An Engaging Vacation

Mid Summer vacation would be the most stressful term in the minds of mothers with young children. Summer camps provide interim relief engaging them for you. That is just 15 to 20 days of a 45 days long vacation . Then what ? How do you keep them away from mobile games? What solution do you provide for ” I am bored..” complaints.

I feel that our parents had an easy time during summer holidays . I don’t remember ever feeling bored. There was always something to do outdoors . The whole point is there was OUTDOORS then…something which is vanishing even from the village which I grew up.

This vacation we were at home. No trips planned , no cousins or other relatives visiting . I suggested Summer Camp .My 12 year old put his foot down saying that spending 5 hours doing supervised activities is going to kill him . As any other kid of his age , his mind was set on mobile games .

First week of May , he had a gala time , home alone with the dog as I still had a week more of school. I had a time table planned for him which had an hour of mobile games , reading , watching television and playing out with his friends .

Then my two week long vacation commenced and things started going south . I had to ground his mobile and hence was forced to find ways to engage him . He was indeed upset about losing his mobile privileges but gracefully accepted his mistake .

I had to make the time fruitful for both of us . There is only one thing which holds his undivided attention for long , this being art and craft . Everything else has to be forced . So I had to weave multiple activities together for him.

Our day would begin by 10 in the morning , after breakfast . I would select a quote or few lines of a poem which we would both memorize after reading a little background information about the poet . I added Bible verses too along with the quotes. He did it initially because he wanted to indulge me and please me into giving his mobile back . Then he started having fun quizzing me because he realized that I don’t quote the quote but change it keeping the essence intact but altering the words. I gave him the pleasure of giving me the taste of my own medicine . It is worth the while as we both learned wonderful lessons from Confucius, Epictetus, Paul Hamilton Haynes , Samuel Johnson…and list goes on .

Next activity was art and craft . We had collected bottles , branches etc for painting .I had to join him for the same since his interest in art is as of now confined only to the sketches of his favourite muscled superheros. We had conflicting opinions on design and colour , but we talked through them all

Tangram is another activity in which we used our combined brain power. The brainstorming and hifis after we completed each puzzle was yet another way for bonding .

We bonded over cooking new recipes which he had saved from facebook videos. We also made glittery slime which he used as his glove, the Ironman way and snapped all the villains into non-existence .

After lunch he had two hours of TV followed by playing outside with his friends. We squeezed in holiday homeworks and “me-time’ between. My me-times for catching up on movies and his for playing alone.

I cannot claim that he was fully into all the activities that we have been doing . He might say that this was one of the worst vacations ever . But I am sure he will have lots to write when he gets an assignment on ” How did you spent your Vacation? ” We did take him to Timezone to play games with him, the perfect balancing act , I would say.

As a teacher and a mother I strongly believe that kids need to be nudged into doing things which would enrich them in all ways .They think that they know what they want , but it is not always true . This takes a complete involvement of parents. You might want to avoid your kid asking you why is it that you can spent time browsing on your mobile, but he can’t play games.

Times have changed and we have come a long way down the road from being obedient kids to condescending parents . Transparency is needed in this relationship too. Practice what you preach or else you lose your kid’s respect .

From Duke, to Lima ,With Love


“The great beauty of life is its mystery, the inability to know what course our life will take, and diligently work to transmute into our final form based upon a lifetime of constant discovery and enterprising effort. Accepting the unknown and unknowable eliminates regret.”
― Kilroy J. Oldster

 Our life together for the past 22 years has been under the constant scrutiny of our family and friends. The major reason being the remarkable way in which our paths crossed . We are role models to so many people. We make people wonder “How?”  and “Why? ” . Only our  family, along with a handful of friends know a part of our story .

We were pen friends for two years . He responded to my sister’s advertisement for pen friends in YA magazine of Indian Express in 1997 . Little did we know then that we would be where we are now .  

No one approved of our matrimony then. There were only apprehensions, because he wasn’t the kind of groom my father was rooting for me . We are so different yet so similar. He an extrovert and me an introvert .  I believe that, along with so many other factors worked well for us . We would let the readers be the judge.

Life wasn’t a bed of rose petals.  We were rather walking on rose bushes with thorns and all. To tell the truth, there were few months of hurt more than I could bear,when I thought of throwing in the towel.  But our boat is still sailing . We have learned to adjust the sails and chart the course .

I have been through it all. Friendship, admiration , love, joy, trust , envy, dejection, anger and acceptance . Finally I have reached that state of equilibrium which follows Le Chatelier’s Principle. Any or all external factors might disturb the equilibrium momentarily but it would readjust itself to its stable state.

People have been curious to read the letters which made us eventually fall in love. They wanted to know the secrets hidden in pages and pages of that saga.The mystery unraveled – are the letters saccharine sweet or of the spicy kind? What did we talk about ? Who talked about love first ?

So we finally decided to publish them . And here they are.

Chapter 1

How it all Began

“You don’t find love, it finds you. It’s got a little bit to do with destiny, fate, and what’s written in the stars.”
― Anaïs Nin

     It was an undated letter .So I cannot tell the exact date when it all began. The reply …my reply, has a date of 01 February 1997 .So it has to be by mid January of ’97.

My sister Lincey was seeking some excitement from the dull village life which we had at Mallassery. She published her details in the pen-pals column of YA Magazine which was a supplement of Indian Express. She never thought twice about what was going to happen next . Letters started coming in hoards from guys of all age and all walks of life . Most of them were rejected outright . She handed me the below letter citing the reason that the guy  is too old for her to match her wavelength .

Lincey exchanged letters with a couple of people of her age group, got bored or felt it too taxing, inventing stories and using words to paint a portrait on paper .

I picked up a fancy letter pad to write, not expecting anything. I was doing my B.Ed and the prospects of having a pen friend felt like a romantic and novel idea. I was and still am a sucker for people with artistic inclinations and the guy whose letter I had in my hand claimed to be one.

So here was someone with whom I would always have something to talk about . I decided to take the leap . His words had something which set him apart from all the men I knew .

I did not assign a  face to this person , but could picture an ink pen held over ruled pages, with words inundating in his beautiful sloping penmanship.

The concluding paragraph held promises and expectations listed one by one. I decided to pen my reply and thus the wheel of destiny was set in motion.