Right to Brag : My son, the animal lover

Right to Brag

Tell us about something you (or a person close to you) have done recently (or not so recently) that has made you really, unabashedly proud.
There have been many moments I have been proud of.  But this incident was something so unexpected that I felt very proud and happy. During summer vacations last year,  me and my sons, aged 13 and 7 had gone to visit my parents in Kerala, India.
In a nearby ground,  a stray dog had just given birth to 3 puppies.   No one was keen on taking the dog or her puppies in their house.   When my elder son, Sid, saw this,  he was very upset.  He requested my mother to take them in and she also refused saying that she is too old now to take care of the pups. At that point, my son took it upon himself to look after the puppies.  He prepared a soft bed for them with grass and some old boxes.   He would regularly get them milk and will see to it that they drink up the milk and not by some other passing stray dog.   He will then put them on his lap and spend hours just taking care of them.   He also got my younger son involved. Every day, when sending across the milk, my mother would crib about the unnecessary activity and expense.
One day,  my mother said that there is not enough milk in the house to send across for the puppies.  Without a moment’s hesitation, my son said that he will not drink his share of 2 glasses of milk.  Instead,  he will feed it to the puppies.  In that moment, i thought about the selfishness of our existence.   We are having an abundance of everything and we have forgotten the basic aspects of sharing some for the have-nots.   It brought a lump to my throat and I felt very proud of my son, as I felt he has learnt a very important lesson in life – of kindness and of sharing.
With his tireless efforts of the two weeks we were at my mother’s home,  the puppies were healthy.  And they survived.  Sometimes, it takes very little to make a difference to a life.

City Planners : Will Mumbai follow London?

Daily Prompt : City Planners

If you could clone one element from another city you have visited — a building, a cultural institution, a common street food, etc. — and bring it back to your own hometown, what would it be?
 Lancaster_Gate_tube If there is one thing I want my home city, Mumbai in India, to have is the London Underground / Tube.  I was in London few years back and I was amazed at the efficiency and comfort of the London Underground or The Tube as Londoners call it.
Like London, Mumbai has excellent public transportation.  But the way the Tube is all underground and not showing up above land in Central London shows the planning that has gone into its creation.  It’s there for convenient transport (in Central London from one street to another) but not seen.  What we see is all open, beautiful spaces.
Wish Mumbai had done something similar with its railway lines when they were getting created.  Or even when they were creating new lines which they have added in recent years.  When I had mentioned this to my colleagues in London, they found it funny as they felt the Tube is just not on time, overcrowded, all negative comments.  But, really just think about the meticulous planning.
The Tube was conceptualized almost 150 years ago and it has been in use for over 100 years.  It’s still the best way to get around London.  Very futuristic of the City Planners I would say.

Book Review : ‘Into the Wild’ by Jon Krakauer

‘Into the Wild’ is a book which I would normally never pick up after reading the synopsis on the back of the book.  But as part of May @TSBookClub #TSBCChallenge, this book was assigned to me and so I had to read it.

Well, I started off the book with no expectations.  But the initial few pages got me hooked.  It’s basically the true story of a vagabond called Chris McCandless who calls himself ‘Alex the Supertramp’.  During the most difficult of his adventures in the strenuous environs of Alaska, he dies.  The whole book is about the how, what, why he went to Alaska. It’s as plain and simple as that.

But, what makes the book interesting is that, it makes you think, introspect.  Through the travails of Chris or Alex, as he calls himself,  the author tries to find a deeper meaning to life and how we are living it.  It actually, made me think of the pointlessness of an organized existence, the wastefulness of planning one’s life, the way we live our lives ensuring a secure future instead of living in the present.

Chris persuades you to enjoy the journey of life and live life to the fullest instead of trying to reach a destination of getting rich, or getting a house, or having a family.  The message in the book is not really of a preaching nature.  It needs to be discovered, one layer at a time.

On the whole, its a beautiful book.  Something you can read again and again and highly recommendable.

So what if…

So what if..

My son doesn’t want to comb his hair in a certain manner,  he is not asking me to do the same

My son doesn’t like the T-shirt I pick for him, he is not giving opinions on my clothes

My son doesn’t want to really study hard, he is not having time to play either

My son doesn’t have grand dreams, he is not after a luxury life

My son doesn’t want to be rich, he will be happy just as he is

My son doesn’t want to use the wisdom I gained in so many years,  he wants to learn from his own experiences

Welcome to the teenager’s world.. where nothing matters.. and nothing makes sense..

Vacation trips

I had been to the railway station recently to see off some of my relatives.  Since its school vacation time, I saw a lot of children at the station for catching the train to go off to their roots.  they were just not excited about the trip.  all they could probably think of would be the harrowing time they have to spend meeting strangers who are closely related to us.

It brought back lot of memories of the time I used to go to my native place in Kerala from Mumbai.  Me, my parents, my brother and sister.  It was such an exciting time.. we used to look forward to the trip for some 3 months or so since we book the tickets.  Unlike today, in those days, we used to undertake a 3 day journey from Mumbai to Kerala.  For the three days or 48 hours we spent on the train, life would be completely changed like the landscape outside.. we used to pass the smoke emitting factories, chawls, gutters of Mumbai.  This would soon change in the next 2 hours wherein we used to reach Lonavala and Pune.. beautiful landscape and waterfalls.  not to forget the monkeys at the station.  the second day in the train is longer wherein we used to pass the barren and rock filled and completely dry landscape in Andhra Pradesh.  By late evening of the 2nd day.. we used to enter Tamil Nadu briefly and then touch Kerala.  Kerala on the third day is a dramatic change. All that nature, green fields,  lush trees.. and whole lot of people, houses we used to pass.  Such a lovely sight.  And all the anticipations of reaching my home with the number of aunts, uncles and cousins and second cousins.. 2 great grandparents.. Wow.. it was so exciting.  Spend whole of 2 months getting in touch with your roots and deepening and strengthening the bonds further.

Fast forward to today’s young generation.. they get to spend at the most 2 weeks of their lives in their hometown.. in today’s times of nuclear families and faraway jobs, there is no chance of meeting the extended family in the short two weeks.  the roots are not deepened. the bond is not there.. If today’s young generation is not deep-rooted, will the next generation be just flying over the places.. wonder what will happen.. and all this in a short period of about 35 years! Incredible!