Is that what it is?

As a mother me like many of my friends are in a constant battle in our mind about what is right for our children. Sometimes spouses help make a decision and sometimes leave it to us to decide. It’s the leaving to us to decide that scares me.

The logic is simple.. “will I be blamed for this later?”, by anyone, is the question we are finding an answer for, day in and day out. It could be the child who says, you did it this way or you didn’t do it this way. It could be the spouse or it could be a friend or family member. We gnaw on our brains constantly to find the right balance, right answer, right thing to do without being blamed.

So that is what it is? Finding the path of no blame? I know my mom went through this when she was struggling to get an admission for my brother at Bishop Cottons. She said she didn’t want him to blame her later on that she sent me to Bishop Cottons and him to a lesser standard school. So she did go through this phase.

Maybe these thoughts led to my character, Shalini in my second book. She is a mother of four who constantly tries to avoid being blamed by everyone. Mother instincts I guess.

I always believe identifying the problem is half the job done. I guess it’s time to adopt Nike’s caption.. Just do it! Or maybe not.. what if……..?

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Where is the light

The mesh around us
So high
Gates locked
They walk around morning to night
How will we run
And to where
Do they think
I don’t know where Ma is
Or Pa
When will I see them
Or will I
Where I come from
Was a mad place
This was my way to life
Path to hope
I look for the light
I look for Ma
Pa
All I see is darkness
This cage
Locked
And many
Like me.

A package

Last week as I was talking to my father about Father’s Day and what my sons were planning for my husband, I realized I should do something for him. I ordered a bag of Hershey’s kisses on Amazon India (my regular shipper of goodies to my father). I wanted to keep it a surprise so I did not tell him about the order. The norm otherwise is to tell him everything I order, I tell him when the item is due and he updates me when he receives the item. Just so he wouldn’t be alarmed while opening the box, I added a gift message ‘Happy Father’s Day Appa’.

This morning around 6am IST, I got a message that the package had been delivered. I did think it was an odd time for an Amazon package to be delivered and thought his alarm instincts would go up.

Like everyday, I called him on my way to work and immediately he asks me “did you order something on Amazon?”. I told him, I had. He said, since he was not sure, he did not open it. He went on to tell me that he had recently read in Mathrubhumi and Manorama online (his net-savvy newspapers for a few years now, since he became a netizen), that mysterious packages were being delivered which someone had not ordered. I told him to go ahead and open it. He opens it to find my small pack of chocolates. His relief at finding chocolates was quite funny. “Ooooh chocolate-aa?” He added, “the watchman said it was delivered at 6am, who delivers packages at 6am? The Amazon packing is not all that good either”. I asked him if there was a note inside the box. He did not find a note. So then I had to tell him, that I ordered them for him, for Father’s day and he was supposed to open it as a surprise and find a note saying ‘Happy Father’s Day Appa’.

So much for surprising my old man with a bag of chocolates on Father’s Day! His true happiness was when my kiddos called him and wished him a GRAND Father’s Day..

The little moments of a heart full of happiness.. tiny moments of immense love.. blessed!

Whose fault is it?

Twenty second school shooting in twenty weeks of two thousand eighteen… Casualties, injured, children, teachers, law enforcement officers… I have children in high school and middle school and I am terrified like many other parents. It’s like living under a threat all the time and I feel helpless. I pray that no parent has to get that call with news of potential danger to their child. As parents we hold dreams and hopes for our children; for the baby we brought into this world. The thought of their future takes a permanent place in our minds, the day they are born. And today I feel so bad for the parents who had to forgo of their dreams and hopes. My heart cried when I heard a mother telling her daughter “run, baby and I will come get you”… What a devastating moment..!

Whose fault is it?

Is it the child? The teenager who reaches that darkest corner of his or her mind that the only way he sees out is to kill another. He goes to the extent of ruining his own life while taking the life of others. An extreme form of depression? Is the child born with depression? I don’t believe so. His circumstances lead him to take extreme steps.

So, is it the parents? When their child does this henious crime, do the parents wake up from their personal issues? Do the parents have issues or are they people like you and me? I am forced to think that the parents neglect about their child’s activities or child’s life in general isolates the young mind. I am surprised that how can a parent not know what’s happening in their child’s life. They don’t have to pry into each and everything, but don’t you always maintain that virtual umbilical cord even after it’s cut?

So is it the peril of abundance of resources? Are we paying the price of technology with innocent lives? Today we can search anything on the internet. The internet flows more easily than water. Anyone can find anything in that dark jungle. With nobody to restrict you or even tell you right from wrong, are you misled ?

So what is the school teaching you? In India we have classrooms or homerooms even in high school. There is a class teacher or homeroom teacher when you are in your teens. The teacher knows you and keeps that door open for you. You have the same set of friends. What I see different here is each child has his or her own schedule. After grade 6, you are on your own. You are given so much Independence and the importance laid on your Independence kills the, “I will watch over you” syndrome that we carried while in school. There were fifty girls in my class and I knew all of them by name. We knew each other’s parents. There was a bond. Here kids see each other maybe at clubs or in common classes. Aren’t they to young at 13 to be given this enhanced level of Independence?

So then is it the laws of gun control? Maybe it is. How is the seller going to know if the buyer is responsible enough with guns? In the first place, if you are not a law protection officer why do you need a gun? I have never understood this.

So is it everything? It is. It is the parents, the education system, the laws, the technology that empowers, enables and pushes the teenager to that dark corner where nobody should go. I believe nobody wake up one day, picks up a gun and shoots people, especially not teenagers. There is an underlying reason that has had a snowball effect over the years.

Parents, please involve yourself in your children’s life. You don’t have to poke your nose into everything, but be aware of their thoughts. Talk to them, understand them, teach them the good virtues. If you have guns, lock them up, store them safely. It could destroy your family and many others like yours.

The best thing we can give our children is our time…!

With prayers…

Under the giant tree

I’ve spent many a days

Under the giant tree

Far away from here

In my grandmother’s house

That tree holds my childhood

And memories treasured

The games we played

As innocent nine year olds

It’s branches have rings

From the rope of our swings

It’s shade will tell you stories

About the cool evenings we lay there

Under that tree, in those swings

I see my mother smiling at me

She is holding my brother close

Swaying in the wind, happily

Going higher each time

I am scared they’d get hurt

But she has spent many a days

Under the giant tree many years ago

As a nine year old

In my grandmother’s house.

Identity

My older son is 13 years old and my younger one is 11. My friends have children around these ages. I know their children in close quarters. I have interacted with them and have heard about them from my friends. One distinct quality that stands out and takes me by surprise is their identity or their uniqueness. I see each child being their own person at such a young age. In my children, I clearly see their likes and dislikes. They have opinions, some pretty strong ones. Their choices and preferences are clear to them. They make an attempt to explain it to me. I can have a conversation with them, to understand their choices and the reasoning behind those choices. My friends tell me the same thing.

As I experience this, I reflect upon my years at this age. I don’t think I even had an opinion. Was I supposed to have one? I am not sure. I did what my parents said. If they told me to study, I did, if they told me it was time to eat, I ate, if they took me out, I went. I don’t intend to blow my trumpet about my obedience as a child, but I’m sure everyone in my generation, did the same thing.

We were aware of our surroundings, We knew about what was happening around us. We were more environment-centric than self-centric (in a good way). We did form our opinions, likes and dislikes, but that was after we stepped out of school, got into college, met people from diverse backgrounds. The tweens of today are already there.

A direct consequence of this self-awareness in children today, is that their obedience quotient may have taken a hit. It could be the empowerment they get at a very young age or could it be that my generation is at the cusp of the old and new? We are empowering them. When they feel empowered, they need a reason and rhyme for every action we ask them to undertake. In short, what we asked of our parents as 18 year olds, our children are asking of us at age 12.

My generation has to shed some concepts of parenting style that we imbibed from our parents. The basic virtues of honesty, respect, humility, integrity, etc is what we have to pass on. But at the same time, we should strike the balance of independence early on in their lives.

It is challenging. Oh hell, YES! Everyday! Most times I feel I am playing whac-a-mole or juggling more balls than I can handle. But each time its a learning. It’s not only children who grow up, we too grow as parents. Its that growth that we need to embrace. We should step out of our conventional concepts of parenting and be open to mend our methods according to new demands, without compromising on basic virtues. As parents, I believe we should nurture their uniqueness and let them bloom into the hybrid flower they were meant to be.

Another day, another lesson…!