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Monday, 14 May 2018

कदम छोटा ,चेंज बड़ा



My most precious, dearest Conscience,

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 it 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 AND MAKE 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.


My son has been a kind soul…till now. :) He is just five 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.


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. You whispered in my ears once. Nobody coerces you to buy new clothes and donate but donating gently used clothes shouldn’t feel like a LOSS to you 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.  And while we say ‘NO’ to the unfair and the unjust, it is equally imperative to take a small step to do what is fair and just.

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

With Gratitude,

Namrata 
It's the same hand which receives the blessings.
To Give ...is a conscious choice one makes.


Every change begins with a small step, whether it’s a change within your family, or the whole country! On 11th May, is the digital premiere of India’s Hero, Padman, on ZEE5. Don’t miss this inspiring true-life story, only on ZEE5. Download the app and subscribe now. For every subscription, ZEE5 will donate Rs. 5 towards the personal hygiene needs of underprivileged women.

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

#BlogToPM



Dear Prime Minister,

I listened to you over the comfort of my smartphone and a much smarter lifestyle, speaking so eloquently at the Central Hall Westminster in London. Very carefully you touched upon the pressing concerns of our country- Woman’s safety, Unemployment, Heath care and Farmers. The रोटी  , कपड़ा ,  मक़ान   with a शौचालय and  स्वछता  around is a burgeoning reality  of today’s times along with ‘सबका साथ, सबका विकास ’ kind of movement. As the 2019 elections draw close, I wonder, is it all done? I am sure not. But you see, it would be unfair to only look at what is left undone. I am not one of those onlookers. As you remarked on your twitter- we have a million problems but we have 125 billion Indians to solve it. I am sure your intentions are honest and that is where big dreams have the potential to become a reality. It is just a matter of time.

So, why am I here? I have a concern, which I know has not escaped your seasoned and alert eyes. Yet I choose to write, to share and to remind our fellow Indians of the long road ahead in front of us. Everyone deserves a smart life, a comfortable one. 

I traveled to India few months back and my journey did not end at the world class Indira Gandhi International Airport. I took another flight and then an Alto ride to my home in Ranchi. While my family greeted me and their 4 year old grandson with warm hugs and merriment , I noticed an 8 year old child, clad in over sized faded tee-shirt( I faintly remembered it was my elder brother’s) and pajamas, staring blankly at me. The sight of my 4 year old kid excited him though, as he smiled at Manavi's antics in the patio.

“Who is he Maa?” I enquired.

“ यह हमारा नया नौकर है ,” my mom uttered carelessly.

“नौकर ? Maa please. But why? I mean..ummm why is he here? Does he study?” I questioned.

“Study? Naina, get back to reality. This is India. His grandfather served at your paternal grandparent’s house and now he is here.  The reality is that he is much better taken care of here. Back in the village he would have starved to death. Here, while he helps us in household chores, he gets good food to eat, a shelter over his head, clothes to wear, mind you we have brought two sets of new clothes for him for Holi and slippers to wear in winter. He even has socks and sweaters from us.”

I was silent. When I do not understand the grim realities of unfair and unjust life and my own helplessness, I go silent.

Few days’ later, after Holi, over a cup of chai served by Chotu, our maid servant entered. She looked barely 10 or 11, clad in a bright pink salwar kurta with glass bangles in both hands.

“Who is she, Maa? Has Pushpa daai left? She use to work?” I questioned again.

“Yes. She is not keeping very well. Today she called up( thank god to the telecom revolution)to say that now her daughter Manju will work.”

“Really? How will she? She is herself a kid. Doesn’t she go to school?”

“She is 15. She has to support her family Naina. Her elder brother pulls the rickshaw, younger one is barely 5, and her father left for Delhi two years back to work as cook.”

“School?”

“Where is the time for them to go to school? Or do they go empty stomach? Anyways, soon she will be married off. Nainu, these people live like this, generation to generation. There is nothing much we can do. But don’t think they are innocent. They are so pricey and demands of saree, suit and other things at every festival,” my mother’s annoyance was visible.

I went silent again. When I do not understand the grim realities of unfair and unjust life and my own helplessness, I go silent.



My sister-in-law Priya works for Care India and my brother is a reputed journalist with a leading news channel. Her younger sister is all of marriageable age and over an dinner invite at Priya’s parents place ( NRI do get a lot of dinner and lunch invitations), I learnt that they are looking for a suitable boy for their younger daughter Rishita.
“So, uncle, have you found someone yet?” I questioned, popping the gulabjamun in my mouth.

“Yes. I did. Couple of them. But you see betaji, suitable boys have a suitable price tag which I cannot afford.”

“Sorry, I didn’t get that?”

“Last week a probationary officer working for Punjab National Bank, Kanpur branch finalized the alliance at a price of 22 lakhs cash, household goods and a midsize car plus jewelry.”

“You mean ‘dowry’? Really Uncle ji? Even now?” The gulabjamun had never tasted so bitter.

“Yes Naina beta, PO’s are priced between 20-40 lakhs, class A civil servants cost around 50 lakhs to 1.5 crore.”

“But it is illegal and  Rishita is an educated, good looking and homely girl. She would be an asset to any family,” I interrupted.

“And that is not part of the groom’s side calculations.” The wrinkles on his forehead deepened with each word he spoke.

“Let it be uncle. We don’t need to marry Rishita to such savage, greedy people. They do not deserve. If you ask me, let her study some more, send her to Delhi where she can prepare for her civil services and make her career. She is already a graduate and barely 24.” I blurted with a deep sense of angst and remorse.

“Delhi? The rape capital betaji. Betaji she is secure here and I will soon work out her marriage. Once that is done, she will be somebody else’s responsibility.”

“But..umm...I mean...how can you uncle ji?”

“Such is life Naina. It is not easy in the country we live in. No wonder people still lament over the birth of a girl child."


I went silent, all over again. When I do not understand the grim realities of unfair and unjust life and my own helplessness, I go silent.

In that one month that I stayed, I tried to teach Chotu the Hindi alphabets and numbers. I tried to help Manju while she struggled to mop the floor and I motivated Rishita to start her preparation for state civil services and take up some online coaching if possible. Did I do enough? I don’t know. I have met a Chotu, a Manju and a Rishita in my life on various occasions before. All throughout my growing up years, I have met them and to my dismay, they are still lurking around in the dark alleys of life. I am 34 years old now. How much time does it ideally take to bring social reforms? I wonder. Can these reform percolate deep down, to the last suffering individual? I wonder.

I am not an economist, a strategist, a financial expert, a statistician or a data miner. I only have experience and I speak from experience.
Can YOU wave a magic wand and bring a smile on their face? 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. And while we say ‘NO’ to the unfair and the unjust, it is equally imperative to take a small step to do what is fair and just. Can Manju be enrolled in a local school and an affluent family like ours sponsor her education? You alone cannot do it. I alone cannot do it either. But as you mentioned on Twitter- India has a million problems but a billion people who can solve them. Count me in!






Image Courtesy-Pixabay, Blogadda.

BlogToPM is an initiative by BlogAdda(India's biggest blogging platform)  where they propose to aggregate posts from the community and present it to the Prime Minister's Office. They started on Republic Day and end on Independence Day.


Monday, 16 April 2018

I have SOMEBODY in my life. I am not in love...though.

A CONVERSATION WITH SOMEBODY

I am N ….Naina Thakur and this is my story. Not only mine but also yours. You are as chained as I am, handcuffed and shackled...and this conversation is as important to you as it is to me. 




N- Hey Hi.

Somebody- Hi, you are talking to me?

N- Ya. May I know your name, please?

Somebody- aha! My name?

N- Yeah! I have been following you for 36 years and I still don't know who you are. Today I saw you, again, and thought of asking. I went asking my grandfather who is 88 and he seemed to be clueless.

Somebody- He didn't know? That's strange. I thought by 88 you become wise enough to know pretty much everything.

N- O common. Don't beat around the bush. Just tell me who you are?

Somebody- Why don't you go and ask your mum or dad?

N- My mum?  Well, yeah, I remember she was the one who spoke about you. Yes, I remember. I have heard her talk about you often. In fact, she is the one who introduced you to me, but she called you 'somebody'.  Is that your name really?

Somebody- No.
N- Then? Why don't you just say it? What's the big deal?

Somebody- Go and ask your mum, what is the big deal? Why are you asking me?

N- Aarrrghhh... I am asking you because you have made my life miserable. Ever since I remember, you have been an obstacle in everything I have truly wanted to do. All through my growing years, you crept in from nowhere, governed my words and action and I had to keep SHUT both in words and actions because of you. And to top it all, I wasn’t even given an explanation as to why I should or should not do something. I didn’t like it. I was just asked to SHUT UP because of you. And many times I was compelled to ‘GET UP' because of you. You would think badly of me, you would think funny of me, so I had to SHUT up.  You would think good of me, you would think nice about me, so I had to GET up. Why?

What you think of me is so important that I can't take a step without thinking of you. How you perceive me is so crucial to my life that I take a step forward and then take two backwards, only because I am not sure how 'YOU' think about it. I gather all the courage and hope to do something and there you come creating doubt and suspicion. How am I supposed to handle that? And, why should I? I still remember, I was in 5th grade and you refrained me from going up on the stage and sing that funny song. Trust me, that song was good, really good. It would have left the audience in splits and entertained, but mum said- "don't sing that. It sounds silly. What will somebody think?” What was so wrong with that song? I kept wondering and who was this 'SOMEBODY'?
And then, when I was 16, as the length of my skirt reached the ankle, I was left floundering; what is so grossly wrong with short dress. My parents felt that it would draw too much attention. "What will somebody think? How does she dress up?" mom’s eyebrows resembling a steep hill. I kept wondering why and who was this 'SOMEBODY' who judged my character by the way I dressed up.
Later, I wanted to do hotel management after my 12th grade and become a Chef. I was questioned again, only because of you.  "You sure you? You want to become a Chef? What will somebody think? We are all doctors and engineers and civil servants all around. A cook…... really?" My dad lamented.
So, years later, as I slogged through the corporate corridors, crunching numbers which made no sense, I kept wondering about you and the dreams you stole.
How much I wanted to marry Nanda Kumar SV, the metrosexual corporate sales manager. We were a match made in the office corridors of Airtel, and, then, you came with the sharpest affliction. "Being a North Indian you want to marry a South Indian. What will somebody think? It's not done," my dad mortified by my disclosure. I didn't have the heart to break his heart and so I broke the other heart and mine too. All because you didn't approve of it.
You have held me back from living my life. On numerous occasion, big or small, I had to arrest my dreams, haul up my thoughts and settle for what YOU wanted. You are my biggest adversary and I lost to you every time. But enough is enough. I am 38 now and I have kids. They are young and impressionable. I do not want them to grow tway I grew up. It is taking me immense strength to hold back. You see, you are so deeply embedded in me. So,  I thought to talk to you and settle this once and for all. I have suffered enough. Unless I know who you are, I am not going to let you befriend my child. That's final. You need to be someone to rule my life the way you do, compel me to make choices which I don't want to and plant seeds of self-doubt every time I am to embark on something. Are you GOD?

Somebody- Woah! That was long. I didn't know I have caused so much trouble to you. It’s a sad story for sure and you have my sympathies. But why are you putting the burden of all your woes on me? You created me, you chose to live with me, by me and now I am being accused. No one talks to me like that. You know I am SOMEBODY and I rule your life. Ha ha ha!!!

Keeping the jokes miles apart, I feel sorry for you and hear me out, for I have something to say too. Your mum introduced you to me just the way her mum did to her. I run through generations and across time. The first time or the second time you felt uncomfortable about me, you should have asked your mum, questioned her, refuted her, reasoned with her. She didn't tell you then, so let me tell you now.

 I AM NOBODY.

I take any form- your relative, your friend or your neighbor and comes to you at the various juncture of your life. To do what? To dissuade you from 'not living your life the way you want’. I don’t like it. I don't like people getting bold and courageous, trying new things, taking risks and succeeding in life. I feel envious when people make efforts to realize their dreams and so I pop up every time to plant the seeds of fear, self-doubt to hold them back. And I succeed. Most of the times I do. I win.

I rarely meet people who rise above the fear and self-doubt and take that step. I don't really like them though, but that's them.
N- What? You want people to lose in life? Really. Ouch! That’s so not done.

Somebody- Yes. I do. And sometimes I am the reason for their success and happiness too. Remember when your mum said -" Do well in your 10th board exam. When somebody will hear, they will think... there goes the daughter of that IIT engineer. Like father, like daughter. " And what did you do? You put in more efforts just to please me.

Thus, you spend your entire life positioning yourself, your words, your thoughts, your action to SUIT me. Does that make me happy? Yes. I guess. But I have laughed and mocked at you every time you altered yourself to appease me. I never understood why you did what you did. To me, you looked like a fool. How can you live your life on the whims and fancies of SOMEBODY? That SOMEBODY has no inkling of your life circumstances, financial wellness, physical and emotional well-being and your dreams. What makes you surrender then and get dictated by SOMEBODY? Let me tell you the biggest truth today- I am NOBODY. I repeat I AM NOBODY and I don't live out there. I live within you. YOU SEE, I AM THE MONKEY, WHO IS NOT ON YOUR BACK, I AM INSIDE YOU.

N-Whatttttt?

Somebody- Yes. I reside within. When you are born, I am planted in you by your parents. Then watered and fertilized by all kinds of people around you. So, I grow with you and sometimes bigger than you. Every time you pick up a scissor to prune me, some people in your life come and save me again. And like this, every time you think of doing something which I don’t like, I let indecision, vacillation and fear bloom in you. You take your steps back. You gather the courage to take that step again and I try with all my might to hold you back. In this battle, many a time I have won and only a few times that I have lost.

But should you be really bothered about me? Honestly, NO. Because I am no one to you. I am a fictional character who lives only in imagination.  I have no right on you or your life decisions. I am no stakeholder of your life.

Do what you want to, because YOU want to do it... not to make SOMEBODY happy. Take the risk or not take it, move forward or step backwards, do good or bad, vice or virtue because YOU think it is right for you; not to please SOMEBODY. I won't come to share the responsibility, difficulties and hardships that come along with your decision. I shall not bear a milligram weight of your anxiety or worry, the happiness and joys associated. I understand your mum made me your friend, but now you can ensure I don't befriend your child. If your child wants to do something- run around without undies or become an opera singer, talk to him, try to understand, weigh the choice as a family and make a decision which suits the family and the child and not the one which suits me. Because I am nobody.

You may ask if I ever save or help  by holding you back?  I can't make , I can't break. I can't bruise, I can't heal. Life is all about falling and standing up again, but it feels much better to know that the bruises are your own and not because of the imaginary SOMEBODY. And every bruise, every hurt, every experience comes with a lesson for life. Don't forget that. THERE IS NO LOSING IN LIFE YOU SEE...YOU EITHER WIN OR YOU LEARN. Nothing more, nothing less.

N-"You are nobody. You live inside me." I stammered as my stomach churned inside. Did I hear it right? He/She is NOBODY. Then how did I let a NOBODY decide for my life? I turned and started walking away...thinking...wondering...lamenting on all the lost opportunities and the lost love.  'I am NOBODY' reverberated in my ears and then suddenly I turned to say thanks.

"Hello! You there? SOMEBODY...can you hear me?" I looked around.

There was no one...absolutely no one.
Image Courtesy- Pixabay

Sunday, 18 March 2018

A Meaningful Life- You like me , You don't like me

'I AM' irrespective of likes and dislikes.

If you are a mum with a paunch, continue reading. If you don't have one, TEACH US HOW ;))))
35 is an interesting chapter of life. Neither too young nor too old, just in the middle.Being a Mum is ever more interesting. Neither too young for being wild nor too old for being wise.

How long has it been since you tried some wild lovemaking with your partner? If you are trying to recall hard…chuck the question.:):):)

We are 35.Mark Twain once said- "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

I am at chapter 35 of my life and a mum. That’s important because the world is cautious about a woman's age and the tag ‘MUM’ changes the way people look at you and perceive you.

It's been 4 years that I gave birth to this ‘joy’ and officially joined the ‘mum’s community’. And guess what? Considering it an all-women community, compliments are vital, desired and Omnipresent. :) ;)

Yesterday, by some stroke of luck, I was the one who was getting it all.
“Yummy Mummy, wow, look at you, you don’t look like a mum.”
“Age is reversing for you. No one can say you have a kid.”
“You are back to 16.Wow. Tell us how to go back to 16.”

I was flummoxed.

Damn, what do I do now? Damn, Damn, Damn
Because I am a mum.And while I don't know how a 35-year-old mum should look like, I know for sure that I am a mum and I am comfortable looking like one, feeling like one and behaving like one.

NO COGNITIVE DISSONANCE WHATSOEVER.
And why wouldn't I? Am I not proud to be a mum? Is looking like a mum a concern?
These compliments circulate and the more they do,the better it gets on the ones who are looking like mum and the ones who look like teenage mums :). The Former hides her belly bulge behind the pallu of saree and the latter moves around with her flat tummy like a Filmfare award.
The problem doesn’t cease here. It’s the mind that gets affected and the self-esteem which gets injured. The present loses its worth and meaning and the ‘past’ yearns to be re-lived.

HEY MUMS (of all kinds of belly and bust)- Let’s get it for once and for all. It’s important to be peaceful in your present. Motherhood brings some long-lasting changes in the body, the mind and the soul. Let’s carry those changes with pride.
Don’t pull your breath while you are getting clicked.
Don’t hide thunder things behind those overflowing oversize hip length tees. It’s OKAY.
You don’t get ‘Likes’ on your pics -It’s Okay. You were born to live your authentic life and not to get 'LIKES.'

Stretch marks on belly- Check. Great!
Sagging breasts- Check- Great!
Wider Hips-Check. Great!
Belly Bulge-Check-Great
Flabby Arms-Check-Great
Tires around Waist-Check-Great.
If you don’t have these. Great. If you have these. Great.

Live your age ,Live your looks and whatever it has to offer. You lived the past, why do you want to live it again?Come what may, the fact is that you cannot go back to Chapter 16. Nor can you feel 16.How am I supposed to feel Chapter 16 when I have reached Chapter 35? And why would I want to? And why is feeling young so important? Haven't you felt and lived the so-called  ‘youth’... You did...right?
Now feel age 35 and move on. Being fit and healthy is a sustainable choice for the body but doing so to look and feel 16 is an unsustainable choice for the mind and the soul.
So the next time someone hurls that backhanded compliment, I shall run for cover.  I value my present...in my thoughts, my feelings and my action. That may not necessarily make me happy (the way the world views happiness) but that definitely provides peace.

20 is madness and so is 35 and so would be 70. It’s just the nature of madness that differs.

And if wild lovemaking is not possible, try soft tender one.




Getting poetic-
An autumn leaf which broke away from the branch and lies on the grass will soon be shrouded in snow.  But can it say that it feels like a new green leaf? Should it still revel thinking about its green charm?It was but once a green leaf… and now it's brown…green was beautiful then,brown is beautiful now, green or brown… the colour is not important……. The question is how well it lived green and how well it lives brown…and how well it gets buried under the icy snow.









Sunday, 11 March 2018

Meaningful Parenting- I tweaked the way I talk to my child.



How I talk to my child is different from how my father talked to me. Am I glad that I am doing things differently?

Yes.

Is there a guarantee that this is the best way to talk? Is there a safety net?
No. Because there are no safety net’s in the world for anything.

Question- Can I watch TV?
My parents- 'NO. Go and do your homework. Watching TV will not help you.'
:( And all the while the TV show went on, I stared blankly at my book. I was distracted.

Me to my son- 'Yes, you can, after you are done with your homework.'

My constant NO's only make him immune to this word. What message do I want to send across? Can I reword my answer and ensure that it's positive and takes care of both our interests?

Upon not picking up a concept/skill fast.
My parents- ‘How much time you are taking? Hurry up. You are so slow.’
And I kept wondering what was so grossly wrong with my intellect? I felt belittled.

Me to my son- ‘I know it's not easy. But I can see you are being patient. Can I help you?’

I wasn’t Einstein, I don't expect my son to be one. I am glad he shows focus and persistence rather than the correct answer. The correct answer will come eventually.

Upon making a mistake and saying sorry.
My parents- ‘What sorry? Sorry doesn't help.’
I truly felt sorry but couldn't understand why they didn't see my sincerity. I felt sad.

Me to my son- ‘I know you are feeling sorry. Just ensure you do not repeat it again.’

Mistakes happen and sometime the best you have to offer is a genuine sorry. There is no harm in saying one.

Upon a bargain situation - I want to go for a movie with them on Sunday but parents want to organize the store room.
My parents- ‘What movie? You are too much into movies. We have so much work at home. We need to rest too.’
But why can't we go for a movie? Why is it always your way?

Me to my son- ‘How about we agree to have a movie night the coming weekend and this weekend we get the store room organized?’ or vice-versa.

It’s about creating a win - win situation. I cannot always exercise my will by virtue of being the powerful parent. For a harmless day to day activities, one as a family can bargain and reach a more amicable situation rather than dictating my WILL on him. His interest is important to me. Trampling it every time is not my style.


Upon a fight, I had with my friend and I am trying to tell my parents about it.
My parents- ‘Enough. No more of your nonsense. I don't want to listen to your stories.’
I wanted to share but guess they didn't care. I mused to myself.

Me to my son- ‘Tell me more. What happened? How did it all start?’ 

I am helping my child share his story with me. Stories of everyday life which give me ample fodder to know about him, his thoughts, feelings and ideas. I am also giving him the signal that 'I AM THERE' and he can come and talk to me about anything and everything...today or tomorrow.

Upon asking my father to buy me a comic.

My parents- ‘Go and read your school books. You are too much into comics and story book. These comics will not fetch you marks.’

Reading 'Akbar-Birbal' comic strip on a train journey is no sin. What is wrong in reading a comic? I kept sulking and thinking.

Me to my son- ‘Let's read together. When I was your age, I loved reading these. These comics have been around for long and they still are interesting.’

How do you instill love for reading? Course books are hardly enjoyable to read. :) I don't think it's a good idea to put a barricade on what to read and what not to read (of course adult supervision is a must on all that children are watching and reading). A genuine love for reading is possible when the child finds it interesting to pick up all kinds of (age appropriate) magazines, comics, story book, picture books and dive into it. Also, a parent who loves reading with their child is only benefiting the child in numerous ways...two of them being- spending quality time by being your child reading companion and helping him become a READER.


Upon making a mistake
My parents- ‘You cannot do a single thing properly. I shouldn't have asked you to do it in the first instance. We cannot trust you.’

 Really Daddy? Why? I blamed myself for the mistake.

Me to my son- ‘It's okay. We all make mistakes. We make mistakes of all kinds. The art lies in learning from them.’
Things happen and mistakes happen quite often. What do you do? Shout? Yell? Blame? Accuse? or you just give family members including yourself the room to make mistakes and learn from them? When you owe up for your mistakes, you just show to your children how to take responsibility for mistakes, learn and move on. When you let, your child make mistakes, you extend the same courtesy, room and comfort to him. And who doesn't make mistakes? Who is perfect? None. Right? I have seen my son feel miserable over not being able to meet my expectation and not being perfect. But I just let him be. He doesn't need to be perfect. He can make mistakes. All that I want is for him to learn from his mistakes. Every mistake comes with a hidden message.
Life isn't black and white either

Upon joining a family conversation
My parents- ‘Just keep quiet. It's not for you. It's for us to talk and sort. We are your parents.’

But even I have something to say. Anybody listening? I shouted within.

Me to my son- ‘What do you think? Should we invite your friend’s cousin too for your birthday?’

He may be too small to give me real solution but I am giving him an opportunity to participate in family discussion. He is a member of the family and listening to what he has to say is important to me. Today he gives me funny solutions, tomorrow he may give me a unique idea to resolve a problem at hand. We can reserve the bedroom for adult conversation. He can be taught to not jump into conversation when two people are talking. He can wait for his turn.  By involving him in family discussion I am letting him know that we value him, his thoughts, his idea. We are helping him learn that a family operates together, takes decisions collectively and bears the responsibility of the consequences.
'Thank you'… something which my parents thought was too formal in a family set up and to me it’s manners, tact and grace, the learning of which starts from home. 





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