‘Hatey Khori’ ceremony is an event of special significance in Bengali culture. Held during the auspicious day of Saraswati Puja, a festival day dedicated to learning and education, ‘Hatey Khori’ marks a child’s initiation into reading and writing.
This was the day when my daughter was initiated into writing at the age of two. Dressed up in a traditional attire – a mini saree with red border, she scribbled on a notebook in front of the goddess of learning.
Here is an old picture of the two of us clicked on the occasion.
The ceremony triggered off our bonding over reading and writing. Like any other mom, I started teaching her alphabets and nursery rhymes. During her growing years, countless number of times we would sit together side by side on the table reading our respective books.
Though she mostly studied by herself, I would sometimes help her to solve math problems, colour her sketchbook, or prepare her for reciting her poems. She, in turn, helped me to unwind by solving with me game puzzles, rubik cubes, and making me laugh at her antics and jokes.
Besides studying, our bonding continued over a number of different activities such as playing badminton, watching movies, or things as simple as giving a hug. I found in her, a little buddy who came up with wise suggestions from time to time and offered simple solutions to my complex problems, at times even advising her dad on the ill effects of smoking, and reminding him to take off his shoes and wash his hands and feet on entering the house.
During festivals we had fun decorating the house together. She would stick out rangoli, arrange flowers and place the diyas for us to light.
During the vacations, we bonded while travelling to different places, playing around with animals, boating on lakes, going on rides, treks, or building sand castles on the beach.
When she started learning Taekwondo, she taught me a few kicks.
Such shared moments of happiness (khushi ke pal) helped in unlocking her childhood, while I rediscovered the child in me. 😛 That’s the spirit of “Khuljaye Bachpan.” 💡 💡
This is not to say that I was spared of any tantrums that children normally throw every now and then. I would get completely peeved when she sat with morsels of food in her mouth for hours without swallowing, till I gave her to eat something of her choice.
Thankfully the crunchy chocolaty taste of Kellogg’s Chocos appealed to her, so a bowlful of those during breakfast and also intermittently along with meals lessened her meal time, leaving us with more time to bond over shared activities.
On a day to day basis, the routine of sitting together to study in the late evening till dinner, was something that bonded the two of us. Most of the time while she studied on her own, I would do my own work.
Yet a sense of togetherness prevailed.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis
This nugget of wisdom framed by CS Lewis played continuously in my mind when one of my colleagues excitedly declared that he had secured admission for a coveted executive MBA program at MIT, one of the world’s most prestigious universities.
Having nurtured the idea of doing an executive MBA for quite some time, I was inspired.
Can I give it a try?
Life is a series of tests. Only in this case I would literally need to crack the test.
I soon found myself purchasing the books for GMAT. Armed with my arsenal, I sat to figure out how to go on about it. Math section appeared to be the toughest of the lot for me. It was ages since I had practiced math.
Yet pretending to be brave, I decided to take the bull by its horns. Somehow, I managed to pull on for the first few days, but remembering the formulae seemed like a daunting task and solving the sums took too long a time. Soon my interest started waning, and with that my motivation dipped. I needed someone to assure me that I could do it.
Let’s practice together.
I heard my daughter saying as she brought her Math books and pulled a chair to sit beside me.
She had seen me struggling with remembering the formulae, some of which were fresh in her mind as she had learned those in her 8th standard. Together, we solved a few sums.
My dipping spirit soared, and my interest was renewed. Soon the routine was set.
Practice time became fun time, with both sitting at the two corners of the table, expressing our delight at our respective Eureka moments while cracking the sums and anguish at the difficult ones. I made it a point to revise the formulae again in the morning during breakfast over a bowl of Kellogg’s Chocos.
Life had come a full circle.
This post is written for Kellogg’s Chocos India for ‘Khuljaye Bachpan ‘
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