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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Raising Socially Responsible Children



The bigger question bombarding in my mind ---
  • Is it important to experience the dark to inculcate Empathy? Yes, values are taught by parents, best when experienced but every experience doesn't translate into an 'imbibed value' 'well lived '.
  • Do education and indirect exposure to the dark side of life help in creating the service-oriented mindset? 

Click on Raising a Socially Responsible Child to read the full article. This article has been featured on Mompresso as #BlogOfTheDay.

Image Courtesy-Pixabay.

Friday, 10 May 2019

But why FUSS over motherhood?

My mother never thumped her chest for all that she did. I don't want chest thumping either. 





My bad, I don't get this.

Platonic, joyous, blessed and much more. When it comes to motherhood, the more the adjectives the better. Unconditionally loving, unconditionally caring till her last breath and even after I guess, the more such attributes for a MOTHER, the better.

Mother’s Day to everyday celebrating motherhood, the world is lapping up every opportunity to say - MOMS ARE THE BEST.

Well, they are. So?

What's the glorification about? Our moms (baby boomers or early generation X) had 2-3 children, some even 4 for some blessed ones. They conceived, delivered, breastfed, cooked, cared, washed, cleaned, organized, cooked again, cleaned again and go to sleep tired and exhausted only to wake up at 5 am or 6 am again and start the grind. They too had dreams, few were career woman’s and many were Stay at home but never brooding, complaining or depressing, exalting, aggrandizing and thumping over their SAHM (stay at home mom) status or WM(working mom) status really. They were patient with us and our fathers J, accepting and content. This was, by and large, the landscape.

Did she glorify herself or did we put her on a pedestal just to show that she is next to God or God herself? NO.

We are a lot more complicated.


We write on ‘guilt of a normal delivery’ to ‘beauty of a C- section’ and vice versa. We write further on self-actualization in breastfeeding and liberation in formula feeding and vice versa. We write some more on the importance of staying back at home and the selfishness portrayed by working moms and vice versa. We are talking about every possible, minutest, particle like details of motherhood and making it BIG. Many times too big and burdensome. Why? Because we are not just literate, we are educated too and we have discovered our voice and platforms to make everyone hear. Nothing wrong in that. Truly. Just that it’s all adding up to the madness. The fuss is being blown out of proportion and its spirally into a pressure which our mothers didn’t feel. We feel the weight of it. We feel the need to show what handmade gifts we gave to the men on Father's day. Don't we?


I wonder what is in us - the millennial's who fuss over every bit of motherhood and make it look, sound and portray so heavenly? I was having a conversation with few moms(courtesy my coaching sessions) and the most overarching emotion was  - 'I am a mom and I don’t need anything else', 'Motherhood is dramatically beautiful and what more can one ask for' and it went on and on along the same lines in the same tone, every word uttered with pride and a sense of sacrifice. They sounded as if they have reached some eternally blissful space of life from where they can attain some nirvana. Phewww. And the world fusses so much around them that it quite nearly magnifies the human being to a superpower. Well, she is a superpower or maybe not.

The concern is that with all these labels comes the BURDEN of being this supremely perfect mom and getting an A+ rating. No, you don't think so?

Let's check this out?

Have you sat endlessly trying to do art and craft with your child even though you would have wanted to snooze or watch TV?

Are you on WhatsApp group of moms(your child's school) and get anxious over every bit of information that pings in and you rush to get it done?

Have you often found yourself ruminating over whether you are doing your best and if that best is actually the best compared to other bests?

Did you get that mother-child same to same dress for that mother’s day function at the school?

Innumerable examples in everyday life which were nonexistent when our moms were raising us. Do I say not to wear the matching dress for the school function? Wear if you like, we just need to stop feeling apologetic if we did not follow the trend.

I became a mom out of my own choice and interest and I am raising my child for my own self. There is no sacrifice whatsoever. If I give up my career to take care of the child, I am doing no big sacrifice. I am just prioritizing my different ME’s and their needs. The mother in me wants to be taken care of first then the career woman in me. It's that simple. I am no big deal. I do not need this constant attention or affirmation about my exalted status of being a mom. Neither do I want people around me to fuss over everything I do. I don’t want to make a STATEMENT for every regular act of mine. You don't make it too. The tag, the label and the responsibilities that come with it are abundantly beautiful and sadly depleting at the same time. It’s not a perfect and a happy ride for me. And it's okay because life is like that. My mom went about her life unassumingly, without any fuss over her being a MOM. I want to live placid too without the burden of being the best mom, who wakes up at 5 am, cooks, cleans, gets her kids ready, recites her prayers, drops her kids to school , goes to work, comes back, take the kids to Kumon, then to art class,  make the kids do their homework, cook again , clean again, organize again, plan for the next day, bathe the kids, make them pray and tuck them to sleep and go back to the kitchen again to wrap things until the clock strikes 12 pm.

I am doing this. And my mom also did a pretty neat job. The difference is - I feel being pushed many times, I feel the burden of the label and I feel the judgments will kill me if I didn’t live up to the label. My mom I guess was much liberated.

A week back I was talking to a 70-year-old woman (mom of a close friend) who has come to help her daughter-in-law for her second delivery. She looked, talked, behaved comfortable and content. A simple lady from a small town in Uttar Pradesh intrigued me and I asked her  the eternal question- ‘Aap khush hain?’ (Are you happy?)

She looks at me, gives a beautiful smile and says- ‘मैं खुश क्यों नहीं होंगी ?ईश्वर ने मुझे अच्छा पति दिया, अच्छे बच्चे दिए , सबने अच्छी पढाई की और सब आज अपनी ज़िन्दगी जी रहे हैं। अंकल आज भी जब निकलते हैं तो लोह उनकी पर्सनालिटी देखते रह जाते हैं. हमें और क्या चाहिए?ईश्वर ने सब कुछ दिया.बच्चों के लिए ही तो माँ बाप जीते हैं.' ( Why shouldn't I be happy? God gave me a wonderful husband and lovely children. All of them studied well and are happily settled in their life. Even today when my husband goes out, people look at him and his personality in awe. God gave m everything. We live for our children.)

She doesn’t know what mother's day is nor does she knows how heavenly she is because she delivered 4 children,  breastfed them nonstop till they were 3, cooked and cleaned for them and pretty much lived for them. She slipped in her duties many times but it wasn't a death sentence for her. She did not fuss over meaningful parenting, mindful parenting, positive parenting, gentle parenting, nutrition, and health, art, and craft, swimming, and piano learning toys, educational toys, problem-solving toys, analytical toys, motor skill developing toys and the like. She just cared and did what was possible with her limited resources and her understanding. Guess she didn't think as much as we do. We have awareness, income, and understanding like never before but we are shackled because we don't know where to draw the line. By today's standards, she might be lacking ambition and dynamism. But at 70 she is truly happy without fussing over her MOTHERHOOD really.

To those who do not relate to this fussing- Congratulations. You are flying free. 






Saturday, 20 April 2019

My son, his Spermarche and his Sexuality.




If a parent is trying to protect, care and educate a girl child on her sexuality, it is equally important to do the same with the boy child for it takes 'TWO TO TANGO' and you never know whose responsible behavior will actually save parents from these problems.




Giving attention to your boy child is equally important if not more. If we made our boy child responsible adults, we ensure that the girls don’t need to move around with fear.

Don't say then- I will not understand. I do, because I have a son and he is not a bull. 

Click the link Mompresso to read the full article.



Image courtesy-Pixabay

Monday, 15 April 2019

BLEED!



"The literary circle had accused her of being a coffee table, light-hearted romance writer, feeding on the surface of life and emotions, incapable of weaving a deeper tale seething with human pain."

Click on the link and read the full story  BLEED

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Monday, 8 April 2019

MOTION EMOTION



"The other day, the doctor ordered a stool test, then concluded that I have to give up the yogurt, lactose intolerance or some shit like that to get the shit out of me. They say one way would be to throw the yogurt and start afresh."

To read the full story click on Motion-Emotion


Image courtesy-Pixabay

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Lost and Found Part II




While I walk back, I see people stand up, clapping, making way for me. I have seen Karan Johar refer to it as the standing ovation during many award functions.  Talking about him, I wonder if he will ever call me for Koffee with Karan? I love the couch and now I am ready to sit on it too.

Click on Masala Dosa to read the full story.




Image courtesy-Pixabay

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Lost and Found- Part 1


"Think of it, that is what I feared all my life, becoming a NOBODY, a kind of a stranger whom your wavering eye might not even take note of, not even for a second, someone who can be pushed in a crowd and stamped on feet. I am that lost. I am such a loser. But today, something within is feeling so distraught. This is not how I wanted to write the story of my life."

Click on the link Dosa Batter to read the full story.

Image courtesy-Pixabay.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

In the Business of Life




My most precious Gratitude,

Your accent, your dialect, your jargon, your lingua franca is difficult to decrypt, decipher and understand. I have struggled all my life and realize that you can only be felt. I read somewhere today that you are dying a silent death. It gives me immense satisfaction to know that you choose to live in me. Is there something special about my heart or is it my stubbornness that I don’t let you go?

Either ways, I am happy. You see, you have kept me right where I belong- ON THE GROUND, IN DUST. I started a life with my parents where we were always ‘IN- NEED’. A humble life brings in its own grand challenges and turmoil. I hated the thriftiness then, despised the frugality which enveloped my life and once even thought of stealing a Barbie from a friend’s house because I didn’t have one. You saved me then. But I didn’t thank you. You see then, my eyes could only see that much.

Later, life blessed me with abundance, beyond my appetite, my needs, and my survival. You made another grand entry in my life and helped me feel satiated and content in more or less; the notion of each is relative. If that wasn’t enough , age and experience( which I fondly refer to as LIFE) alerted me from the uncritical gullibility of finding happiness outwards, in 'things' and presented me with eye glasses through which everything is far too clear even if it is not visible. I am thankful.

The way I see, you are not an easy partner to live with. A world teeming with temptations and a wallet teeming with cards, a world infested with ‘more, better, brighter, sleeker, smarter, classier’ products, it is difficult to make peace with ‘less’, ‘limited’, and ‘without’. A world diseased with ‘get, want, acquire, accomplish’ it is easy to forget the well- being that comes with the art of ‘GIVING’. I had once read somewhere that ‘the character of a person is known by how you treat those who can do nothing for you.’ I made it a motto of my life, a conscious choice to keep you alive.

So, when the rickshaw puller, with a tattered baniyan and pajamas, pulling me and my mom in the sweltering heat, woefully looks at the uphill road, I GET DOWN. You whisper something in my ears and I GET DOWN, MY SON GETS DOWN AND MAKES MY MOM GET DOWN TOO. 

When we reach home, I sneak in my Dad’s cupboard, take out his not so favorite shirts and hand it over to him, secretly. You see, my mom has lived a budgeted life, for her it’s difficult to let go. I do not blame her.
When the maid servant comes shivering in Delhi’s bitter cold, bare foot, heels cracked and sore, I do not overlook. She is as cold as me when she looks at the sink full of dirty dishes. I see the pain in her eyes and start washing the dishes along with her. Do I share her pain? I don’t know. I try to live it with her. When she leaves, a moisturizing cream, a shawl, a sweater, a pair of socks doesn’t make my wardrobe empty. I have learnt to give because YOU WHISPER IN MY EAR. Thank you.

It requires a conscious choice to  overlook the luxury of driving a car and be part of metro or carpool. You choose to not add to the woes of the city. It’s a choice I make to pray for the girl who got raped ,the parents of the child who got murdered or the pregnant wife whose husband died in a road accident and not for once think about ‘my life’ in that prayer. I cannot do anything to change their fate, but if I see a child in need, a family in distress, or the wife seeking a job, means of livelihood, I reach out, I take the step. You whisper in my ears.

The boy who sells rose flowers in bedraggled clothes, the girl  with hungry eyes who knocks at my car window to buy that one Christmas cap makes me resolve that Christmas is about giving and not buying more for the self. If my child gets a toy, so would another one standing in rags on the pavement.
To donate toys which are broken, clothes which are worn out is not a GIVING. Nobody coerces you to buy new clothes and donate but donating gently used clothes shouldn’t feel like a LOSS either. 

The gardener who mows the grass in our apartment community, the postman who delivers my mail, the old man sitting on the pew of the church staring blankly, the old woman trying to cross the street in her wheelchair or the maidservant daughter who accompanies her mother to my house, I do not let you die. A helping hand here, a smile and greet there, a glass of water to him, an hour of teaching to her, a cloth bag for grocery and picking my litter ... my life goes on.

Is it some way to salve my guilt? No.
I am not guilty. I am GRATEFUL and this emanates from there.
Is it BIG? Can it bring BIG change?

While I cannot get a planet named after me, I cannot be the next Mother Teresa, I cannot be the Dalai Lama, I know what I can be……………………I can be ME. It’s a conscious choice to ensure that whoever and I mean WHOEVER crosses my path, his/her life is better because of my smile, my prayer, my words, my hope, my behavior, my actions, my efforts, my money….my GIVING. It may not change the world but it could mean the world to that someone who isn’t as blessed as I am.

I have understood in life that it is easier to manage the inflation rate and GDP growth but to awaken the moral consciousness of a society is an uphill battle. I am sure I cannot change the country and its people and their mindset and magically fix what is broken. I can only change myself, my thoughts, the family that I am a part of and ensure that we are not the evil fly in the Pandora ’s Box. We will not employ a servant and promote child labor, we will not employ a 15 year old girl child to replace her mother or put a price tag on our son when he reaches a marriageable age. 


But your legacy needs to continue...my son has been a kind soul…till now. :) He is 5 year old and I hope his heart remains that of a five-year-old all throughout. You see, his heart somehow understands what you whisper in my ears and I convey to him. We choose to have our birthday parties a close-knit affair, family, relatives, and close friends, people who care about you and people whom we care for. I do have the money to Chuck-e-Cheese his birthday but you whisper and I stop gladly. The Chuck-e-Cheese is spent on poor, underprivileged children in an obscure village of Uttar Pradesh. For one day, they know what a birthday treat is. Gratitude is a language which is not taught. It is a prayer that is lived every passing moment. There is much that goes behind the fervid chants and mantras. He has to decode it himself. I can only set the stage for him. He is the director of his life story. In the world of 'Instant' he has to learn the language of 'Patience', in the world of Artificial Intelligence, he has to unfold Human Compassion, in the world infested with 'Not Have', he has to find his 'HAVE'. 

Thank you for choosing my heart to dwell in.  I am at peace because you reside there.

Yours.

Image courtesy-Pixabay





Wednesday, 20 February 2019

HOMECOMING

"Whenever you feel 'fear' and I mean it from my heart and soul...Do what you are afraid to do because overcoming what frightens you the most ...strengthens you the most."

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear- Nelson Madela"

Click on Homecoming to read the full article.

Image courtesy-Pixabay.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Dear SOLDIER,


Tell me something? What were you thinking when you decided to stand at the LOC? You knew what was coming your way? Right? Your family knew what this job entails? Why didn't you choose a safer and secure option? Why? There are umpteen IIM's and IIT's around, Artificial Intelligence is on the boom, Robots are transforming life and look at you. Who goes for work on 14th February when Cupid Cuties are on the roll and hearts are going a flutter? 
Click on Dear SOLDIER, How did you Valentine Day go? to read the full story.

Image courtesy-Pixabay.

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