Love and Rainbows

“By the way, how is Valentine’s Day this year for you kids?” I asked. This year, with Covid, Valentine’s day celebrations seemed to be muted too.

Valentine’s Day in elementary school can be fun. Though I will carry on and on about the commercialization of love etc, I do love the way the occasion has made its way into elementary grade classrooms. There are manifestations of love everywhere – from painstakingly drawn cards to candy for their friends, the love can be overwhelming and just as it should be at that stage of life: I feel all of life is there to make cynics out of a few of them, romantics out of a few of them and hard-core pragmatists out of another few and fools of us all 🙂

“Oh! It is awesome! Rem-em-ber I told about you the slideshow and the decorations we are making?” I vaguely uh-huh-ed. A lot of things are told, and un-huh-ed at. “Well…we are making slides for each of us, and we get to write our cards out for every person on this.”

I liked the idea very much, and said so. “What a marvelous idea?! Was it your teacher’s?” The fellow beamed.

I really like how the younger children get to see love in its more wholesome form. They love their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, teachers, friends, siblings, caregivers and pets. It all gets a bit wearying when they want to make cards for them all, but I prefer that to the more narrow interpretation leading to conjugal harmony( or not) one day.

The week-end had a loving vibe throughout. The mater, a stoic sort of person, has also seen year after year the hoopla around Valentine’s Day, and sent a note wishing them a happy Valentine’s Day. (“Maybe we should have paati checked – is everything okay?” said the snarky teenage grand-daughter, but beamed at the approval she got from her grandmother for the brownies she had baked and decorated with cherry blossoms for the occasion. ) 

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This Valentine’s Day started off with me heading out with some of my girl friends for a lovely brisk walk that morphed into a saunter at places, and breath-taking gasps at others. As we made our ways past the suburban built up areas, past the railway tracks and the main roads, the spirits lifted with the scenery around us. The creek side, lakes, and green mountains in the distance made for a lovely, if long-ish walk.

As we headed back to civilization after mooning about the fields, we found ourselves walking along side a rainbow. Why do rainbows have a way of assuring us that all will be well? That magic exists in everyday droplets of water and the play of light.

“So, Ladies, Happy Valentine’s Day!” I said flourishing my umbrella against the rainbow. 

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I headed into the house and told the children and the husband how I thought of them and missed them when I saw the rainbow.

“What a poetic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day huh? We were happy snoozing in late, and you were thinking of us and sending us love seeing the rainbow and all that?! Life is as it should be!” said the philosophers, and I rolled my happy eyes.

I couldn’t help agreeing as I enjoyed the sidewalk chalk drawing made by some children outside.

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Love on Mars?

I am reading a book that is futuristic in outlook. Trees on Mars By Hal Niedzviecki. Sitting on our commuter train, I look around to see that there is only one other person in the whole packed compartment reading a book. The book itself is a somewhat distressing outlook on our obsession with the future and futuristic trends. How Artificial Intelligence will and is taking on more and more of how the Internet World functions. How the waves of the future are affecting the educational system. How it could affect our entertainment choices, art and the study of humanities. We all know that is happening and is inevitable and all the rest of it, but I put the bleak thing away to ponder on some things that cannot be done away with.

As I stepped out of the train station that evening, I saw a vendor hawking red roses with a lopsided grin on his face. As though mocking and daring folks to stop and buy his roses. I have seen these vendors every year, during the week leading up to Valentines Day. On Valentine’s Day, you see a bunch of folks you would never have chalked down as the romantic type when observing them on the train, doling the cash out for a few roses for their beloved. The AI systems could take a while figuring out which ones have that streak of romanticism in them, I thought victoriously, but of course I might be wrong.

With Valentines Day approaching, the son’s preschool environs are a-quiver with excitement. Pink and red hearts plaster the walls. The daughter drew a card with a large heart and a bunch of surrounding hearts for our Anniversary. The son asked if he can take the card the daughter made for our anniversary to his school to put it up on the notice-board. “No!” I squealed. Before any egos could be bruised, I assured the children that the card was beautiful but it was meant for Appa and Amma alone. I am not sure I am quite ready for that to be bandied about on a school notice board. Not to mention the questions surrounding marriages, weddings or society’s inevitable curiosity around arranged marriages.

I am also reading The Wild Swan a book by Michael Cunningham, a clever take on fairy tales with a dose of the worldly adult interpretations. Each tale is short with a slightly different view to the tale. But, I cannot deny that I like the children’s versions better. The children’s versions are common tales but manage to spin magic about them.

Pretty much how the children manage to spin magic around Valentines Day.

I miss the years of Elementary school valentine’s day preparations with the daughter. She would arduously draw hearts and flowers on every card for every child and teacher in the class. I knew those cards were to join the recycle pile in their own homes by the end of the day just as the pile she came home with did, but it was a wonderful concept and kept her happily occupied for a few hours.

Love on Mars

I really like how the younger children get to see love in its more wholesome form. They love their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, teachers, friends, siblings, caregivers and pets. It all gets a bit wearying when they want to make cards for them all, but I prefer that to the more narrow interpretation leading to conjugal harmony( or not) one day.

As long as we know how to retain this curious ability to love and be loved, the future can march on to the beat of generated bytes and streaming bits.

Happy Valentine’s Day !

Bubbling Brooks on Valentine’s Day

I first noticed it in the morning. I had a can of milk in one hand, a foot stuck in the door to keep the refrigerator open, something in my mouth and asked the toddler, who ran into the kitchen, a question. Larks might be brighter in the mornings when they chirp, but I haven’t seen one to compare and contrast. Anyway, he walked/ran into the kitchen at a brisk pace.

I asked him whether he would like cheese in his lunch-box that day. He stopped his brisk walk, looked at me seriously, took a deep breath like he was meditating by puffing out his cheeks (One might think I’d asked him his opinion on the world’s most serious problem), and then made a sound that sounded like a bubbling brook in a stream.

Mornings, are however, not the best time for me to notice bubbling brooks or streaming croaks for that matter. Unlike the lark, spark, gay, bright morning-person, I am a groggy potato head. The head still feels under the weather and the nose tip mysteriously shows a twitch to point itself towards the covers of the bed just vacated.

The same thing happened later in the evening when I asked him if he wanted a chocolate biscuit or a cheese cracker. I laughed and moved on. When it happened for the third time that evening, he bubbled over without being asked a question, I stopped to ponder. Was the bubbling-brook-laugh telling me something? It turns out it was.

Bubbling Brook or River
Bubbling Brook or River

So I tried to figure out what caused it. It wasn’t that he was practicing the bubbling-brook-laugh, for he laughed multiple times without screwing his face up with intense concentration, taking a deep breath, and puffing out his cheeks. It must have been something else.

After a few minutes, I gave it up for the moment. Things at dinner-time had hotted up nicely when a glass of water was tipped over. I had a real waterfall sound to deal with, and the b. brook went out of my mind.

Later that night, as we lay in bed swapping bedtime stories, I asked him what they all planned to do for Valentine’s Day. He started to tell me, when his older-and-presumably-wiser sister popped in. “Hey! Scoff like I taught you to. Remember she is saying something cheesy!” she said and showed him to scoff Disney-style.

I watched him and right enough, he did it again. He bubbled his laugh like a brook. Only he did not know what cheesy meant, so every time I made a reference to cheese, he ‘scoff’-ed like a b.b. Ha!

Some mysteries are worth it. Happy Valentine’s Day even if you do scoff at the idea.

Release Your Inner Cupid

I wonder what is being said about us in the animal world newsletters this month. We have articles on animal behaviors don’t we? This article on the various techniques adopted by animals is an interesting one. Some techniques are funny, some scary and some for which I can’t think of the right adjectives.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/13/weird-animal-courtship-displays_n_4761381.html

Life is full of interesting tidbits of information.  For example:  The efforts of Sir George Archibald who loved the ways of the whooping crane. I quote:

When whooping crane populations dropped to fewer than 100 individuals in the 20th century, ornithologist George Archibald stepped in to try to get one whooping crane in captivity, Tex, to mate. To initiate ovulation, Archibald danced with her, and after several attempts, she successfully hatched a chick in 1982, according to Audubon Magazine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Archibald_(ornithologist)

I was glad to have read this. Now, I know not to judge a person acting like a babbling baboon or an aggressive tiger harshly. We don’t know what their journey is about.

Like Jane Austen says, “There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time.”

I wonder why we exemplify Valentine’s Day to be a Lovers Day only. Let it be a day of showing love. Bring out your inner whooping crane or wake your dormant flamingo and have fun.

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Edible Love

It is Tucky’s first Valentine’s Day. Apparently, it is a big deal. The daughter has been making him cards and more cards to honor the occasion. She wanted to be the first person to give him a Valentine’s Day card. So, she started a week ago. Tucky was beside himself with glee. He jumped at the card, blushed hard, giggled through his gums and ate it up. Literally. He took the card and used his stubby arms and drooled a liter of A-grade saliva onto it and within minutes, he had a soggy mish mash and a dour expression on his face.

When people make Valentine cards for their loved ones, they probably expect slightly better treatment and there might have been a moment of displeasure. I swooped in and tried to keep things light by telling her that next time she might try a tastier card for him, and the daughter guffawed.

Today, the poor girl gave him a ‘Glow in the dark’ card. That was met with the same enthusiasm and if possible, even wetter treatment than before. She, however was not in a mood to let little things like luminous infant bellies trouble her and laughed some more at his spirited performance of ‘Eat the Card’.

We are waiting for tonight to see if his stomach will glow.

Happy Valentines Day to all of you. May love, health and laughter fill your lives.