He

His arms carried me as a baby

His arms bore the weight of my education

His heart celebrated my every success

His heart cried at my loss

His legs walked for miles for me to stand straight

His legs stopped for me to catch up

His eyes saw the now and fretted tomorrow

His eyes dreamt of my tomorrow

His words cautioned me of the world

His words strung a thousand stories for me

He is

My hero.

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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.

Day 5 : Life lessons – God provides

Like the past few weeks, today evening again I got an invite from a good friend of mine to attend bible study at her house. She was kind enough to call me again today, in spite of the fact that I declined a few of her earlier invitations, because I had something else to do. This was the first time I was attending bible study and I asked my kids just before heading out of the door, if we needed to carry the Bible. My younger one promptly said, “Amma, God provides!” As I thought about what he had said, I realized that his timely statement had such greater and deeper meaning. God was going to show it to me in more ways than one later during the day.

At the bible study I met a couple of other families. Honestly, it felt so good interacting with people who were not from my company or from my state or from my country. The four families gathered in that house, or whom God brought together were from four different countries. It was amazing to see how people could gather from different spectrums, different lives to talk about God. It was a group of people who genuinely wanted to be nice to each other. Only if this message could be passed to the whole world.

Anyways, so I met a young woman, single, mother of four children, who had recently relocated to Bentonville. She was working towards establishing her own housekeeping services company by starting out small and was in need of more clients. I told her about the Nextdoor app, which was new to her and how it could help her. I got her visiting card and put out recommendations in Nextdoor and the Indian community on FB. I don’t know if this will help her or not, but it was a channel that God provided to her to help her. And as I thought back to what my son has said before we left home, “God provides”, I realized how soon He teaches us.

As we progressed through the Bible study which was about quick listening, slow anger, doing (James Chapter 1:19-27) I was thinking about how God has provided for me. As I grew up, my parents lived from paycheck to debt to paycheck to debt. Most of my school and engineering fees was loans given by kind-hearted people. God didn’t provide us with a spacious house, a car, bank balance, jewelry, fine clothes, and all the materialistic things that money could buy, but He provided my parents with ideas to keep the money flowing just enough to educate their children. God provided my brother and I with enough intelligence to do well at studies. He provided my brother and I the wisdom to understand the meagerness of resources and use it well. He provided my brother and I the will to overcome, to study, to get further in life, to provide for our parents in their old age. All gifts don’t come wrapped in packages. The most valuable ones come as blessings, when God provides!

Truly, truly blessed!

Day 1 : Life lessons – calm and polite

I was cleaning the fridge today. A yellow microfiber cloth in hand I set out for the daunting task around 3pm. There were a number of expired bottles of various shapes and sizes. There were some frozen circles of milk glued to the shelves, some masala rings, rotten vegetables and what not. I know you must be thinking yew!! What an untidy woman. Thank you!

The shelves wiped, the trays wiped, the cheese box wiped, the trays on the doors wiped, the huge vegetable tray wiped! Phew! Why can’t this be just one shelf?

I scrub away for one hour, two hours and finally open my lower freezer door. Chocolate frozen from some chocolate cookie dough glued to the bottom of the tray. I bend down, sit down and wipe away. This stubborn partition piece of rotten plastic refuses to budge from its place. I snap it out and think – I got you sucker ! After I finish wiping for another twenty minutes or so, oh how much I hate chocolate cookie dough by now.. the rotten dough comes off nicely and my trays are as white as snow ❄️.

So this sucker plastic piece needs to go back in. I try to push it in, just like it was and the sucker decides on a revenge game with me ! Me ? Me ! Just as I thought I put it right back in, the suckers heinously snaps in place with my thumb inside.. OOOOOOUUUUUUCCCHHHH!! The sucker really got even now. I yell and yell and my kids come running asking “Amma, are you ok?” The perfunctory question kids have learnt watching misleading movies. My wiggle my thumb out and let that sucker die inside the freezer to deal the rest with my husband. This is a man’s job after all!

While I clean the rest of the freezer, my fingers going numb, I crib about everything between the sky and the core of the earth. I go yada yada yada and even bring in how irresponsible the kids are about taking a bath. I really don’t know the connection, but I got choked up as well. I rattle and rattle and make so much noise. Both my kids very intelligently, stay away! Just as I lift the washed tray to go back into the fridge, I hit a glass and it shatters! Wow!! My elder son comes running and asks “What broke?”. He fetched the broom for me, silently watches me clean up. After about ten minutes he asks – what should I do? I tell him to clear the trash. He does it ever so obediently and promptly (on other occasions he needs a minimum of five reminders).

He comes back and waits another two minutes and extremely calmly asks – is there anything else I should do? I say no. And he asks so politely, “so now can I go back to doing my project?”

And I am stumped! At that precise moment I feel the growth of my baby into a mature youth who knows how to handle the situation.

Life lessons I learn everyday.

#metoo

I learnt about what #metoo means when I looked up a Malayalam actress’s post. She is a celebrity and can put it. Nobody would care because she is famous and not married. But what ties all women who have had a bad experience to narrate is that they know the feeling, the agony, the umpteen times they have tried to put it out of their system. But it stays like rotten fungus, etched in her memory. The bastard ( I have no lesser word for them) forgets it like eating breakfast that day. 

How many Indian women from middle class families would admit that they were at some point in their life sexually assaulted or abused or whatever crap one wants to call it, for fear of the reaction of their immediate families? Even if the woman has an open mind does her partner or family have an open mind to accept without contempt that the woman close to them went through a harrowing experience which they can’t even begin to imagine? Many men probably attach behavior patterns of the woman with this past experience as if she had a say in the act. She was probably less than ten years of age when she didn’t even recognize her body parts. She was probably a woman with dreams that were crushed because of the bastard’s whim. She was probably a woman who has sons the age of the bastard. There is no particular age that a woman is targeted which exponentially increases the horrendous crime. 

The basic question anyone can ask these bastards is – don’t you have a mother. There is no other way you could have been born and this act is an ultimate insult of her. There is a vast generation of men who are negatively impacted by pornography. They probably don’t have basic sex education or are deprived of sex itself that they launch what they see on the one they can land their hands on first. This is the only part where I don’t believe in karma. It was not her karma to be subject to such a heinous act. Everyone remembers the woman, nobody remembers the bastard. The best example is the Malayalam actor abduction case. Justice is delayed to a celebrity who has the connections so what will happen to a common man. At the mention of her name there will be more perverts who will say with lewd eyes – wasn’t she the one who was abducted and assaulted. There will be few who at the mention of the bastards name will say – wasn’t he the one who harmed the modesty of many women? Somehow he becomes the hero. There is a whole generation of men waiting to get their hands on the videotapes of the assault to satisfy their whatever..

There is a layer of rotten bastards living in today’s world. They should be dug out and killed to stop this menace. Everyone keeps shouting slogans about equality, more power to woman and all that bullshit, what every woman needs is her basic human right to exist as a human being without fear – even if she is a baby. The situation is so disgusting that the only place safe for a woman is in the womb as a foetus. Everything else is risky.

I am in support of the recent movement of educating our sons. Yes they are the ones who should be taught to respect a woman, every woman! 

Sex education is a serious thing and should be taught in schools so that children don’t have to find out what vagina means or what sex means hiding under blankets browsing books they sneaked or googling behind closed doors. It should be talked openly in homes so that they learn to think that sex is a natural phenomenon and not a taboo.

All this while it’s the women who have been fighting, when will the men come down to fight for and protect the women? Why don’t we have more men in the streets raising slogans about keeping her safe? It doesn’t mean women shouldn’t fight for their rights but if there is vast majority of men who believe that women should have their human rights why aren’t they trying to fight the minority of men who resort to such dastardly acts? Why are they opinionated in silos? Why can’t they conjure up forces to pressurize the governments to fastrack these cases, and ensure the bastards are gravely punished so that the next guy who wants to commit this crime thinks atleast for a second before doing it? 

Change still seems like a very distant dream. But I sincerely hope that there is hope. If we do our part today maybe there will be a better tomorrow.. 

With prayers…