keep walking

There’s a saying in Hindi which loosely translates into “no one receives their due before it is due”

As I padded my way to the coffee machine the alarm went off. I needed to be down stairs with the boys in 5 minutes. Knocking back a shot of espresso I rushed out of the house. Downstairs I saw the boys walking swiftly doing laps of the building while waiting for me to join in. As I joined we headed out for the 5km run-walk. 30 minutes and we were back at the badminton courts. One of the older members of the group commented “you walk very slow Imtiaz”. I was kind of thrown off guard and retorted, yeah that’s why I prefer running instead of walking. That was a time when I used to run around 16km every day, but yes I did walk slow. I have not run 16Km in over 2years now, not even 5km. I just do walks now.

We moved houses and I lost touch with the group of friends with whom I used to go out every morning 5AM. Now I walk on the jogging track opposite our house or at other places with my kids. A couple of days back the elder one started running and I was expected to give chase and defeat her. It was a difficult job she runs fast. And suddenly just like that it clicked. Why did I walk slow all along, not because I have short legs, certainly not. I remember walking with my own father when I was smaller and he used to walk very fast, I always managed to keep pace. I had forgotten how to walk fast and now used to walk slow to keep pace with someone with shorter legs. Someone who was just starting out with walking. Someone who’s now grown almost as tall as me (well almost) and now runs so fast that I actually need to make an effort to keep pace. I walked slow with that kid for so long that I forgot how to walk fast. However now I know that is all going to change.

In a way my daughters are bringing me up rather than the other way round. But then again this is the way families should all grow up, organically, isn’t it.

the more things change….

The more things change the more they stay the same…. a couple of weeks back Ria came home excited “I’ve to prepare for elocution competition, selections are on Friday, the topic is – there is life on other worlds in space”. I helped her research and put together her material for the preliminary round. Friday when I picker her up from school she was all excited “I was selected from our section, the final is next Friday and it’s a competition between classes 5,6 and 7″… I was a little put off by the fact that she would be going up against people from class 6 and 7. But we put our shoulder to it and prepared the first, second, third ….final drafts. She practiced with her house captain and house mistress. Eventually today was the D-day.

When I picked her up today “I came first, I came first!”….. It was dejavu, I was back in school where I used to, sometimes, write the debates for three out of four contestants So Ria had won the elocution competition where people one or two year older than her were also speaking. I never mustered up the courage to go and speak on stage but write I can…. oh yes that I can do 😀

Next year, debates! (debating starts from std 6 onward.)…. here’s the speech I helped her put together:

Good morning respected Principal maam, members of the jury, coordinators, teachers and my dear friends. Today I, Ria Khan, of 5-C am going to address the topic “There are many worlds in space which have life”.

“One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” words famously spoken by Neil Armstrong when he stepped onto the moon. That event sparked an unknown number of fantasies about how humankind would go boldly into space. We all have a deep desire to find the answer to the question “are we all alone out here in the universe?”.

Thanks to space research we have information to help us understand the origins of our universe. We know that the big bang happened 13.8 billion years ago and scattered all the building blocks far across the universe. We also know that there are a number of earth like planets out there revolving around their stars. Recently seven earth sized planets were discovered 39 light years away orbiting the star Trappist-1. Given that the universe is massive and ever expanding it is possible that conditions for life may have appeared elsewhere. Life as we know it could be existent on some other planet even as of right now. Maybe far away there’s an elocution competition going on on an earth like planet, for all we know dinosaurs are still stomping around somewhere!!

We know one definition of life but maybe there are other definitions as well. On Earth across time and geographies we have so many different types of people. If a comparison were to be done between humans today and the first man, 25 million years ago, the results might be surprising. We would identify with them probably as much as we identify with an ape today. Yet thanks to research we know we are the same life forms. Similarly, maybe, highly advanced (or primitive) life does exist elsewhere in the universe. Would we recognize alternate life if we see it? The echo we so desperately wish to hear may never come because we might be tuned in to a different frequency.

In conclusion I would like to say that whether there is life on other worlds in space is debatable. However we are not going to get another earth anytime soon. So lets take care of the world we do have, live in peace and harmony with our fellow humans and protect the environment because, for now, this is the only world where we do know for sure that life exists.

and then she was TEN!!!!

 

Happy 10th Ria!  Double digits, whoa where did all the time go? Here’s wishing you all the happiness and contentment that is humanly possible. You are an amazing kid, I was going through old pics and put together some (okay a lot) of the pictures from the past 10 years. It has been a great journey me learning more than teaching. Hope we can successfully bring up your dad and turn him into a decent specimen in a few more years…. have fun in the meanwhile …love you more than anything else….

 

 

9and 3quarters

nine and three quarters
One especially sweltering Saturday morning I woke up and figured I had nothing interesting lined up. The pool was undergoing repairs so a swim also was out of the question. That’s when my mom, who was sitting curled up in her favourite chair with her kindle, pointed to the book shelf. I ambled over and noticed a section full of Agatha Cristie books, another with P.G. Wodehouse, still another with Jhumpa Lahiri and some many other familiar sounding names. Finally a section with J.K. Rowlings. Hmm the covers looked like these could be books that younger readers might enjoy. Instinctively I picked up a book titled “Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone” which I found out was the first of the Harry Potter series. And that is how the journey began, Harry with his luggage trolley ran into into the pillar in the center of platforms 10 and 9 and landed on platform number nine and three quarters where the Hogwarts Express was waiting. The journey into the intriguing land of wizards and magic of friendships forged in the most most trying of circumstances and enemies vanquished in the most spectacular of duels had begun.

Once I had bitten the bait there was no stopping, I read all seven volumes almost on a trot, back to back to back with a breather in between for the first term assessments though I remember reading HP on the sly even when giving the FTEAs. Finally as I finished the last page of the last book that came out of J. K. Rowling’s pen I felt sad and wondered “this journey took me almost half an year to complete, I love the storytelling, wish there was more”. Later I read about the hardships that J.K.R. went through in her life before literally winning the lottery with Harry Potter and how it was just a matter of sticking to the plan, being gritty about making something work. I understood that to be able to craft such amazing fairytale like lives one had to stay the course and be patient. The journey was not just about the learnings from the HP books it was from JKRs life as well, I am so glad my mom pointed out the book shelf that summer morning.