Category Archives: LE FUTTED BALLON-life with the girls

On Identity…

A good week! More Noorspeak this evening, this time on identity.

In response to my routine question -“So how was your day in school/what did you do today”, Noor recounted an exercise their teacher for English set them today. She asked them, it seems, to write what each of them thinks the word identity means to them.

Noor wrote, she says, “That it’s not just who you are physically but who you are mentally too. It’s who you are as a person, and its what name you go by – but the name you make for yourself. It’s to be recognized by something I did”, she said, rather than as someone’s daughter or someone’s mother. It’s how you want to be recognized and it’s the way you act and display yourself to be.

Quite so, I thought. And thus is another strong woman born…..


Win every argument? No, that’s not even fair…..

This post belongs in a section I’ve thought for the longest time of creating on this blog, which I would call “Noor-isms”. That child amazes me, every once in a while, with the things she says that make me do a double take and wonder if I’m actually dealing with someone older the child I mostly assume she still is.

So this evening, I idly asked her if she still wants to be a doc, or a teacher, as she’s often said she wants to be. She said she might even want to be a psychologist.

[What follows is a verbatim of whatever she said, which I then made her repeat while I wrote it all down here].

Oh? Why? I asked. And she said, “I like to think about how people are so different to each other, and why that is”. She went on to explain that often, when she observes an argument, she sees that there are so many different points of view, all of which are right in their own place. “I think when you’re arguing, discussing something or having a debate”, she said, people only look at something the way they want to see it, they only  hear what they want to hear”…..”Sometimes, people say what seems to the other person to not even be related to the argument; but to the one who says it, it’s totally relevant. A lot of the time people get frustrated or angry because they think the other person is wrong. They can never understand why said person is doing what they’re doing, because they only see it the way they want to see it. Whereas they’re not understanding each other’s point of view.But then you have to look at all the different points of view.”

Sometimes, she said, “I just watch these arguments in school and in daily life and I think about all this”…”Because everyone thinks so differently , so you have to take the time to understand who is making valid points. You have to try and understand where the other person is coming from, you have to put yourself in their shoes, to understand why they are saying what they’re saying, you have to do that in order to convince them about your point of view.”

But then you won’t win the argument, I said. And she said, “well you don’t have to, you can’t win every argument”.

As I said at the start – now there’s another Noor-ism to live by….


An Evening to Remember

Best moments of recent times – the girls walking in through the door one night after a week away recently (the quietest time ever because their father was away too) and pouring out tales of all the good times they had with their cousins; Indira looking around the apartment as if re-discovering the space and eventually saying out loudly “Home Sweet Home !!!” in a delighted way; and Noor said “Oh Mama, the roller coaster (her first time) was SO SO scary !!! that I just closed my eyes tightly shut, and thought only of my birthday and your face the way it is when you smile”.

Note to self – yell less, smile more.

Beautiful, Soothing, Music to fall asleep to

I’ve made sporadic attempts over the years to introduce Indian classical music to the girls. They’ve sometimes liked some of it, but never evinced any interest afterwards in listening to any particular piece again, as far as I can remember. But tonight, I think what they heard made a definite impact, and Indira seemed to actually enjoy falling asleep to this superbly melodious rendition ( it is the recording called “The Valley Recalls” by Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia).

They’re both sleeping now, as I write this and think that I must do this – listening with them to music –  more often.

The baby’s growing up…

I’ve tried not to “baby” Noor.

It’s not my way with kids,in any case, but more so because I never wanted Indira to feel that I favored Noor over her in any way because Noor is younger- which is a feeling I’ve often seen many older siblings harbor about their parents dealings with their children.

But perhaps the younger one just knows.

Indira, bless her heart, always indulges her sister anyway because she’s got an almost little-mother air about her sometimes, with Noor.

But there’s been more than one occasion recently when Noor has said or done something with such a responsible, mature attitude that I found myself thinking, with a pang in my heart, “the baby’s growing up too…”

Sometimes it’s when she hangs around me to help in the kitchen or to lay the table, sometimes it is something she says with a very grown-up, understanding, thoughtful air. Then there was this last Sunday morning, when I saw her in the balcony, browsing through the weekend section of the newspaper. Even though the section that seemed to be holding her interest was the very tabloid-ish Pune Times, it was a striking sight anyway because I haven’t seen any part of the newspaper be her reading material of choice before this.

Oh well….they must all grow up eventually, I guess. And it does make for smile-making moments along the way so it’s all good.

a droll moment with Nani and Noor

Last week, as Indira studied one afternoon with me for her mid-terms, Nani was helping Noor revise the Hindi lesson she’d done in school that day. After a while, I heard this exchange –

Nani – “Kissan ka matlab?

Noor – “Jam”.

Noor of course replied in all seriousness, but her answer sure made Nani and me smile !

Even given Noor’s limited experience with Hindi, I thought this was a clear win for the power of brands and advertising.

Look Ma, no wheels-Part Two

When I wrote here, almost exactly two years ago, that Noor was starting to ride a cycle without the training wheels, little did I imagine that it would be two more years before she’d do that again.

For in all this time since then, I can’t remember that there’s ever been an occasion when she was willing to attempt a ride without the side wheels. She has a taller cycle now than the little one she had in France, but has been reluctant to use it too often, I’ve suspected, for precisely this reason that we took those wheels off during the Christmas vacation, expecting to teach her to ride without that support during the holidays.

Well after a long delay that training session finally happened today. Having been away all week in Trivandrum until Friday – missing Holi with them in the process – gave me an extra determination, I think, to do many things at home and with them this weekend that had been on my mind as unfinished. So yesterday Indira and I went shopping and finally ordered the remaining half of the sofa, this morning I made egg and toast for breakfast – always a crowd-pleaser around here ! – instead of the usual oats with milk which they eat without fuss but are not crazy about, gave their hair a much-needed oil massage before lunch, in the afternoon I demonstrated once again to Usha, our cook, how I like sambhar to be made (since the girls had requested idlis for dinner), after which the girls and I went down to wash their cycles and to pump air in to the tyres, Then, after showers and gouter we went down to the park which is when Noor gave her cycle another go without the side wheels.

Perhaps these things really just are a matter of waiting for when the time is right, because Noor rode quite well from the moment I let go the first time. We’ll have to practise a little more, but she really does seem to be getting there now, and without the reluctance I saw before.

Well begun, Noor !