When the chick flies the nest

mother-child-holding-hands

We dropped off our first born at his university yesterday. My first chick flew our nest. As I hugged him and said my goodbyes till his mid-term break, my throat was thick with unshed tears. I got into the car and could feel this tug on my heart. As we headed away from the campus, I realized that the tug I had felt was not a new sensation. It wasn’t an alien one, but on the contrary a familiar one. I had felt it many times before.

When I had left him in the care of a baby sitter when I first went back to work after his birth.

When I first put him into the bus,which would take him to nursery school on his own.

When I dropped him off for his first sleepover at my parents’.

When he crossed the road first time on his own with me standing to one side keeping a keen eye on him.

When he took an auto rickshaw to go to his friend’s house alone.

When he stayed out for an evening with his friends and returned home around mid-night.

Somewhere along all these years we both, my son and I  have been unconsciously readying  ourselves for this day. Testing his wings. And I know when my 12 year old reaches the day, when she too flies the nest, my heart will go through the same motions all over again. Today more than any other day my father’s words ring true. When my son was an infant he had told me in a very positive manner, ” Consider yourself to be your children’s caretaker and nurturer, not their owner. It will be easier to let them fly when the time comes.”

The lessons in letting go comes in different packages, but by far this is the toughest of them all. After all didn’t someone once say,” having a child is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

 

 

A Moment

maids

As I went to my window to draw the shades, I glanced out onto the road. There at my gate I saw this little tableau which captured my attention. A group of four women sat very close to the gate. Comfortable and engrossed in their conversation. If proposed to one, the setting was hardly a comfortable one, and the location and facilities the most inconvenient, but there they sat, as if seated in a well-recommended restaurant. These are women who work as housemaids in half a dozen households in our area. Most of them average four to five households a day, beginning work at around 8.30 in the morning and winding up only by 6 in the evenings. Here they had gathered after a hard day’s work. This was probably the only bright patch in their day when they met their friends in the same situation, before they each headed home to prepare dinner for their waiting families and do their own housework before retiring for the day. As snatches of their conversation drifted up to me, I realized that they were having a cheerful conversation about the latest film which had been released and riling one of their friends about something. They looked genuinely relaxed and happy for that moment.

On some days the most mundane scenario makes one revisit some basic rules for a happy mind. Watching them,I thought once again how important it is to find at least one happy moment to appreciate in a day. And while some may think….one? ,one realises when one has to actually practice it on a regular basis, there are days when even that one moment comes to mind with great difficulty.