Little Moments: How do fish learn to swim?

Little moments of life with B +ve and O +ve. Moments that are memories of a lifetime.

How do fish learn to swim?

The girls have a pet at home – fish. The fish stays in a fishbowl; we do not have an aquarium. It is a daily task for the girls to feed the fish. They also spend time, once in a while, looking at the fish for an extended period. Whatever they do/undergo, they extrapolate it to their pet and ask questions related to fish. The favourite question is – How do fish poop?

One day, out of nowhere, B +ve asked a question – How do fish learn to swim? I was completely taken aback. This question never occurred to me. As an adult, I just took for granted that fish swims. I never thought as to how, why, when and where fish learn to swim. I checked the internet and tried explaining to the girls. However, that is a side point.

I get this question even in my sleep – How to fish learn to swim? And, why this question never occurred to me.

How do crayons get their colour?

The girls were colouring in their books. Again, out of nowhere, O +ve came up with this question – How do crayons get their colour? What makes a pink crayon pink, a red crayon red and so on? I was again taken aback.

I checked the packaging of crayons; of course, there was no information. The children are supposed to colour and for sure, they are not expected to ask how crayons get their colours.

Hanuman is God. Why does he pray to another God?

B +ve was speaking about her favourite Ramayana. We knew she was going to drop a question that will leave us scratching our heads. And, she did not disappoint us.

B +ve said – So, Hanuman is a God. We nodded our heads. B +ve said – So, Rama is a God. We nodded our heads. She connected the two data points, and asked – So, both Hanuman and Rama are Gods, then why does Hanuman pray to Rama?

We have told her that we will check and let her know. I am checking on the concept of junior and senior Gods, but not getting any hang of it.

Why the men are not wearing shorts in Ramayana?

The girls were watching Ramayana movie in Telugu. O +ve came up with this question – Why the men are not wearing shorts? On one hand, it is a silly question and at the same time, it is also a deeply profound question.

I suppose nobody around has witnessed the Ramayana era. How can people assume the dressing in any particular period without any proof/evidence?

It might be considered sacrilegious to even imagine in wildest of dreams that Lord Rama might be wearing shorts or something on similar lines. However, I do feel  O +ve has a valid point for a child not shackled by beliefs and hand-me-down rigid ideas.

My take

I keep questioning myself why the above questions and many others that the girls ask on a daily basis do not occur to me. I suppose it is a disadvantage I face having grown up.

We just want our daughters to keep coming up with questions like this. We do not know as to what leads to their questions / how they come up with it.

I assume their questions are a confirmation that they are still children and their initiation to worldly ways – to accept the things, the way they are; is still some time away.

Visit to Ameenpur Lake: Children’s Day Out

Ameenpur lake is one of the popular destinations of Hyderabad for an outdoor excursion. Having read and heard that Ameenpur attracts a number of migratory birds during winter, we wanted to visit during December and January, but that was not to be.

Finally, we visited Ameenpur lake on 5th March 2019. The manner in which B +ve and O +ve, our four and a half-year-old twin daughters, enjoyed the outing was a sight we will remember for times to come.

The girls enjoyed each and every aspect of nature on offer at Ameenpur. They made themselves comfortable as if they have been to Ameenpur every day of their life.

The Birds

The girls get to see pigeons, occasionally mynahs, eagles from the terrace and hear the sound of koel. This has been their birding activity in the city of the Hyderabad so far, apart from Zoo visits.

We showed the images of common birds of Hyderabad to the girls to acquaint them with some of the birds that we might get to see at Ameenpur.

They immediately identified the Green Bee-Eater as we were going to reach the Ameenpur lake. Once at the lake, we saw Little Grebe, Little Cormorant, Egret, Painted Stork, Rosy Starling and lots of Barn Swallow. The girls were very excited to see the Little Cormorant sitting on the rocks in the lake with the wings open. They waited and waited for the birds to catch fish but the birds did not oblige.

The Rocks

O +ve and B +ve are self-proclaimed rock-climbers. The rocks that they get to climb are 3-4 feet high rocks in Indira Park and other parks. At Ameenpur, they saw the natural rock formation and immediately set out to conquer them.

The rocks were surrounded with dried vegetation and were not designed for climbing. But, the girls would have none of it. We kept ascending and descending the rocks until they were satisfied with their conquest.

The Water

For the girls, the water was the star attraction. At Ameenpur, the place where we visited, we could walk 10-15 feet inside the water and the depth was just about till the knees. It was sandy and with no stones in the water, it was not slippery either.

The girls had the time of their lives in the water splashing it all around and on themselves. A Dirty Feet trip also landed at the same place with 13 children and they also joined the fun. Dirty Feet team had some sort of self-designed catamarans on which children could sit and it would keep floating in the water. All the children, including O +ve and B +ve, enjoyed and enjoyed.

I have come to understand that water is one of the best toys for children. This was no different. Looking at the children having fun in the water, a child in every adult comes to life. You can try and test it for yourself.

The Fish

The place where we were at Ameenpur also had 4-5 fishermen catching live fish in their nets. They gave demonstrations to children to throw the net, take it back with the fish, remove the fish carefully from the net and keep it in a crate inside the water so that they are alive till they are sold/packed in cartons.

One of the girls touched the live fish and even tried taking it in her hands. She understood how to hold the fish horizontally behind the gills / under the fins. Her sister said that she will try it, the next time.

The Wind

This is one of the most understated elements of nature that gets missed out staying in a concrete jungle. At Ameenpur, it was 12 o’clock in the afternoon, and nobody had a sweat.

It was a pleasure to watch the curls of girls flying on their faces in the cool breeze.

Conclusion

We spent about 5 hours at Ameenpur and did not realize where the time went by.

It is a pity that the children have to learn about the environment and nature from books and not through live experiential interactions. A visit like one to Ameenpur keeps reaffirming our belief that children are best looked after when left to nature. Just that the opportunities like this come few and far in between.

I am not sure about Ameenpur either, about how long it will be able to survive.

A message to my daughters on Women’s Day

My Dearest Daughters

It is quite possible that even when you grow up, the charade of Women’s Day may still be going around. This message is meant for you to develop the understanding of the men on why they would want to continue this eye-wash. I do not want you to fall for this pretence of Women’s Day and hence this message.

2 days back, it was 8th March and I saw a number of Women’s Day messages. They were regressive and nauseating, to say the least. In the name of respecting and celebrating women, men continue to shackle the women furthermore.

No labels please – Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother

Men will tell you that women play the role of daughter, sister, wife and mother through her life, ever since she is born. As a reward and recognition for the selfless service and sacrifice made by women for these roles in the family, men will salute you on Women’s Day.

I do not want you to get chained up in these labels. You are an individual and you have your own persona. You are not dependent on the relationship with men in your life to derive your identity.

If men have to respect you, men better learn to revere you for who you are, what you are, how you are, basis YOU as a person.

No adjectives please – Loving, Caring, Giving, Sacrificing, Multitasking and the other SH**

Men know how to sugar-coat a bitter pill for their own advantage. They know that women will anyways find it difficult to come out of the labels forced upon them. To cement it further, men will use the adjectives mentioned above to describe your services for the betterment of mankind, yes – mankind.

Do not fall for this honey-trap. You are free to do what you want. You decide the manner in which you deem fit to contribute to your family and society.

If men have to admire you, men better learn to appreciate you for your positives and also the negatives. You do not have to carry a load of the world on your shoulders.

No jargons please – empowerment, capacity building and the likes

Some men will go beyond the labels and the adjectives mentioned above. They will use the terminology of empowerment of women for the celebration of Women’s Day.

Do not fall for this well articulated rubbish either. You are not to be dependent on the largesse of men to be empowered. You are not to be empowered for a day in the year and then be chained back again.

This world belongs to you as much as the men mouthing this verbiage. Only you can empower your own self.

The cynicism about men

The opportunities for the women since birth – be it in family / education / career choices / employment / life choices continue to get constrained due to their gender. This is provided she gets born in the first place in a country like India with a skewed gender ratio.

Even after carrying the load of the family, women continue to have no say in the final decision-making process. Women get paid lesser as compared to men for the same quality and quantity of work in the professional arena. It is not safe for women to move around in their own city for lack of security and protection.

The Women’s Reservation Bill is a lapsed bill in the Parliament of India. The Rajya Sabha passed the bill on 9 March 2010. However, the Lok Sabha never voted on the bill. The bill lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.

Do men have any moral standing on Women’s Day after their diametrically opposite actions to the cause?

Conclusion

It is said that changes happen incrementally. It is said that men’s outlook towards women is changing for the better and the situation is improving.

Just that, I do not expect the situation to improve any dramatically in next 14 years when you become an adult. Rather no change at all in the omnipresent patriarchy in the Indian society.

Your mother has suffered at the hand of men, for that I am a man myself. I do not want the same fate for you.

If you have to celebrate the Women’s Day, do so for your own self, for your own identity and none of the above. Let men not have a say in it for they do not deserve it.