Nino was not his usual happy self this morning: he's been fighting a stomach bug all week and the cramps have started to get to his chirpy avtaar. A bowl full of strawberries quickly downed, I was trying to feed him the classic Gujarati snack, khakra, when I realised this was the cue for the 'd-act'.
Distraction works wonderfully with kids, especially those looking to chuck their khakra below the table. So I started to talk to him randomly about Shankaracharya - atleast my version of him. I told him how he had gone up north to live on a really cold mountain, and that he had long conversations with god and nature, that he wrote beautiful songs for the Gods and called them lots of names, in love and jest, just like mama and baby.
A little while later, just as we've finished most of the khakhra, Nino turns to me and says, 'Mama, I'm your Ninoacharaya.'
My folks are on a holiday to Kerala, and I miss them sorely, especially my Mum, who I get to see almost every other weekend.I'm missing her so much today, I want to share a bit of her with you. If there's one word that could describe her, it'd be enthusiasm. She's always on the go, working, reading, pottering around, gardening: her many chores united by the fact that she relishes learning something new, every day.
The ability to be the one who teaches/shows someone something new - is a high as joyful as the glee we feel when we stumble upon something unexpected. As a mother, I get to experience that a lot, and often. And as a daughter, my mother still has something new to teach me, everyday.
A few weeks back, she introduced us to a rare flower known colloquially as the Kailashpati. And while it's religious connotations are big (the flower has a part that looks like the cobra hood over a shivlingum, and a small bud below the hood that resembles the lingum itself: it is offered to Lord Shiva, especially during the holy month of Shravan), it's the botanical ones that are mesmerising.
And while the shape itself makes the flower incredible, seeing the tree was even more awe-inspiring. While the foliage is high up on the tree, the flowers grow on thin, thorny arms (like sticks), and there are a thousand of them, on the trunk of the tree.
The buds hang low, sometimes grazing the ground.
A quick google threw up this: The flower is referred to as a cannonball plant, and is rare, almost everywhere in the world. It also bears a brown fruit - which I have not seen, given that we got to see only one flower. It is considered so auspicious locally, that is plucked the minute it blooms by a long list of the devout.
Incredibly soft to touch, almost like felt/velvet, it has a beautiful and strong smell - but it doesn't last long, a couple of hours maybe when plucked from stem, and after seeing it, I din't quite feel like plucking it: it was beauty meant to be shared by everybody.