The Liberation of Sita – Book Review

(This piece was published by TheWomanInc on Apr 11, 2017 – titled as Book Review – The Liberation of Sita)

 

For some of us women, who have spent our childhood reading or hearing mythological stories and folk tales, the rhetoric of Sita being epitomized as an ideal daughter, an ideal wife and an ideal mother, thus an ideal woman has always irked. The frequent thought that has crossed many a mind, many a times, is how can a woman who faced so many challenges and tests in her life be ideal. While her circumstances were demanding, why did she make those choices? And of course, the ultimate question, is she ideal because she had all the virtues and qualities that the society of those times upheld?

I am glad I read The Liberation of Sita – a fictional interpretation by a feminist writer Volga. While it did not answer all the questions, it did give some perspective. The book was originally written by the writer in Telegu language titled as Vimukta.

The Liberation of Sita is a book that shows a different perspective (a tad distorted though), questions our strong patriarchal system and resonates of some strong women who were only further strengthened by their circumstances.
Sita was extremely beautiful, highly intelligent, skilled in archery, trained in administration and the first daughter of King Janaka – a strong spiritual man himself; and was married to Sri Rama who loved her, yet put her through a test of chastity and worse, abandoned her to uphold his Arya Dharma.

Why? Why did Rama do it? And more importantly, why did Sita take it?

This book is basically a path of self-realization of Sita, where she finally breaks the shackles and connects with herself and stands up to the injustice meted out to her in the name of society and dharma. The women who helped Sita attain this realization are Surpanakha, Ravana’s sister, Ahalya Sage Gautama’s wife outcasted for suspected infidelity, Renuka, Sage Jamadagni’s wife who was almost killed by her own son Sage Parasurama and Urmila, Sita’s sister and Lakshmana’s wife. These four different women appear in Sita’s lives at different times and help her assert her individuality and break free from the expectations of her role as a queen, a wife and even a mother.
The book is a group of stories set across different time zones and does not follow the chronological order of the mythological tale. Hence, the reader is expected to be aware of the lore.

Each of the stories have nuggets of knowledge embedded in them and take Sita through a journey of self-realisation.
The book begins with the story of Sita meeting Surpanakha. Surpanakha while narrating her own experience of how she redefined beauty in her mind, sows a thought in Sita’s mind that anchoring oneself against their inner core is any day more advisable than anchoring against external aspects like children, kingdom etc. She narrates her own experience thus ‘…I struggled a lot to grasp that there is no difference between beauty and ugliness in nature. I observed many living creatures and realized that oneness and stillness are one and the searched every particle in nature, and in the course of that search, my own vision has changed. Everything began to look beautiful to my eyes. I, who hated everything including myself, began to love everything including myself…

Another story, Music of Earth, is where Sita runs into Ahalya during her 14-year exile period. She informs Sita that truth is highly subjective. She says, ‘…I do not know why my story was told to you and how it was narrated. Indra lusted after me. Like everyone else, he too looked at women as if they are meant for men’s enjoyment. Knowing that I wouldn’t surrender to his desire, he came in the hours of darkness in the guise of my husband. Did I see through his disguise? That is the question that bothers many people in this world. But to my husband, the question was irrelevant. It was the same to him either way. His property, even if temporarily, had fallen into the hands of another. It was polluted. Pollution, cleanliness, purity, impurity, honour, dishonour – Brahmin men have invested these words with such power that there is no scope in them for truth and untruth. No distinction…

When Sita states that her husband is different and he would always enquire between truth and untruth, Ahalya points out to her that conducting an enquiry itself is a matter of distrust. She also adds that society likes women who do not question and accept things as-is. If a woman accepts a mistake, society provides ways to atone the sin or if a woman argues that she has not made a mistake, society takes pity and sees her as a victim. However, if a woman says – right or wrong, it is my business, how can anyone question it, how can anyone judge it, the society will never tolerate it.

It is only a few years later when she takes up the fire trial and comes back to Ayodhya, and is greeted by some proud people heralding her chastity does Sita realize what Ahalya had been trying to tell her.

It is the last story The Shackled that surprised me the most. In my own mind and immersed in these women and their experiences in this book, I had mentally painted Rama as not being an ideal man. Why? Why did Rama abandon the love of his life? Where is love in abandonment? Why could he not step up and take charge and keep Sita with him?

And this story answered some of those questions. A ruler of a kingdom must distinguish between his duty as a king and his role as a family man. Rama – the King conflicted with Rama – the loving husband. And when cornered by circumstances, he chose to stand up for his kingdom. Something that, in another epic The Mahabharata, Kuru King Dhristrashtra did not do when Draupadi was getting physically humiliated in his presence.

The writer ended up making me wonder that probably Rama was the most entrapped and not Sita! Rama’s predicament is best articulated in these lines, ‘…He caused her heart to bleed incessantly for her humiliation. A wound that would never heal. A wound that would hurt every day. A wound caused by the throne to the love of Sita and Rama. He could forsake Sita; Sita belonged to him. He could not relinquish the throne; it belonged to RaghuVamsa. The dynasty. The tradition in which political power passes on to the firstborn. The dharma of preserving that tradition was on his head. The burden of protecting the Arya Dharma finally robbed him of all the happiness in his life. There was no liberation for him. Rama wailed disconsolately…

The writer, Volga (Popuri Lalita Kumari), through this piece of fiction using lesser known characters of the mythical lore, inspires women to take charge and view their own lives in an independent form, not connected to men around them. For her, all women must step up, assert and take charge of their own lives. However, while translating, somewhere the intended intensity is lost. The language is a tad patchy.

Nevertheless, I think this book does touch a chord and prompts women to take charge of their own lives within the framework of their circumstances and situations. While there is enough literature around that intrigues, motivates, redefines, reinforces our beliefs or at times connects us to our own selves, there are only a few that give us solace and prompts us to take charge of our own lives. This book is one of those.

 

Memories

sunset

 

Day by day, I breathe on, I live on, I march on,

along with my heart, my soul and my memories.

 

Emotions, moods, feelings come and go,

sensations, urges, cravings come and go,

people, situations, experiences come and go,

only memories linger on.

 

Yet I march ahead, with all my heart and soul,

wading through a life filled with myriad of experiences,  

looking out for that elusive peace and love,

that I so wish could only come and never go.

  

Love, happiness and peace is all I seek,

enticing them to live with me forever,

but, all I am left with are only memories,

that linger on forever.

 

Day by day, I breathe on, I live on, I march on, 

along with my heart, my soul and my memories.

 

 

 

Woman – Dynamic or Forlorn?

(This piece was published by YourStory on 10 Jan 2017 titled as Woman – Dynamic or Forlorn )

Being a woman is a privilege.

A privilege to create lives, nurture homes, spread love, share smiles, control tears, feed souls – an endless list. A privilege to do it all with an immense amount of strength laced with a layer of softness.

A woman is a feminine spirit encompassed in a myriad of personalities that emerge from time to time in various contexts. A woman can be charming yet strong, pretty yet professional, graceful yet a go-getter, sensitive yet tough, ravishing yet raring. Juxtaposed with so many attributes, a woman has it all within her.

Yet the irony is – a) most women are not aware of this, and b) in spite of such a rich repertoire, life is tough ride for us women.

More so in today’s times where we women not only run our households, but also run teams, companies or conglomerates. Very Stressful. Yet, immensely liberating.

While the earlier part of our lives goes in chasing our dreams and working towards getting our foothold, the subsequent phase entails a newer experience. This is to be handled alone, stepping out of a cocooned setup. Be it as a working woman or a home maker. With or without kids. It is one and the same for all across the society.

Why do we do it? Because most of us want to win. It is embedded in our DNA.

We are hardwired quite differently from our counterparts. The difference comes only in the way we handle what is thrown at us. Challenges, issues, problems, they come in all shapes and sizes for everyone. But we women inherently ensure that we give them a good fight. Our life teaches us to do that.

Ironically, those are the times when we feel lonely. A fight that has to be fought alone. A life that has to be lived alone. We realise it is a lonely world where you invariably do not have anyone who understands you, although you are surrounded by hordes of people. Your mother, father, siblings, husband, children – all around you, but you tend to feel as if none can connect to your heart and its feelings.

So what do you do then? Give in? Resign yourselves to fate? Get frustrated? Or handle it practically?

Last week, I met a recently retired banker whom I have always admired for her great social and managerial skills at the bank. I had made friends with her when she was posted at the branch in my area. During the rare occasions that I would physically visit the branch – I have always found her to be pleasing yet stern manager who was a clear stickler for rules. Not only that, what appealed to me was her special focus towards senior citizens. More so, since my neighbourhood is an old locality of Bengaluru having quite a few elders living alone.

During our conversation, she mentioned that she retired about a year ago and had visited both her children living abroad and recently come back. And before I could say anything further, she added – I am not planning to go and stay with them. I smiled inwardly, must be a rhetoric question that is constantly asked, hence she blurted out the answer lest I ask the same!

When I appreciated her decision for choosing her independence, I was stunned to find that the decision was not really out of choice. Rather, it was out of compulsion. Her children could not fit her into their busy lives. And I could see that she did not have the confidence to do it alone. At the risk of sounding a tad too personal, I tried pointing out to her the host of benefits of living alone. But a brooding, sad and depressed mind is usually closed and unable to see any light at the end of the tunnel.

While I was searching for the dynamic leader of the branch in this forlorn lady in front of me, I could only wish and pray that she finds some good amount of confidence and not live in despair.

And, that set me thinking. Why do we women have to associate ourselves to something? Why do we have to be linked by kith and kin – father, husband or through our professions – lawyer, teacher, doctor etc. And when that connection crumbles, why do we lose it all? We retire from our jobs. We lose our partners. Our kids step out and make their own worlds. And we become lonely. Why?

Why should a woman not be known by her individuality? More importantly, why does a woman not recognise her own strength?

O Mother of the Monster

 

O Mother of the Monster. Go, get up, confront your son!

 

Guess it is the time to wake up,

instead of being proud to have given birth to a male child.

It is the time to be ashamed of yourself,

for creating a monster that prowls on the road like an animal of the wild.

But, do not just be ashamed and sit quiet.

Or blame the circumstances – your husband, your family, your culture, your society.

 

O Mother of the Monster.  Go, get up, confront your son!

 

Tell your son that a woman is not –

a prey to pounce upon,

a soft toy to crush upon,

an electronic toy to rip apart,

an object to play around.

 

O Mother of the Monster.  Go, get up, confront your son!

 

Enlighten your son that a woman is –

within whom a man exists,

the core without which this universe cannot exist,

the Shakti without which everything ceases to exist,

the only empowered one to procreate.

 

O Mother of the Monster.  Go, get up, confront your son!

 

Remind your son that –

the law of Karma does not spare any soul,

as one sows, so shall one reap,

his future generations will probably pay for his deeds,

his daughters/grand-daughters will never forgive him.

 

O Mother of the Monster.  Go, get up, confront your son!

 

And, if ever, he turns a tad repentant, do let him know that –

passing the buck will not erase the blemish,

doing umpteen number of penances will not ease the punishment,

performing many a good deeds will not generate goodwill,

saying his prayers will not give him peace.

 

O Mother of the Monster.  Go, get up, confront your son!

 

 

 

 

 

Slice of Life…

(This piece was published by TheNEWSMinute under the title – Coming to B’luru, the Hrishikesh Mukherjee Film Festival you shouldn’t miss)

 

I thought the sparrow’s note from heaven,

singing at dawn on the alder bough;

I brought him home, in his nest, at even;

He sings the song, but it cheers not now,

For I did not bring home the river and the sky.

 goes the lines from a famous poet Ralph W Emerson …

To draw a parallel in Indian Cinema, well we have an entire film industry that brought home many a singing birds. But only a few could bring home the river and the sky, to feel the same cheer in the bird’s voice. While most focussed on singing, only Hrishikesh Mukherjee gave equal importance to the river and sky too. Probably, a tad more. Earthy and grounded that he was, his movies showcased the raw earthiness and the immortal beauty of life. Not to miss the lovely music – the song of our lives.

Hrishi Da, as he was popularly known, was a highly perceptive director and always brought to fore the simple yet beautiful nuances of living life. His narratives always showcased the common man and bought out the middle class ethos – something that stands true even today. The normal and nominal of our day to day lives stood ground in his movies.

Innumerable Golmaal’s can come to life, but the numero uno with an inimitable fetish for a moustache cannot be replaced by any of the new age directors. Who can forget Utpal Dutt’s classic portrayal as Bhavani Shankar with a clear hatred for men without moustaches!

All his stories had a social message too. Particularly, his women characters. Perceptive that he was, probably he understood the dreams and aspirations of women and also the existent social fabric of the times. His heroines showed us the various stages of transformation of a girl to a matured woman.

Who can forget the irrepressible and naughty Guddi, her love for the superstar Dharmendra and her eventual realisation and transformation as a woman in the hauntingly beautiful ‘Bole re papihara…‘The red polka dotted saree with a long plait is what symbolises Jaya Bhaduri even today in many a hearts.

Life is all about fun and Hrishi Da ensured we had loads of it with Chupke Chupke. Whether it was the classic beauty of the English language or the strong base of shudh Hindi he brought it all out through the love story of a professor and student of a totally tangential subject – Botany!

Life is also about fighting odds and hoping for the best. ‘Hope’ is what we see in the 1975 film Mili. A dying girl gets a lease of love and life in the far end of her life. What was thought of the last few tough days of the life of this girl, suddenly gets spruced up with love and hope thanks to a brooding handsome man who moves into her apartment complex. The movie begins and ends with an aircraft soaring high. ‘Hope’ does do that to you. Allows you to soar high in life.

Not all scenarios in life have a positive hope. Some are known dead ends. So what do we do? Well, according to Hrishi Da, we take it as it comes with dollops of laughter and laugh it out. The charming Rajesh Khanna in Anand does just that.

Spread the cheer, share the happiness, love this life, but move on. Even if you carry a broken heart. Camouflage it all and help your brooding friend understand life and find love. Now that’s Anand and he does it all with an absolute finesse. Marking his unforgettable presence in the lives of so many people, Anand moves on to the other word in a dramatic style, but continues to live in hearts of so many of his friends. After all –  Anand mara nahin. Anand marte nahin

And he does come back again to spread the cheer. This time as a Bawarchi Raghu into the ever squabbling Sharma family. A cook who not only cooks well but also harnesses talents of other family members, teaches many a nuances of life to them, and eventually brings in harmony and love into the household.

Life is to live. And live life you must, to the fullest, irrespective of the circumstances is what all Hrishi Da’s movies taught us in his simplistic and irreplaceable style.

Well as Anand says, ‘Babu Moshay, Zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nahin…

If you are movie buff and appreciate the simplicity of life, more so with the current demonetization woes, do step out and join at the Hrishikesh Mukherjee Film Festival being curated by Pickle Jar – a platform for film festivals and programs of social relevance. Founded by Vasanthi Hariprakash, a well-known media personality in Bangalore, this collective is a group of about 40 passionate people from different walks of life, pickled together by their common dreams and love for anything that makes the world a better and spicier place.

 

अनमोल दोस्ती…

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पल पल निकल गई जिदंगी, पता ही नही चला,
हँसते खेलते गुजर गई जिदंगी, पता ही नही चला,
कब हम बड़े हुए, कहाँ गया बचपन, पता ही नही चला,
बिछड़ गये दोस्त, छूट गई दोस्ती, पता ही नही चला।

पल पल निकल गई जिदंगी, पता ही नही चला…

आज वापस अपने आप को पहचानने का मौका मिला,
बचपन दुबारा जीने का मौका मिला,
मिल बैठे कुछ हम साथी बचपन के,
तो अपने आप से मिलने का मौका मिला।

पल पल निकल गई जिदंगी, पता ही नही चला…

भूल गए थे हम कि हम भी कभी छोटे थे,
कभी शरारती तो कभी मासूम,
कभी नटखट तो कभी दिलदार,
दोस्तों से मिलने पर पता चला, कितनी दूर आ गये हम।

पल पल निकल गई जिदंगी, पता ही नही चला…

जब मिले तो ऐसे मिले,
जैसे कभी बिछड़े न थे,
जब हँसे तो ऐसे हँसे,
जैसे कभी अलग हुये ही नही।

पल पल निकल गई जिदंगी, पता ही नही चला…

आखिर यही तो है दोस्ती – जहाँ गले लगते ही,
उतर जाता है नकाब,
ढल जाता है बोझ,
खुश हो जाता है दिल,
मिल जाता है सुकून।

पल पल निकल गई जिदंगी, पता ही नही चला…

Blank, not void

mother-and-child-clipart

 

I hate the Sun. Why do they bring me out here?

Vitamin D, says Jamuna didi.

But, sunlight does not do any good to me. I feel that this sunlight blinds me, dampens me, soaks me and irritates me. It burns right through my skin. I love only cool places.

When I am in open spaces, I hear voices that talk to me. Not loving voices but hoarse, rude, and shrill voices. And, the noises. The noise of passing by cars, creaking carts, honking buses, screaming hawkers, wailing babies, jabbering people, all blare in my ears. I cannot filter them at all and all of them come crashing into my ears.

And, the smells. I can smell the sweat soaked shirt of the gardener, Jamuna didi’s ittar, the stink of water logged corner in the garden, the stench of the rotten palak under the pile of vegetables that the sabzi waali brings. Stench, stink or smell, I cannot filter.

I love the cocoon of my room. Safe, comfortable, and cozy. I am at peace there. No voices come and talk to me there. No smells or sounds bother me either.

Ma should be coming anytime now.

I was born different. I did not cry immediately after my birth. Not even after 24 hours of my birth. I did cry, but much later. I was very slow.

Abnormal, all of them had realized.

Dadiji, took it badly. She was shocked, pained and depressed to have an abnormal child in her family. Ma was heartbroken. All of 22 years, she did not have any idea on how to handle a normal kid, leave alone an abnormal one.

Dadaji was no more. Papa ran a successful garment business. Dadiji, wanted a home maker wife for his only son. She did not want a working woman. She wanted a beautiful life for her son, in her terms.

I became a black spot in that dream of hers.

All the specialist doctors felt that they would be able to diagnose the main problem once I grow up a little bit more.

Grow up?

Dadiji did not want that. She wanted me out of her son’s life, at any cost. Not only out of his life, out of this world itself.

While dadiji was exploring ways to have me out, Ma had fallen prey to my gurgling smiles and crazy antics. I was 3 months old by then. And according to Jamuna Didi looked like that adorable baby in the Murphy radio advertisement. Locks and curls, big eyes, drooling lips, but a blank mind. A mind that could not connect to the world like other children do.

After her initial low phase, Ma had slowly woken up and took note of me and the world around. And felt a sense of life seeping back through her soul.

Dadiji saw this. Scared that a bond may develop, she announced one day that I was being sent to an orphanage of mentally retarded children. What she did not care to mention was that along the way, I would be dumped somewhere on the road.

Papa did not say anything.

Ma did not say anything either. Not because she did not have anything to say. She did have; her daughter is not an orphan. But, she was scared. Scared of defying dadiji. Jamuna didi, standing there, wanted to say many things too. But knew that she will be immediately dismissed from the house and will be distanced from me. So, she also kept quiet.

But the moment, she was in closed confines alone with my Ma, she laid bare her fears. She had overheard dadiji’s talking to someone on the phone .

Ma, now much clearer in her head, could smell the act. Aghast that her educated mother in law could think of something this low, unhappy that her husband did not utter a word, and realizing that she is alone in this; she woke up from her reverie.

Why should she live here? Should she leave?

It was pouring that night. As the rain drops fell, so did her hopes to have a peaceful life in that house. Soon the pitter patter of the rain beckoned her to step out. Step out of hell and walk into an unknown, her mind had reasoned. Hell or heaven, it will be at least peaceful, retorted the rain drops. Frightened, nervous, terrified, and anxious; she dared and stepped out of that house.

Ending a chapter and opening a new one.

I grew older, Ma grew stronger and we became inseparable. Initially ridden by guilt of not accepting me on the day I was born, she slowly fought all her demons and came out of it. I became the center of her life. Life was kind to her and with her sheer hard work she built a good base for herself.

I am now 14 years old. I am tall, and can stand and walk on my two feet. But, I am still slow in all other things. I cannot speak. I cannot eat on my own. I cannot bear most of the sounds, smells and sights. I am still blank but, my unstoppable Jamuna didi is constantly devising new ways and means to coach and teach me. Her means are the usual, one way chatter ranging from sweet coaxing words, to slight chides to clear hearing downs. I take it all with a grin and smile, much to her chagrin, and eventually she gives up on me. But, only for a few hours. Then she is back with her usual spirit. After all, my gurgling smile still steals a few hearts, including hers. The sparkle in my eye melts her soul and my mischievous grin oodles out love from her.

I am back in my room now – safe and happy. It has one wall painted yellow – the color of hope, with my favorite lily flowers on one side table. I feel bliss and happiness here.

Jamuna didi switched on the music player. My favorite song came up ‘Chanda hai tu, mera suraj hai tu….’and soothed my nerves. Jamuna didi walked out to get my lunch, humming along. It is her favorite song too.

The door bell rang. There she comes. My Ma!

‘Angry again?’, she asks while walking into my room.

I turn around, fumble a bit and go and sit on my bed.

‘I love you baby,’ she says while hugging me from the back. She starts tickling me.

I start laughing. I can laugh.

‘Your papa called today. He wants to come and see us,’ she said while holding me in her arms.

I stiffened.

‘I do not know what he wants. I do not have anything to give him. I wonder why he is coming back now, after so many years.’

And she went on and on. On her childhood, her fears, her love, her life.

My Ma tells me everything. She has been doing this since I was a baby. She is alone. She talks to me. She thinks I do not understand anything.

But, I do.

बारिश…

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सूना तुमने? बाहर बारिश फिर तुम्हें बुला रही है ।

दस्तक दे रही है , कह रही है ,
आ जाओ, बाहर आ जाओ।

मत रहो ऐसी दुनिया मे ,
जहां प्यार नही , इज्जत नहीं ।
नाजो से पली गुङिया हो तुम,
मत रहो जहाँ चाहत नहीं ।

सूना तुमने? बाहर बारिश फिर तुम्हें बुला रही है।

डरो मत,  सहमो मत,
और ज्यादा सोचो मत।

अगर ङरती रहोगी ,
तो प्यार कब करोगी ?
अपने आप से और
अपनी नन्ही जान से।

सूना तुमने? बाहर बारिश फिर तुम्हें बुला रही है।

बङे प्यार से सॅवारती हो उसे ,
उतने ही नाजो से पालो इसे।

बस सुनो अपने दिल की ,
नाउम्मीद न जीना तुम,
कुछ तो करो अपने लिए,
इक और नन्ही जान की सोचो तुम ।

सूना तुमने? बाहर बारिश फिर तुम्हें बुला रही है।

कयूं ङरती हो  बारिश से,
यह बारिश तुम्हारे सारे गम धो देगा ।

अब जाकर खोल ही दो दरवाजा,
और निङर हो रख दो पैर बाहर,
आखिर ऑसुओ से भीगे हुए
तुम्हारे दिल को बारिश से क्या ङर।

सूना तुमने? बाहर बारिश फिर तुम्हें बुला रही है।

Are we making our kids emotionally strong?

(This blog post was published in TheNewsMinute on Sep 2, 2016 – Our kids are taking on the  world but are we teaching them to be emotionally strong? )

Life is an emotional roller-coaster ride.  More so, in today’s times, where we have more avenues that tend to make inroads into our otherwise isolated yet busy lives. WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter et al are leading us to feel happy, elated, sad, dejected and a whole list of emoticons that pop up on our devices to enable us to react to the events that occur around us in our city, our country and the world at large.

One such event that sent me on a great roller-coaster ride recently was the news of a 13-year-old girl from Bengaluru, who went missing last week.

It all began with a message that I received indicating that a 13-year-girl is missing from her home in my neighborhood. Oh my! Scary. Then prayers.

Soon came some relief after the girl was found. Complete relief, once I authenticated the message on the Bangalore Police’s website.

As in all households of today with teen aged kids at home, who incidentally are more updated with the latest news, it triggered a spate of discussions at home. “Why did she run away, Ma?”, “Why Maths is so difficult?”, “Has any kid been so scared of Languages or Social Sciences?” And the most dreaded question of all- “What will you do if I decide to walk away because I lost Spelling Bee in the finals?”

My emotions ranged from despair to dread. But, as any mother would do (and should do) I kept them at bay and ensured that all questions are addressed and settled using some funny banter as well as serious open discussions. Needless to say, I also had to unearth some unasked questions over the next few hours and answer them too. Just in case.

All settled, topic done and dusted, I relaxed.

But only for a few days, until I chanced upon a completely senseless television interview of the 13-year-old (not 18 yet) missing girl. And then came a flurry of questions – “What? Really? Why? How on earth?”

How can the media glorify this whole episode by making her a hero for surviving on Rs.610 across four cities? What about the parents? Are they capitalizing on all the social media attention given to them so far? Or are they scared to stop their daughter, lest she attempts to run again?

And that set me thinking. Are we missing something while bringing up our kids?

I am very proud that we are part of a progressive society and our kids are being given more space and choice. And there is no denying the fact that a kid today can do so much by the time they are in their teens. They can play all forms of sports and excel. They are academically brilliant (even last year we had two hundred thousand kids in India getting a full 10 CGPA in 10th boards). They have a strong penchant for music and are well-versed with the entire spectrum of artistes from MJ to Miley Cyrus. Gadgets – oh, they are born professionals in that zone. Teaching a thing or two to not only their grandparents, but even to us. They are strong, confident, and are ready to take on the world.

Ready?  Hey, they have already taken on the world, right?

But then, off late, why am I not seeing these kids flying high? Why do I feel that unless channelized, they will have to crash land?  And some may survive, while some may not.

I have never been a great science student, but I do know two things. One, you need a level ground to take off well and fly high and two, you must periodically come back to the ground for refueling – as life is but a cycle of events.

And that is the bit, the Emotional Quotient bit that we as parents have to empower them with. Something we cannot afford to miss.

Are we teaching our children to be emotionally strong? Are we enabling them to first recognize their emotions and then eventually regulate them too? Are our kids empathetic to other people or are we putting in such a high level of competitiveness in them that they are unable to empathize with anyone around? Do our kids speak to those around (and also us) with love and respect? Are our communication lines limited to only them asking for newer gadgets or expressing displeasure in the contents of the lunch box, or where are we going for our next vacation?

Unless, we give these kids a strong level ground that is enmeshed with the fabric of moral, spiritual, cultural and ethical values, our kids are going to be lost in the air.  And that will surely push us a few steps back. No society is going to flourish with shallow rooted people who do not know how to regulate their emotions and do not show love and respect.

Unless acted upon, unfortunately, I am seeing a regressive world ahead.

Are you?

Clear the clouds, hear your voice…

Krishna@home

 

Have blessed you with an intellect that can differentiate between the right and wrong, between the truth and false. Have empowered you with a voice that can say yes or a no, that can stand up for justice or support an injustice, that can say a lot by just uttering a few.

But have also included shades of grey, a few clouds and loads of clutter in your journey as a human.

Else – how will you learn to stand up for yourself and for those around you?

Clear the clouds, hear your voice, hail your heart, use your intellect and traverse this beautiful journey of life!

Forever,
Your eternal friend with innumerable names….