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When things don’t go according to plan

They often won’t- and that’s okay, really.

Dear Sara and Sana,

Today was your annaprashan, Sana,  the first rice ceremony, and you fell ill, much to the dismay of all of us here. We’d been looking forward to witnessing your smiles and giggles, and the sight of you crying was worrisome and painful, to say the least. I now realize a little bit of what the adults in the family are trying to do when they forbid some activities based on the logic of “This mistake will hurt you.” It does hurt a lot to see a child you love suffer in any way.

For someone as naturally curious as I am, though, this logic has never held- I’m far too in love with the idea of making my own mistakes. And one of the things I’ve learnt along the way is, there will be mistakes, and the best laid plans won’t work out on occasion. You can put in all the effort and love you want, and yet, there will be bad days, sometimes for no fault of yours, or anyone else’s. One of the things you’ll find most difficult to understand, if you’re anything like me, is to not always relate the depth of your effort to the outcome that you achieve. Your job is to put in the best that you can into anything, be it a school art project, or life in general. And more importantly, your job will be to learn not to link your happiness and peace to the grade you receive, and the success or failure in that funny little game called life. Maybe we’ll learn together- I still have some way to go.

Among other news, I met your grandma today, Sara and was so proud to hear that you’re already picking up bits and pieces of the local language. I had a good laugh imagining your baby babble in a mix of Hindi, Kannada and Bengali. You kids are already so smart, it amazes me at times. I hope not to become the outdated aunt by the time you’re teenagers, though I suppose that’s quite inevitable.

With all my love,

Nini

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On crying at 2 a.m.

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Dear Sara and Sana,

I wish I could tell you that your toddler years would be the last time you cry your eyes out. Truth is, if you’re anything like me, there will be cloudy days. As you grow older, your reasons will change, but mostly, you will cry because you have a soft heart and sometimes, the going gets rough out there. I hope and pray that most of your reasons for crying will be relatively non-damaging ones- I also know that I, and no one really, can promise you that. You will make your own mistakes, and be just as sassy and unapologetic about them, as I have been and I hope to be around, looking at you in mingled pride and exasperation as you learn from them.

Sometimes, people will make you cry. Often, they will be people who are really close to you and you might say- Aren’t they, of all people, supposed to make sure I don’t cry? Well, yes and no. Your expectations from people are something you’ll have to learn to manage on your own. But yes, no one, absolutely no one, has the right to make you feel bad about being yourself. So if you feel hurt, don’t tell yourself it doesn’t matter. Examine it, cry if you want, and then see if there is anything you can learn from it to take along with you. Because at some point you will leave the hurt behind. All you’ll carry are the lessons.

You can be anything and anyone you want, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Life, of course, won’t be all fun. You will have to work, earn money and do some of those grown-up things that you’ve seen your Mum and Dad and me do (including boring stuff like washing clothes). But it’s not a bad thing- you’ll learn who you are, and who you don’t want to be, and also how both these ideas can change throughout life. People will try to tell you to figure things out really fast. Here’s a little secret- as long as you’re happy, and growing in your ideas, and at peace, it doesn’t matter if you go fast or slow. I will try my best to make sure that you never have the burden of unnecessary worldly things to stop you from exploring and dreaming.

Never stop believing. Our ability to work and uncover new mysteries that make us one with the universe is all we have. That, and hope.

Lots of love,

Nini

 

 

 

*Art credits: Ulyana, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/79024168435237930/*

 

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Dear Sara and Sana,

IMG-20170219-WA0010You’re one and a half years and five months old respectively and at the risk of sounding like a very biased aunt (which I am), you are so, so perfect. I’ve been meaning to write to you both ever since Sana was born in February this year. But, hey, better late than never, right? After all, you’re still some time away from being old enough to read this, and laughing at me. Or maybe you won’t- you’re both such perceptive children. Yes, even you, Sana- even though you fake-cried to get your mother’s attention the first time I tried to pick you up, you made up for it later by flashing a cute,toothless grin when we were on our own. Sara, you were all smiles the first time I met you- you were Sana’s age then. You came straight to my arms like you’d known me forever- who knows, maybe you have. In fact, it might sound cheesy but every time you both grab a finger or my entire hand in your tiny little grip, it’s something that is much beyond the grasp of this little world.

I am not yet sure if I’ll be giving you little cousins somewhere down the line but I can see why people love babies. In case I haven’t mentioned it, you two are precious. I loved you from the day I knew there was a possibility of you existing. And yes, my mother, your grandmother might tell you that I give you special treatment because you were both born under the zodiac of Aquarius- well, she might just be right. But I would have always loved you, irrespective of when you were born. Sharing my zodiac just makes it a special secret society kind of thing that all three of us will share some day. Or maybe, you both will say, Nini, how unscientific is that? Well, that’ll be a fun discussion either way.

You’re both so young now, so fragile, and yet so happy as long as your basic needs are being met. This state of yours teaches me so much each day, even though I don’t get to see you very often. You are my reason to work well each day, not because I wish to inspire you in the sense of choosing your careers or your life paths, but because I want to be a person who is capable of being there for you at all times when you’re growing up. I will love you no matter what you do, and in spite of them. You have wonderful parents and grandparents but I think you might, when you grow up, need a member of the family who doesn’t judge you for anything that you may do. I shall try my best to be your lighthouse, if ever you should find yourselves lost at sea. Although my prayer for you, my brave little girls, is that you learn to ride the waves as much as you learn to love the shore.

Yours in love,

Nini