Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The LEGO date

This is a loooong due post and do forgive me for all the exclamation marks! ( just shows all the excitement we felt)

"We stay in Auroville......we have a lot of LEGO!" :)
- words that stood out of the page for me as I was surfing the ning site today. It was not usual to find LEGO enthusiasts here, especially ones that claim to have a lot of Lego! I was thrilled and shared my find with Raghav instantly. He beamed and ran up to the computer, to see what he could....and I beamed with him too - ear to ear! What more could a mother want for her son who dreamed of LEGO the whole time?! It was a dream come true for us.....well, almost!

Raghav of course, was all set to take off to Pondicherry and Auroville as soon as possible, when my husband came back from his work trip! He was already planning in his head as to what Lego to pack and dreaming of what LEGO he would find at their place there.....I could see it in his eyes! He also had made up a little something to tell A when he met him - that when you add an "i" after the "s" in his name, it becomes "Asia"! (And could you believe it, that this was the first thing he told A when he saw him?!)

Soon I was exchanging emails with the family and we realised that LEGO was really a common passion! We could both relate to how we travel with a suitcase of our kid''s LEGO wherever we go! That truly was a sure sign of how our kids lived and breathed LEGO.....and we were dying to meet each other!

They were going to volunteer at an NGO for a few weeks, close to Chennai, and that was when we met them finally. They came home to spend some time with us and it turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences for me and a fun LEGO date for Raghav. A had heard from us that we had LEGO everywhere around our house.....but probably did not expect it to really be that way! He called our house a "Mini Legoland" which HAS to be a compliment! Raghav was of course so taken up by the fact that he had finally found someone he could trust his LEGO with - who understood its importance, knew what to do with it, handled it the way he wanted it to be handled, and most importantly someone who could understand the LEGO language! It didn't matter that one was 7 and the other was 11.....it didn't matter one bit! Nothing mattered more than a common passion for LEGO.

Yes, for two LEGO enthusiasts everything that they talked had to be about LEGO - the different sets, which ones each of them had, websites, games, how to build something....whew! They had so much to share with each other! And it was so wonderful to see that our patience had paid - we had both perhaps silently wished a long time ago, that we would find someone with a similar interest in LEGO someday....and let the wish sit upon a star in the universe somewhere....until the Universe decided that it was time our wish came true!

Do you want to know what happened when the two LEGO enthusiasts met over LEGO for just a couple of hours??! Well, the pictures would tell you a good part of the story.....the aftermath!

Lego on the floor......

Lego on my kitchen counter........

Lego....Lego .....everywhere!

They created stories and pretended to put out fires.....there were planes taking off and zooming past us.......they visited the Taj Mahal.....had the police chasing people.....vehicles of all kinds and sizes doing a zillion things......it was impossible to keep track of what was happening!

And when they got a bit tired of playing with LEGO, A set up a play station game that he had brought to show Raghav and taught him how to play it. In fact, A had been so excited to visit us, that he had packed his bag and kept it ready the previous night, but in all his excitement, had forgotten the LEGO game that he had wanted to show Raghav! And Raghav of course was so excited, that he could not eat lunch! Finally, after much prodding, he allowed me to sit and feed him his lunch, while he played with A.

In the midst of all this enjoyable madness, we - the two moms, managed to share some thoughts on homeschooling and our personal journeys so far with our kids. While she indulged in the hot, black coffee that I brewed for her, we managed to speak a bit. Her words tugged at my heart......

Here was a single mom leading a kind of a nomadic life with her son - moving from one country to another, finding things to do.....in the midst of all the trials and tribulations she faced from time to time.  "When I tell people where I am from, they don't look at me as ME......they look at me as an Israeli", she said. I realised from her voice and her eyes - how much that must hurt. For the first time I understood the pain of belonging to a country in this world. I hurt too with her. I could not understand why people claim to be so tolerant, democratic and inclusive, but actually aren't. Somewhere, we get stuck in the history of things and issues - stuck in the past.

Listening to her, prompted me to read more about the conflict, about the history of persecution of the Jews and many other issues that I had just not given much thought to (this despite having a brother-in-law who is Jewish!) . I realized how I was living like many others perhaps, in a glass house.....in my own little "safe" bubble......in a little world of my own.....until reality comes knocking at my door! It pained me to see what happened to people who are much like refugees - with no place to go....no place to call their home.....no permanent job....no country to live in (because of man-made passport and visa issues)....people who have to move around the world every now and then - just to find some sense of security which seems to constantly elude them....and their life in a place is in so many ways dependent on how the political stance of that country is towards their country of origin.....I realized what kind of a life that must be. I think that no matter what the history is or the conflict is, people do have a right to call some place their home or homeland. Everyone has a right to live on this planet....it doesn't really belong to any of us.....we are all just visitors here, aren't we? 

And then, I saw the happiness.......how they were volunteering for small NGOs despite everything.....the joy with which they were living in the moment, with uncertainty - their only companion and security.....with the whole world to explore...and I discovered another whole new meaning to living and being......much like a baby living free with not even the sign of its long-severed umbilical chord. How would it really be to live like that I wondered? With no history of a beginning and no hope of an end? Perhaps the way to do that is to love what is and cleanse our own being every moment - emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. As she kept saying, "....time to move on..." I don't know if I could live like that. My heart filled with gratitude for what I had and the life experiences I got. My hopes and dreams faded (albeit momentarily) into thin air. I say that because I have to work on myself a lot more....I have a lot more to let go of.

Raghav and A got along so well that we met again at a mall a few days later. There was a Formula 1 MRF car that was being unveiled there and Raghav wanted to go. So we called them too  and it was  loads of fun, despite all the waiting and the crowd that we were in the midst of. After that, Raghav insisted that we go to the toy shop - Hamley's - to see all the LEGO along with A. So we went. I didn't know that window shopping for LEGO could be so much fun until I saw the two of them! A had a smile on his lips and a spring in his step. One could see that he was really happy."I think he feels secure here", she said, ".....maybe because malls are the same everywhere!"

Then, it was time to say our goodbyes. They were travelling to other parts of India and perhaps beyond. We didn't know if we were going to see them again soon. The date had been short, yet sweet and left me with such a warm feeling within. A feeling and a connection that was going to stay with me and my son long after they leave......Strange are the ways of the Universe....how some connections are made, while some others are revoked....But then distance is in the mind isn't it? 

So, what had started off as a LEGO date, was in fact a date with myself and my own perceptions of things. Yet another bubble popped in my universe....to leave behind what was real and what would stay with me for a lifetime. Love. A connection. And yet another wonderful insight into living and being.

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