Indian Son

My little guy is obsessed with India. He's always talking about the food he ate, the games he played, and (with some jealousy even writing this) his mom and dad. Oh yeah, and he had sister there also, but she was older than him so he didn't play with her too much. I love to listen to his stories, and while his made up details are fascinating, I'm always looking for ways to encourage his pursuit of knowledge. A few weeks ago, my husband's university sent a mock postcard advertising their study abroad program. The 'letter' was from a student studying in India and on the front of the postcard, the Taj Mahal. I called little guy over, told him a letter came to him from India and read off a message about how the weather is good and they hope to see him soon (sneaky...I know). He was so happy and it reminded me of the joy I experienced receiving a letter from my own, short lived, penpal (the letters, not the penpal. As far as I know, she's fine) in elementary school. So after some research, I discovered the Pen Pal Kids Club, an online membership community that brings kids from around the world together to play interactive games, learn about each other's culture and, of course, be pen pals. It's boasted as the "safe social network for kids around the world" and has measures in place to ensure the security of kids, though it should go without saying that parental supervision is still highly recommended. The online reviews are all positive, but they were also written around the same time which screams 'sponsored post.'* Although with a free 30 day trial period, it's worth taking a look around. One of my greatest joys of living in NYC is that for any little interest one may have, there is undoubtedly a community for it. And for my little man there is Jackson Heights, or more lovingly, Little India. Restaurants, parades, shops and jalabi! Plus, come October, one of the biggest Diwali festivals in the city. It's a trek for us to cross the Brooklyn-Queens divide, but, lucky for him, when we do it is an all day event. About two weeks ago, we visited the Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi 1707-1857 exhibit at Asia Society, and although he was inquisitive through the museum, it was obvious he would much rather be getting his hands dirty. So, the moment we walked through the doors of the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea, little guy was in love. Yeah, there are 9th century scrolls and sculptures, but more importantly, Superheroes! Tibetan superhero comic strips to be more precise. And while the distinction between India and Tibet is something that he'll learn soon enough, through his eyes, the Tibetan Green Lama was amazing and just like him, Indian. The Rubin also has an art workshop space with paper making, storytelling and drum classes that end with breathing exercises. Little guy's interest in India has sparked a quest to discover more and to capture as much information for him until he moves onto the next hobby. And I suppose that's the greatest joy, to learn along with him. I am forever indebted to his inquisitive mind. At the planetary level, his interest in India has sparked a renewed sense of global citizenry. And at the atomic level, I have discovered JFK Indian Instant Coffee. Om mani pade hum.... *This is not a sponsored post.