Superhero in the making


Chapter 2

Kim took a two-day leave from her office as she had some work in the local municipal office and many other errands to run as they moved into the locality quite recently and there are many things yet to settle. Being a single mother, she was running from pole to post to make things work and give her daughter a comfortable life.

After dropping Nora at her school she headed towards the municipal office with the requisite documents to register herself and her daughter in the local population. But work at government offices isn’t all hunky dory at all. The officer asked her to come back later as they marked little discrepancies in the documents. Kim requested to see if something can be done on the spot but the officer didn’t budge. With a smile he said “I would have if I could have. Unfortunately I have to follow the norms. You can come next week” and flashed the lunch-break board on the counter.

Unhappy at the turn of events, Kim dragged herself back to the house. With a lot of work pending at the house as well, her displeasure didn’t linger on for long. She got busy cutting the fluff, and arranging and decorating the house to her and especially to Nora’s liking. In the process, she unpacked a box of memories. A bunch of photographs, an old hand-knitted scarf, a few postcards, books, and a locket. Time seemed to have frozen for her. The contents of the box pushed her back in time. Lanes of the place where she grew up, her parents, her friends, her first and only love Joel, holding Nora for the first time in her arms, her pet, laughter, fights, hugs, tears, fears, adventures, mistakes, forgiveness, and more. She could see everything happening as if she was in some time loop. She took the scarf and inhaled deeply as she held it close to her heart. Her grandmother knit that scarf for her on her 15th birthday. The warmth and fragrance are still intact and a lump formed in her throat. Emotions choked her. Finally, she caught hold of the locket lying beneath the postcards. An oval-shaped turquoise crystal locket that was cracked. She gently brushed the surface of the locket with her thumb and closed it in her palm and drew the same closer to her lips. Tears blinded her sight as they travelled from her eyes, collecting the rosy hue of her cheeks and painful sighs from her lips and resting on her closed fists placed under her chin that had the locket.

“You no more exist for us from this very moment. Take your stuff and leave” a stern father ostracised his very own daughter whom he loved so dearly. Kim kept staring as the doors shut right in her face.

Someone banging on the door incessantly brought Kim back to her senses. She went to check but could find no one. Got inside and noticed that it was almost time to pick up Nora from school. She hurried up and reached school.

As the school bell rang, the air was filled with fun and frolic as the chirping kids made their way out of the classrooms towards the school gate. They called it a day and had many things to share that transpired throughout the day. They were gushing about the details of the day, smiling ear to ear, waiting for their loved ones to pick them up. Amidst those happy faces, Kim spotted the sulking face of Nora, which by the time had turned red matching the tie of her school uniform.

“Aww, my darling what happened to you? Why are you sad? Did something happen at the school? Did you have a fight with your friends? Did anyone say something to you?” Kim asked a sad looking Nora.

“My friends call me funny, I told them not to” complained Nora rolling her eyes. Her mother smiled and said that it isn’t bad to be funny and asked what has actually transpired.

Rubbing her nose, Nora replied “Meetu’s mom came early to pick Meetu and she is friends with our teacher. She was showing her new necklace to the teacher and I saw her pet dog making faces. The dog was saying she is just showing off, it was all fake. I told the same to my friends and they are laughing at me. I am not lying, I heard it, I promise. I am not going to talk to them now” Nora threw a fit of a tantrum.

Kim didn’t know how to react to that story. She was smiling at the innocence of the kid and was wondering at the same time what has made her cook up this story because she was convinced that this story is Nora’s brainchild, probably due to reading too many fantasy stories. But she didn’t want to upset Nora further at this point. She lovingly put her arms around Nora’s shoulder and said “next time you hear anything like that you can share it with me. I am all ears to such interesting conversations. And such banters are common in school, I too have had many such incidents where my friends laughed at me. Let it go. They will too forget by tomorrow. Would you like to have ice cream now?”.

This proposal lifted up Nora’s spirits and she was exhilarated with joy. “Yes of course mom, I would like to have a chocolate ice cream”.

Mother and daughter went to a nearby ice cream parlor and ordered ice cream. As they were waiting for the order to arrive, a rat coming out of the small hole in the godown adjacent to the shop caught Nora’s attention. She heard the faint voice of the rat saying “let me hurry up and go home, I have to inform my family that that dreaded cat is in the town. We need to find a safe haven”. The rat soon disappeared and the ice cream arrived. Nora this time didn’t pay much attention as she had a better thing to concentrate and enjoy at her hands.

Superhero in the making


Chapter 1

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” seven-year-old Nora asked her mother Kim innocently. ” Kim chuckled as she replied, “I am already a grown-up being, what could I possibly be now? Now hurry up and go to your bed”. She tucked little Nora into her bed and kissed her forehead “goodnight darling!”

On having received such an unenthusiastic response from the mother, Nora clasped and questioned her mother “what you wanted to be as a child, as in what have you dreamt of becoming in your adulthood? My teacher says everyone has a talent and a dream and we can turn our dreams into reality at any time and age. So tell me mom what you wanted to be?” and fixed her gaze filled with amusement and intrigue on her mother.

Kim smiled and sat down by her bedside “Hmm, I always wanted to be a writer. I wanted to talk through my stories”. Her mother’s response sparked Nora’s interest and she sprung and sat in her bed. “You mean fairy tales, superhero stories? Have you ever written anything? Why don’t you write now?” before Nora could go berserk with her volley of questions her mother sighed deeply “uff, we will talk later darling, you have to get up early tomorrow for school”. And finally, she managed to put little Nora to sleep.

Nora’s mother kept tossing in her bed but couldn’t sleep that night. That was unusual as toiling throughout the day guaranteed her a sound sleep instantly.  She kept staring at the ceiling and counted sheep in her head but nothing was helping her tonight.  She heard her daughter crying. She rushed towards Nora’s room.

“What happened, dear? a worried mother asked her daughter as she embraced the weeping child. “Mom, I had a horrible dream. Big monsters wearing huge cloaks, and riding on horses were chasing after me and as I tried to escape them I was stuck in a corner” Nora explained in her shaky voice. Nora’s mom cuddled, pacified her, and gave an assurance that there are no monsters around and that it was just a dream. Nora requested her mom if she could sleep with her, to which her mom agreed. Kim caressed Nora’s hair gently and soon Nora slipped into a deep slumber. But Kim couldn’t.

She got up and went to her balcony. She leaned on the railing of the balcony facing the vast empty parched grounds. The streets turned golden under the glare of yellow street lights. The city was tucked in silence except for the noise of a few vehicles honking on the highway running parallel to the grounds and stray dogs barking distantly. She was pondering over her conversation with her daughter. “Can I dream again?” She sighed in her thoughts as the gentle breeze caressed her locks. 

Kim and Nora moved to their new apartment just six months back after a major crises hit their family. Joel, Kim’s husband, an army personnel died on the war front. Along with the loss of a loved one Kim and Nora were coping with the snide remarks, the unruly behaviour of the relatives. Nora never understood the motivations behind people’s behaviour around her. She often asked her mother “why is everyone rude to us? What have we done? You told me that dad is a superhero, he is not around us anymore, so do we have to suffer this way forever? Why do they hate us Mom?”. Kim didn’t know how to answer her. But finally she decided to move out and away from the toxicity suffocating her and her daughter’s life. 

Standing underneath the dark stretch of night sky in her balcony, Kim just witnessed a rally of visions from her past. She felt exhausted and went back to her room and finally dozed off. 

The next day began with a usual hustle and bustle. Nora and her mother rushed off to school. As they were on their way Nora commenced the conversation from the very point where she had left it last night. Inquisitive Nora clung to her mother’s arm and fired her bazooka of questions at her mother “Mom, tell me what did you write? When did you write? Why did you stop writing? Will you start writing again? Tell me, mom, tell me”.

Nora’s mother was enjoying this conversation with her little one. Nora’s questions exuberated innocence, and the curiosity in her tone tickled her mother’s heart. With a big grin she replied to Nora “I used to write when I was in college, whosoever read my poems and articles used to praise me. My work was even published in my college magazine. My name is there, I will show you the next time when we go to Naani’s place (maternal grandmother). It seemed that the child’s naivete and glee has rubbed onto her mother too. She was smiling from ear to ear. Conversation with Nora always felt fresh as dew drops sitting on the soft petals and had the warmth of golden rays of sun embracing those petals as they dance to the tunes of the morning breeze.

They reached the school. Nora gave a kiss on her mother’s forehead and bade goodbye but before leaving she put forth a request. “Mom, you have to write a story for me. I will be the superhero or a fairy, an angel in that book. You write it for me, I will show it to my friends. Please mom” she giggled cutely and left for her school.

 On her way back home Kim called her mother  “Mom, how are you? Do you still have my college magazine at home that had my article and poem published in it?” She spoke almost in a single breath. Kim called her mother after nearly after a period of six months. The response from the other side was cold but her mother assured that she will search for the magazine and hung up on the call.

Kim felt disheartened but had much more to take care of, so she assembled pieces of her broken heart once again and marched ahead with responsibilities on her shoulders…

Kindness – A Value Inherited


I, as an individual hold “generosity” in high regard of all values a human must possess.  Because that is what makes a human “A Human”.  If your heart is unmoved and untouched by others’ misery then you are just any other specie born on earth, scientifically called Homo sapiens, and just a link to this ecosystem.  Nothing great to brag about, right?

And my very idea of being a human was shaped by my father and in due course of my life, I have met many people (some in my contact list and some unknown) who made me hold on to this value very dearly.

Talking about my inspiration, my father I would like to quote one thing best describes his outlook

“Exhibiting a value you believe in needs no audience and no appreciation in reciprocation “

Yes, this is how he was. I would like to mention one incident from his life that would suit the quote mentioned above perfectly:

We were having dinner when there was a knock at the door.  “Who it could be” was our question and when the door was opened my father found a neighbor of one of our acquaintances in that area standing in front of him. “Yes, what happened he enquired.  They seemed to be in a hurry to finish matters “Woh jo aapki bhasha bolte hain na unki tabiyat bahut kharaab hai aur ghar pe koi nahi.  Aakar dekh lijiye” (the one who speaks the same language as you is seriously ill and no one is around, come and check upon him) and left. It would be surely a waste of space discussing such shallow minds here so I skip to the situation. When my father reached there the situation was worse than what he thought. That person was suffering all alone with dire cholera, lying in a pool of his own puke and feces. That was a gross scenario to recreate. My father took him to the hospital immediately singlehandedly. Meanwhile, he was drenched as that man puked on my father as well but that didn’t deter him from exhibiting the value he believes in. He served him wholeheartedly and took care of him in hospital for two days at the expense of his own comfort till his family was back. But in the end, that man for some reason which my father had no knowledge of wrote off everything and uttered really mean stuff against my father. But as a real gentleman he was, he didn’t hold any grudge against him. When poked at being so generous always he said “neither his misery was planned by him nor my help was sought so why to make an issue of an intentional act on my part. I was not expecting any accolades for what I did. And anyways we must not keep a count of our good deeds at least, someone else is already doing it”.

I have always seen him in this light. No complications whatsoever when reacting as a human to the other’s pain.

Coming back to the question “whether values can be passed as inheritance or not?”  Frankly, I am clueless. But surely to keep the values alive they need to be drilled in the day in and day out. Since children imitate well it’s only through the practice of values we care for, that we can pass on to them the legacy, period! Had I not seen my father as a generous soul, doing his bit relentlessly how would I believe in such values?

Mother-Daughter Diaries


Originally posted on Candles Online

Mom I have a doubt,” said my 6 years old daughter. “What’s it dear?” I asked, to be only left stumped by her question. “Why papa loves you when your face is full of spots?”. I am not even exaggerating, those were really her words. And I don’t really want to blame her, it’s her exposure to the fairy tales where the princess is all fair and flawless. I can understand with the kind of exposure kids of this generation have the kind of questions they might ask seem to be too soon, too early, and to be honest too much too. I wanted to give her a reason, perhaps a lecture on what true love (ironically beyond the gamut of reasoning) means but considering her age my explanation would be “Too much” for her to comprehend.

I simply asked, “Don’t you love me with all these blemishes on my face?”. And she didn’t budge as she said “I love you, Mama, you are the best” and she gave me a kiss as she hurried to get into the school before the final bell rang. Perhaps one day I will be able to provide a better explanation to satiate her query.

Raising kids (generation alpha) as my dear friend @sizzlybizzly (Rajnandini from Candles Online) has explained in her article OF SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, could really be a tight rope walk. Explaining them to react and behave differently in apparently similar-looking situations is quite a task. For instance, as a family with a reasonably comfortable life, I encourage my daughter to help the poor and needy and that seems to be well embedded in her thoughts. But on the other hand, I also warn her against falling for tricks of people who pretend to be needy to avoid sweating it out. And reasoning (explaining how to and why to differentiate) such situations in my personal capacity prove to be difficult ones given the fact that my daughter is a bit impatient. The moment I start dissecting the matter for clarity she says “I don’t understand what are you saying” or worse “enough Mama, not now, just play with me”.

As a parent, I want to clarify every doubt that dwells in my child’s brain. Sometimes I have substantial corroboration to my answers that I can give her instantly, for example why plucking fruit from the tree isn’t the same thing as butchering a goat, when both are done to serve the same purpose – to fill up a hungry stomach. Sometimes I am at a loss of my reasoning abilities altogether. Like why the letter U hasn’t been pronounced the same way in “Put”, and “But” because I never questioned it (maybe my friend @theextraaaamile, Savio from Candles Online, has an answer to this 😃). And then there are moments I have reasons to support my reaction/responses but as I mentioned earlier they could be too complicated for a child to comprehend. For example, when I tell my daughter to be social & adjustable to and under different circumstances, and be independent (not seeking validation from others or succumbing to any pressure) at the same time. That’s a tough call as I have to hand out her reasons sans ambiguity of any sort.

All said and done I have realized that in the process of parenting I am growing up too. My role as a parent is a reason enough to be a better version of myself every day. With so many sources of information and influence around, kids surely need a security filter, a cushion to rely on. And that’s where the power of reasoning comes in handy. Valid the reasons are, better the chances of nurturing mature minds. It’s really important that doubts of any nature shouldn’t be squashed away under the pretext of “nothing concerning you”, especially when we impart the knowledge of DOs and DON’Ts to shape their personalities and ideologies.

My journey with the extra “administrative” responsibility of Reasoning has just begun as my daughter has just started questioning. I should be better prepared for the bazooka of questions blazing at me, she hasn’t even scratched the surface yet and there’s an ocean to dive in.

You Can Do Everything Except…


Picture credit : Google

Your smile melts me,

Your pain petrifies me,

Your anger worries me,

Your embrace soothes me,

Your call awakens me,

Your progress delights me,

Your purity enchants me,

Your helplessness weakens me,

Your faith in me strengthens me,

Your sweet (not street) smartness amuses me,

You can make me smile, reel in pain, frown, worry, struggle, brave, fight.

You have gifted a rainbow of emotions to my heart which wonders if ever it would ably accommodate this treasure in that petty corner.

Today I want you to hear this once and for all:

You can do everything except to embarrass me.

(A small heartfelt note by every autism parent to their kids )

I AM AN AGGRESSIVE SWAN


We were busy with our preparations, the festive mood was so on. There was hustle and bustle all around. Some were doing mundane chores, some were specialists, some were chirping in pearls of laughter while some were making faces for no apparent reason. In short “A Family” was there in its raw elements.  But someone […]

I AM AN AGGRESSIVE SWAN

Don’t Need To Belittle One To Praise The Other


Picture Credit: Pexels

**Something I wanted to write since a long time.

Originally Posted On Candles Online

Can the knowledge of a particular language be the sign of intelligence of a person? Can the fluency in a particular language be an indication of one’s educational background and character certificate? Sounds gibberish, right?

Well not completely. This is just a reflection of how the attitude of people in Indian subcontinent has shaped up over decades now. Fanatic love for “English” is an IT thing (rather a HIT thing).

People getting mocked for not being able to converse in English at native level. People finding themselves to be in a fix, out of place, losing confidence, nurturing low self esteem and inferiority complex are direct of shoot offs of our fetish for one particular “International Language” English. We (A majority) somehow have come up with the terms that mastering this particular language is a ticket to a better treatment in masses ; a person who can speak English impeccably is a genius and if some accent is sprinkled he/she is already a star – knowledge, character, education, skill doesn’t really matter. Look at the wannabe insta stars, you will know what I mean .

Let me share few examples/ incidents that I came across or heard:

*I heard people praising someone who got expert skills in English “Kya angrezi bolta hai, wah!” (He speaks so good in English) never mind the grasp on subject matter is ZERO.

*My friend once shared with me his experience at his daughter’s school. The poor child faced the ire of the teachers because she wasn’t able to converse in a free flow manner in English and was comfortable in her mother tongue. Such a shame!

*If a person belonging to a foreign land (read West) speaks in any of our regional language though broken we go gaga over the attempt. “So Cute” is the expression that follows our excitement (not referring to Donald Trump saying Swamy Vivekanand ). But when the tables turn and someone among us try to speak the broken English we brand him “Illiterate” literally. What double standards!

*Parents insisting kids to speak in English (leave aside the schools) even at home (I strongly believe there are other circles/ places/ avenues where English can be practiced), it’s a matter of fame while on the other hand more and more parents are coming out saying “our kids can’t speak/ read/ write our mother tongue” almost without any sense of attachment. I am at loss of words!

*People refraining from talking in the language they are comfortable with just not to be jeered by peers. How sad!

Well I can go on and on with such illustrations not so great to put forward for any country / society. In short we are focussing on the mode/ language of instruction and completely ignoring the importance of effective communication or the content intended to be delivered.

Talking about our overtly attachment with this particular language, light must be thrown at helm of affairs in other parts of the world, countries which we see as synonyms for “Development, technology, power, economy” and every possible positive superlative. I live in Belgium, have been to France, Germany, Netherlands; Have heard the social speeches of public figures from Japan, China and the counties aforementioned. No one carries a chip of shame up their sleeve while talking in their respective mother tongue. On contrary they are proud. And this sense of pride is seen at every level. A public representative is not mocked by the citizens for his or her lack of grip on English. Preference is given to learning rather than belittling their own language (I have a friend who is a professional English language trainer working with bureaucrats, diplomats, parliamentarians etc. SP this is for you ❤) A complete inverse picture of what we see in the sub continent. We have this mind boggling equation, English = Knowledgable/ Educated. On the other hand mother tongue is given the utmost importance right from the beginning in all those countries mentioned above. Schools that lay foundation and aid development of a child from the grassroot level emphasise specifically on the country’s mother tongue. If you are a foreigner in these lands you got only two choices either integrate with them via their language or be ready to pay exhobirant charges for translation be it education (international schools are pretty expensive) in schools or otherwise. I myself have paid extra charges for translator service for driving test because of my incapacity to understand French fast 😁 . In a way they are promoting their language by using simple economics, period! Priority to the mother tongue is something we must learn from these countries.

Why? Language is a part of what and who we are. It’s an integral part of our history, heritage and culture. Precisely ROOTS! Can a tree stand still and upfront if it is alienated from the ground, if roots are uprooted? How meaningful it would be to have mastered a foreign language and yet not knowing the homeland? If we distance ourselves from our history there’s no way our future generations will know the past and future is definitely not bright.

I may sound as a fanatic talking over the clouds but a study is available that proves that for kids who start learning their and in their native language cognitive developments are better. Expression and communication comes easy to them. Better understanding of curriculum and positive attitude towards school are few more points to count. They feel more at home. This is just a bird’s eye view.

But unfortunately learning in native language may not be possible for everyone owing to the small social village world has become and constant migration of people from one place to another. It all comes to availability, feasibility and choice.

I want to reiterate that my argument is not against any language but the meaningless romanticism we have inbred within ourselves about a particular language belittling our own identity. I myself went to a school that had English as its medium of instruction but my teachers never made their students feel bad about their shortcomings in a language and most importantly my school had my mother tongue (Telugu) as one of the subjects and my parents wanted me to learn it. At home too we had an environment where we spoke to each other in our native language. For us English was just a language which we needed for a better exposure outside the safe cocoon of our home/ town/ country ( we were not aware or exposed to the other world languages at that time). English was (is & will be) required to excel in any competitive exam or other podiums. And we simply took it that way. Rather the entire emphasis was on developing thoughts, transformation of a person to personality, ethical behaviour, earning dignity and respect. In short the purpose of imparting education was fulfilled to the core. It was not washed down by a meaningless glorification of a foreign language because it is spoken by “Fair Skinned” (another obsession of my land sadly).

A petty request: I am not out of “Parenting Mode” since last week’s article was published 😉, excuse me for that and kindly bear with me. Parents please make sure that you encourage kids talking (the least) in native language. If you could impart the knowledge ( reading & writing) of native language nothing beats that. Remember their thoughts have to be eloquent and it’s never about which language they chose to communicate.

Teachers: Please don’t shame any kid for their inability to converse in English. It’s just a language and can be worked upon. Debates, workshops, group activities, essay writings and lot more. Different tools and hard work can achieve everything including a grasp on the language but if the confidence gets shattered that might be something beyond repair.

* Schools / Authorities: Please focus on giving a buoyant support to the local language. Its a way to save our heritage and culture.

Everyone: Learn as many languages as you can but remember your mother tongue is your inner feelings you share with your mother (loved/ closed ones), that comfort is the ultimate. And if Englishmen are speaking in English, it’s their own so nothing so great about that!

And here I rest my case.

*** Writing this post in English because it does have a mass reach and I am not against English but our shallow thinking process of trying to compare languages.

Parenting – No Kidding


Originally posted on Candles Online

Source: Pexels



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..

Slowly And Steadily Change Has Set In


Hello Everyone,

As parents of an autistic kid the struggle to find a place in schools apt and catering to the special needs is equally hard as accepting the fact that autism is going to be a part of their lives.  I can say this with utmost conviction because I am a parent to an autistic kid.

Source: GoogleAutism-brain-lead

Life never remains same once parents learn that their kids differ from others or let’s put it this way : their kids have different needs which are labelled as “Special Needs”.  And I am among many such parents whose purpose of life after the diagnosis is to make constant efforts in a bid to make this world a better place for their kid, acceptable to and fro (world to kid, kid to world).

The first worry that struck me instantly was to find a place in school with a staff efficient enough to handle, in fact handle with care my little bub with his diagnosis attached.  The previous school gently informed me that they won’t be able to take care of a non social, non-verbal kid once they had the knowledge of the reason behind his behaviour. It was a real tough time for us as well as for him as he was forced to spend more time at home (no place even in summer activity schools) and he despised it for he wanted to be set free and discover more and we simply couldn’t let him. I don’t and can’t blame them as they had their limitations.

After prolonged chain of meetings with the doctors and social services, a year or so being spent in a day care hospital (routine was just like any other school, going in the morning and coming back in the evening) finally we were able to register a place in a new school specifically commenced for children with autism.   Here within Brussels such schools and organisations are limited hence that adds to the woes of parents like us.  Waiting lists are like blows on already sore thumb.  But on this occasion we were lucky enough as recommendation from the hospital and social services worked in our favour.  Moreover his trainers thought that he was ready for the school and that prompted them take the next leap.

We were ready for a new routine now and equally apprehensive as the kid was supposed to spent more hours in school/ transportation as his day usually begins at 7:00 AM (pick up time) and ends at 4:30 PM when his school bus drops him back.  Given the long hours and new environment I was more concerned about “What would he eat?”, “How he would cope with the new environment and his hunger?”, “Would he able to demand for his needs?”  Basically all I could think about was his hunger to begin with 😉 which is I guess is normal for any mother.

At the end of the first day when I received him at home I saw a smile on his face which did send a signal of relief to my heart.  But I was not sure if it’s just one day wonder or not. Gradually with every passing day my son proved me wrong as till this day I haven’t faced any tantrum (except for few rough days when he had his melt downs right after getting off the bed) while dressing up for the school.  In fact he eagerly waits for the bus to arrive every day.  That’s a blessing I have been longing for!

At school he is kept engaged in various activities that help him to work individually, in groups, communicate better (he is still non-verbal and utilizes pictures for communication at school),  concentrate, learn day-to-day activities that would make him autonomous.  To be precise he is being prepared every day to better himself for the next day.

But still there is a void especially during weekends and school holidays.  Now that he is used to a routine of going out everyday he wants a continuity in that regime.  People with autism can be very rigid with the schedules and it can be an uphill task to explain the reason for change.  Rigid adherence to the schedule is their way of confirming security (they have different prism to look at the world).  That made us look for other options of engaging him when he is not going to the school.  And we ourselves wanted it more than him because that could help him to build his confidence and social skills when amidst new people.  And more importantly keep him engaged with new activities and away from YouTube 😉.

Thanks to the registration with a social services organisation that works for children we have been able to book places (so far) for our son in different institutions during different vacations (there are so many school holidays in Belgium)  as well as Saturdays are also occupied with swimming sessions.  It seems he has taken a liking for swimming instantly.  His excitement is there to see every Saturday.  He has started filling the bathtub with water up to his neck and practicing his swimming lessons there.   The way he moved his body in the water surprised me.

Along with swimming he has a peculiar interest in cooking for he is having a cooking activity every Friday in school.  He likes to observe, stir after spices are added and add water in every recipe (his idea of cooking 😁).  I occasionally instruct him to add the requisite ingredients in the pan so that he gets a sense of involvement in the process.

Over a period of time after he has begun his school changes are quite noticeable in him.  His receptiveness to things and people is evident, no matter how trivial but nevertheless it is there.  And it’s a matter of rejoice for us.  Now we are aware of his interests, probably skills too.  Talking about skills I must say that he sings really well 😁.   He is little bit more independent everyday.

I understand we have a long way to go.  From understanding to controlling his melt downs; from a place in an organisation to a better future, we have a daunting task at hand.  But these petty changes do give us a glimpse of hope towards life.

We Are Hopeful 😊.

 

Parental Guidance – Be More Careful Parents


As the title suggests this is especially for parents, to be specific parents of kids (age bracket, I leave this task for you😀)

Without beating around the bush I would like to know from parents themselves how do they decide which movie their kids should watch? Isn’t it obvious – of course, the film certification stating the suitable age group aids the decision. I am sure everyone is aware of the different classifications. Here parental guidance is clearly mentioned beforehand.

Basically, parents can safeguard their kids against any kind of sleaze, blood, gore, and anything which is not meant for the tender minds with certifications on display.

But it might come across as a shock that kids need monitoring against the seemingly safe content that they watch especially on YouTube (one of the most widely viewed, there can be other online sources too). There can be no denying that kids of this generation are more or less net-savvy thanks to their early exposure, knowingly or unknowingly to the gadgets and WiFi connections. There can be numerous reasons accredited to this. Our nuclear family set-ups, less time spent with family, our addiction and submission to the internet (after all kids follow our footsteps ☺), and so on.

What’s the threat? Recently I caught my two years old daughter watching a video on YouTube which had no adult content but the portrayal of characters in that video was just unacceptable. It showed a family of four (two daughters aged around 8-15 years, a father and a mother), everyone with a pacifier in their mouths and doing pretty much nothing but destroying things. Throwing bad tantrums along with objects was predominant in that video which was meant for viewership of toddlers. That was pretty much in a bad taste. I immediately switched it off.

One more example: Recently I read that the famous cartoon “Peppa Pig” is having a negative impact on the target audience, you know whom I refer to. The central character is a loud, inconsiderate, spoiled child (a pig as the name suggests) with Haute tempers.

Considering the tender minds kids have such kind of portrayals influence their behavior in the long run if not checked in time. It might sound bizarre but continuous viewing of such negative characters train kids to exhibit traits that they watch. They might turn aggressive, throwing tantrums at the drop of hat, indifferent towards their siblings and responsibilities as well.

The irony is the animations and videos designed specifically for young ones are falling short of the most important aspects that should be their highlights – subtlety and drive home a point. Aspects such as Body shaming, violence, bullying are gradually having sedimentation into the content meant for kids providing wrong illustrations altogether. This is not only pitiable but an alarming situation.

Therefore as parents, we should be vigilant enough to monitor the view list of our tiny tots.

Reason: They watch, they learn, period. This is the only reason why we are constantly careful about our behavior, about the language we use in front of our kids, isn’t it? We want to set the right examples. Then why not go that extra mile?

Think about it.