Rocking her baby, bogged down by the opinion of nay-sayers around and about her, her gaze traversed the window. She saw another woman donning the hat of an “equal breadwinner” for her family and making her stride into the world. She thought “I wish I was in her shoes”
Marching ahead towards her awaiting deadlines and agendas as her heart was crushing hard under the gloom she was carrying. “Not a mother yet” pricked through her heart. She rolled down the windowpane as she saw a kid jumping in muddy puddles with glee as the mother looked on with joy. She thought “I wish I was in her shoes”.
The happiness of the kid was short-lived as his father reprimanded him for being a mess. As the kid was being dictated by commandments of DOs & DON’Ts that sad face rolled to the other side and saw a rich man surrounded by a brigade of servants and only his say mattered. The kid thought “I wish I was in his shoes”.
The rich man as he awaited for his vehicle to arrive saw a young man riding a bike with his guitar hung across his back. It reminded him of his lost love in the depths of oblivion while he chased new heights tirelessly. The rich man thought “I wish I was in his shoes”.
The young man whose struggles have just begun in the pursuit of his passion pondering over his future probabilities and possibilities felt the heat of venturing out in the tricky, tough and often merciless stage called the world. He stopped by a house to ask for a glass of water. A lady came out with her baby in her arms and it reminded the young man of what a safe haven home is. Looking at the baby, the young man thought “I wish I was in his shoes”.
And the baby in the arms of the mother who was sleeping blissfully smiled in his sleep…
This is a simplistic view of how we perceive and look at the world. Deep down in our hearts, we are convinced that others are happier than us. Our eyes are open to looking at the merrier view and our shallow wisdom restricts our capability to even conceive the thought that every story has a different background and narration. As we grow up, horizons of our intelligence definitely expand but wisdom is seldom not proportionate to our age. It is like a beautiful cover page of a magazine that attracts our attention, mesmerized by the gloss and the colour we instantly forget that it’s a collaborative effort of many technicians and technicalities. About the physical, emotional, mental stress people might undergo in the process is not even a distant thought in our thoughts, for we are takers of only happy faces. And not to mention that our obsession with those pretty faces is so much that we start to loathe our reality – a harbinger for unhappiness, think about it !!
Husband (looking into the mirror): Honey!!! Honey!!!
The wife comes running from the balcony with a phone in her hand. “Why are you screaming dear? You just spoiled my reel!! What on earth made you scream your lungs out? It better be something that needs my attention.”
Husband: What do you mean by “your attention”. Look what happened to my trousers (pointed towards his trouser that was unevenly ripped only on the left and interestingly it’s not even denim but a regular formal one).
Wife: Oh that thing! I did it. You know my friend made a reel with her husband in a torn shirt and got over a million views. I want to make a better reel and surpass that number, that’s why this ( and she giggles leaving her husband bemused). Honey we need to make funny videos to keep our numbers ticking. We can’t just relax and let others take a lead.
Husband: Yeah funny, hmm. Why don’t you switch on the camera and say that you are Smart!! Funny isn’t it? (Left the room with wife smirking and getting busy with her camera)
Sarcasm and agony were written all over that husband’s face which was just a reflection of the restlessness of his wife – restless to make her presence felt on the social platform, restless for churning numbers of views and likes, restless for relevance in the context of trends.
I might have given a fictional account of a couple but the scenario isn’t fictional altogether. From vacation pictures of celebrities to absurd challenges; from transformation videos to derision of people in the name of comedy; from cringe like breaking out dancing in the middle of the street to being violent to random people – all in the wake of getting “Viral” and gaining attention. What started as harmless fun has now attained the status of more or less a gluttony that has messed badly with our brains, draining off sanity and peace leaving behind a worked and worn-out mind.
Get yourself some rest: Often we hear the term detoxify and the importance of cleansing one’s body. Very much needed indeed in the wake of the content we consume (like literally what goes in -what we eat) and our relatively less physically active lifestyles. But with our exposure to social media and its content, our brain too has consumption. Wanted – unwanted; sensitive – bizarre; informative – crazy – say it, have it. It’s a buffet out there. And the brain too gets tired of consuming tirelessly a plethora of junk. And from consumption to serving dishes we have completed a full circle. And the problem arises when the circumference of that circle enlarges. When we are on the consuming side we more often than not let our thoughts processes skew and let emotions embroil accordingly. Let’s go to the other side of the fence. Once a post is made, the next desire is to see it finding the reach – having clicks, views, likes, comments, shares, subscribers, followers, going viral. It’s a pretty much numbers game!! Pretty entangled. And when those expectations are not met we feel bad and rejected. We are in a self-doubting mode – was it good enough? Worse, many also go through existential crises as for them it’s about getting those impressions. We may accept it or not, our brains too need detoxification – a digital one. Our thoughts need a break from that constant worry of being able or not to impress others. Aimless wandering aiming for a set of benchmark numbers is an ailment for sure. Evading from the social scene from time to time is the best possible cure/ detoxification method. This is not a new thing that I am phrasing out here but definitely a less-trended path.
Few exercises (questions) we constantly need to do:
Does our private life need an audience every time?
If the answer is yes to the above question then are we ready to ably handle the unwanted commentary (not supporting it by any means)?
Why and how do opinions of strangers in the virtual world matter?
Are you sure that all the happy faces on the internet are happy in reality as well?
What if at this very moment “I forget my password for every social account of mine and there’s no possibility to retrieve the same for a long period”, will that affect my quality of life?
These questions from time to time will give a reality check. This is not bashing social media but a small attempt to bring to notice that conscious consumption/supply is of paramount importance. That lets the brain breathe and think. Our brain too deserves rest and it doesn’t mean completely devoid and deprived of thoughts/ ideas/ opinions but it means better utilization of it and not squandering it for trivial and unimportant things.
Sharing my experience: I am a politically center to right-aligned person. I was on Twitter where I thought I could speak my mind. But soon I found myself to be really affected by what others said. I rejoiced when I found the same voices, I disliked (always in the realm of cordial disagreement) the otherwise opinion (though pondering over arguments backed with strong reasoning and logic) and really hurt over crude comments that had the sole objective of abusing the people who don’t agree with their perspective. That left me thinking over and over, worried for some unexplained reasons. I was getting anxious and that was evident on my face. My husband intervened at right time. He said,” if you can’t remain level-headed and if social media debates are leaving you hassled, if words of unknown faces ring in your head, if you can’t see it as a way to pass of your time then you should better be off the wagon”. He was in a jovial mood when he said those things to me but I took it up as a piece of trial advice. Deleted my Twitter account, reduced my Facebook and Instagram engagement immediately. And to my surprise found myself lighter by many notches. My presence on social media wasn’t for the numbers yet it affected me as I was weak and let it do so. I always maintained and practiced – acceptance is the key!!
Be a Voice not noise: The point is how we create or consume content on social media. The presence of social media in our lives is nothing less than a boon where ideas, perspectives, creativity are given a buoyant push towards the public eye. But discretion is always necessary as to how the creators and the consumers behave. What we are experiencing now is a rush to be visible and seemingly relevant than actually making sense. This extreme pressure we are exerting on ourselves is making it a noise than a voice. Users’ discretion is so important, isn’t it?
Two days back at the time of dropping my daughter at school I had a brief conversation with her. She demanded extra biscuits and Yakult in her bag. When I asked the reason she said that her friends take all the snacks she takes to the school. She gets to eat from little to none. I told her though sharing is caring but she also must have her lunch. To this, she naively replied “Mom I know that but my friend Shalbi cries a lot and quite loud too. If I don’t give her Yakult she will continue crying and the teacher will punish her and I don’t want anyone to get punished, that’s why I make her drink my portion and anyways I have water with me”. On the same night as I was preparing my kids for sleep, I cuddled a bit with my son and went to my daughter. She asked if I was “Siddharth’s (my son) love of life”. To this I said yes and not only his but hers’s and their father’s too. She asked me “and what about yours, aren’t you love of your life? Everyone is the love of their own life”. I was amazed and amused at the fact how she is stating the more or less Crux of human life at such a tender age. What might have actually got into her thoughts and does she actually understand the deep meaning hidden in her innocent talks. She inspired me to think hard and given a perspective to work with. Yet I am confused shall I ask her to part away with her snacks or guard them? 😁
Though the above situations and the statements seem to be convoluted and opposing each other per se – self-love and sacrifice are parallels and don’t coincide. But that’s simply because our prism of looking and understanding things is quite micro where our definition of self-love is somehow confined to the concepts of comfort, luxury and hollow happiness. But isn’t the ultimate motive of self-love is attaining happiness and peace of mind? Unfortunately, we forgot about the ultimate while chasing the illusions.
Let’s dive a bit deeper: Human by nature have three inbuilt characteristic traits (Guna) and in the due course of life depending upon evolution, choices made, assimilation of knowledge – spiritually and otherwise these three traits can be arranged like a pyramid ascending which leads to the ultimate destination – self-awareness uniting the soul with the supreme power. Those three traits are –
Tamo Guna – Tamas means darkness. This trait in a human being is marked by laziness, lethargy and inactivity. If a person is inactive by the virtue of being a lazy person or by the fear of the result of activity there’s no way he can escape the darkness surrounding him and within him. It’s like sitting in a dark room and too afraid to move a finger lest it would get hurt in the darkness yet waiting for someone to switch on the light. Isn’t it foolishness? It can also be the different vices a man lets breed in him blinding him of his purpose in life both materialistic and spiritual. This is the lowest pedestal – thoughtlessness.
Rajo Guna – This represents the active nature of a man as in where he Acts. We are in a race, to secure a good life for our loved ones, for ourselves, to ensure the safety of family, to prosper, to succeed (definition varies for everyone), precisely we want nothing less than the world to ourselves. It isn’t bad because this drive is keeping the nations going. What else is an economy then if not billions of zealous people working to fulfil their dreams. This is a higher pedestal than the above-mentioned trait. This delivers results for there’s an action. But the problem isn’t with the action but the emotion driving it. When our actions are a result of insatiable hunger for power, money, fame, love (emotional bondage) often fueled by our egos, false pride, greed etc. our mind is a restless churning wheel of thoughts. Most of us are standing at this juncture reeking of agony, dissatisfaction, pain, chasing something unknown eluding us constantly– Full of Thoughts
Satva Guna – This is the zenith of the pyramid of human nature. Satva means good and pure. As the name itself suggests a person having this trait is in a frame of mind where the realisation actually dawns upon – our concoction has been done in his light – righteous, happy and peaceful. That’s the ultimate destination to be reached on this earth. It is earmarked by virtues like being able to part without clinging on to it, be one’s own company yet maintain the serenity of mind, unaffected by the praise or abuse (not getting carried away, levelheadedness), keeping the mind free of clusters of unnecessary thoughts – both good and bad (a state of neutrality and thankfulness), neither vying for recognition nor complaining about the lack of it. Reaching that pinnacle is the true meaning of Self Love (the state of nirguna the exact replica of the supreme power), a peaceful happy being, isn’t it? This is being thoughtful. When I said no thoughts, it doesn’t equate to the first stage of thoughtlessness. It means acting with an awakened consciousness and not thinking about the result later.
When a human is born these three traits are interwoven. As his journey begins the traits acquire the shape of a pyramid. Whether one reaches the pinnacle or not depends on the realisation and discourse one takes to attain the thoughtfulness yet debunking the clutter of unnecessary thoughts. Where do you stand – give it a thought!!
Have you ever left food on stove and forgot to turn off at the right time? I am sure not an alien situation. What happens then? Smoke all around, burnt food, burnt vessels, an uphill task of cleaning the mess and not to forget taunts / reprimands 😁. This is exactly close to what happens to us in life if we don’t know the art of detachment in our lives. Anxiety surrounds us as smoke, the vessel that is our body faces the burnt of such anxiety & related issues. Food that is a result of our anxiety & attachment driven actions are highly marred by negative emotions of greed, lust, anger, deception, lies and everything in that cadre. Food or lives, there’s no need to explain how people remember if it isn’t a right(eous) one. If we can’t turn off the fire in time or detach ourselves from the worldly pleasures and bonds then surely we will be charred.
What are the attachments we as human beings have?
* Materialistic Attachment
* Emotional Attachment
* Attachment with our fears
Let’s take on them one by one:
Materialistic Attachments: I will quote a simple example here. A person has a favourite coffee brand that he has been drinking over years as the first thing in the morning and anything else would leave him irritated throughout the day. Due to this reason he would plan his trips with coffee on his itinerary, even it means to going to someone else’s place. We can call it addiction or obsession but it is his attachment to that product that’s causing him this unnecessary trouble. This is an example where the repercussions might not impact others. But then as we move up the ladder (read more inclined towards accumulation) of materialistic attachments like that of money, land, gold etc. – our better sense is slowly replaced by seeds of greed, lust, deception. Why do you think why scams happen? Food for thought, isn’t it?
Emotional Attachment: A small story I would like to narrate from our epic Mahabharata – Guru Dronacharya, the teacher of Kuru Princes loved his son Ashwathama very much. His entire life he toiled to give a better life to his son and see him happy. His constant worry and misconception about Loving one’s kin even made him fight the righteous Pandavas. But the question is was his emotion truly can be defined as Love? No!! Love enables endurance, showing the right path by trending it even if it hurts for a while, love acts like a medicine that might taste horrendous but heals eventually. Let’s take a leaf from the present scenario. A mother punishing a young child for misbehaviour is surely love but the same mother trying to whitewash the same child’s image after few years if he / she picks up a wrong path is not love but emotional attachment.
Fear & Us: Our attachments feed our fear to say the least. If we don’t earn “enough”, if our kids don’t lead a certain patterned life, if we don’t fill in the already set norms of the society we will be ostracized. If we speak up the truth we will be mocked and we will end up sounding not relatable. We have to fit ourselves somehow in the places carved , even if it means denying our conscience. We don’t want to be robbed of our deemed valuables, we fear losing, we fear old age, we fear death, we fear estrangement from loved ones. This is our fear only that results in complications in our relationships feeding our egos. And in this run to the mill the only thing we don’t fear is “losing ourselves” and “sense”. Strange, isn’t it?
Interesting Fact: Most of our pilgrims are located at higher altitudes which requires us to carry as much as less possible baggage with us to make the journey easier. If we closely observe the intrinsic meaning / core of such journeys, it says “if you are coming to me why carry the unnecessary baggage of bonds, fears and attachments. Aren’t you supposed to relieve yourself in my presence?”
Where’s the liberty? Attachments impact us beyond a speck of doubt. But does this mean we take up asceticism right from the word go? Not possible as when born with this human abode we have a set of responsibilities towards our family and society. They need to be discharged with utmost care. But every once in a while we must care to answer “Who Am I?”, “What’s my purpose on this earth?”, “Is making merry the sole purpose of life?”. These questions to yourself will shed light on a new perspective of and towards life. That’s the illuminated path of righteousness where the almighty wants to see us shining in his light. Once that truth dawns upon us we will slowly try to distance ourselves from these attachments that shackled our souls. Our attachment shall be like a pearl of water on the lotus flower, it seems to be attached but never really stick together.
Practice Tip: All of us must practice silence, absolute silence!! No phone, no book but time with you. Start with 10 minutes a day, can increase it gradually. You will soon find the clutter that clogged our minds is getting decluttered. This silence is a teacher that teaches us we can be alone and don’t have to entertain “unnecessary” bonds. That will fill us with the ability to speak the truth and what is right the without fear of being judged. When fear leaves our hearts it is filled with joy. And the joy in your heart makes you understand there’s more pleasure in giving up than accumulating and holding tight.
Go ahead first simmer down and then switch off that stove, let your lives be filled with flavour of Joy that was intended to be. I am your company in this process 😊.
** My work is inspired by the words of Shri Garikapati Narasimham Garu🙏🙏.
“If I can trade my words I would invest them in your smile”
That’s pretty much cheesy, right out of a popcorn romantic flick, isn’t it? Don’t blame me, I am currently watching way too many Disney movies – Prince, Princess, Love story, perfect fairy tales. They not only entertain me but a perfect recipe to cheer me up. Apart from that my phone’s gallery is my hideout. Binge eating, unforeseen shopping (apart from groceries ) are more or less commoners in the world of “let me cheer you” force.
But it is undeniable that no matter how much ammunition one has to ward off shadows of gloom, a strong shoulder to lean on and an empathetic & soothing word is still an unmatched comfort. We can falter and crumble at some point, all while throwing around a charade of being strong. We do need someone to ask and say “How are you?”, “I understand”, “I am with you”, “what can I do to cheer you up”, “you are strong”, “you deserve much more”, “relax, I am there for you”, “just chill”, ” let’s hangout, don’t bother for anything else”
Why do one need someone or something to Cheer themselves up? When one gets tired of chasing dreams, battling adversaries, struggling demons ranging from bullies to inner enemies of that of depression / anxiety, our mind send us SOS. Nursing of a dented spirit is so much needed to bring it back on its feet. All the apparent and oblivious battles deplete us of our both physical and mental strength and that’s when exactly doubts trend – Can I fight it out? Can I do this after all? Seems I am unworthy? This is proving futile, let’s quit? I have lost everything? Was it meant to be this after all? If these questions left to knock too much one’s soul they can bring sabotage the same beyond repair. That’s the very reason we are talking about this issue at the first place today. Be attentive dearies!!
Me as a person on the other side of the fense, in the capacity of a friend (universal relationship with every related person in our lives) got a weird sense of intuition (I can be boastful sometimes, kindly excuse me). With people whom I am in regular touch with can easily read between the lines from our seemingly “Fine” conversation. From dry OKs, lifeless HMMs, tone of “I am fine” in chats I can tell not everything is fine. May be rapport over years is the reason. Whenever I sense something off, the first thing I do is to pester them with one question “what happened”. Sometimes no matter how close you might be some investigation is imperative. *Note: an immediate call in person rather a chat always scores. Lending an inquisitive ear is very important. I believe in strongly saying this “I know it’s easy to say that I understand and be strong because I am not there in your shoes. But also I know that you have fared much better in more worse situations in life before, you will surely see the shore surely. You are loved. You matter to us, just remember this. And for anything else I am here, Talk to Me”.
A page from my therapeutic experiences (if you can call talking one): a friend of mine who now shifted to Switzerland had her share of self esteem blues (parenting can really take a toll). We used to talk a great deal. My only aim was to cheer her up invoking her love and confidence in herself. I used to say “You are doing great”. These words seem very simple but might rekindle the positivity streak within one self. Might work at least 5 out of 10 times. Even if it is 1 out of 10 it’s worth giving it a try!! And what made be happy was she used to say “talking to you brings positivity to me, I feel relaxed”. Can anything beat that?
Words can make or break so I chose the first one.
“If you are giving chocolates don’t forget to mix sweetness of words – for someone sweet like you.
If you are hanging out don’t forget to imbibe these words in the itinerary – it’s always so much fun with you.
If you are gifting diamonds to lift up the spirits don’t forget to polish them with words – for someone more precious than these.
If you can only talk then don’t forget to send your warmth via vocals – thank you for being with me, so PROUD OF YOU!!!”
“Pray for Forgetfulness for if you tend to forget the good done by you to others and continue in your penance of compassion, the serpent of arrogance will never be able to poison your soul. You will be grounded with the weight of a jewel called Humility.”
The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round; The wheels on the bus go round and round all through the town”and the music stops and kids fight their way to get a place on the insufficient number of chairs placed in a circular configuration.
And we call it “Musical Chairs”, a fun game we all have seen and been a part of. As the number of chairs decreases the competition gets intense. Some physical dribbles, some sulking faces, few sportive acceptances, few angry stomping – all for that coveted chair of the winner.
Well, that’s all fun but have a close liaison with our life, just need a deeper look, let’s have a look then.
The fight for chairs isn’t just a game at birthday parties but a reality of our desire-driven lives. Comparison with the fellow human being is constantly fuelling the competitive streak (not always a good spirited one though) in us. Success, position, power – the Chairs we are fighting for and resorting to every tactic we could. These chairs are placed high and have a pyramidal structure beneath them, paving a way to reach them and have two directions for the summit – one a long one and the other the antonym for the previous one.
If hard work, patience, strong will, perseverance, honesty, optimism are the stairs to climb and reach the “High Chair” then deceit & envy are the second direction we were talking about earlier that can place us in a jiffy in the place we are eyeing for (remember the dribble/push/pull in the musical chairs?).
The stairs we take to climb here are surprisingly the raw material for the “Chairs” we long for. While the previous list gives us a durable product with an added perk of Goodwill that aids reconstruction in case of an accident which is a norm of an uncertain life. Success, Position, Power – all might get wiped out but with a great character, a human being is always up on his feet and starts head-on.
On the contrary, if a person takes the other route then the termites of fear, ego, greed, and arrogance enter the legs of the chair we rest on, corroding it to the core from deep within. When the chair crashes the hurt is deep and probably beyond repair.
A close encounter: Talking about the choices we make, makes me remember a snack maker from my childhood in our neighborhood. When we moved to that particular neighborhood it wasn’t a busy quarter. Provisions, services were scarcely developed there and slowly evolving. So a snack maker started a small business in that area. He used to make wonderful snacks that we loved to devour. He had a good market in the absence of stringent competition. He was comfortable in his “Chair”. Since change is thy life, slowly other entrepreneurs started making their space in that area. In the wake of losing out market share to them, this particular snack maker started deviating from the path he chose. His quality of food deteriorated, prices soared (which is still understandable in the wake of market changes if the food had been great). His greed to keep the position of a higher market share purported him to take the easy steps to attain the goal. Something close to the game of musical chairs we were discussing, isn’t it?
A recurring question: A strong belief that only losers preach or put it the other way round, preaching is only for the losers. I am no one to question or answer this – a candid confession! But the question that needs to be graced with deep introspection – Are Desires Completely Undesirable/ Unacceptable? The answer is NO. If the desires of a person are acting as a fulcrum for his/her upliftment, if they pave a way for the greater good and emancipation of many more then they are surely a necessary driving force. BUT ( noticed the emphasis?) if our desires are robbing us of sanity, peace of mind, values and inspire us to stoop to any level to reach the zenith (a mirage), then we better leave the game and enjoy the music instead.
There’s always another party and game to play and music is there anyway, so enjoy on a reclining chair with your hair down, what say.
PROMPT: Standing in front of the mirror she didn’t like what she saw… Standing in front of the mirror she didn’t like what she saw. It’s not her. The reflection was only a mirage of her presence but the zealous, free-spirited girl was lost. He just kept imposing boundaries caging her while she kept compromising […]
As a parent what is our constant wish and effort – nothing but to give the best to our children. Isn’t it? Be it the opportunities or the materialistic things at their disposal, we as parents never leave any stone unturned to provide our kids with nothing short of best even if we have to go an extra mile. That makes me ponder “Is providing of provisions enough to make us good parents?” Well in my quest I stumbled upon an example from the mythological story of Mahabharat:
Duryodhan (the eldest Kaurava), son of Dhritarashtra had everything at his disposal – loving parents, strength of 99 brothers, “Never Say No” best friend like Karna yet his greed led to his downfall and demise. Though his greed and jealousy were given flames by his ever conspiring maternal uncle Shakuni but it is an offshoot of Dhritarashtra’s failure as a good father. He always used his physical handicap as a trump card, as a camouflage to his insecurities that thrived against his own brother Pandu (father of Pandavas) and this very feeling made him to give in to every unjustified demand of his son. He thought the jewelled crown and the throne of Hastinapur rightfully belonged to his son and disruption of any sort will leave Duryodhan shattered and he never wanted that. He couldn’t see because of his physical disability but his insecurity piled up over the years decayed the truth in his heart, blinded his vision (morally) as he couldn’t see the harm his son is causing to the very roots of his own family in the disguise of snatching power, humiliating and even trying to kill his cousins (the pandavas). Had Drithraashtra intervened and took strong stand against the scrupulous ways and moral corruption of his son he could have prevented Kurukshetra war that saw innumerable deaths, wailing widows and orphans. But he always had crown and materialistic pleasures on his mind for his son because he thought that’s the only responsibility he had as a father. A perfect example of how providing materialistic world isn’t enough to be Good Parent.
This one character made me understand that there’s a difference between attachment and love. Attachment makes us to justify and act according to every unjustified demands of our kids lest our denial might upset them whereas love strive to work tirelessly for the evolution of a better human being and a great character. That’s some heavy philosophy, isn’t it?
Back to the present: With the family structures / set ups changing (disintegration of joint family systems into nuclear families), social dynamics changing so fast, the increasing distance between the parents and kids as to how they process thoughts and understand a particular situation parents have an uphill task of safeguarding their children from physical dangers, moral corrosion and emotional exploitation with an added responsibility of preparing them for life. What are we supposed to do then as a parent since parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual? What should be our parenting goals? Is preparing kids for competitions, making them do good in academics and extra curricular activities, giving them a comfortable cushion for a secured life ahead are characteristic traits of good parents? Well, I strongly believe that these are only perks. The foremost responsibility of a parent is to aid in character development of a child. If parents are successful in nurturing good human beings individually they are actually assisting in constructing a better society and pave way for a better environment for the country. To put it simple: parenting is about understanding and explaining the difference between literacy & education; price & value; right & wrong.
Face to Face with the current reality: Sadly incidents of cruelty, ghastly violence, atrocities are outnumbering gestures of kindness, love, compassion. And what is more horrific is that the young minds and souls are found on both ends – both perpetrators and receiving. For instance – in one incident that I came across on social media platform, a 15 year old autistic boy committed suicide because he was bullied so hard by his schoolmates that he found death as an easy escape. Both the culprit and the victims are kids only. In another incident in the Mumbai city of India it was found a school going students group (all aged between 13-14 years) were talking in an obnoxious manner in their group chats on WhatsApp, to be more precise they were talking about rape, one night stands, sex, making fun of homosexuality, tagging peers with tags like “gay”,”lesbian”. New (much talked about) to the list being the “Boys Lokcer Room” incident. That was horrendous. Where is our future heading? Who bores the responsibility for this? Schools as usual shrug off their shoulders and dust off responsibility. And to be honest not everything can be entrusted to someone else be it a person or an organisation (specifically in the times we are now experiencing where the teacher-student-school dynamics are not the same they used to be a decade or two back)
Parents time to think and act!! Perhaps time to reevaluate ourselves. Are we doing enough for our kids? Are we available to our kids when they need us? Are we listening to them? Are we aware of their exposures and exploitation? Are we setting good examples for them to follow? Before setting goals it is important to understand parenting isn’t JUST about Imposing rules and Supervision. It’s not just about telling kids “do this, don’t do that, sit there, don’t go there, don’t speak” and a long list of DOs and DON’Ts. Simply parenting isn’t a linear correlation formula. Also parenting isn’t about providing the comforts and luxuries (provision of basic needs is no more a parenting criteria sadly, we have surpassed that stage long ago). It’s a pretty complex web often comprising of simplest things. It’s about:
Inculcating the right values: Its the most tedious job of all. The paths of upright morals should be trend relentlessly to set a direction for them to follow the footsteps. Compassion, benevolence, trustworthiness and likes can never be taught by preaching only. You show, you sow and you reap, period!
Right kind of exposure: With the availability of world at the touch of a button or a click away our kids are highly vulnerable to the wrong influence. The different kind of applications and social media platforms have effectively targeted their audience and exploited their vulnerabilities. This situation demands parental intervention. Training of young minds with tools of moral stories (for young kids); history of great personalities who have contributed to the humanity and society, healthy conversations sharing own life experiences, constant to and fro communication with kids in the wake of understanding and addressing their fears, answering their doubts are few ways of providing the right exposure and limiting the unwanted ones. Praying together, eating together, doing household chores together too promote good communication flow. ** Take a cue from the past, remember how our grandparents used to tell us stories be it fairy tales, parables from epics, life accounts of great men and women and there’s no denial that they did leave a lasting impression on our minds** Since this generation is more at ease with technology, use the same for the right exploration. Parental guidance needed is not just passable condition
Building Strong individuals: The biggest hurdle in being a good parent is Our Fear! We are in constant fear that if we say no to our kids or if we tried to be strict with them they might get hurt, they will cry or worse being they might end up in depression. In few instances we also fear social embarrassment. “If we don’t oblige on something what would everyone think of us as parents” also impacts the way parents deal with their children That’s a big NO. By holding ourselves back from correcting them or by deflecting and acting / dancing to their tunes, whims and fancies we are not only spoiling them but creating an overtly sensitive brigade waiting to be released in the vast ocean of hostile world. And we all know life isn’t a bed of roses. Our children must be trained to accept “No”. In no way I am up for any kind of dictatorship but they must know that they can not boss us (one of my friends, a great woman who never ceases to motivate and inspire me shared this view with me. She is a mother of twins herself and doing a great job in bringing up her kids, we all call her SP fondly. If she is reading this she will know).
Disciplining and maintaining decorum: Every organisation and institution needs a set of rules to be run smoothly. So does a family. Without discipline in ways of life and thinking parenting is a penance without any fruit. It might be an algorithm of to do things during the day or a constructive manner of expressing the emotions or processing the same, discipline streamlines course of life.
What we have discussed so far are just touch and go pointers. Parenting is a humungous subject yet without any predetermined formulas or theories that fit into every individual case without modification. With every mind and soul beautifully different parenting is a thankless job which if done to the perfection will yield a healthy society to dwell in. And if handled inappropriately could prove to be fatal for numerous lives. This needs introspection..
My neighbour’s garden is so beautiful decked with flowers, grass so levelled, every pebble just in right place that I really feel like singing:
“Marie, Marie quite contrary,
How does your garden grow “
Make sure you read it in rhythm and let me confirm her name is not Marie 😁. She is an eighty year old woman with love for gardening. I have seen the passion with which she caresses each and every plant, waters them, nurtures them. I can not imagine myself in her shoes at her age at this moment.
It’s not just her, I have a seen and met women who irrespective of what age they are, are living and leading lives with full zest spreading positivity and giving hope to follow. Be it grooming oneself, following passion, acquiring new skills – for few age is never a hindrance.