Jahan gham bhee na hoN aasuN bhee na hoN bas pyar hi pyar pale

Aasim was a few months old and I use to sing to him so that he could sleep. Yes back then, I could sing. He would watch me sing with this toy in his hand, and with the gentle rocking of his swing, he would fall asleep.

This was his favourite song back then.

Aa chal ke tujhe main le ke chaluN ek aise gagan ke tale
jahaN gham bhee na hoN aasuN bhee na hoN bas pyar hi pyar pale.

On his 19th birthday today, my wish for him is that his world be filled with happiness always.

Kabhi dhoop khile, kabhi chhon mile
lambi si dagar na khale
jahan gham bhee na hoon aason bhee na hon
bas pyar hi pyar pale.

Happy 19th, betu.

Another milestone reached. Aasim leaves for Drexel tonight

For all these years we have been preparing ourselves for this day. The day when Aasim will leave for the US for his undergraduate studies. He has secured an admission in Drexel University, Philadelphia, with a decent scholarship and will be attending the Close School of Entrepreneurship. He is flying to the US directly from Nagpur tonight, thanks to Qatar Airways flight via Doha.

There is excitement, and anxiety but also a reassurance that he will do well for himself. Being in Pune for the last two years has taught him vital lessons in survival though by no means all the life lessons. Those he will learn as he grows and grows up. While a parent can not stop being a parent ever, as parents, a major part of “upbringing a child” for us is over. We now have to take a backseat and just be there for him whenever he wants us. We too are preparing ourselves for this role.

So here’s to the future. Aasim’s and ours. Cheers!

From a boy to a man. Aasim graduates from UWC Mahindra College

Two years back, in August 2014, we sent our boy, Aasim to a UWC. Two days back, on May 21, 2016, he completed his IB and graduated from MUWCI (United World College, Mahindra College, India).

Aasim at MUWCI August, 2014
Aasim at MUWCI: August 2014

While we saw him changing during his time at MUWCI, and we had expected that he would, it was a pleasure watching him interact with his peers and teachers as a grown up. We sent a boy to this school, and he returned to us as an educated man.  A man who aspires to make a difference to the world we live in,  a man who perhaps may.

Aasim graduates from MUWCI
Aasim graduates from MUWCI

As parents, we will always dote on him, and fuss about him because he will always be our little kid. But the world he is going to step into, he won’t be a kid, and as an adult, we feel reasonably sure that he is ready to face the challenges that life would throw at him.

The graduation ceremony was a beautifully and thoughtfully organised. The performances by the students moved us as did the speeches given at the occasion. Aasim was the first in line to get his certificate. Here’s a short video that I took.

Here’s Aasim with his friends Pulkit, and Saket. It seems only Pulkit (kind of) knows where the camera is 😀

Saket, Aasim and Pulkit
Saket, Aasim, and Pulkit

 

Aasim is 18

It has been 18 years  – I look back and remember the day when the tiny bundle of joy had finally arrived. Since this wasn’t a child who cried too much I can’t say wailing, screaming bundle, but a bundle of joy nevertheless.  Although like most new borns, he did keep us awake at night – when the world slept, and I could barely keep my eyes open, this little one wanted to play. So it wasn’t a surprise when as a teenager he preferred working/studying at night instead of day time.

Aasim is 18 today and has stepped into adulthood. While I was going through the pictures to make this photo collage and had no idea how much time I spent doing it,  I felt the time was frozen. In Aasim’s words, when he was ten,  “the clock was randomly browsing through time”

Happy birthday, betu. You are an adult today but for me you will always be my little baby.  I love you.

Aasim turns 18
Aasim turns 18

Aasim leaves for MUWCI

Aasim with our kitten, Bilau
Aasim with our kitten, Bilau

Packing is done, and Aasim is finally flying out of the nest and he is excited about the new world awaiting him. A world where he will be part of an international community, people from over 60 countries will study, work and do projects together. It’s a dream come true for him, and for us.

About a year and half back, when we learnt about the United World Colleges (UWC), we were not sure if Aasim will be able to meet the challenges that are required to be met to become a student of one of the 14 UWCs. The more research he did, the more the prospect of being a student of a UWC excited him and finally we procured the form from the Indian National Committee in Sept 2013

The form among other things, required him to answer eight questions, and some of them were quite difficult even for an adult to answer. However, when I finally saw his answers I was impressed with the maturity and clarity of his thoughts. I felt he does have a chance.

The form was submitted, and we planned to visit the Mahindra United World College, which was his first choice among the United World Colleges across the world (his other choices were UWC Pearson College, Canada and UWC Adriatic, Italy). The visit to MUWCI made him, and us feel that this is the place where he truly belongs. Not only did he feel comfortable with the place, he met other students (and teachers) who he felt at ease with, and completely at home.

IB is a very tough syllabus and the way it is dealt with at UWCs makes it even tougher. Aasim got through the first screening (application form) and was selected for the second stage; a 24 hour interview camp. This one was going to be tougher, we knew, and it was, but he got through and was selected to be a student at the United World College Mahindra College, MUWCI for short.

The excitement of being selected at one of the best colleges in the world abated and a long wait began. He enjoyed his summer holidays and prepared himself to join the college. Tomorrow is that day for him. At MUWCI, a new life awaits him.

I am very proud of him. We brought him up to be an independent person and a world citizen, and at MUWCI, he will have opportunities that he can use to do things that truly matter.

He is going to fly, and fly high!

As 2013 comes to an end

The year started and just whizzed by, not even giving me a few moments to pause and ponder. What did I do new this year? Nothing remarkable…. started several things and left them midway…

Lost one of my best friends to cancer and there is nothing and no one to fill that void. Miss you so much, Old Man, and I am sure I am not the only one. Atul, you meant much more to me than I ever admitted.

It is still difficult for me to believe that Atul is no longer going to be a comforting online presence; even as I struggle to accept that he is not there, another friend, who was just getting close  after several years of not being in communication had a fatal fall. You were a beautiful person, Kavita I wish we had more time to know you closely. I will always miss that friendship that never blossomed completely.

Just after Christmas, I got one more blow.  A man who was larger than life itself passed away. A well wisher, and an extremely talented actor, Farouque Saheb was one of the most down to earth person I have ever interacted with. I will miss his occasional phone calls and messages…

Life has its own ways… and while I am alive, I  must live my life to its fullest and on my own terms. People who are gone would not wish any less, I am sure, because each one of them lived their life on their own terms.

2013 also saw Aasim turn 16, an important milestone in his life; he gave his IGCSE this year and is growing up to become a fine man. I feel proud to be his mother. Next year he will be away from home, staying in a hostel for continuation of his education. Though as parents we feel we have equipped him to be on his own, somewhere there is a string that tugs… I guess that will always be there. It’s an emotional bond and I wish it stays that way.

Things changed a bit on work front, we  have a talented and much stronger team and a few products to be proud of. SANIsoft is embarking on new growth path and we are determined to take it to new heights.

I don’t know what 2014 will bring, as I write this I remember a very old and beloved friend who loved to say and sing Que Sera Sera… whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours to see.

 

Aasim’s farewell address

Aasim finished his IGCSE exams yesterday and is looking forward to the long break (during which he has planned many activities).

He gave an impromptu farewell speech as the class valedictorian. A speech that makes me very proud.