Visa, Stickers and Other Matters of the Soul, a parenting memoir by Lom Harshini Chauhan, could be a story like any other, which speaks of pleasures and problems of parenting, and everydays that come and go, only that it isn’t! What makes it stand out is how the exigencies of a global parent, in this time and age, are not the potential of what is outside, but what is inside. For her, her daughter, and the world at large.
The story centres on Lom, her young daughter Kyra, and their journey in life, as one discovers parenthood, and the other – the world itself.
Lom draws heavy inspiration from her Alma mater days, and her Guru, whom she endearingly calls Master through the book, while she is figuring out how to bring up Kyra, as their Indian roots, culture and spirituality is at bay in their atheist neighborhood.
She lets us see how the fears of relieving your kid of her fears, is fearsome enough. She addresses us the one issue all of us face, parent or otherwise: ‘Am I doing it right?’ ‘Is it good enough?’ How kids could tell the ‘darnedest things’ (as Lom puts it), and make you marvel at its sheer profundity. How a(ny) Master’s unconditional love, a love beyond all the rules that the world expects you to follow, would be a constant succor. How brotherly/ sisterly love exists irrespective of varying years and age, when they are deep-rooted in the universality of human values.
When Lom puts her Rajput ancestry to use, to thwart little Kyra’s fears, she lets us see how belonging to a place or people, could be liberating in an affirming way, without any trace of bigotry.
Also, interwoven with doses of humor, this book had me laugh at Kyra’s adventures with understanding herself, and the ways of the world. The pristine, candid emotions of young Kyra, as she comes face to face with love, her perplexity, her empathy to the boy in 5 rupees, a Tamil short film video, made me relate to her much more.
“Kyra, I too cried seeing the video. You and I aren’t much different” was what I wanted to say to her, or to Lom at some other times.
Therein lies the beauty of its universality. Even as a non-parent (for want of a better word), I resonated with the words as they made my eyelid dance.
As Lom seeks inner guidance, and finds her stride in her cosmic connectivity, one can find young Kyra joining in, and finding her peace with the approach.
How a child learns from a mother, and a mother from the child. How obstacles, trials and errors are not just a part of life, but a learning path to life. How ‘inter-faith’ learning helps us see their underlying oneness. And as all the stories and sub-stories take us on a ferry wheel ride, we would see how life too keeps us in good humor with its jocular moments, weirdly wired musings, labyrinth of myriad questions, the humanness of it all, and much more, giving us a ride of its own. Through Lom’s story, we would also see the one thing that keeps us grounded always: FAITH, and what it does when we hold onto it.
For that Lom. Hear! Hear! 🙂
Happy parenting, and happy learning folks. Be well!
Go on then, grab your copy 🙂