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Saturday, 30 June 2018

Of course I am happy.....till I FIND SOMETHING BETTER. Till...


I GET USED TO WHAT I HAVE!!!





And this is what the biggest human frailty is all about. Isn't it? The itch, the hunger, the thirst with which we pursue, chase our 'happiness goals' and manage to realize them, why does it cease to provide the happiness which was the very goal we started the quest.

To me, it is our biggest weakness that ails us, psychology calls it the habituation-a form of learning in which an organism decreases or ceases to respond to a stimulus after repeated presentations. 

From a TV to a long-awaited promotion to a Green card to 10000 likes, WE GET USED TO IT ONCE WE HAVE IT AND IT NO MORE MAKES US HAPPY? The acquisition of one leads to a momentary feeling of happiness and then what? WHOOSH!



Happiness is an abstract concept which we have come to define in terms of material acquisitions, coveted degrees, SAT scores, salary, good-looking spouse and the list is infinite. So, we acquire these possessions and try to make ourselves happy only to discern that this CHASE IS NEVER ENDING. Courtesy- HABITUATION. It is this 'get used to' which is the final nail in the coffin. It seals our sense of happiness forever. With this 'used to' one can keep adding more and yet feel empty.



"Once upon a time I desired a fancy life, then I got one and then I got used to it. I craved for a fancier life and I managed to secure it for myself, and then I got used to it.

From fancy to fancier to fanciest, my human nature of 'getting used to' tarnished every happiness that came my way.I started again- the relentless, perpetual, ceaseless persuasion to acquire that other thing which will make me happy. Soon,I am standing at the doorsteps of old age,  and wondering ..."




So, are degrees not important? Yes, they are.

Should you flush your money into the drain? No, Of course not. You must be insane to do that.
Is achievement, recognition, a good house, a cool car and a comfortable life nonessential? NO. 
Then?
Either you be mindful of the value they bring or don't attach your happiness around it and your sorrows around their absence.
Try, if you can, to not float high with joy if you get through the Ivy league college or earn the envious 8 figure salary. Much the same way, to make failures, challenges your personal funeral. If that looks difficult and problematic, try the other one- practice valuing what you have, what you have accomplished, what you craved for, worked for, and got and JUST DON'T GET USED TO IT.
I prefer the former option. I have a tendency of ‘getting used to’ J

The problem with happiness is that it is fleeting ...fleeting till you keep changing its destination from a modular kitchen to a deluxe bathtub to Louis Vuitton handbag. Place it within you and you shall be happy forever irrespective of the circumstances.

Coming to my own parenting and my son, to raise him to be a lifetime hunter is not on my agenda.
To have him value what he has and to try not compare. The comparison makes ‘getting used to’ the easiest thing on planet Earth. I don't want my child to be rich. I want him to have 'just enough'. The strange part is that no material acquisition ever guarantees happiness.

Neither does money. Can money buy happiness? Yes, only if it can pay your bills, it is fair in comparison to what your peers/friends are earning and you get to spend it on others. Others? Really? Why? That is not why I earned money in the first place. Note that we need research to confirm it, but it does: It is better to give than to receive. People report higher levels of happiness when they spend money on others than when they spend it on themselves. There’s nothing wrong with spending on yourself, but when you reach out to others, the feeling is SOLID GOLD, MATCHLESS, ETHEREAL, UNRIVALED. Try it for once. The day you feel the worst, go, and help someone else out. I can bet, you will feel the heaviness of your own heart disappear.

Of course, a bigger house, a comfortable car, right salary can give the happiness kick which you can revel in and enjoy. But there is a catch--------------Researchers have discovered that the less money you have, the more it can impact your happiness when you get more of it. Logical? Yes. If you make $20,000 and you quadruple your income to $80,000, your life satisfaction will improve significantly. But beyond $80,000(good enough amount of money) life satisfaction increases only slightly with increases in income.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t pursue making more money, just know there is a barricade beyond which your money and happiness are not necessarily friends. Be rich if that is what you desire, but do not attach your happiness around the richness. One can get used to richness. And when life defies your expectations, provokes you in painful ways, and threatens your so-called 'happiness' know for sure that you can still be peaceful from within and live a meaningful life. The way I have understood life and this delicate, tender, creamy emotion of happiness is that it has the potential to stay without profit & loss. It’s a myth to say that happiness expresses itself in chest thumping, grand parties, platinum jewellery, twitter followers or a post going viral. Some of the loneliest and unhappy people throng to these parties burdened with their own richness, seeking happiness.
I have a deep sense of appreciation, respect, appetite and longing for a meaningful life. Parenting cannot guarantee happiness to the child every time. What it can assure is 'meaning' so that the child feels worthwhile and purposeful, both in falling and flying high. And done meaningfully, it ensures that you as a parent know that your role is not to make your child reach a happy destination but to be part of the journey. And while the child has come through you, he is not YOU...and all you can do is to help him become HIM in meaningful ways.


I subscribed to the myths for 34 long years and realized late (thankfully it isn’t too late) that this path takes you - NOWHERE. 

I now steer my life differently.I have learnt to segment my need, wants and desires. I care a lot about the money I earn, the house and the comfort and the car I drive. I have not renounced the world or the worldly things. But I have learnt to hold back my chase, my desperation for better, bigger, flashier, newer.
To me, parents should make it their first priority to debunk the myths of happiness on which they largely place their life and teach children to realize it as a state of your mind, your being and not emanating from material acquisitions or pleasing people and seeking approval.

While it's the best feeling in the world to see your child happy, I wonder if it is  going to happen if he sees you chasing and you teach him how to keep hunting.
Good Luck!

HAPPINESS IS A MATTER OF CHOICE. IF YOU WANT TO FIND ONE/FEEL ONE- TRAVEL INWARDS...into yourself and your soul, for out there, in the external world, there is only COMPETITION for MORE and MORE and MORE. 
THE PROBLEM IS - THIS MORE IS NOT THE PLACE WHERE HAPPINESS RESIDES.

Image courtesy-Pixabay


Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Wife and Husband


So I was asked this question today by one of my readers who also happens to be one of my friends “Why did you change your name after marriage?  Nobody does this nowadays. Why should we women do this all the time? We are equal and not need to change our surnames or our identity. You went ahead and included his name and surname too.Phew!

I looked at her in bewilderment, because I had never thought of this and said rather meekly- " Our name together sounds really nice to me. It has a melody to it which makes me ...smile." That's all.


Sometimes it's really not about empowerment, equality, and identity. Beyond the frontiers of man vs woman, lies a sweet spot where I feel nice to be married to my husband, feel fortunate to have him in my life, cradle him to sleep when he is tired, serve him warm food because I know he likes it, dust his shoes when he is running late to work, try to keep his tea ready once he is back from work and stand by him at all times. I do it not because he asks me to, or commands or expects. I do, because I like to do it for him. He may not return in equal measure in the same proportion or in similar nature, but he does what he can with love, and commitment and I respect that. He doesn't fall off the cliff of manliness and respect when he washes the dirty plates in the sink  or changes diapers of our son, nor do I start floating  because I earn more than him.  


Sometimes... it's only love, care, companionship..whatever you call it.


शादी है, कोई प्रतोयोगिता नहीं जहाँ हार जीत, नफा नुक्सान का हिसाब किताब रखा जाये. दो कदम वह चल लें, चार हम, फिर कुछ कदम वह चल ले और हम थोड़ा आराम कर लें। 




Sunday, 27 May 2018

How many classes have you enrolled you child for? 'Comparison - Part 3'.










A mom of a 5-year-old talking in a group of moms- "I keep her very busy. She is enrolled for Ballet, Bollywood dance, Jazz, swimming and gymnastics' and of course her regular coaching class for English and Math."

I quipped wondering about her heroic child- " Why so many classes? How does she manage? And why a coaching class? Isn't it too early. She goes to regular school?"
"Common Yaa, haven't you seen everybody goes and it will give her an edge", pat came the reply.

"Edge over?" I asked.


"Edge over others in alphabets, numbers, shapes ...it will make her faster and better and she will get into the habit of 'regular study hours'. And extracurricular activities are so much needed nowadays. Everyone is into so much. Isn't it? Have a look at Facebook and you will know what other children are up to?"

I was ready to faint, but I managed a croak - "But you can teach her these and make her get into regular study hours. Are you working? (understandably she doesn't get enough time on her hand to sit with her child."

She chirped animatedly- “No. I don't work. It's just that 'she doesn't listen to me. When the homework comes from the coaching class, she is more organized."


And everybody nodded in unison. Clap clap clap .

I walked away surprised, sad and anxious with questions bombarding in my mind.

A child doesn't listen to her parents and that parent needs an external institution to help her listen and regularize her life, introduce schedule and make her sit. Is it a parent's success or failure? I wondered.

That child is a normal child with no special needs. Her mother is a well educated SAHM. Where is the disconnect and is that disconnect the right one? Today it a coaching institute, what about tomorrow. Giving a listening ear to one’s parent is the most basic that every child should be taught.

Are we so short of time, energy and willingness or parental control that 'external coaching institutions' have become a need at the age of 3,4 and 5? Don't we know our alphabets, shapes, and numbers? What is the missing link? Is it our own ambitiousness which we are transferring on our children? I am in for all kinds of coaching when needed. I took math tuition in 9th grade too. But preschool?

Pondering over these, my thoughts shifted to my own child.

“Should I put my 3-year-old for the coaching class?”. What about ‘his edge'?”

“Should I enroll him for hip hop, gymnastics, and Taekwondo? Am I missing out on something if I am not able to post his glories on Facebook?"

By the time, I came home, I was sorted in my mind-
“it's not the children who are competing. It's their parents who are competing...  garbed in fancy Barbie frocks and Superman T-shirts."


I was sure that YES, I WILL enroll him but will ask a few questions before. I shall not jump the bandwagon because everyone is doing so. Today if I jumped, tomorrow my son would be jumping on every bandwagon because 'everyone else’ is and that is not what I want. I want him to think for himself and his choices.

· Why am I enrolling him for that violin class? Am I enrolling him because I never got to do it and he will make my dreams come true? Is it because everyone else is or we as a family feel that violin is the opportunity we want him to expose? Is it my dream after all?

· Will he be able to sustain this for a long period of time?Every skill needs patience, perseverance and focus to be mastered. Will I or he drop out in the middle?

· Will all these classes leave him drained or trained for something wonderful that he actually enjoys doing?

Studies have constantly shown that mastery of a skill musical or physical requires extended focused attention and a child's active participation. If they are learning music, they must practice regularly, exhibit long periods of focus, memorize lengthy musical passages, master technical skills and understand diverse musical structure. The same amount of energy and attention goes for dance or sport. Is it possible for a child to master a skill when he is engaged in 3 or 4 forms of different skills along with the pressure of academics? More importantly- is it fair?

Is it good to start early- Yes! Such kind of learning experiences tends to foster cognitive processing, particularly during childhood when the neural connection is forming rapidly. But how early is an answer every parent has to find for their own family considering the interest of their own child?


It's difficult I understand for a parent to not feel competitive when other parent’s post pictures of their children with awards and trophies on Facebook and social media platform. While that is a big life question in itself as to why parents do so and what do they get out of showcasing their child as mini celebrities, a parallel question is - how can the parent at the receiving end handle it or stay away from this race?

I understand a child needs high test scores to gain access to the best academic opportunities and extracurricular activities to widen his horizons. If we want the best learning environment for our child for the many years he is in school and after, test scores and trophies matter. With stakes this high, we have to help our kids prepare well whether or not we believe that the skills they are learning now are the skills that are going to make them successful in life.

I UNDERSTAND, but can there be a slightly healthier way of going about it so that we do less damage? A less stressful way?

How difficult it is to jump out of this vicious circle of comparison and help the child discover himself and his talents and work on them rather than discover the other child, his talents and try to become like him.
Is it so difficult to RESPECT and APPRECIATE our child?

Compare if you must but don't judge. Compare for inspiration and not for aspiration.


Try it out - "You know son, I met your friend the other day at piano class. He really plays well and he has learnt it in a short period of time. What I have seen is that he focuses a lot, has kept few hours every day in his schedule for practice and sticks to it. It's a thing to learn from him."

or

Try this one out - "Did you see him? How well he plays the piano. He got a trophy again. Why don't you ever learn from him? Don't you feel like getting that trophy?"

Which one is appropriate for your child? And I rest my case here.


Jack of all...master of none.......I compared and judged...but where is ‘MY SON’?

Click on the link to read Part 1
http://www.fourcloverlife.com/2016/11/meaningful-parenting-comparing-your.html

Thank you for dropping by. Do not forget to like, follow and share. Drop in your feedback if any.

For more such articles on Meaningful Parenting, Mindful Eating, Well-being and Motivation Cuppa,  please visit Four Clover Life at  http://www.fourcloverlife.com/.


Image Courtesy-Pixabay

Did you offload your baggage to your child? Is it heavy ? 'Comparison Part 2'

Are you carrying an excess baggage and offloading it to your child?




The burden of your unfulfilled dreams, the blame for your failures, the strain of your unmet expectations, and anxiety of your poor self-esteem ...is it fair to put them all on your child and label it - I am an ambitious parent.

 OR

The grandeur of your success, the magnificence of your achievements the loftiness of your fame and glory, the constant praise of your hard work and intellect- Is it fair to assume and expect a similar destiny for him?



You couldn't do it, so you want your child to do it now. Fair or Unfair?
or
You did it and so you want your child to do it. Fair/Unfair?

We all have big expectations from our children. Haven't we heard conversations like-

I couldn’t do much in my life. My circumstances were such. But I want my son to do now.”
“I have earned this success and fame for myself. I want my son to do the same.”

“I couldn’t learn music when I was a child. I wanted to do so many things. I will ensure my son gets everything that he wants and does all that I didn’t get to do.”

“I was fortunate to get opportunities to explore my musical talent and rest is history. My hard work paid off. I want to give all kinds of opportunities to my son too. I wish he follows my line.”

How difficult it is to let your child do what he chooses for himself and not what you choose for him?

How will he know what to choose?
Guide not instruct, discipline not repress and direct not control.

“See son, I know your love for sports. My experience tells me that academics are equally important. While I may like to see you excel in academics and get good grades, I also want you to pursue what interests you the most. It's 'being the best of whatever you can be' that matters. Can we both together work out a way where you are able to manage academics and sports together? We can talk to your teacher and understand how she can help while you are away for your soccer classes. Also, let's work out a schedule which will help you better manage your time."

These are just few words spoken at one point in time. Conversation with your child is an everyday affair and building trust and open channels of communication is a constant work. That way the child is more open in listening to you, understanding your perspective because he sees you understanding his.

RESPECT DEVELOPS MUTUALLY, not when you say- "I have seen life more than you. You have no idea about the competition out there. You better get your act together and do well in your studies. I don't understand why you keep running behind that ball?


Click on the link to read Part 3. How many classes have you enrolled your child for?
http://www.fourcloverlife.com/2016/12/meaningful-parenting-how-many-classes.html
Click on the link to read Part 1 of the Comparisons series.
http://www.fourcloverlife.com/2016/11/meaningful-parenting-comparing-your.html

Thank you for dropping by. Do not forget to like, follow and share. Drop in your feedback if any.

For more such articles on Meaningful Parenting, Mindful Eating, Well-being and Motivation Cuppa,  please visit Four Clover Life at  http://www.fourcloverlife.com/.

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Meaningful Parenting - Comparing your child to everyone. Compare if you must but don't judge. Part 1


So, you did it again? You compared your child to his friends, his sibling and the icing on the cake- you compared him with your own self at that age as if you were the best gift to mankind then. Really? Were you?
Our parents did to us, their parents did to them and now we the educated generation a-z (whichever alphabetical generation we belong to- never got that logic though) the pseudo ‘KOOL’ parent do it too. This time it’s well wrapped, sugar coated and sophisticatedly used. The dialogue has changed from-

“Dekho Pandey ji ke beta ko. Kuch samajh mein aata hai? Dekho kahan se kahan pahunch gaya aur ek tum ho ki bas khel khel. Zara seekho kuch. Sab kuch to kar rahe hain tumhare liye, phir bhi …” Said in the most raw form…so thorny that it actually pricked the heart.
(Look at Mr. Pandey's son. Do you understand? See his accomplishments and look at where you are? We are doing everything for you but you are such a wastrel.)

(Look at Mr. Pandey’s son. Do you really understand? See his accomplishments and learn from him. We are doing so much for you but you don’t get it.”)

And now- “I see you are putting a lot of effort in learning that dance form. I am glad you like it but academics are also important. Have you seen how your sister balances her music and studies? It’s good to learn from others.”

Yes. It’s good to learn from others but there isn’t much learning that happens when that ‘other’ is exalted to a status much higher than yours, given praise and attention and you are made to feel like a loser in front of him. No truly, I mean it. 'Loser' is the word.  And the loser is the problem.

You cannot learn when that other is your very own sibling but given a reward for scoring good marks and you are left out with a reprimand.
And for sure if that other happens to be your own very father, you start to question your own biological connection.


Why do we compare?
Because we have an inner need to determine our own social and personal worth based on how do we measure up and stack against ‘others’.

Leon Festinger Social Comparison Theory goes a long way in explaining why comparisons happen to start with.

Leon Festinger mentioned his hypotheses in his book entitled Social Comparison that “there exist, in the human organism, a drive to evaluate his opinions and abilities.” People get a sense of validity and cognitive clarity by comparing themselves in significant domains against an objective benchmark provided by the individuals they are comparing themselves with. And this validity makes them get the answer to ‘where am I in life’ because without these they pretty much feel lost. :)


And we engage in constant self-evaluation across a variety of domains such as intelligence, success, attractiveness and CHILDREN.

This piece is not about comparisons in general but the comparison in the domain of child-parent relationship. It's unhealthy and it’s never going to get the better of anyone.

Think about for a moment- Did you spend your childhood being forever compared? I did. Because I was always the better one as against my younger sibling and that never made me feel good. Ironical, isn’t it? But why would an older sibling feel good when her younger sibling whom she loves so much is being compared to her and her accomplishments and made to feel ‘lesser’ or ‘poorer’?

Love doesn’t work that way. And sometimes it does too. The older or the better off sibling lives with a grand perception of self and becomes inconsiderate when dealing with the ‘lesser’ sibling.

That’s not the parent job to create such grandeur around one sibling and stack up against the other as ‘don’t know how he become like this’.

Some children temperamentally shove off such demeaning comparisons and move on, but some children are sensitive and do not have the social skills and impulse control to keep their envy and social comparisons quiet. Their self-image, self-esteem and self-identity are based more on what ‘me vis a vis the other’ as opposed to ‘me vis a vis the better me.’

How do we compare?

In a manner that always put the ‘self’ is an uncomfortable zone.

Upward comparison happens when the person compares himself with others who are better than him while downward comparison proposes that the individual inclines to compare himself with another who is worse than him.

Parents tend to engage in upward comparisons almost all the time. “Look at him.”


What does it lead to?

Children do not have the social skills or emotional maturity to truly assess what’s going on. Parents need to understand what they are achieving out of comparisons?

  • Is the child feeling positive emotions or going through envy and jealousy?

  • Is the child feeling motivated to reach to the level of that ‘other’ or is more determined to hurt the parent just the way they have hurt him?

These are real life scenarios and comparison of a child to his friend, sibling or to the parent figure doesn’t make it easy for the child.

Because parents not only compare, they form opinions, look for examples to reaffirm their opinion and then pass a judgment. IT IS THIS JUDGEMENT WHICH IS DAMAGING.

You not only hit the child’s self-esteem but also his drive to do better.You bring them up in an atmosphere of ‘comparisons’ and all their life they engage in unhealthy comparisons and subject themselves to the feeling of inferiority and guilt.




Can you do away with comparisons? No.
Learning to manage ‘comparisons’ effectively with children.

COMPARE IF YOU MUST BUT DON’T JUDGE.
Sibling to sibling- You have two children and  both bring their uniqueness to your world. Try to engage in their uniqueness and revel in it. One might bring you ‘academic joy’ and the other brings you ‘musical joy’. Both of them, would at times put you through not so joyful or thrilling experiences .Refrain from becoming the reason for sibling rivalry.


When comparing your child to your friend’s child- This can get really tricky because we have no idea about what’s going on in someone else’s family. You may like a certain aspect of that child but please remember that many a time children tend to behave better and more desirable with people other than their own parents. When it comes to academic success, what if the child came to you and said- "his dad is from the MIT. He has the genes of a ‘genius’." How would that make you feel?

As a parent
Be Mindful- Many a times comparisons happen unconsciously. Make a conscious choice to refrain from comparisons or when you do, you do it without passing judgments. Your idea is to motivate and inspire the child and not leave him feeling ‘lowly’ and envious.
Adopting a more realistic view of your child and ‘others’- Just because he is your child doesn’t mean he must always be ‘perfect’; in every field and match up to your expectations. That’s a criminal expectation to start   with. Having academic success is important but if your child has his interest somewhere else, you can keep comparing him to the IIT’s and MIT’s of the world, it will not make any difference. You are the KOOL parent. If you don’t respect him and understand him, who will? And the moment you find yourself agonizing over someone else’s child high grades and trophies, try to consciously think about him, his struggles and happiness. This is your child and his struggles and happiness are different.

Cultivate gratitude for the child you have in your life- This sounds beautiful and easier said than done. All the more when a friend’s child has competed GATE(Gifted and Talented Education Program) and your child is nowhere near that gate. But But But…. make a conscious choice to respect your unique child and be thankful. There are many parents who don’t have what you have.
Redirect your thoughts- When you find yourself engaging in harmful comparisons, redirect your thoughts to positive traits of your child and all that he means to you. Compliment your child for those qualities and help him build his self-esteem.
Focus on strengths of your child instead of weaknesses. Your child is half full. Why to always look at him half empty? How would it make you feel if your manager treated you like that?

Compare for sure- Of course you should compare. Do it every day when you cuddle with him at night. Ask him- How did you school go today? Did you learn anything new? How was your day a better one than yesterday? How is your math’s coaching going on? We need to get better than last time.

It’s called- Helping him become the best of what he is capable of, being his own competitor. By comparing him to others you are setting a standard of excellence. What if he is meant to be beyond that standard? Aren’t you limiting him then? What if he is meant to be of a different standard? Aren’t you suppressing him? Food for thought.
“The trouble with being in the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.”  Lily Tomlin
Sir/Mam- You are a parent. Your channel of communication should be of a kind that your child thinks of ‘YOU’ first before anyone else. Only you can give him that ease, that comfort, and that love.

Click on the following link to read Part 2
http://www.fourcloverlife.com/2016/12/meaningful-parenting-did-you-offload.html
Click on the following link to read Part 3
http://www.fourcloverlife.com/2016/12/meaningful-parenting-how-many-classes.html




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

FourCloverLife

FourCloverLife
Four Leaf Clover