I remember how, when I was little, I would think adults were very silly. They would argue endlessly about small things like “Which color of curtains would match the walls most?” , or “Should we invite X and Y together or separately for dinner?” Sometimes, they would spend hours deciding which shirt would go better with their pants… And I remember thinking: ‘When I would grow up, I wouldn’t waste even a moment my time on such useless matters.’
Amongst the few people that I thought were sensible, were my grandparents. They were also the amongst the few who listened to what I said, very respectfully. They would narrate stories, and listen to how I felt about them. Whether the fairy should have helped the farmer or not, was just as important to Grandpa as it was to me.
But whenever I would hear conversations of ‘grown-ups’ or a snippets on PTV news, I would be surprised to hear that people were killing each other because of religions. Granpai had always told us: “All people in the world are alike. There is one God, and all He wants is that each of us do good things.” And I understood it. But why were the adults having such a hard time to follow it? If only, they asked one of us kids.
I was in grade 1 when I grew really fond of watching movies. We had bought a new VCR – they were not so common those days – and I watched Bollywood movies infinite times. The comedy and fighting was entertaining. As more and more love stories became the central theme of movies, I developed my ideas of the concept of love. You were supposed to fall in love with someone, and then spend the rest of your life with them in the joy and happiness. It was so simple.
‘Everyone does it.’ or ‘Even XYZ does it, so why can’t I?’ Such an easy way out of any argument, isn’t it? I have caught myself making that justification and often people around me bring it up. Sometimes we do it to justify something that is good, which only serves to strengthens our habit of making these excuses whenever convenient.
Those who make this excuse often, lack self confidence and are followers, not leaders. Leaders are those who take the road less traveled and lead by example. They might not always be right but it takes courage to say what others can only think of or do what others can only talk about.
I am trying to get rid of this habit from my own, so at least when I try to make a point, I don’t come out as a hypocrite. Already I do a lot of things that make me uneasy when I realize that kids who I volunteer with will be doing these too. From little things like, not stopping completely at the stop sign or a casual lie (ok, not a lie but not the whole truth) just to avoid the hassle of answering the endless trailing questions.
While we teach our children, they teach us things about ourselves we will never realize otherwise.
Few years ago, there was a piece on NPR which claimed on the basis of surveys that couples living with children are much more likely to be unhappy and stressed than those living without children. It also claimed that couples living with children eat far more unhealthy food than those living without children. I found it very interesting. They went on to give their opinion as to why then we still choose to have children, which included the fact that an occasional I love you from one’s son is worth many of his tantrums, or that when people grow older, those who have successful children are less likely to be depressed/unhappy than those who don’t have any at all. It talked about how much raising a child cost etc.
Anyhoo, last year a family acquaintance of mine lost all of his family to a car accident in Ohio. His wife who was driving with his children got into the wrong exit lane and eventually straight onto an upcoming traffic. Had a head on collision with a truck and they all died instantly. He wasn’t with them. Reports say she was distracted by her children in the back seat. How sad.
It doesn’t matter if you are born here or there, have a brown skin or white. Girls aren’t the first choice. They might be better than nothing but certainly not the first choice.
My cousin had a baby daughter. His elder brother has two daughters. I heard about it 3 days late. It reminds me when one of my aunties had the 5th daughter born and I came to know about it when I went to their house four five months after her birth. It was heart wrenching.
What is it in the girls that we don’t like? Are we afraid they might turn out of be sluts or are they so much of a financial burden? Are they generally more disobedient or do they change our way of life too much?
When I say that girls aren’t the first choice in any culture, I base it on the comments I received from friends when they hear that I’d prefer to have a daughter first than a son: From “Wait till she turns 13” and “Do you own a baseball bat for all her boyfriends” to “Boys are easy to manage”. Every culture has its own biases against girls, just different forms of fears.
“B” has a 14-year-old son, she shares with great joy his girlfriend stories. “C” has a 12-year-old daughter, she is dreading that she will demand to be dating soon.
He/She is so nice to the whole world but not so nice to me. I have heard this many times from people about their spouses, parents, siblings and friends. Probably justified in some cases and probably not in others. I mean I can even recall days when I am mad at something, thus all grumpy at home but if some stranger knocks on the door I put up a smiling face. Or I would be frowning and quiet yet if a friend from out-of-town calls me, I am all cheery for the time being.
Part of it is that we are seeking some comfort and knowing that if the people who care would notice our bad mood, maybe we will get some sympathy. But it’s not always the case. Sometime we are mad at those whom we can be mad at. For example, we should be mad at ourselves for being in a bad financial position but instead we take it out on our kids. I have seen that happen, where someone’s ego got trashed in a party and she immediately takes it out on her own family.
The other part of it is that we have different expectations from different people. Our relationships define how we react to someone else. Like, we might pat the back of our friends’ son for graduating but we want our own to be summa cum laude. But the son probably thinks that his Dad like everyone better than him. Ok, so I must confess that my whole early teen years I always thought that my parents like every other kid on the block, my cousins etc. better than me. I felt it was so hard to make them happy. But then I realised I am no different. I consider everyone else’s parents to be so cool just because they are nice to me when I see them but they wouldn’t be the same if I were their son.
Pray hard, work hard and then play hard. That’s how I wish to lead my life but usually I can’t seem to strike a balance. Sometimes I play too hard and sometime work. Though I have learned how to make myself guilty conscious of it all and if I do one thing way more than the other, I stop enjoying it as much, which I guess is progress in the right direction. Suggestions would be appreciated.
There was a time when I believed that everything wrong with me is someone else’s fault. Parents, family, teachers, friends and society as a whole, yes, anyone but me. Those were the days of adolescence where the world revolved around me. Now, when I look back and re-evaluate myself, I realize that almost all of the decisions were mine and I take full responsibility of them. Of course my environment had a great deal of influence over me but at the end of the day it was me who chose one thing over another.
This realization is another step towards being true to yourself, it’s not only a humbling experience, it is also the only way to self correction. Part of this transition is age, not my own but as my parents grow older and other elders are not there to watch over me, I feel this deep sense of responsibility about doing things right, not for the fear of anything but because it is the right thing to do. Eating right, speaking right, working right and studying hard. I can slack of in any one of those and I don’t think anyone would care but I know I will feel this guilt. Honestly, it’s a very hollow and painful feeling that makes me miss the carefree days of the past, but sadly the truths of life once found are irreversible, just like the hands of time