The Statues of Liberty

I have had the luxury of traveling and reading the past few days. I read and watched the following in one glorious spurt:

I preferred the books and movies with animals & the magic of our thriving universe in them over the ones with just humans in this lot though.

  • Forgotten Beasts  – by Matt Sewell 
  • 100 animals to see before they die
  • Ice Walker – A Polar Bear’s Journey through Fragile Arctic – James Raffan
  • Birds, Beasts & Relatives – by Gerald Durrell
  • The One & Only Ivan – by Katherine Applegate
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – By Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Back from the Brink – Documentary at the Boston Science Museum
  • Moons: Worlds of Mystery – Documentary at the Boston Science Museum
  • Kung Fu Panda – 2 – Dreamworks Animated Movie

Granted that the 7 Hs of Evelyn H was a fast read. The narrative style pulled us along with just a hint of intrigue keeping us going till the very end. The story itself appeals because it is a story of someone trapped in the endless trap of fame and glory, and the constant insecurity of ratings and popularity. It is, though, a reminder of the things valued by plenty of humankind, and the reminder of love in a tumultuous world. The interest in another’s life, is a never-ending case of human interest, and the story does justice to that indeed. There are several well-written lines in there on human nature. I must say I have never been enamored by the Kardashian-type of celebrity life shows, so my review is somewhat lukewarm for this one.

The heart-lifting tale of The One & Only Ivan was up next – the gorilla who saves his little elephant friend Ruby, after making a promise to an older elephant friend, Stella. Based on a true story, this is the kind of story that tugs at heart strings. Katherine Applegate’s writing is a class apart. I have been a fan ever since I read The Tale of Despereaux. 

I wonder, sometimes with a tinge of envy I admit, about how animals, birds, and marine creatures live without the trappings of economics and finances, and social influences and so on. They navigate by the cosmos as much as we do – In Ice Walker, the author, James Raffan follows the life of a polar bear, Nanu, as she grows, hunts, mates, and raises her young in the polar ice caps. How surely she knows the changing seasons, and the direction in which to lead her cubs for food and sustenance, is beautifully written and portrayed. The bright stars that we peek at, is so much more for these creatures. How far we have come as humans, and how much more left to go? Nanu is killed by humans, and her surviving cub is forlorn. 

On the way to view the Statue of Liberty, we stopped and watched plenty of statues of liberty along the way. Boston Public Gardens hosts the marvelously made statue of Make Way for the Ducklings by Robert McCluskey. 

New York’s Central Park hosts many statues : Alice in Wonderland & Hans Christiaan Andersen with a swan are marvelous reminders of life and the marvelous influences of imagination. I wonder how many people worried about the economics and finances of the economies, their lives, and their jobs stopped to take deep breaths and believe in magic once again as they make their way past these statues of liberty.

It seems only fitting to finish this marvelous post on the different things that sustain human minds and lives with a Seussism or two.

And Always Remember

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98  and 3/4 percent guaranteed) 

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS 

Oh the Places You’ll Go – Dr Seuss

Or this one?

Expand Your Horizon

The more that you read, 

The more things you will know,

The more that you learn,

The more places you’ll go

– I Can Read With My Eyes Shut – Dr Seuss

Mother’s Day in the Jungle

It’s Friday! It’s It’s It’s Friday!

I heard the son singing his Friday song. An infernal song with lyrics that are straight out of an album I know, but the rendition usually has joy in it, and that salvages it somewhat. I am partial to Friday mornings myself, but last week, I was simply unable to get out of bed even though I had something marvelous to look forward to. I know some folks who get up like an LED light: Zap to glory as soon as the switch is on.  How I envy these marvelous folks?! They light up at the crack of dawn and seem to bustle on. 

Self? I need a dragging to the watering hole, and steady nourishment to get to functioning state in a span of 2 hours. The husband gave me an amused look, and tried reviving the drooping shoulder with some coffee, but it wasn’t enough.

An hour later, I buzzed into the kitchen dancing and flitting like a hummingbird in spring. You see, I was invited to read my story, Mother’s Day in the Jungle, to the son’s elementary school classroom. 

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I love this one – It is a heartwarming story about the little animals in the forest getting together to prepare a mother’s day feast for their mothers. But one of them gets caught trying to pilfer sweet potatoes from Farmer Hasalot’s farm. 

At the end of the story, the children asked me questions, and I am always blown away by how much thought they put into these questions. I told them about how some parts of the story at least are inspired by elephants in the South Indian plains. They were curious to learn about elephant mothers and calves. They wanted to know about animal practices and whether the elephants or farmers were right, taking us beautifully into discussions on animal rights. 

As I read the story out to the children, it got me thinking of the many beautiful lessons of parenting that the animal kingdom shows us. So, that evening, I took off on a walk by the creekside. Watching the ducklings, and goslings take to the waters with their parents on either side is beautiful in spring. The birds flying home to their nests with the little ones waiting in nests is charming.

It is time to read Robert McCloskey’s adorable book. Make Way for the Ducklings

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What would we do without Mothers? 

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful mothers out there. There are days when getting up is a chore, but days like this one with unexpected gifts make up for it, don’t they?

Duck, Duckling, Dolphin

I recently read a book titled Dolphin Parenting by Dr Kimi Shang. It was an antidote to the Tiger Parenting by Amy Chua book. Dolphins are intelligent, social and playful creatures, and therefore, we must model our behaviors after them is the gist of the book.

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Art work by Daughter

Nature provides us with amazing parenting models every now and then.  Spring time is especially wonderful as this is the time for new life, a transformation of sorts. The butterflies are out and about, snail-lings venture forth, squirrels come out of their hibernation, eggs hatch and, in general all of life is abuzz with beauty and purpose. One day on a walk near our local lake park, I noticed Mrs Duck go to her nest, and Mr Duck gave her a nod as if to say, “Go on dear, I’ll ensure no one disturbs you.” Mr Duck then went on to aggressively protective their little nesting area by quacking loudly and doing sentry duty.

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Just in time for Earth Day, the ducklings have hatched, and they look beautiful. There is something in the innocent, puzzled looks on their little fuzzy bodies that tugs your heart. Of course, it is amazing to see Mr & Mrs Duck take care of them. I can watch them for hours. How they slowly introduce their young to the big, bad world; how they watch their little ones play for hours; and how they only intervene when important,  is a lesson in parenting for us.

They take them gingerly out into the shallow waters first, then as their little bodies grow stronger, take them for longer fishing trips. They teach them how to cross the road – the ducklings are protectively looked after by Papa & Mama Ducks. The parents in front and the rear, the line is a marvel. The noisy bunch then head on towards wherever they are going. I don’t know how disciplined the ducklings are when they grow up, but when babies, it is an adorable sight to see them toeing the line obediently and happily. 

It is that time of year to read Robert McCloskey’s adorable book, Make Way For Ducklings.

make_way_ducklings

The books starts off with Mr & Mrs Duck looking for a place to live and raise their babies. They fly great distances before they arrive at a little island that looks just right.

There, the ducklings hatch and the conscientious parents are busy in providing for the young, teaching them to survive in a tough world, and learn to be independent. 

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Once they are strong enough to swim longer distances, it is time to move to a bigger island, that involves a few perilous road crossings. Who should come to their rescue but the local policemen?

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A heart-warming tale that I can read any time for a quick dose of sunshine. Illustrated in a simple brown ink, it is a wonderful book for Parent Ducks and Ducklings alike.

I remember being amused and amazed when I first came to the United States on seeing Duck-Xing signs. Coming from India, where traffic flows on, and people cross on and share the road with dogs, cows and goats (nobody particularly stopping or giving precedence to another); it was wonderful to see that the traffic did not only stop for pedestrians crossings, but for ducks as well.

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