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Jun 30, 2012

The Pursuit of ‘Happy’ness


Dear Riddhie,

Happiness is a fuzzy concept and can mean many things to different people. Ranging from deep vested contentment to a frantic intensity, one can be happy in different ways and again for a variety of reasons. As a parent, I will wish for you to be always happy. Happy and content with what you are rewarded with after you have put in your due effort.

Happiness in an important lesson to learn and cherish in life. The reason I say this is because after a certain age and juncture in life, it becomes relatively harder for a person to find things he can indulge in and seek a refuge from the day to day rigors. It is then that one realizes that true happiness and joys in life are not meant to be searched and looked up outside but within one's own self.

Simple Joys - Riddhie Perhaps when you read this, you may not truly understand or appreciate what I am trying to tell you here. I guess it is a quest in its own right where every living being needs to seek his/her own nirvana. You are free to comprehend your own objectives and goals in life and develop your own frame of reference but I am sure a time would come when you shall have to sit back in silence and contemplate what you need in life and what you want to achieve before curtains are drawn. In that moment of introspection, people who are wise enough can attain a state of detachment with all worldly pleasures and truly find what is the essence of true happiness and one's reason for the entire journey we call life.

You were born out of your mother's womb and we walk with you in every aspect of your life as of now, yet you will have a life and destiny of your own. We, your parents will leave this world and pass on before you. You will have your own share of sorrows, your own set of struggles and your own share of happiness. Live life to its fullest and do not compromise on your integrity and self respect. No price is too high to keep your self esteem. Every day you should be able to look yourself in the eye and tell yourself that you are special and have a purpose in life. Let no one tell you that you can't do something. 

There is a special reason why I chose the subject of this letter as ‘pursuit of happyness’ and spelt it this ways. I did so because I also wished to mention and quote from a movie released in 2006 by the same name. Thomas Jefferson amongst other things in the declaration of independence quotes “We hold these truths to be self-evident – that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The movie I mentioned questions if happiness is something that can only be pursued and never attained and it is always an ongoing forward moving quest that shall never have a single fulfilling objective. If this were to be true then should we rather not enjoy the journey and this voyage than to lose sight of everything while keeping an eye on the final end? I shall leave this question open for you to understand and answer on your own.

If you can even comprehend the question, I guess I will have accomplished a larger part of my duty as a father – which is raising you well enough to understand the true essence of life. I am no spiritual guru to be defining your path but I as a parent I shall encourage you to ask questions and once you set out to find the answers on your own, your path will light up on its own.

PursuitI shall probably sit with you one fine day and maybe we will watch ‘The pursuit of Happyness’ together. Will Smith happens to be one of my favorite actors and I specially like him in the movie.

I shall close in with a famous quote from the movie itself:

Christopher Gardner: Hey. Don't ever let somebody tell you... You can't do something. Not even me. All right? 
Christopher: All right. 
Christopher Gardner: You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it. Period.


Jun 14, 2012

Riddhie gets a FB Profile


“Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it”.

- Erin Bury

Dear Riddhie,
As on June 10, 2012 I created your own FaceBook profile. Maybe this was unnecessary since perhaps by the time you are even ready to use it yourself it might just have lost its significance. But considering that you already have so much going on for you - pictures, your own domain name, email IDs, this blog etc., I thought it might be a good placeholder for maintaining most of your day to day information and consolidating things (if, and as needed). 

I shall probably hand out the reigns of your profile to your mom and we shall probably allow only a closer family group to ‘friend’ you and see how it goes from here for now. I don’t intend giving you the password and access to this unless you are 14 or more so don’t keep running up to me every now and then to add children from your class to your profile. Once you probably have the control, you are free to ‘unfriend’ your parents, but I guess we are staying and keeping a vigil until then.  

Anyway, this is more like a news update so I shall keep this short. Here is a link to your profile and your mom has your password safe with her. Go bug her if you want.

And courtesy ‘thatababy’ strip by Paul Trap this is what I see you doing with it. FB   


Stepping Out


“You are born once, when you are out of your mother’s womb and again when you step out into the world…”

Dear Riddhie,
I guess by the time you are ready to read this letter there would have been many more chapters added to your ‘stepping out’ experiences. However, with this short post let me narrate the first incident when you decided that you were ready to take on this world all by yourself.

It was during the earlier part of our stay at Downingtown, PA when you started showing signs of unrest when confined within the house for long. Through the course of the day, if we stepped out, even briefly, you wanted to be taken along. The building where we lived had patches of green outside and every time you were let out, you wanted to break through the glass doors in the corridor (which were thankfully locked) and rush out to the open space.  

It was the afternoon of May 2, 2012 and I was working from home. You were playing with your toys in the living room and your mom kept a watch over you as she prepared lunch standing in the kitchen. I was engrossed in some office routine which called for taking some print outs. I tiptoed across the hall so as not to get your attention (lest you wanted to come along) and quietly stepped out of the house to the office complex in the building for taking the prints. I must have taken just 5 minutes in the entire course of my action and just as I was returning back to the apartment, I found you standing out barefoot and waiting in the corridor.

RiddhieAt first I just thought that you were probably out with your mom and my first reaction was to look for her and ask her why she allowed you to step out barefoot. But as I turned around the corner and took you with me, I was astonished to see your mom still standing around the kitchen. When I told her that I had found you standing outside in the corridor she was just as zapped as I was. Apparently, both of us were still unaware of the fact that you had learnt how to use the handle of the door and gained enough strength to open it on your own and that there was enough direction sense acquired to venture out on your own.  

For once we were both thankful that we lived in a closed apartment complex and that there was no way you could have gone out to the parking lot on your own. But, that day we got our first reality check that you were actually beginning to come out of your little shell and were turning into a little explorer of sorts. No longer we could just assume that you would be confined behind closed doors and walls of the house. A testimony to this statement was another incident that occurred when we moved back to Jersey but I guess that calls for another separate post. For now I guess the picture below says it all. (I took this at a place called Tyler Arboretum in PA when you ventured into this big wooden egg shell).

Jun 9, 2012

Beach and Friends…


“The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever…”

- Jacques Cousteau

Dear Riddhie,
I remember telling you about my fascination for the seaside when I accounted for your first visit to a beach during the summer of 2011 (Read Here). We continued taking time out to go to the shore areas as much as we could over any weekend that we could in days that followed. The last few weeks saw us frequenting the Jersey shore a lot more considering that our time in the US was drawing to its end. Needless to say you enjoyed every bit of these outings.

We went out with your friend Ayah and your Diana aunty in the last week of May and then a week later with Shaurya, your Roopa aunty and Sachin uncle who were visiting us from India.
With Ayah – We had a few very special moments captured from this trip. One of my favorite of these is where you and I were walking on the beach and you hold onto my hand tightly because of the incoming waves and your feet losing their grip in the wave washed sand. Then of course, there was this picture of you sticking your tongue out to lick every bit of the Mango ice candy that I got for you. I guess, I still can’t have enough of these pictures.


With Shaurya – This turned out to be another special outing since you found Shaurya’s company totally binding and we as your parents were much more relaxed to just let you be. The weather on this day turned out to be beautiful and the boardwalk was surprisingly less crowded as well. I remember all of us just hitting the beach and then coming back to the car to change our wet clothes. My favorite moment from this day were you wrapped in an orange pool towel that we took with us and you quietly sitting down on the sand for a long long time. Only on a closer look, we noticed that the reason for your being all quiet was that you were actually sucking on a corner of the towel. Sharing a few pictures from the day…


I am sure there will be many more instances in future when you will find your way to sand and shores and many more beaches around the globe. Perhaps in a few years, you will make sure that we are not hanging around your head as you hit the sand with your friends and yes, we won’t be there to call the shots forever either but all the same I want you to know that a part of me will always be by your side holding your hand and walking with you just as I did when you were learning to walk.

I will close this letter with a quote I read somewhere - “Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone”



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