Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cloud tea to the rescue...??

Bangalore has been experiencing change in weather conditions owing to the on-and- off monsoon this year. We all know what a weather change heralds for a household with kids..... don’t we? Abhay has been down with throat infection and has been at home the whole of last week that in turn had our schedules turned upside down!! Of course, kids choose to fall sick during the only week you can't work from home (as was the case with my husband) or have Court work every single day of the week ( as was the case with me!) We do have Abhay’s paternal grandparents at home ... so why are we complaining... ?? Simply because no one can get Abhay to have his medicines except his mom and dad!!! If there's one thing at which his maternal grandparents (who are otherwise quite persistent) have conceded defeat, it is in the task of getting Abhay to gulp down the anti-biotic, in whatever form! Of course, not that we are Subject matter experts..... but as parents, we have no one to pass the buck over to!! So by hook or crook, by threat or bribery, by fair means or foul, we had to ensure the pink liquid's passage into his tummy and also see to its retention! Even during exams, I hadn't been  as tensed as I was while handing over 4 ml of antibiotic syrup to Abhay and waiting with bated breadth for our not-so-little one to sip the same bit by bit over the following one hour as rushing him into a "bottoms up" will only yield in him throwing up in the same breadth!:-) So mid way, along with a course of antibiotics and paracetamol,  you can imagine how despondent the situation got when the Doctor also prescribed an additional cough syrup!!!! I almost wished that I hadn't gone the doctor for a follow-up check-up and instead should have let him cough his way to recovery!:-)

Reading is one of the best things you can do to cheer your little one on a sick day..or days.  I was looking for books on coaxing my little one into taking medicines without a fuss, but couldn't find one. So we first read a Charlie and Lola 's "I am really ever so not well" by Lauren Child. Lola is down with cold and flu and  Charlie reluctantly tries to cheer her up while waiting for his friend Marv's phone call  to go a football match with him. Finally when the phone calll does come, Charlie discovers that he has caught his sister's cold, making him feel "so not well" too! 
We read another book that has a young girl trying hard to save her mother as she falls ill.  "Cloud tea Monkeys"  - Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham and illustrated by Alan Marks is a book I have been wanting to read ever since we participated in friend and fellow blogger Bubbleink's picture book treasure hunt

This is the story of Shenaz whose mother works for a tea plantation in the hills. Shenaz accompanies her mother to the plantation everyday where her mother picks tea leaves along with other tea workers under the hawk eyed supervision of the Overseer. Shenaz sits in her usual  place, where endless rows of tea bushes appear broken by a jumble of rocks out of which a tree stands and spills shadow onto the ground. She is not alone but enjoys the company of a herd of monkeys headed by their lead monkey Rajah who all form an integral part of her daily routine at the plantation. One day, Shenaz wakes up to find her mother ill and not able work anymore. Shenaz then decides to work at the plantation in her place and drags the basket that is bigger than her onto the path leading up to the plantation. As she accompanies her aunt Shami, she is terrified of the Overseer who ridicules Shenaz and kicks her basket. Shenaz drags her empty basket to her usual spot and pours her heart out to Rajah when suddenly all the adult monkeys pull her basket and climb up the mountain moving high up almost into the clouds. As she wakes up from her nap,  she is surprised to see her basket full of tea leaves that are the colours of emeralds with tiny droplets of due sprinkled on them making the basket seem full of green light and give out a rich sweet perfume. When Shenaz brings the basket to  the Overseer's station, she finds a purple shaded chair tent - and out steps the Royal tea taster who's wrapped in a silver coat and a blue turban, with a white moustache and a nose shaped like an eagle's beak. He  visits the farm to scout for the best tea for the Empress. The tea taster is unimpressed with all baskets in the farm, but he is amazed to see what Shenaz has to offer ...cloud tea that is so hard to find and pick as it grows so high up in the mountains that its almost near the clouds.  Does Shenaz manage to impress the Royal tea taster ? Does Shenaz help her mother get well? Read on as you learn in the end that there are only three people in the world who drink cloud tea. One of them is a small woman called the Empress of all the Known World and Bits that have not been discovered yet and the other two are retired tea picker and her daughter who live in village at the foot of the mountain whose top is lost in clouds. We loved the mystery and setting of a faraway land and the perceptive  portrayal of the helplessness of young girl trying to take on adult-like responsibilities which she handles in a child-like manner and courage! Brilliantly written and illustrated, this book is truly a master piece and a must read for young  readers! If not the antibiotic.....at least Abhay took in cloud tea.....  most eagerly and wanted more of it! :-) 

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