Giving Children Some Friends For Life

Posted: September 11, 2019

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Caught up in the mechanics of life, I had totally forgotten that life could exist without a laptop, phone, car, AC and all. When one day that fateful call of grandpa’s demise took me back to the threshold where I had my first brush with life. The creaking wooden door, though, worn out with time, still preserved the memories when I was a child-playful, carefree, non-judgemental and unprejudiced.

The house was full of commotion. Amidst the relatives and friends who had come to pay their last respect, there were two unusual visitors across the street which kept me staring nonplussed. My uncle came with two bowls for each of them- one with chapatis and other with milk. But those teary-eyed creatures refused the meal with the wag of their heads. They were the cow and the dog, my grandpa had fed for many years. No, they were not his pets. They were stray animals from the streets. But every day they would show up in time for the lovely rendezvous with the old man. But today they had visited to bid the last goodbye. Not for any food or water.

The cow and dog followed his body till it was rested on the funeral grounds and were never seen again.

All these growing up years, I had watched him feeding the birds early in the mornings. My fondest memories of childhood are waking up to the chirping fluttering of the jovial birds in the courtyard as grandpa cleaned their water and grain pots. And before every meal, the first morsel from his plate would find its place in the same grain pot of birds. Needless to say that after his death, the birds’ visits to home became far and few because there was no one to attend to them the way he did.

After many years, after my daughter’s birth, I have started to follow in his footsteps to get my daughter some friends for life. Even in the most lonely and gloomiest of the times, she will have some loyal friends by her side. So here are the rituals we follow together that I had seen my grandpa do:

Feeding animals

As a morning ritual, we wash the two pots kept in the patio and fill them with water and grains. As much as it is a treat for the birds, its an absolute delight watching those chirping birds dance around. And every evening, we set a milk pot outside the home which is one dog’s daily delight.

Nurturing plants

I have grown enough plants at home. Sometimes when I forget to water them, my girl reminds me of saying “Mama, they will be thirsty, don’t we have to water them.” So this is kind of a joint bathing exercise for the girl and her green friends.

Star-gazing

Very recently, we have taken to lying in the patio for sometime when the nights are relatively cooler after rain showers. At times she just observes those stars and at other times she weaves stories about them.

This is my way of keeping her close to nature and help her nurture a lifelong bond. After all its nature, which gives us the most loyal friends.

First published here.

Image via Pixabay

I am a stay-at-home mom, an avid reader and sometimes an impulsive writer.

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