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.
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
To be a little more clear, there is a difference between what you want in life and what you want of life. In my observation people can’t make out this difference.
For example, what I want in tea and what I want of tea are two different things. I like honey & milk in my tea but I want a feeling of warmth, almost a buzz, of my tea. Does this mean what I want in my tea dictates what I want of my tea? Not necessarily. Two people can have two different things in their tea but want the same thing of of it – something warm.
I think it is important to know what we want of life and let it dictate what we want in our life, rather than the other way around.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a very common question asked to kids. I was asked that by every adult in my family, extended family and it was often one of first few questions into the chit chat.
But what we chose as a profession, though significant, is not the tell all of our personality, considering how complex humans are. I believe the real question that kids should be asked is “what kind of a person would you like to be when you grow up?”. In my experience, 99.9% of the kids go blank when I ask them that. Mainly because no one has ever asked them that question. When I explain by giving them options like .. would you want to be a famous, well read, kind or charming, reasonable or reckless etc. They can’t seem to make up their mind. Because they are trying to connect it back to the profession question and trying to pick one thing. It often takes a little while before they can pick a couple of things.
So the next time you see that little kid and you are itched to ask him or her this question, make sure you ask in the right context. Because at the end of the day being that famous rich doctor, engineer or mutual fund manager is no accomplishment if there is no kindness, responsibility and care in them.
There are two women in my department who are like ‘very pregnant’ if you know what I mean. One lady is expecting her first baby while the other one has twins already. The one with twins looks like a pro – she runs around the office all day as if nothing is different about her, while the other one is like nauseated, tense all the time.
So I thought I should talk to this other girl and make her feel better about the situation. So the first thing that came to my mind for a question was, ‘Is it painful?’ well, duh! I was wondering to myself if I asked the right question. They show trauma and horror scenes in the movies and the way she was looking I thought it would be an appropriate question to ask – not knowing what her reaction would be, I stood their expecting everything from a brief reply to a shocked reaction. Well, to my surprise, she spoke for at least 20 minutes – giving me all the details about every little thing about pregnancy as if I were to get pregnant tonight. She told me every thing from massages to squatting – to things which I didn’t really wish to know – how I need to take care off my wife ’cause apparently her husband is doing a great job! Poor girl- she looks like a chicken sitting on 24 eggs just waiting for it to be over.
I don’t know how women do it. It is quite fascinating actually – and the best part is – it works out great for majority without any complications.