New beginnings

“Bahaar aamad, bahaar aamad, bahaar-e-mushk-baar aamad

Nigaar aamad nigaar aamad nigaar-e-burd baar aamad” – Jalaluddin Rumi

[Spring has come, spring has come, musk-laden spring has arrived

The sweetheart has come, the sweetheart has come, the forbearing/gentle sweetheart has arrived]

In Native Indian legends, robins are viewed as the harbinger of new beginnings and their caring parental behaviour is particularly noted.

A few weeks ago (in my Blog of June 11, 2016 “Nasheman, ayrie of love”) I wrote about the robins that had considered our house good enough to start their own family.  The four powder blue eggs have since transformed into handsome chicks, constantly clamouring for attention and food while seeking the protective warmth of their parents’ underbellies.  It is fascinating to note the caring and protective demeanour of the two parents.  While one flies out to forage, the other is in the nest watching over the little ones.  I am reminded of my granddaughter telling us several months ago why it was important for nani and nana to babysit when mummy and daddy had to go out; it was because “little children need protection and cannot be left alone”. Now we know!

My wife has been keeping a watchful matronly eye on the little robins.  However, now her attention has been diverted as a result of the latest addition to our family – our grandson. Both mums (maternal and paternal grandmothers) remain at hand, ever eager to pitch in and render support as needed.

When our daughter was born in India, we were fortunate to have the support of our parents, siblings and “uncles and aunties”, and live-in maids at our beck and call.  In the Middle East where our son was born, while we did not have family support, help was available through a wonderful person who had started with us as a live-in maid but went on to become the surrogate mother to our children and is a part of our family.  “It takes a village to raise a child” is a dictum that we completely endorse, having experienced this first hand.

I have tremendous respect for young parents in Canada.  Life here can be challenging for young couples nurturing their kids while working, maintaining a home (cooking, cleaning and other household activities etc.), participating in school meetings, taking kids to/from sporting and cultural pursuits and so on.  In most cases, there is no external help at hand.  Perhaps, this is the norm and it is we – older folks from a different time and lifestyle – who are spoilt!

A friend, when commenting on my blog of June 11, had rightly pointed out that “dads can be just as caring and nurturing” as mums. I could not agree more. We have witnessed how “natural instincts” took over when our own children and those of our friends attained parenthood. It is now our son’s turn and he proudly claims to have notched his first few diaper changes while his wife happily goes without sleep to suit the little one’s routine, accepting motherhood as a matter of course.

On this Canada Day, we express our gratitude for all that we have – the loving embrace of our growing clan and the extended family of our “new found” friends in this wonderful country that is now home. We are truly blessed to be a part of a society that values and nurtures diversity, inclusion and acceptance. We had arrived here on the wings of our dreams and the conviction that this was where we were meant to be. Soon it will be time for our young robins, whether the four on the ledge outside our home or the three blossoming within, to learn to spread their own wings and soar to new heights.

“Nahin teraa nasheman qasr-e-sultani ke gumbad mein
Tu shaheen hai, baseraa kar pahaadon ki chattaanon mein ” – Allama Iqbal

[Your home is not in the dome of the palace of a Sultan
You are a royal falcon, your abode is in the cliffs of a mountain]

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