Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A trip to Bloomington

Though I was not able to snatch some time to visit my friend during my last visit, I made it this time on this long weekend, Monday being Martin Luther King’s Birthday. I saw people wonder having a civil rights leader’s birthday as holiday while there is no holiday for George Washington’s Birthday or Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday. Anyway, this is for the politicians and the vote banks to worry about.

I had to dodge many bullets and had to leave the office early on Friday for the fear of being caught in project meetings or activities that might surprisingly pop-up. I joined Satish on the 3 hour drive from Palatine to Bloomington. Sita, Satish’s friend had feast of aromatic tomato rasam and hot chilly shrimp fry ready for us when we arrived at 8:30 PM. Then my friend picked me up an hour later.

Saturday morning was mostly spent on playing with Peggy, who is 7 years old and Sahana, 3 years old. They became friends instantly and were teaching me various games line UNO Cards, Trade, Hide and Seek etc.

The only technique to become a natural friend of kids is to be natural.

- Pay attention
- Make sure they know you are paying attention
- Become a kid and respond as if you are of their age – bridge the gap.
- Learn and do what they teach
- Play the game their way, even if it's wrong. All that they are interested in is “My Turn to throw the dice” “Your turn to throw the dice” “I have won” “You have won” etc
- Play aggressively and genuinely
- Don’t excel, but make them excel in the game
- Acknowledge their victory and greet them

Afternoon we went to a house for a class on Vedic chanting. The class started with the chanting in praise of Lord Ganesh followed by the prayers for Dakshinamoorthi, Shiva, Vishnu, Rama, Krishna, Hanuman, Saraswathi, Lakshmi, Durga and Muruga. There were 5 kids attending the class and the master was dumbfounded by the flurry of questions shot at him.

Some interesting questions were

- Why Ganesh has an elephant face?
- If his real face was replaced by an elephant’s head, what happened to the elephant? Did they kill the elephant?
- What does each of the God offer?
- If Lakshmi can give wealth, will she give me lots of gold?

Though the purpose of the class was to make them pronounce complex Sanskrit words and to reap the benefits of the pranic breathing through the chanting of words, their incessant questions prolonged the class and questioned the patience of the master and the parents.

Evening we went around Bloomington shopping, picked some movies and slept after watching 2 movies.

Sunday was again spent on more games and TV. I was fascinated to watch Walt Disney’s Cindrella Part 3 and Ice Age Part 2. Peggy and Sahana were told that, I will be leaving the next day morning. I was looking through the photographs of the various stages of their newly built house and the house warming ceremony in the upstairs. It was fascinating to see how quickly the house was built. The foundation and the flooring were the only aspects in which concrete had been used. Everything was in readily available boards of wood and the structural design has given the strength to withstand any stress. My friend has given enough thoughts to make it more Indian than the usual bland American interior design.

Peggy quietly sneaked into the room and handed me a piece of paper with a sketch of Olive leaves he has drawn, followed by Sahana handing me a piece of paper with a crayon sketch and told me that it’s their gift. I was elated and blissful for they have taken me to my childhood days.


Anonymous said...

Good for you and glad you had fun witht he kids. The sketch looks awesome.

Shiva said...

Thanks Priya

Anonymous said...

shiva...that was a vivid narration...happy to see you in your elements again....have a nice time. please forward the link to my brother also..thanga8@hotmail.com