Thursday, January 21, 2016

When your child is not talking

“Beta! You are whose son…..?” My most asked question to my son..
“I am Mamma’s son.”
In few mins, if his Dad asks, “Betu! You are whose son….?”
“I am Papa’s son.”

My poor lad! Probably, he gets soo irritated answering the same question so many times in a day! But does he understand how divine it is to listen to his voice, as if every word is a pearl for me, which I want to preserve carefully in a deep corner of my heart.

When a mother gives birth to a baby, the bliss which can be seen on the faces of the parents at that very moment, isn’t it simply impossible to express in words?  Yes! A baby is just a precious gift of God to any couple.

A baby is just a precious gift of God to any couple. Click to tweet

Tweet: A baby is just a precious gift of God to any couple. #parenting

The baby grows amidst the love and cuddling of the loved ones….one day parents would be excited to see his minuscule white teeth, crawling and falling his way upright, gradually his tiny feet start walking one by one step, then run like a drunkard, two tiny hands will start pulling your hair….little fingers start exploring the wonders relentlessly…. But what, if your kid is not speaking even though he is old enough to talk by his age? 

It is the every parent’s core desire to hear their toddler utter his first word. The problem of delayed speech has become quite common these days. It may be because of increasing nuclear family, inter-language marriage, cosmopolitan society, lack of parent’s time etc. I too faced the same problem. My son started talking at the age of around 3.5 yrs. I thought of writing this piece as I was talking to couple of my colleagues and peers, and found out that many of them are facing the same problem. Some of them are upset, some are consulting with speech therapists and some are even getting suggestion of approaching Spastic school…. I am not a specialist, nor an expert, but here is my opinion with my limited experience and knowledge.

What I think, in this kind of situation, inspite of getting too upset about the issue, parents should try to solve the issue with patience. But, at the same time, the issue should not be taken casually too.

Well! Experts believe that babies who talk late are able to catch up sentences and words faster in comparison to others. Many specialists say that late talkers are more intelligent and keen observer than the early talkers. So, nothing to worry much!

My first few recommendations:
  • Don’t pay much attention what other children of his age do. Every child is different.
  • Don’t take to your heart if your parents/ parent-in-law/ kith n kin/ neighbors blame you for not giving enough attention to your child.
  • Before you decide to visit some speech therapist, you should update yourself with some facts like what is believed to be normal and when it is the right time to approach a specialist.

So, what are the major reasons accountable for speech delay?
  • Boys : Boys generally speak late as compared to baby girls.
  • Premature baby: Babies who are premature, may take time not only in talking, but also in all kind of activities like walking, understanding etc.
  • Twins: Twins generally start talking late as compared to other babies.
  • Talkative elder sibling: Toddlers may speak late if the elder sibling is quite talkative.
  • Infection in the ear: If your kid suffered from some kind of ear infection at a very young age, then there may be chances of late talking.
  • Attention focus: If your child does all activities normally, except speaking, may be his attention is getting distracted by other activities.

What is normal and what is abnormal?

Being parents, you will realize first if there is any abnormality in your child.

Normally, most of the kids start speaking few words when they are a year old and word combinations at around 2 years. But, you cannot say that your toddler has some speech problem if he has not started talking till two or three years of age. If your child’s hearing capacity is fine, and can make little gestures and also follow your instructions, then be sure that you won’t have worry much. In these circumstances, as parents, you should devote time to your kid and make him repeat whatever you have said, and pressurize him to speak, for example, don’t give his favourite thing till he ask verbally. The child does not feel necessary to talk if he gets whatever he wants, just by showing gestures.

But, if your child is not responding to you, have thoughtful behavior, blank look, runs round and round and jump continuously for long time, not pointing out anything, then you should approach a pediatrician immediately for guidance.  

What can you do if your baby has not started talking yet?
  • Taking some time out from your schedule for your toddler. Take him to the park, outing, show him different stuff, give reasoning, explain though you may not get any response immediately. But be sure, and you will get the proof that he was understanding, when after one or two years down the line he would refer the same thing in front of you.
  • Spend some money, buy some puzzles, or different kinds of games, play with your kid and make attempts to make him speak.
  • Check properly whether there is any kind of language problem or ear infection that your baby has.
  • Try to develop your toddler’s interest in singing and sing along with him.
  • Allow your child to play with his friends alone, let him mingle with them. That way, he will indirectly build his confidence level.
  • Toy phones are another useful way of encouraging your kid to speak. 
  • Don’t ask many questions while encouraging your baby to talk as the child may get a little irritated and may even stop making an effort altogether.
  • Allow your kids to watch some particular cartoon programs. Later, take him to the shops to buy some merchandise related to that cartoon program. Besides, increase the volume of television while watching Cartoons so that he can listen to the words along with action of the characters. Ofcourse, too much of television always proves to be harmful for your toddler.

Many children experience speech problem in the initial stages, but after a period of time they speak fluently. So, not to worry much, except trying to analyze and understand the reasons behind, and take proper measures.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Runaway bride took my boyfriend along...

 It was my sis’ wedding! I was damn excited….

Last few weeks before marriage, I kept visiting Fancy Bazaar regularly after class. Jyotirmoy  helped me a lot in choosing and buying my stuff, though bargaining was my own responsibility.  Thanks to my dear father for sending me couple of thousands for buying some Assam silk mekhela sadar.  

I bought one mekhela sadar set for the Wedding day, which was Navy blue with big golden polka all over. “It’s your marriage or Sis’ marriage?” Jyotirmoy kept teasing me all the time…. I bought this set, because Navy blue was Jyotirmoy’s favourite colour.  It’s been just few months, we had been going around. Shopping was a kind of dating for us. We would shop, walk till Naak kota pukhuri, eat chowmin and then catch the bus, and go back to the university hostel. I bought one simple Muga silk mekhela Sadar set too for the Juron. To match with both the dress, I had to buy lots of jewelries,  like matching bangles, necklace, finger rings, earrings, bindies…and for make-up …nail polish, blusher, eye-shadows…what not!!!  After all, I was the Bride’s one and only sister!

I called up my sister so many times if she needed anything, but always she said, “No!”…as if she was not excited at all to marry.  I didn’t see any enthusiasm in her talks… I knew that she had a boyfriend for many years, but as the guy was from different caste and had no decent source of income, my parents did not accept that relation. She fought for sometime with parents, but at last she gave up and agreed to marry this guy who was engineer in ONGC.

I reached home three days before wedding. Tent work was almost over. Mandap for Choklong* and pavilion for the bride for the reception was yet to be made. I took initiative of choosing flowers for those space. 

But, what I observed that there was no bridal charm reflecting in my sis' face. I tried to talk to her, understand why she was soo upset, though I was four years younger to her. She just cried in front of me at night, saying she did not want to get married. I infact scolded her if she was not ready for the marriage, why she said “Yes” to our parents, and now we had come to such a stage that we could not go back. 

All relatives started coming from near and far. I could see my sis smiling a bit, which made me a bit relaxed.

Juron* came next day morning, at around 10 am. It was an awesome Juron….Eleven beautiful Assam Silk and Muga Silk Mekhela Sadar, two gold ornament set, one silver set, twelve gold bangles, five beautiful gold finger rings….The juron awestruck all our relatives….everyone started saying, “Runu, you are sooo lucky, going to such a rich family….” But, I still could not see any excitement in her expression, though she tried to smile in front of everyone. 

In the evening, there was a musical celebration along with “Murot Tel dia” ritual. When the dusk came, the ladies went to collect water from the nearby river to bathe the bride. I had to hold the main water vessel. All ladies kept singing biya naam (wedding song) all the way….

We came back, two aunts went inside the house to take my sister out to the place where there was a small mandap, made of banana stem for bathing ritual. 

We kept waiting for half an hour… hands were aching, holding the vessel. I was not allowed to put it down. Some ladies got irritated…..

“Runu is not at home…….” One aunt came running……

“What???” All got horrified…..some got amused too ofcourse…..

I understood what might happened……I just wished her safety silently…..All guys started searching her here and there…..It was already dark. Some searched in the nearby well, some went to search in the pond….Number of Torch became uncountable….

Mom almost fainted……..Dad was crying whom I knew as a strong man……I just silently went to the room and started crying putting my head down on the bed……..

Few hours passed. 

Two of my aunts came to my room and just sat beside me. 

“It’s the matter of prestige of two families now...” One aunt initiated…

“Pradip saw Runu and a guy together getting into a bus in the mainroad. She eloped….She destroyed all your family’s reputation.”

“Your uncle informed the groom's family about the incident…..They are shattered…..”

“After a long conversation, they are proposing one solution…..If you agree…….They saw you in the Juron…..”

“What????” I was shocked….My head was spinning……

“Cool down Junu….you are matured enough……you understand everything…..Think about your parent’s condition…..You can somehow manage till some extent….” Another aunt said.

Mom, Dad and Uncle entered my room after sometime…..

Mom was still crying loud…..Dad too was crying…sat on the floor near me on his knees…

“She already cut my nose….You are the last hope, my love, please keep my prestige..….” My Dad’s cry became loud and louder….

All eyes were looking at me…….Jyotirmoy’s smiling face came to my front as hallucination……as if saying, “You will look extremely charming in the Navy blue Mekhela Sadar on your Wedding day!”

* Juron : A ritual when Groom's family comes to gift the Bride, before wedding, generally, one day before the D-day.
* Choklong: The main ritual of  exchanging vows, specially for Ahom dynasty.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Magha Bihu Bhelaghar

Endless stretch of paddy fields. The pleasant sound of Dheki all around…. the distant beats of the Dhol and the miraculous smell of Smoke from every kitchen with the aroma of Til pitha, Tel pitha, Loskora….Aah! What a mesmerizing atmosphere was that just in the eve of the Bhugali bihu….

We all kids used to be so excited to build the Bhelaghar (straw hut) and Meji (woodlogs for morning bonfire to worship Sun)…..Pick the straw with little hands to help our uncles in putting up the Bhelaghar, gather wood logs for bonfire. All boys would accumulate to do a deep discussion from where to steal chicken, duck or wood logs or dry sticks…..Some would be busy in fishing to catch the best fishes for the Bhuj (feast)…

All ladies would be busy in making all arrangement for the evening…..They had to prepare the pitha (Assamese sweets) and jolpaan for the next day too….

With the motion of the sun, the movement of the hands and feet of all villagers used to be faster, so as our excitement…. Bonfire would be lit as soon as the sun would dive down in the distant horizon….. And an informal cultural evening would start with the dusk when darkness and cold breeze would start engulfing, frosty dew drops start falling ….some would sing lukogeet (folksong)…some would sing Aadhunik geet (modern song)….some would help the singers to keep the beat with tabla, some would help in twirling the songs into enthralling ones, resonating the Tukari (a musical instrument made of bottle gourd) ....Some would dance with the rhythm around the bonfire…..

You will get to hear some echoing Uki (Some shouts in happiness) from distance….which would come rolling over the air….which are the signs of celebration, happiness……

Now, may be most of the forests, paddy fields are replaced with the buildings and flats, but can the spirit of celebrating Magha Bihu be taken away by modernity totally…? 

Here are the answers, few Bhelaghar of this and recent years.. :

Courtesy: Dikshita Amit Gupta

Courtesy: Dikshita Amit Gupta

Courtesy : Dhiraj Bhuyan


Courtesy: Telegraph


Courtesy :

Courtesy : Dhiraj Bhuyan

So, HAPPY BHUGALI BIHU to everyone!!! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My Love at First Sight in the dark

“Are you Amrita, by any chance?”  A voice from behind.

I turned. I could not recognize the person. Plumpy face with mustache, about 6 feet tall, bulging belly, but on decent attire.

“Yes, but… I….am sorry….do I know you?” I had to ask, wondering who recognized me amidst the busy exhibition, while I am not a celebrity.

“I am Geerin. Geerin Baruah. I think you forgot me….I am from Bokota…”

“Bokota?” An uncontrollable magnetic word was this to pull me towards him. It's my Grandparent's native place…I put stress on my head, tried to recall the name “Geerin”…Have I ever heard this name?

“We met in your youngest uncle’s marriage, at least 20 years back.”

Few pictures flashed in my mind instantly…..and the song of S.P. Balasubramanium “Kaat ke ungli kalam banau…dil ke lahu se likh du….love letter…love letter….” started buzzing loud on my ears….. Yes! I was in Class IX that time, when I fell in love for the first time with a guy who was doing a break dance like Mithun Chakraborty in the dark, in this song, during midnight. A slim physic with almost 6 feet height, making lovely dance steps with attitude. I did not know his name, but I expressed my feeling for the guy in front of my friend, Reena from that village. Reena told me that she too did not know his name, but his name was some “green”…..and then we started referring this guy as “Shyamal” (Shyamal means green in Assamese). My eyes kept looking for the guy next few days during and after marriage of uncle. I could not meet him, talk to him personally, but I carried his memory along and kept a dormant desire to meet him again.   

“Reena told me that you are in Delhi.” His words pulled me back to the reality.

“Did you dance in S.P. Bala’s song that day?” I could not help putting this direct question to clarify.

“Yes….” His face blushed with shyness.

Oh! My God! He was my 'Shyamal'.....who stole my heart for the first time in my life....I swear, my breath caught, as if my head swooned, and probably, we both knew that this was something more than a passing fling....

“I searched you so much to get introduced with you after that…” I expressed my desire to meet him.

“I had to leave for Dibrugarh next day for some family emergency….. and you know what? I too wanted to meet you……but did not have courage to approach you. Infact, I went to your home too, making a good relation with your uncle. But, you were in the hostel those days…”

“Oh….I missed it…” I could not control my mouth.

“Can I have your mobile number? Will you mind if I whatsapp you?”

“Hey! I will be more than happy to receive your message….”

I was almost giving my number to him, then only just heard, “Mamma!!! Look what I got …..” Suddenly, my daughter came running…..My husband was walking just behind her….. I introduced my husband to him…they talked for a while.  A confused feeling caught my mind, what should I do, would it be good to give Geerin my mobile number…allow him to get in touch with me through Whatsapp.

We said “Bye” to him in few minutes without giving him my phone number. He too did not ask again……

Just from far behind, I looked back at him secretly…..his eyes were still on us…..

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