purpose. So, I keep this at the centre of my consciousness – that I want to live the moments to be able to enjoy all these gifts in nature and help my children establish a life-long bond with nature. For, nature can soothe and heal and cure. But, other than that, nature can nurture a child’s innate curiosity and wonder.
The very nature of nature inspires awe and wonder…
The full moon (it was two days back), which is so clear – when the Goan skies are cloudless – that it carries a magical aura about itself. Sufiana knows the moon really well. I’ve shown it to her at the beach, from our terrace, from our yard; when it’s crescent, half, full. I’ve wondered with her when the sky is moon-less. We’re so awed by its being there over our heads that a moon-less sky seems dull and void and sad. But then, there are the fireflies that make up for a moon-less night sky. I’m seeing the fireflies here after two and a half decades. It was in our small coastal town in Orissa, where I was born and brought up that I got to see fireflies. Those sights in my mind are precious and wonder-full!
The beach – yes, it’s there. There’s a beach to our left; there’s a beach to our right. But, we might get too busy to take that route. We’ve seen many people here, the locals, who say they have not been to the beach in months! So, it doesn’t matter that it’s Goa. One can still get stuck. We need to keep reminding the purpose of our being here.
The wild flowers and the garden flowers and the butterflies hovering over them. We step out at 11 AM for the butterflies – who come out to soak the sun and the nectar. We watch them dance in spirals – round and round. We watch two butterflies playing tag and wonder why they can’t remain still…
The birds – the Golden Oriole, the Magpie Robin, the Tree Pie, the Kingfisher – we now know their sounds. We wait for the buffaloes to come grazing in the field. We watch the pigs, the roosters, the mongoose, the squirrels. We wonder how those little squirrels can be so quick.
There is wonder in waiting – for the moon, the fire-flies, the butterflies, the Golden Orioles. When they arrive after the wait, the wonder is beyond comprehension. It’s a celebration almost!
There’s a wonder-struck baby in my arms, who points to a lizard one moment, to the whirring fan the other moment; to a tiny red ant on the floor, mosquito stuck in the web, a moth sitting still on the window pane. To her, everything is beautiful and dazzling and worth watching. I’m starting to look at the world from her perspective and through her eyes. And, believe me, I’m smiling and laughing at least a hundred times more than I used to -before she landed in my arms.
Wonder is infectious. It’s contagious. Go get this disease. It’ll put you at ease.
Be the wonder-struck partner to your child.
That will help your child retain and nurture his/her own sense of wonder – for a life-time. This is the most precious gift of yourself that you’ll give. For, even when life will present its various moods – joyful, dull, tragic, happy, dark – your wonder-filled child/person will stand the ground.
I can beat the night, I’m not afraid of thunder
I am full of light, I am full of wonder
Some more moments:
Lost in the moment…..!
The light shining from within you!
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