My thoughts, Parenting, Personal, Philosophy, Well being, Writing

I Miss You Monu!

Recently I have been missing my dear cat Monu a lot more than usual. It was his 1 year death anniversary a few days ago, probably that’s why. I know that most of you will think, ‘ come on, he was just a cat,’ not to me, to me he was my dearest, closest, truest friend.

He came to us at the end of Dec 2020, and he was so cute and small, he was just 3 days old! A cat had given birth in my cousin’s apartment, but sadly nobody in the litter including the mom had survived, except him. Because my cousin’s family had a dog, it was dangerous for them to keep the little kitten, so they gave him to us. In the starting he needed to be fed every few hours. I still remember for the first one month we used to wake up every night to feed him. 

For the first few weeks he just slept, and he was so cuddly, he used to love to snuggle. But we were new with cats, thus we were a bit hesitant, so we built a bed for him, lined it with a heating pad and a few blankets, and he slept there. Now I wish I had snuggled him as much as I could every opportunity I got.  

When he got a little bigger and a little stronger, he started playing. He used to look so cute running around the house, room to room. It was so simple, playing with him then we used to play a lot. We used to crumple up pieces of paper, or tie up a handkerchief in the shape of a ball, and throw it around the house. He used to love it, he would go chasing after it, jumping trying to catch it. We would call them “ चूहे “ which is the hindi term for mice, because he would try catching it, and attempt to kill it after. In the beginning he would bring it back after catching it, as if to tell us to throw it again!

When he got a bit older we started taking him out, just in the apartment. He liked it a lot, and he never ran away, we never used a leash. He used to just wander around us, sniff the plants, and sit under the shade. It was really hard bringing him back up though, we had to take a badminton racket so we could bang it on the floor to scare him, and he would come running back up. He knew the way home. In fact, one day when I was meditating, I heard scratching and whining outside the door, I opened the door to see Monu trying to open the door. Apparently he had somehow managed to reach the ground floor from our balcony, and he had come straight back up!

When my tournaments started, and I got busy, I started spending less time with him. I would play, and take him out rarely. Definitely, there was a bit of selfishness involved, 

I was not doing great in chess, I was lacking, losing, in a slump. So I just practiced a lot, and I was a bit demotivated so I started wasting a bit of time, but no time cannot be afforded to waste, so guess from where did I compensate? My time with Monu, the biggest mistake of my life. Bigger than all the chess blunders I have made and will ever make.

All this time though I was not spending with him, I knew he missed me, he had started becoming lethargic, eating more, he used to sit by the window and stare out for hours. 

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I guess my biggest mistake was thinking there will be a tomorrow; I will play with him tomorrow, I will spend time with him tomorrow, Monu will be here tomorrow he ain’t going anywhere. Well there is no tomorrow now is there? 

I don’t think there was a tomorrow ever, even if there was it didn’t matter. One day, 30 days, 45 years, it’s all too small to make a difference, it is the same. What matters is making use of every moment we have with them. 

After he died, I didn’t feel sad about the fact I only had one year with him, what I regretted the most was not making use of every opportunity I had with him to make memories, to play, to be with him. 

This is what Monu taught me, amongst the many other things he did. Thank you so much Monu for teaching me this valuable lesson, and being a part of my life. 

My favorite moments with him were, sometimes when I was practicing chess, he would just come scatter about all the pieces on the board, spoil the position, stand in the center, and just flop down! Like right there, and just look at me like “hey, I am sitting here now, that cool?” Me, I would love it.  

My thoughts, Personal, Philosophy

ध्यान क्या है?

एक दिन मैं अपनी माँ से शिकायत कर रही थी जैसा कि आमतौर पर बच्चे करते हैं। मैं कॉलेज की छुट्टियों में घर वापस आ गयी थी । मेरा काम का बोझ बढ़ रहा था, और मैं इसे ठीक से मैनेज नहीं कर पा रही थी , इसलिए मैं थोड़ा तनाव में थी। मैं बस ये सब अपनी माँ को बता रही थी “कोई काम नहीं हो रहा है” “मैं मैनेज नहीं कर पा रही हूँ”। फिर मेरी माँ ने अचानक थोड़े जोर से कहा “आओ यहाँ बैठो, ध्यान से देखो, मैं तुम्हें दिखाती हूँ कि काम कैसे किया जाता है।” फिर उनहोने एक कटोरी में गाढ़ा सरसों का तेल लिया और खाली बजाज आलमंडल आयल की बोतल ली। उस शीशी के उपर ऐक छोटा सा छेद था, जैसे जयादतर केशमार्जन शीशीओ के ढकनो में होता है। जिसने भी कोशिश की है उसे पता है की इसके माध्यम से अंदर पानी डालना भी नामुम्किन के बराबर है। मेरी माँ ने देकते-देकते वह कटोरी उठाई और वो गारा सरसौ का तेल एक ही धारा में उस छेद के अंदर दाल दिया। में शब्दहीन रहे गया, एक बूंद भी इदर-उदर नहीं हाई थी। फिर मेरी माँ ने कहा ” यह, ऐसे होता है कोई भी काम, इस एकाग्रता से, और इसे ही ध्यान कहते है।

Chess, My thoughts, Personal

 Unschooling Diaries #13:- Something about chess and life

There is a phase that chess players go through in which instead of creating play of their own they just react to their opponent’s and if he is playing without one they just make waiting moves until he comes up with one. But the problem with this approach is you will either draw or lose, you can’t win. I can’t speak for everyone but there are a number of reasons this happens. One of them is fear – ‘I can’t mess up if I don’t do anything.’ Another one is laziness- ‘this requires too much brain. Let him do the hard work of coming up with something.’ 

And I certainly know what it feels like, because I am going through the same phase. Well it is better than before:- now I can make plans, take initiative, etc earlier to win I would solely rely on the opponent to mess up. But the problem, tournament class players almost never blunder big time. Plus, chess is a game of war, you need to trick your opponent, take him by surprise, you need to be one step ahead, which you can’t if he has the lead. He is in control, he is literally making you play the moves. There is another saying in chess:-  Every move you make should have a positive base and be geared to increasing the advantages you already possess. It is so true, and so amazing how these two things connect in chess as well in life. In chess if you lay back and give free rein to your opponent, you will get knocked down in no time, same way in life if you keep waiting for something to happen, one day you will be beaten up and disappointed. I mean that is what I have learned about life from chess and my dad would be a great example about this. Because he started learning guitar recently, at this age he left his job and started a business, he started meditating two years ago, he also started dieting and exercising completely turned his health around. Now did he have some kind of divine revelation or anything else like that- No. He just decided to take the lead. We can do the same for ourselves:- you know instead of waiting for something amazing to happen, we make those things happen like doing at least one new thing every week, taking control of our health, working with our fears, etc. And just like that we are in control…

My thoughts, Parenting, Personal

First Human Beings..

Today, my nose was paining, my head was throbbing, I probably pulled a muscle in my right leg, and my throat was croaky with the cold. Sorry guys for starting this blog with such a gloomy line, but when I thought about the major things happening with me today, I wanted to share this with you. After all life is a mix of sweet and sour. Despite all this going on I will say today was a great day, because I managed to beat a chess coach in an offline classical game, and I helped a old lady cross the road. It makes me really happy when I get to help other people, even though it’s just small things. There are many other things that I wish I could change, For example, when I saw an adolescent boy selling corn on the street to make a living. Or, when I see so many hungry and injured dogs on the street daily.  I know the saying – “ Be the change you want to see in the world” . I believe in this saying, but I don’t believe one person is enough to set everything right. I believe it takes joint awareness and conscious action to bring a significant change. Even if everyone contributes just a little, we can change the world, for example, maybe teaching a poor kid near your house, taking in sick and hurt animals, etc. 

I hope to be that change, If not now at least when I grow up. 

I had met a special needs teacher, who runs his own Waldorf School. He told me the first and foremost principle of any educational model should be to first make human beings out of the children. Beautiful, isn’t it? I will never forget that line. If not in schools at least in our homes are we first making human beings out of our children or not?

My thoughts, Parenting, Personal, Well being

Unschooling Diaries #12 :- Clashing Dates, Evening Cycle Rides, and Apartment Cats…

This has been such a great week, with many ups and downs and twists and turns.

At the start of the week, I had submitted my form for an Ameutur Boxing Championship to be held in Banglore. It was an inter-club tournament and I was so excited, it was going to be a lot of fun. But, here is the plot twist, the boxing tournament was to be held on 1-2 October, but it got postponed to 8-9 October, and I have the State Women Open Chess Championship on those days😔.  I definitely cannot miss it because I already missed the U15 girls one. However, it was fun preparing for the boxing tournament. It has given me motivation to work harder for the next one👍.

Meanwhile I would like to state some things which made me really happy this week. 

  1. Coming home by my cycle in the evening after boxing class


It is a wonderful feeling to return home by cycle in the evening. The air will be blowing in my face, and the weather will be nice and cool. We all agree that two wheelers in the evening is just a different mood. Yes, that time there is a lot of traffic, pollution, and the roads are not good, but sometimes when I get to see a sunset followed by beautiful twilight, I forget all about the rest.

  1. The confidence and fitness boxing has given me

I am so happy and really grateful to my parents for making me join this boxing class. Because it has given me a level of fitness I never had before, and that makes me feel nice and confident.

  1. Feeding my apartment cats

I am glad, my parents don’t keep my schedule very packed and I have time to do a lot of other stuff. Like feeding the cats near my apartment. 

  1. The confidence I have to talk to people now

This week I just noticed how confident I have now become to talk to people. Before (pre-covid) I had literally had no idea how to, if some guest had come or we had gone out, I would just become speechless ( in a literal way). But now when I go to people’s houses I can talk nicely, I can entertain the guests whenever they come. In fact I am hosting a chess meetup at my place tomorrow, and I feel so proud that I have the confidence to host the entire thing on my own now.

This is the second one, we had hosted one more last week also. Don’t forget to tune in to find out what happens tomorrow. 

Please send me a few things that made you too  happy this week, I would love to hear them.