Thursday, July 21, 2011

There Are No Illegitimate Children

My sister Cindy was chatting with my dad about the singer Nora Jones and explaining her lineage.  She mentioned that Nora is the illegitimate child of famed musician Ravi Shankar, and dad became very agitated. 

He clarified that in his view, this is in reality a misplaced term. 

“Cindy, there is no such thing as an illegitimate child.  There are only illegitimate parents.”  Touché.

Friday, July 08, 2011

The Unnerving Speed of Life

I am simply stupefied at the sheer velocity of our existence. Yesterday, I was 6. Today I am 46. Tomorrow I will be 73. Just like that.

I watch in awe as a freight train thunders by me, yet in reality I am on that train, looking out the window as the countryside of my life, experiences, and relationships zips by.

It’s akin to the whisper-quiet experience riding on the Shinkansen or TGV  – fast, noiseless, and less experiential than you want, unless you make an effort on your own part and “open the windows” in some manner.  Otherwise, I cannot hear the movement in my ears, nor feel its passage in my toes, the seat of my pants or in the small of my back. Months, literally years go by in mute. 

But I can “see” the changes if I make the effort to really look and increasingly be aware of the inexorable progress underway. Pudgy babies, turning to lanky youngsters, then questioning teenagers and finally delivered as pondering adults weighing the options in front of them and those left behind.

The 2009 trip to India made this painfully obvious, again.  Why?  Because it had been 5 years since the last visit and 13 since the first one with Molly. Cousins who were toddlers oblivious to the wealth of minutes around them were now in college pondering what lay beyond their graduation.

For some reason Stevie Nick’s song Landslide keeps looping between my ears, particularly where it goes…

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
and I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
'Till the landslide brought me down
Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life~~~


The Countryside Flies By
- - Abe Pachikara, © 2009, (Click for larger images)

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Chuttumbee #1 Turns 9

It is nearly a decade since the “project” we now call Paul was started. :) And now I am belatedly writing about how he has powered, even thundered, his way thru his 9th year in his own quiet way. (Unrelated is the fact that 9 years has passed – how fleeting time is ! )

Gone is the cute, rather round, pudgy-pie he was as a toddler, replaced by a completely new geometry: he’s now svelte, with muscles on muscles.

What remains the same is the exploratory, abstract approach that lets ideas steep for days and weeks, and comes back with comments like “I think Infinity is the God of numbers and zero is the devil.” Such inspection has come to manifest itself in new ways such as increasingly complex Lego creations, writing his own 30 page sequel to a Lego Bionicles book, a steady immersion into the land of writing software (via the utterly amazing Microsoft Research game development tool called Kodu,) and improvising how you move to music. (He discovered that the latter translates to dancing like a madman at wedding receptions which is, well, a whole lot of fun. )

Ostensibly what is completely new is how he has kept his introverted side (he has exactly 2 friends in school, Will and Hrik, who are similarly not huge socialites) yet become increasingly comfortable with the larger cohort of students. His 3rd Grade teacher, Mrs. Christensen, informed us before the last day of school that the class had voted him as their “notable citizen” based on such criteria as “Kind, caring and considerate toward others; strong work ethic; positive and enthusiastic about learning.” My hope is that he can continue to beef up this ability as he moves into the choppy social waters of middle and high school, where I think it will be vital.

So here’s two images – they may at 1st appear to err on more entertaining than representative – one could be misconstrued to be a private school student; the other a budding surfer dude (from Nov 2010). But I see the way he peers deeply into things rather than a boy in a tie, and the way he keeps a bit of a distance via the big shades. All in all, he is blessed with talents and verve, and we are blessed that he has the luxury of time and many treasures to help chart out path ahead.

US-2011-Atlanta-AvaCommunion-110507-94-1200px  US-2010-Bahamas-GoldClub-101115-186-1200px

All Dressed Up, © 2011; Hitting the Surf, © 2010, Abe Pachikara (Click for larger images)