Society vis-a-vis Children!

The other day, I received a call from a very dear friend who gave me the most exciting and in all senses the breaking news of his life, “Dude, I got married.

Wow! Congrats yaar!” came back the reply from my end.

Yup, Thanks. But there is a problem. We have not informed her parents.” After a long long time, I was getting to hear this. On one hand where it sounded like a script from a Bollywood movie, on the other hand there was an apprehension as to what’s going to happen in the near future? How the girl’s parents would react to the feat that their child had accomplished? Would they give their approval or would they boycott their daughter from their family?society

The problem was compounded, thanks to the nature of the marriage that had ensued. The guy belongs to a North Indian family, which is not so rigid when it comes to marrying a girl from a different caste or culture. On the other hand, the girl belongs to a family which is a hard core South Indian Pundit family, who cannot but imagine marrying their daughter in another caste, leave alone marrying her to a North Indian.

The thought of how the girl’s parents would react is making the couple very nervous. Though they had the courage to take this very significant step in their lives, this thought is driving them nuts. The girl fears the worst and is expecting her to be thrown out of her family. The guy, on his part, though he feels happy, is concerned about his girl who is all set to go through what can surely be called an emotional turmoil in more ways than one.

Though we proudly cite living in the 21st century India, there are certain elements in our country and our culture (which is too varied to be classified as one), which makes me wonder whether we have been successful in evolving from that conservative mentality, which personally for me, represent the core when it comes to differentiating between modern and not so modern.

Somehow, in all this hooplah attached to the caste and culture, the 21st century kids and youngsters are caught confused, not knowing which way to tread. On one hand where they witness the intermixing of various dfferent cultures, thanks to the increased movement of people and increased globalization; on the other hand, they are expected to stick to their hard core values being imposed on them by their very own parents and grandparents who want them to keep their family and clan flag flying high.

For a girl, who wishes to see everyone happy around her, it becomes what can be termed as mission impossible. Atleast in this case, if she choses to go along with the love of her life, which she has, she is bound to lose upon the love and affection she received throughout her life from her parents (acting too rigid to understand what their child wants, just because of societal and family pressure) and if she would have decided to leave her boyfriend (at one time and now her husband), she would have to repent throughout her life for having done so (which thankfully has not been the case here).

At the end of it all, if we take a very pragmatic point of view, it is the couple who will be spending their lives together for most part of their life, if we ignore the few interactions that they are bound to be having with their family during those events and celebrations where each and every member of the extended family happens to gather at one place at the same point of time.

But on an emotional level, the couple would certainly want, at least the immediate family to be blessing the couple and welcoming them with open arms. After all, this is what will make them really happy.parent

For the parents who tend to involve their egos and self-respect with their child’s wishes, it is my earnest request to think beyond what the society tells them to think. For them, the point that they need to consider is whether they would want to place their children above in the priority list, over and above the society and the extended family members.

Source for Image: http://www.tcd.ie/research/themes/inclusive-society/, http://www.churstongrammar.com/parents/

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The Words of Wisdom!

Yesterday, I had the fortune of meeting a person whom I have admired throughout my life and has been a source of inspiration whenever I found myself down and out. It was probably the last time that I was meeting him.

The man is in his late nineties and is on a ventilator. It is an irony that a man who has been instrumental in breathing life in so many, is now himself struggling to get that one gasp of air and is surviving, courtesy the ventilator that has come to his rescue.

On entering his room in the hospital, the sight of him lying on a bed with the ventilator on, brought tears in my eyes and I could barely speak. As had always been the case, and true to his nature, he took the initiative of breaking the silence that had ensued there in the room.wisdom

Kush, how have you been, son?” Even in the state that he happens to find himself in, the sight of seeing someone he knows, springs him back into the positivity that I have always found associated with him.

Son, I was wondering whether I will be able to meet you before I bid adieu to this world.” He carried on as I sat next to his bed on a chair.

You know, Kush, I have had a great life and have no regrets what so ever. But sometimes, I feel bemused by the kind of importance we tend to give to certain things at certain point of time in our lives. How insignificant they are, we only realize when, say, we are on our death bed. May be, that is because our priorities and the maturity level associated with the same are bound to change with time and I guess it is a natural progression for one to be moving through all the ashrams that are so well described in our Hindu religious texts.

It is only now, that I realize what a great man my father was. What great thinking he possessed. With the kind of simplicity that he led his life, he was sure to derive immense pleasure and satisfaction. He always used to tell me about the virtues associated with simple living and high thinking. But how naive I was at that time, to have not taken him seriously. I guess that’s because of the generation gap that we had amongst us and no matter how hard he tried explaining the same to me, I wouldn’t listen believing that what I thought was right.

Now, when I tell my children the same things, they don’t take me seriously. I am sure they will only realize when their time would come. This makes me wonder about how well this cycle of life is inscribed on our slate of destiny. At the end of the day, all the materialistic pleasures and things like ego, self-esteem don’t really matter. What you leave behind is your deeds and emotions and reactions associated with those deeds. It is your choice, after all as to how you would want to be remembered once you are gone.

As he spoke, the doctor walked in, “Mr. Sharma, how are you feeling you? You are not supposed to talk this much. So take some rest.”

Doctor, these are possibly going to be my last words. And here you are telling me to withhold even these.” He smiled back at the doctor, who signalled at me, that it was time for the check up and that I needed to leave.

I got up from the chair and took his blessings. As I walked out of the room, I wondered whether I will be able to see him again and the words of wisdom that he had spoken resonated inside me: “What you leave behind is your deeds and emotions and reactions associated with those deeds. It is your choice, after all as to how you would want to be remembered once you are gone.

On second thoughts, does it really matter how one remembers us? Does it have any kind of bearing on what we are going to do when we are gone from here? And for that matter, should we really care about the manner in which this world might want to look at us?Doing-Good_web

Well, to be frank, the answer to all the above lies in, “it won’t really matter once we are gone.” But somehow, whether we like it or not, we do leave a legacy behind us in the form of our children and grandchildren. So, even if we are being really selfish and are concerned about ourselves and even if doing good in this kalyug might not be the aim of our lives, we cannot just ignore our near and dear ones, as they are the ones who might have to bear the brunt of all what we did in our lives.

In that case, the best option is to chose a path where one is able to do good for others and to others. I agree that it might not be the easiest of paths to tread, but one thing that I can assure you is that it is indeed one of the most satisfying of paths that you will ever tread in your life.

Source for Image: http://www.placeofblissacademy.com/Wisdom-Sanctuary.html, http://www.unitedmethodistreporter.com/2012/07/qa-doing-good-being-holy/

 

The No. 1 Aunty!

I have had the fortune of knowing this wonderful lady for years now. Her husband was my father’s colleague (now retired) and they used to reside right in front of our government alloted house.

Whenever I used to meet her in a social gathering or at either of our homes, she would go on talking about how well her son and daughter were performing in their respective classes and were rewarded for the same by their schools. It seemed as if there were no better kids than hers on this planet Earth.

When it came to her husband, she was not much behind with citation of circumstances when her husband was able to pull off a great feat and was able to restore the dignity of the government department. It seemed that the department was performing well only because of the efforts that her husband was putting in.parents1

Pretentious, as it might sound, all her hopes and aspirations were hooked on to her children and husband. I guess, our mother’s generation belonged to an era wherein they were supposed to derive happiness and satisfaction from their husband’s and children’s success.

Courtesy her efforts, her son qualified the JEE examination and went on to study engineering from IIT Kanpur, which she used to refer to as the No. 1 institute for engineering in India and this time around she had the rankings to boost her claim. If this was not enough, right after completing his B.Tech from IIT Kanpur, he went on to do a PhD from MIT, which is again considered to be one of the best (though for her it was always THE BEST).

Her daughter was not much behind and she went a step further to do an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, which again the aunty claimed to be not only best in India but also the best amongst all colleges offering the MBA course whether it be in India or abroad.numero uno

The lady, was in true senses, a replica of the numero uno. I am sure she must have derived great pleasure from boasting about her children and husband. I am sure, that must have been the aim of her life. But yesterday, when I met her again, after a long time, she looked very old and dull. As if the exuberence and confidence, that she once used to reflect, was taken away from her and she looked a pale reflection of her true self, the self which I had associated with her.

She could barely walk without the support of her stick which she held in her right hand. At first, she had difficulty in recognizing who I was. It was only after she was sure about the sanctity of the person walking alongside her that she began talking to me in a frank tone.

How have you been, Kush? I met your mother a couple of days back.”—Aunty started the conversation.

Aunty, I am doing fine. How is everything with bhaiya and didi? How is uncle doing? Haven’t met him since ages.”—I joined in.

You know, Kush! Uncle and I have gone old now. We just want to see our kids doing well. It just reminded me that my son have just switched jobs in US. I don’t remember the name of the company. I am sure you might be knowing it. It is the best private sector company in the entire World.”—-As she spoke, I could see it in her eyes, the confidence and joy of being No. 1 was back.

Of course aunty! Both bhaiya and didi have always been there, right at the top.” I smiled back as I took her leave to head back home.

As I was heading back, there was this big smile on my face and I wondered:”Some things do not and should never change.” 🙂

Source for Image: http://webfronter.com/greenwich/DiscoverySchool/menu0/School_Information/Discovery_Parents_Group/Discovery_Parents_Group.html, http://wallpaperswide.com/numero_uno-wallpapers.html

The Responsibility!

Yesterday I was talking to a kid, some 7 to 8 years old, who lives next door. I was amazed to see the kind of exposure young kids are getting these days via the internet or the television.

And it is not always that they get exposed to ethical or good things in life. More often than not, courtesy the kind of tv soaps and programmes being telecasted, they end up getting exposed to the unethical and bad part, which they learn thereafter.

The credit for them learning the same goes to their parents and teachers who demonstrate the same that their children see on tv in their real lives by treading on the path wherein the parents would go to any extent to have and maintain a lavish lifestyle.

In such a situation, how can we expect the youngsters to learn a moral way of life, when they are being made to learn that one can only lead a happy and satisfied life if he or she thinks just about himself or herself without really being concerned about the others in the society and without being concerned about what is right and what is wrong.exposure

As one can already notice that the next generation is more street smart then the previous one and the parents take great pride in the fact that their child is becoming what can be called a chalta purja who is capable enough to take on the world with his/her intellect and smartness and is able to emerge out successful and rich, irrespective of the means being employed for the same.

With such unethical and immoral encouragement given by their parents to boost their egos, they end up becoming irresponsible citizens of our nation, which has immense and drastic consequences when it comes to the well being of our society.

A multi-pronged approach is the need of the hour to stop this degradation that is taking place in our society. The parents should try to ensure that their child is exposed to ethical things in life and this should be reinforced by their own actions.

The schools should ensure that the children are made to learn and rehearse the virtues of life with special recognition given to those who end up doing so.

My parents tell me that when they were young, with the kind of joint family system that was prevalent in those days, morals and virtues were passed on to them from their grandparents who would ask them to sit down and would narrate all the stories with a thing or two to learn at the completion of the story.

WIth the joint family system taking a beating in the present scenario and the parents not having the time and energy to devote towards their children, it becomes even more probable for a child to get influenced more by the things he or she is being exposed to in terms of tv or internet.

With no one at disposal to offer him or her a correct interpretation and explanation, the child has no choice but to accept what he or she sees or witnesses and thereby starts seeking immediate gratification. As a result it leads to the formation of a poor cognitive framework in the mind of the child which tends to get reinforced by the kind of things happening in the real world and an attitude which can be described as impulsive and self-centred.

The child might even astray from the normal and might end up commiting things in life which a parent would certainly not be proud of.responsible

So, all parents of my generation out there, what are you waiting for? You need to start behaving like a parent and make sure that your child is not left alone in this world which is so full of vices, until they are big enough to be able to differentiate between what’s right and what’s wrong.

Source for Image: http://cameron-jung.deviantart.com/art/Energy-Film-Long-Exposure-53339778, http://candiland30thedition.wordpress.com/tag/change/

 

Zindagi!

kya kar raha hai aaj kal?”—friend

bas yaar zindagi ki talaash!”—me

yaar, ek baat bata, tu hamesha yahi kehta hai. aisa kyon?”—friend

hmm! waise yaar tu sahi keh raha hai, zindagi to mujhe mil chuki hai :)”—me

And yes, I am talking about, none other than my to be better half. Somehow, it seems funny when I address her like this, but for the time being it sounds good…right? 😉

You would find many who would keep running after success all their life, and of course I am talking about all the material possessions which define success in contemporary times.

But credit should go to those who defy the very materialistic logic and decide to lead a not so lavish but fulfilling life with their better halfs.

An extremely inspiring example of the same, I happened to find in Goa, where I had gone a couple of months back for vacation.

There was this middle-aged couple who owned a bakery. They had been living in Goa since 1990. Before that, the man, being a young ambitious person that he was, wanted to make it big.

In this pursuit of his, he decided that he would go to Saudia Arabia and would make a killing. But destiny had other plans in store for him.

On reaching Saudia Arabia, his passport and other travel documents were taken away by his employer citing it as a routine procedure. Days passed by and then months, and there was no sign of his employer leave alone returning his passport, not even mentioning about the same.

On top of that, he was getting negative vibes which he couldn’t ignore even after trying really hard. On one hand, where his career was progressing at a snail’s pace, on the other hand, he felt that he had been badly trapped in a situation, from where he couldn’t see a way out.

One day, he gathered the courage needed to talk to his employer.

I want to go back to India. I think I am done with here. Can you please return my passport so that I can get a ticket.”—man

Are you kidding me? You can’t take back your passport like this. You have a 10 years bond with us. And before that you cannot leave. Is it clear?”—employer

I didn’t sign any bond. This is not right. You can’t do this to me.”—man

Guards, take him away. Lock him up till he decides to shut down the rebel in him”—employer

And that was it for the day. He was locked up in a 10 by 10 cell, and no food or water was provided to him. At that very moment, he remembered the last words from his father, before he left home: “you are not doing the right thing by going there. There have been so many cases where people have gone missing. Don’t run after money. Don’t go.”

How much he wished then that he had listened to his father. I cannot tell you how he managed to get out from there as that will take me an entire novel to do so, but the fact is that today he is living a very comfortable life with his family in Goa.

He has no regrets whatsoever of not being able to make it big in his life. The only things that are important to him are his wife and his kids.

On the night that I was about to catch my flight back home, he told me: “Son, the only advice that I will like to give you for your life is, never ever run after money, because that’s not what life is. Life is right here with me in the form of my wife and kids and I would never let anything take them away from me.”

While coming back, during the whole journey, his words seemed to echo in my head. I guess the man had found his Zindagi. And today I want to thank the Almighty for having found my Zindagi for me. 🙂

Source for Image:http://khawarbilal.deviantart.com/art/Zindagi-Tea-logo-72166493, http://sft78600.blogspot.in/2011/12/zindagi-shayari.html

The Last Phase

TV serials can sometimes be quite inspirational when it comes to writing. Yesterday, I was watching one such serial, courtesy my dear mom 🙂 , in which the kids don’t really appreciate taking the responsibility of their parents and want to part ways from them by hook or crook.

This made me wonder as to what is the kind of thought process that a person has at such an age. What is it that he or she might desire during this last phase of his/her life? What is it that can keep them happy during the twilight days of their life? What emotional trauma they go through when their own children treat them as a burden and don’t want to take care of their own parents?

How often do we find cases where children become so selfish that they find it convenient ignoring the same people who gave their lives just to see their kids happy and becoming successful.

How is it that people can ignore what their parents have done for them? How can they ignore the sleepless nights that their parents have had when they had fallen sick? How can they ignore the compromises that their parents made in order to fulfill a wish that they might have expressed?

It leaves me in utter disgust when I see people such as the above. More than being disgust, I am amazed as to how a person can so easily forget the wonderful times they have spent in the protective and cosy environment provided by their parents.

Amongst the parents who are deserted by their children, some are able to take care of themselves based on the wealth they have accumulated during their professional life. But there are some who have not been successful enough to have the means to sustain themselves during their old age.

The latter end up being in old age homes provided by our government and a few NGOs, some of which are in a pathetic state due to lack of funds in some cases and more due to the utter negligence on part of the authorities.

This brings us to a point where we can put three fold questions:

1st to the children: “How can you ignore the love and affection that was showered on to you during your growing up years?”

2nd to our government: “How can you ignore the various contributions made by the same people when they were young and who contributed towards country’s GDP?”

3rd to our society: “Is this the kind of social set up that one wishes to see and maintain for thegenerations to come and is this the kind of norms and values that one wishes to pass on to the next generation?”

The questions such as the above still remain unanswered. What matters most though is that people should realize that they need to: hold the hands of the people in their last phase of life who held their hands when they could barely walk.

Source for Image: http://www.merinews.com/article/old-age-homes-bane-or-boon-/157222.shtml; http://www.telegraphindia.com/1050331/asp/calcutta/story_4553153.asp

Get Real

One fine morning, I heard my neighbour’s daughter singing on top of her voice. Every time her song was followed by an assertion “main banogee Indian Idol”.

Well, it was “the” day for her and for many other youngsters like her who want to become Indian Idols, or more than anything else, want to become famous and want to be seen on the Television. Yes! It was time for auditions that were supposed to take place in my city the very day.

The kind of publicity and hooplah surrounding such reality shows has indeed have had an effect on the psyche of parents. The same parents, who might have reacted in an adverse manner hearing their child wanting to become a singer or a choreographer, now react in a totally different manner.

They want to support their child in his/her love for the field of Art that he/she might be interested in. They want to support their child in this quest for success and glory by treading the same path along with their child.

On one hand where there are parents who are able to rationally judge the talent that their child might posess, on the other hand there are parents who desire that their child become famous at any cost without really looking into the kind of talent that their child has and without making any effort whatsoever to enhance the same.

As a result, they end up making a fool of themselves in front of everyone who happen to watch such shows and by fighting with the judges end up setting a very bad example in front of their very own children.

This kind of behaviour on the part of parents coupled with the rejection faced by the child can have a very negative impact on the persona and psyche of the kid and he/she might end up developing complexes and negativity towards the World and towards its people, which might also effect the probability of the child in becoming a responsible citizen later on in life.

What parents need to do thus is to set a good example in front of their childen. Before really encouraging their child to run after easymoney and status, they should try to discover that one thing in their child which the child shows a liking to and then make sure that the child receives training from the best possible in the business.

This will not only help their child develop their skill set in a field that he/she likes, but also increase his/her chances of becoming successful in the field of their choice, which would indeed lead to happiness and satisfaction later on in life.

Source for Image: http://harshumeets.blogspot.in/2011/08/reality-shows-are-better-than-daily.html