An audio story for kids…a battle between dinos and animals

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Lil Bo Peep goes to Jupiter

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Lil Bo Peep goes to space—-a-3-part-fun-series-eopgbm

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2021….there is hope

2020….a year like no other. When one thinks of uncertainty, one did not have 2020 in mind. We lived through extra ordinary times. COVID came as a shock, and an awakening to me, like it probably did to you. On the one hand, it reinforced how powerless we all are in the world. On the other hand, it showed how everyone can make a difference, whether small or big. I was fortunate to be working in a company (Eurofins) that played an active part in fighting the pandemic, in keeping people safe and healthy. I was fortunate that I got an opportunity to volunteer in our neighbourbood to help people feel more reassured during the trying times. And I was fortunate to get the support of family, friends and healthcare workers when I contracted COVID myself. And through all the months, I was humbled by the many stories of courage and sacrifice one read from all over the world, of how Drs, nurses, paramedics, scientists and simple human beings did their bit to extend a helping hand.

2020 was also a year in which two major health milestones were crossed for us as a family. Namita, recovering from her breast cancer was declared disease free. She had won the battle. Her enduring spirit through the journey was inspiring. I embarked on a journey to lose weight at the beginning of the year, and whilst it is a long journey, but am happy that I have set the clock back 20 years. Like every year, December marks the month of Mihir’s birthday celebrations. And as he turned 9, his curiosity and empathy continue to foster his similarity and his difference from us as parents. His sometimes simple statements and questions, reflect a maturity beyond his age.

The year ended with more twists ; a twisted ankle caused a tendon rupture which shall extend my work from home for 10 more weeks. Europe & the U.S. continue to see a resurgence of cases, and the UK is seeing a significant new mutation of the virus. But at the same time, India was closing the year with a record low number of fresh COVID cases, and the world was beginning to see the first round of vaccinations.

Definitely 2021 can only be better. I leave 2020 behind with a deep sense of gratitude. Thankful for what we have, thankful to family, friends and colleagues, with a realisation that we need to live each day to the fullest, for the future shall always be unknown.

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Conversations with a teenager

I had a long and intense discussion with a 13 year old today….and came out impressed, with what our youth today represent. The young woman, and I call her that with intent, had strong views, was willing to argue and defend them, and was not intimidated by questions around them. If there was a rebellious streak, it was only to not be shaken in her beliefs. We need this youth, because they are the future which can change our present. And if the present is a repetition of our past, it is only because I or you, were not like these teenagers. We were too willing to accept everything told to us.

In this conversation, there were some key messages I tried to convey, which I am sharing with you. I think they are relevant to other teenage kids, and also to me and you:

1. Being an adult is about accepting that we will have to do things that we dont always like

2. We are making decisions everyday in our life, some big and some small. Find time to reflect back on these decisions and learn from them

3. We have to be making mistakes in our decision making. Identify those mistakes and learn from them. If you can’t find any mistakes, it only means that you aren’t taking decisions or you are not reflecting on them enough

4. If you want the freedom and independence of an adult, you have to learn to bear the cost and consequences of being an adult.

5. You need to ask yourself constantly….” when was the last time you did something for the first time”….and if you can’t remember, you need to go out and seek new experiences.

6. Learn to present your thoughts and arguments in written form. Most battles will not be won by arguing verbally, but by the written word. And learn to do this with precision, and with brevity.

7. Reach out and talk to people to understand other’s points of view, and to learn. Listen to know more, and not to argue your own point better. Have an opinion, but don’t let it limit your ability to listen

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New Year Party at the Zoo

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Mr Freeze Boogie Woogie

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A supper funny story

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Marriage …

Marriage …. What does this word really mean ? Apart from the meanings that would come top of mind, it also means “mixture” or “blend”. And that is, in its’ essence, what it truly is.

Two people, sometimes known, and sometimes unknown to each other, come together and commit to a life time together. You can do it in a court, a church, a temple, or around a fire; the underlying promise to each other is the same. One shall share and support each other. One shall be a mirror and a shoulder to each other. One shall provide, and care, and love, and have kids ( this is a very indian expectation of marriage!)…..aah ! We have so many expectations from marriage.

It seems all so perfect. A marriage is made in heaven, and is our path to redemption. If it initially does not turn out to be, than have a kid (as the parents would say), and redemption shall be attained !

But like life, it never is so perfect. There are times when spouses dont listen to each other, when instead of being a mirror, they become blank glass panes with nothing out there to see. When sharing is more like fighting. When kids are more the obstacle than the path to redemption. Marriage becomes a dull, browny, dirty mixture. Where the original colours are lost, and the resultant colour is even more distasteful.

But in marriage, like in life, we have to make adjustments, we have to manoeuvre. We have to be patient. We have to learn not to expect, to not get disappointed. We have to let go, of that part of ourselves, that we thought is our defining self. This can be a painful adjustment. We will shout out loud, life is so unfair ! Marriage is so unfair !

This mixture can smell so foul, feel so disgusting, that we feel like throwing it all away. But isnt this mixture just like life? You dont make it better by running away from it ? You dont change life by not living it !

When the mixture becomes dirty and muddy, you cant separate the colours to find their original beauty. You have to mix it even more, maybe add some more colour. To lighten a dark brown paint, try adding white, try adding a bit of red/yellow, maybe even a bit of blue.

To find that beauty in marriage, put in more colour. Put in a new colour. To take out more, you will have to put in more.

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My stories in the avataar of “Uncle Neeraj”

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