Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The joy of real togetherness!

“Part of the problem with the word 'disabilities' is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can't feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren't able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.” - Fred Rogers

 In a society, where technology rules most households and daily schedules are demarcated by minutes instead of hours, many of them complain about stress, lack of family togetherness and leisure time. In most households, parents work full time, so are busy throughout the week and children are too busy with school work and extracurricular classes. Some children hop from one tuition to  another leaving maybe weekends to connect with the family. 
The little free time that most families get is spent in front of TV, or on other gadgets like laptops, palmtops, phone etc… With all these they are not still relaxing but engaged in a cognitive process. People can wile away time in front of TV and still not come relaxed due to the constant flash of images, storing information, about the characters in the serial drama, movies, plots, themes , news etc. Even connecting with fellow humans is through digital world in the form of whatsapp, skype, facetime and emoticons etc. No wonder there is a lack of real communication, relationships, people feel more stressed, are always busy, pine for leisure time  and lifestyle diseases are on the rise.

“Real togetherness” to me is not while we are connected through digital world where we exchange emoticons and feel like robots,  but while each one of us connect in person, ,share our feelings,  communicate and feel our relationships through our senses. Communicating  face to face, playing interactive games offline, division of family labor like doing simple chores like cooking, cleaning, eating together, family outings like shopping,  going on nature trails have cathartic effect on us and brings a family  or a community together. It relaxes and brings out our senses and emotions to the fore and works like a security blanket is what i feel.

For instance, going outdoors into a lawn or a nature walk will give an opportunity to breathe in fresh air and experience life outside the technological world. It gets our limbs into exercise in a fun way.

The nature walk need not be a complicated one to a faraway forest reserve or waterfall and can be a simple one with a walk into your nearby wooded neighborhood park or if time permits to a wooded getaway or a farm  nearby. It would be interesting with so much to observe, explore and even record. If we are accompanied with kids, it would be a pleasure to see them use their senses and limbs. They will be able to hear, smell, feel and see things  in real, all they have seen in digital world. Imagine a child chasing a colorful butterfly, smelling the dewy grass, running their fingers over the mossy carpet of green growth, climbing trees, lazing under the canopy of a tree and weaving their dreams, watching the different shapes, textures and colors in front of their eyes. And if we are still, we get to hear and see wonderful sights and sounds in nature.

Nature walks, apart from bringing the family together helps develop a keener sense of observation in kids. It makes them inquisitive and helps them to communicate better and question the natural happenings. Their eyes get exposed to the beauty and helps bring out the creativity in them by expressing their thoughts through sketching, painting, writing etc. Apart from learning and having fun, nature walks with family helps bond with the family as a unit and helps build life skills by keeping close to the family and not wandering away, following simple rules laid by the parents, being responsible, exploring their skills by observations, simple survival skills, helping, trust building, problem solving if need be.

Walking together, touching and laughing together, having fun observing the kids so immersed in the above activities during nature walk like chasing a colorful butterfly , climbing trees etc, ,…it  would be a pleasure to see , feel  and experience all this. This is my idea of “real togetherness” with family.

Or even if this is not possible where time crunch and traffic snarls put off most outings, then bringing nature into home is another idea of “real togetherness”. At a time, when space is a premium and “lung spaces” are not around our vicinity and if we live in apartments then nature walks nearby could be a luxury.

We can still build our own mini, micro or nano gardens in our balcony or window sill. We can grow small plants , micro greens in butter tubs, biscuit tins and involve our children too which helps form bonds and relationships with the plants and experience all sorts of emotions and builds values. These little green journeys apart from bringing the family togetherness are nothing short of sensory carnivals.

Mixing and potting the soil together, sowing seeds, identifying them, watering them and watching the growth together as a family while having evening snacks or tea around the little nano garden brings a family together.


Also during morning times, the stillness of the early morning would enable to take in the glimpses of enchantment and enjoy the little things like the morning sunlight filtering through the dew that lingers, the small seed that you sowed the other day which starts to germinate with a promise,  the little insects like ants, bees, beetles which are at work, the ethereal scents of the plants which seem more generous in offering topics for conversation in the family and  they super charge you to handle the challenges of the day.

These are a few simple costless acts which can help build “real togetherness” with family, connect with nature and break us from getting addicted to the digital world. 

                                             (organic tomatoes from my  balcony garden) 

Embedding a lovely video from Kissanpur, please don't miss the below video.



  1. I love your idea of nature walks. For us it is a visit to our farm with family and friends. It is a great way to connect with nature and each other. Also there's so much to observe and learn from the nature. The tomatoes are soooo wow!! (Y)

  2. Even the thought of walking in the farm with family and friends is so heartwarming,Great Shilpa!. Oh yes, nature is a great teacher. You liked them, the tomatoes? they tasted good too.. fruits of labour:)