“We are like children building a sand castle. We embellish it with beautiful shells, bits of driftwood, and pieces of colored glass. The castle is ours, off-limits to others. We’re willing to attack if others threaten to hurt it. Yet despite all our attachment, we know that the tide will inevitably come in and sweep the sand castle away. The trick is to enjoy it fully but without clinging, and when the time comes, let it dissolve back into the sea.”
I took this random candid shot at the beach at Fort Kochi. The little family looked really cosy with the baby engrossed in making sand castles while her parents looked indulging at her efforts. Reminded me of my childhood…… the first time I saw the sea……. and this vast expanse of different looking mud (sand) and of course so much water……. water as far as the eye could see……. touching the sky and the sun and all those stars…….. millions of them!!! The place was Puri in Odisha. It was the first time I saw the sea or that much water. It was a revelation. I wouldn’t let go of dad’s hands and held on tight. Living among the hills….. with two rivers that dry up by winter……. witnessing so much water and all that noise of the waves was monumental. I have never forgotten that first. Also made my first sand castle 😀 I had taken a very long time to build that one also was very meticulous about it. It was a lopsided structure looking like a hill and I had taken a lot of pain to make a tunnel through it and decorating it shells that I had collected in the beach….. It also had a garden wall and a garden. Most of the time the whole structure crumbled down only to rebuild it all over again. Writing on the sand with my newly learnt vocab and drawing crazy stuff on the sand only to see all of it wash away by the waves.
I have often tried to recapture that innocence and built many castles over the years in different beaches in different states and countries……. still that first castle that I had build in Puri remains in memory as my favorite. I can probably build better castles today but the innocence of the first one is just a memory today.
This pic is again one from the archives. I took this pic in 2007 with a manual roll camera. I don’t remember where I took this pic but I remember hubby climbing a fence and smiling his way up. This was too good a shot to resist. I love this composition and it is an absolute delight to watch even today. I haven’t done any editing to it except for monochroming it. It is absolutely perfect!!!
Tuhin A. Sinha’s latest book Daddy….. The birth of a Father came to me via PR Pundit. This is the first time I am reading a Tuhin Sinha. The book is a non-fiction book for childcare written by a hands on dad. This is the first book that I have read that is a comprehensive and pragmatic account of childcare and parenting from the father’s viewpoint. The book covers the dos and don’ts of child care from the time the parents know of the pregnancy, the ultrasounds, what to expect when pregnant, all of it from the fathers perspective to the birth of the child to the challenges of a hands on father with a newborn upto the age of 2 years when the child leaves for pre-school.
In today’s urban life of nuclear families with little or no support system we often find ourselves at a juncture of balancing the home and workplace. In the past this has been a job which has been exclusive to the woman. She gives up her career or has to balance both. In the process even though she tries hard it becomes impossible to justify both and she ends up feeling guilty. Sharing of responsibilities is so essential in the modern day fast life. Today we see more and more women returning back to work soon after the maternity leave, and more and more fathers opting for a flexible job timings so that they can be with the kids and take an active part in their initial days. This is a joy that was not an option for fathers in the past because it was “a woman’s job“.
Daddy is Tuhin Sinha’s personal journey of becoming a father and all the challenges that he and his wife have gone through in this process. The book depicts this role reversal and the challenges that the couple have faced. The book also takes into account the experiences of many other fathers with similar predicament and the result is a beautiful compilation of childcare from the father’s point of view.
The book also has write ups by a child psychologist and pediatricians simplifying some otherwise scary aspects in the life of a newborn. Tuhin Sinha has simplified childcare and has shown that you can be loving and doting parent without being overly obsessed about it. I have come across many parents whose obsession with children take childcare to a whole new platform…… which is absolutely not healthy. Tuhin balanced his utter total love for his baby without being obsessed about it. The “helicopter parent syndrome” was dealt with very nicely. Especially considering the fact that parents hate being told that they are so.
The balance of extended family with grandparents and parents taking an active part in the child’s upbringing was dealt with very beautifully without stepping onto each others foot. The happy and secured upbringing for the child is an essential factor and including the grandparents and using their experience to give an all round development to the child was highlighted.
What I loved about the book is the simple language. The chapters were not too long and the anecdotes kept you glued to the writing. He simplified the mammoth task of child rearing and got you to enjoy it. He has amply justified the nuances of stay at home fathers and removed any stigma that has been associated with it. I found this fact refreshing. The pictorial references for swaddling a child, massage, bathing the child, burping the child are really a nice addition. The pragmatic approach to things that will happen and the practical way of handling them is something nobody else will tell you. The chapter on nannies in the Indian context was very informative.
Relationship of new parents post birth of a baby was a unique addition which I liked. The fact that life does not only have to be about the baby was endearing. The inclusion of a list of illnesses and a table of what to do when it happens was a good addition. The chapters come with a short summary at the end of it which lists the content of the chapter which in turn could serve as a to-do list for most fathers. The references from other fathers has helped give the book a well rounded approach and made the book sort of a handbook for fathers to-be. The dreamy and emotional letter in the end was a fabulous end to the book.
The cover pic of the two hands was beautiful. As a photographer I loved it. It clearly showed the love between the father and the child with the child grasping the finger of the father….. The personal pics in the inside covers makes Neev Tanish very real to the reader and also makes it a pictorial depiction of Tuhin’s personal journey.
What I didn’t think necessary was the lengthy prologue. The book is complete by itself….. the Bollywood connection to justify it was not required…… it was trying to validate the book. The effort was obvious…….The experiences of the common hands-on-dads made it more approachable because the book by itself is a beautiful rendition of the relation of father and son and love comes through to me as a reader. All in all a good read and full value for money. A must buy for fathers starting a family and must gift for would-be mothers to gift their clueless husbands.
Tuhin’s sensitivity of the whole what to expect when you’re expecting and later bringing up the child was so beautiful that I personally think all would-be mothers should be shoving the book down their hubby’s throats…. I know I would…….. “Kuch seekho”!!!
Thank you PR Pundit for the excellent read.
This is the picture of my niece Titir. This is the first time I met her and she was already so big. My trips to Kolkata are so rare that probably the next time I meet her she would be a big girl. But I am glad that I met with her to treasure atleast one picture of her and lots of moments to cherish and remember.
This is a pic of a tea stall in Kolkata. Interestingly this pic was taken at the pinnacle of general election and has the posters of two political leaders waving at you from the corner of the pic. Kolkata is a politically charged place. Anybody and everybody there has an opinion on the political scenario….. The three topics that everyone there talks about over a cup of tea at an ADDA (get together) is weather, politics and their wide range of illnesses…… and ohhhh I forgot Football!!!
Tea stall like this one is a predominant feature in the corner of most streets of Kolkata. The tea stall owners also sell biscuits, chocolates, mint, cigarettes and sometimes some fried eatables to accompany the tea and a paraphernalia of eatables.
This tea stall is close to my mum and dad’s home in Kolkata. I like this pic especially because as a kid i used to love going to this shop. They had these sweet and sour lollipops made with tamarind and jaggery and cumin which I used to love. In my vacations my aunt would buy me two biscuits from this shop every evening. Sometimes she would give me a coin and ask me to get two biscuits for myself.
The shop has since then changed hands a lot of times. The initial owners I remember were my mother’s childhood friend so I would get lots of freebies.
Going to Kolkata during holidays was fun. My mum and dad live closeby so everybody who lived in and around mom and dad’s place were related to me from either side. Either that or they were my mum or dad’s friends. So as soon I would go there people would ask me when I had come for my visit. I was known to all by face. This was a contrast to living in the city where nobody knew you. I resemble my mom too much…… so much that in that place I needed no introduction.
Things have changed these days. The entire demographics of the place has changed. The oldies have either passed away or they have moved for better opportunities in other cities. It is not the same anymore. When I was younger I could knock on any door and just have a glass of water or be welcomed in their home….. made me feel I belonged there. Not anymore….. it doesnt feel like home anymore…… nor do I long to go back there…… in the instances that I have held on to memories and gone there, I have returned disillusioned. My grandparents have passed on and my uncles who were close to me have either passed away or are too old to understand my presence. But yet the place holds the first memories of my childhood…… and all of them happy. So it will remain close to me.
I recently read a beautiful quote by Dalai Lama which I must share.
“I’m now nearly 79. At 16 I took responsibility for Tibet and lost my freedom. At 24 I lost my country and became a refugee. I’ve met difficulties, but as the saying goes: ‘Wherever you’re happy, you can call home, and whoever is kind to you is like your parents.’ I’ve been happy and at home in the world at large. Living a meaningful life isn’t just a matter of money; it’s about dedicating your life to helping others.”
I took this pic in one of the very narrow bylanes of Kolkata. The hand pulled rickshaw still runs in some parts of Kolkata. The lanes in these areas are so narrow that it would have been congested with the auto rickshaws. These are pics from my trip to Kolkata last week. With the mercury hitting a high of 40 plus degrees Celsius, it was difficult to venture out to take pics. In the few occasions that I tried…… the camera malfunctioned because of the excessive heat plus I was actually melting in the sweltering heat. The rickshaws that I clicked were too fast to capture on my cell. This pic is of my aunt when she came to meet me. She had hired a rickshaw to take her to and fro. I took this opportunity to take some shots….. Also the rickshaw puller agreed to get photographed as he waited for my aunt.
The third pic I took with my cell. A Bengali babu travels in one of the rickshaws in the bylanes. It has the rickshaw puller in motion and running. They are too fast and in very less light it was difficult to take good shots.
I mono-chromed it to get the old world feel. Kolkata seems so much unchanged every time I visit that the constancy comes alive in the monochrome. The vibrant Bengali colors are of-course missing but the black and white gives the pic a different feel that I like.