20 Glorious Years: Harry Potter and the Amazing Power of written words!

Life, Parenting

 

imageHarry Potter Books have turned 20…And…what a fabulous  journey it’s been! It seems like yesterday that I picked up Philosphers Stone, .the first Harry Potter book. I was a young mother then and I got hooked on to a children’s book…and that also a fantasy full of magic , a far from reality book. . Adults know better than that ….there is no magic out there…and so did I. And then came Hogwarts, Harry Potter, Hermoine Granger, Hagrid, Voldermont, Ron Weasley, Dumbledore, Doby: the elf, Draco Malfoy,, Sirius Black and Snape in my life. My children were barely three and four or even younger , when the Harry Potter bug caught me. And it caught be bad ….I started reading the series and kept waiting impatiently for the next book to come out ….not once leaving the make believe magical world that Rowling had built so masterfully. I loved them so much that I wanted my kids to be a part of that magic. I would read a section of the book everyday and wait for the night to fall to tell that story to my children everyday …spinning a web of Rowling Magical words on their little brains. And how my kids who could not read on their own then loved the stories …almost worshipped the words that came out of my mouth. Rowling kept writing, I kept reading and I kept telling her stories. From the Philosopher’s Stone( 2001)to the Chamber of Secrets (2002),the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), the Goblet of Fire (2005), the Order of the Phoenix (2007), the Half-Blood Prince (2009), the Deathly Hallows, pt 1 (2010)to the Deathly Hallows, pt 2 (2011).

I happily gave myself some credit too along with Rowling of being a master story teller. My kids kept wanting more …and more …the invisibility cloak , Tri Wizard competition, the dementers, Hagrid’s dragon, Hedwig, the magical spells …..I tried my best to make them imagine the magic in my stories. Stories that they could clearly see in their heads ….words which had the power to touch hearts and take us in the alternate reality of Wizards and Witches. I remember them forever wanting to cross over from being muggles to become  a wizard and a witch playing quiddich in Hogwarts. How they wished they were Gryffindors working hard to win against the Slytherins.How my daughter enjoyed hearing the tales of Hermoine being smarter than a lot of boys in her class….and how Hermoine remained a favourite and an awesome role model for so many girls out there. How my son wished he had a scar like Harry’s and how he practiced in his limited vocabulary …the most famous magic spells from the books …..Wingardium Leviosa – spell that made things levitate, or Ridikullum – spell that turned scary things into something funny.

Then came the first movie ..and the second and then the next. Our family rushed to the cinemas to see the magic on the screen with all eight Harry Potter movies over the years. My kids started reading on their own after the third book. But we kept the family discussions on and kept discussing the magical spells for a long time.

What fun times were those …to have a book series and movies in which the protagonists grew up side by side …with our children every year. How beautifully Rowling kept including the milestones , the issues and hassles and pleasures of being a kid , a preteen , a teenager , an adult. How a whole generation grew up along with the main characters in the book over the years with same insecurities , hopes for future , going through the same trials and tribulations. Amazing how it had never occurred to another author before Rowling to do this ….There was  never before , available a book series that became a whole world in its own. From books , to movies, to Harry Potter world, merchandise of every kind…etc etc …Harry Potter Brand has an empire of its own , a cult following , magic that never fades and a common thread that brings the readers of Harry Potter series and fans of its movies together. People who feel that they are  better than the have nots …..meaning people who haven’t heard or read or seen a Harry Potter book or movie in their life…..and sadly haven’t had either the opportunity or the inclination to have their lives being touched by the Magic of Rowling’s World.

An unknown single mother …almost broke … got an idea to write a story on a train …she penned down her ideas in a small Cafe in Edinburgh ….spun magic on random pieces of napkins.. And ….went on to become a legend….and helped build an alternate world full of magic. A world that has been enchanting young and old alike for the last twenty years. A world which is a safe haven for young and not so young kids  and also for their parents . It’s really inspiring  to see that Harry Potter and Rowling are what they are today in spite of the circumstances …circumstances which were hardly congenial to writing a master piece, a game changer, making history or becoming a unparalleled success story.

This post is my tribute to the Series which will remain an important part of children books history forever. Harry Potter books have touched millions of lives and have imparted many life lessons on the way.  The books opened my eyes to the realisation that words are powerful …more powerful than anything else in the world. And if our words can touch hearts…can impact lives …we should write. Even if only a few people read …..we should write if we can. And encourage all our children to write …good or bad doesn’t matter, but write and express as often as they can on paper, tablet or on their darling computers. Thanks to Harry Potter series and Rowling, I got inspired to write , have some good writings to my credit and the confidence that by writing I am using my time well. Hoping my writings have the ability to touch hearts at least a few of them if not more.Cheers to the amazing power of written words that brings Magic in our lives everyday!

Some life lessons from Harry Potter Books for our Kids and Us:

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”-Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

-“The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”-Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“It’s our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”-Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

“Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.”-Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban

Those who criticise our generation, forget who raised it !

Life, Parenting

 Teenagers Opinion ” Those who criticize our generation forget who raised it”.

Universal Parental Opinion: Our children lives are tougher today. The zones they are living in are much more complicated than those simple days of our growing up life. Internet , loads of exposure to lives of others, peer pressure, materialistic attitudes etc etc. Also the general unrest in the world , conflicts between countries and different sects , terrorism, intolerance for other people’s beliefs, religions, sentiments, ideology and so so many varied influences. Thousands of news and TV channels, apps, portals, information sources …some genuine …some fake, zillion options for everything….one click snap decisions etc etc. Not to forget the Social Media frenzies …..Facebook, Instagram , what’s app, snapchats have all made our world smaller , more cohesive and connected …and that is good , very good . But what’s it brought with it is people getting a chance to peep into others people’s lives…a look into neighbours and friends homes and a overzealous interest in things beyond their own spheres.

Life lived through filters, smart phone lenses, selfies, posts and updates seems like a pretty dangerous made up…pretend world to our generation. While I am a worried parent…..like so many others parents of our generation ……scared for our children losing their innocence a little too soon.I am not sure if it’s the exposure, the Internet, the smart phones or the new generation to be blamed. We were not born in the computer age and are the ones who are finding it harder to handle these mediums.It’s us who are misusing it ….getting affected the most ….finding it distracting because we come from a time where words like online friends , click of a button weren’t part of our dictionaries. These gadgets and social media platforms are new toys in our hands and we are going crazy. Some of us have learned to not take anything and everything on social media as gospel truth , are more discerning in our choice of what we do with it, use it to find old long lost connections and keep our time fruitfully engaged by staying away from envy and judgements. But some of us have fallen prey and are living pretentious lives, a life stunted by the ease of having a view of what others are doing, how others are living and making comparisons.

My Opinion : It’s our problem! Sadly …I hate to admit that the intolerance for other people’s opinions, beliefs, religious and political views and the fixed mindsets problem is more of our generation’s problem. We don’t see young people tweeting stupid things, or sharing their life stories on Facebook,worrying who is eating what, wearing what and doing what or getting into what’s app family group or friends group fights.As a parent of teenage kids,I have had many opportunities to watch closely …my kids and their friends and lots of other teenagers out there in my circle and they seem to be much more sorted than what we all give them credit. They had their phase of doing some stupid things ..yes..over sharing of their lives ….but a lot of it is finished and done with. They are off the Facebook , they never tweet to sensationalise, their Instagram stories are creative and fun , their snapchats …I don’t know …but are maybe ok because I haven’t seen them having emotional road blocks over social media or seem to have feelings of envy and distress over other people’s livesor have insecurities like …everybody is happier than me….or I am the best ….look at my illustrious life …everyone is travelling the world , have awesome families but me etc etc …kind of heartaches that what we adults have had in our share post the advent of Internet and Facebook.

The new generation is so much more sorted than us in terms of where they want to go …they have confidence of having the courage to work for what they want from life. They are smart , quick and can use GPS , google maps , Wikipedia and all kinds of technology much better than us. They don’t need to be directed …instead we are dependent on their directions which in turn is helping us navigate through this new world. They know where to find answers from and have the right key words and the right questions to manoeuvre their way through anything. They are the empowered ones !

Why are we then worried for them? ….instead we should worry about us and help ourselves …to make peace with the idea that this is the new world …which has information available on one click …where everything is out there and in our children’s reach. And there is nothing that we can do about that but use it to our advantage.Live our lives more creatively and happily and enjoy the fact that we got a chance to see this change right in front of our eyes. Be role models for our children ….role models of people who are smart to see the pros of the dynamic new world and make the most of our time left on the earth…thanks to new amazing new options…learning more and doing more meaningful things with our lives. And our children seeing us making the right use of the information overload and make better decisions about online safety, privacy and using the power of Internet and social media to make a difference in this world!

Even if the times aren’t simple anymore …our children are not complexed and are not disadvantaged..rather they are  much better equipped and empowered to live their lives to the fullest!

Our Partners in Crime…Our Sisters & Brothers!

Life

Our sibling relationships …close or distant, happy or not so happy have the capability of sculpting our life scripts. They have the power to shape our character, our histories and our future. Our brothers and sisters might not admire us always , but they remain interested in us , our lives , our successes and our failures forever. They are our partners in crime, our emotional punch bags, our biggest fans and also our worst critics, our team mates and can be our strongest rivals, our closest confidants who if they want can become ruthless spies and can sell us out anytime…they are people who know us the best inside out.

Life keeps moving, years pass …like they have been riding a bullet train…and we all get busy with building our careers and our new families. From sharing the same room, to different rooms in the same house …to different houses in the same city …to different houses in different cities or maybe different countries to living on the opposite sides of the globe. The distance keeps growing …..miles between siblings keep increasing ..physically and sometimes it’s heartbreaking to see them walking in opposite directions emotionally too. Some of us are able to keep the warmth alive,while others spend much less time investing in the relationships bonded by blood and end up taking them for granted. The brothers and sisters who we knew better than ourselves …..sometimes become strangers. And other times they keep working at being the security nets they have always been. Sometimes the rivalry remains, other times the memory of rivalries become the bridges to bring us closer. There is nothing half hearted in sibling relationships …the fevicol bonds, the fights, the love, the hate, the competition,the comparisons….all feelings and emotions that the siblings evoke in each other remain fiercely intense always.

And then comes a time when we become parents of siblings and see the story of their siblings unfold in front of us. Our children find their own punching bags, emotional hangers and secret keepers in their siblings. And we see our hearts warming up to their life stories and relationships.

Remembering today ….

All those fighting episodes with my siblings , pleading and touching each others feet to beg for that last bite of maggi left on the plate!

The fun, the pleasure and the power of being the whistleblowers of my brothers and sisters deeds to our parents!

Those beautiful lazy days and cozy nights of watching Pakistani dramas,Voyages of Star Trek Enterprise and Bold & Beautiful soap opera marathons!

All the cribbing, crying and ganging up against our parents unreasonable no’s and limiting rules curbing our independence!

All the wardrobe swapping ..a chance of expanding our choices of clothes with or without the permission of our siblings!

Tagging along with the friends of our older siblings and being pampered like crazy and spoiled rotten.

Those scooter rides and potato chips eating sessions on our way back home from college!

Having the easier way out ….with our older sibling making all the mistakes and us learning from them!

Cheers to my dynamic, larger than life older sister whose capacity to love, undying spirit and energy has been inspiring for me always!

Cheers to my sensitive, very positive always, funny younger brother who is my go to person forever!

Cheers to our old memories & Amen to many many more beautiful new ones!

And A big Cheers to my children and their awesome siblings. Hoping they too keep making lovely memories together forever!

( Dedicated to my sister on her Birthday.. 23rd June 2017)

None of us are Disaster Proof …nor are our kids!

Education

SAAKSHI SINGLA

Disaster Management is such a dry word …so clinical, a sugar coated word for mayhem ….only seen used in news reporting after disasters have already happened. We don’t talk about possibility of disasters with our kids ….we don’t consciously speak about resilience. We believe in giving a beautiful life to them , we feel children should be kept away from seeing pain and suffering in this world. We try our hardest to show the beautiful side of things to them. We feel that they won’t have a choice but to see a lot of it that is not okay with this world , once they grow up. While that is the way precious little ones should be brought up ….with loads of love, lots of sheltering and protecting, by parents being a shield for them, a filter to sieve through the painful experiences and keeping the toxic environment miles away…

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None of us are Disaster Proof …nor are our kids!

Life, Parenting

Disaster Management is such a dry word …so clinical, a sugar coated word for mayhem ….only seen used in news reporting after disasters have already happened. We don’t talk about possibility of disasters with our kids ….we don’t consciously speak about resilience. We believe in giving a beautiful life to them , we feel children should be kept away from seeing pain and suffering in this world. We try our hardest to show the shiny pretty side of things to them. We feel that they won’t have a choice but to see a lot of it that is not okay with this world , once they grow up. While that is the way precious little ones should be brought up ….with loads of love, lots of sheltering and protecting, by parents being a shield for them, a filter to sieve through the painful experiences and keeping the toxic environment miles away from them. But we all know, how much ever we try but we can’t put them in glass boxes and despite our trying our hardest …they will get in their share some unpleasantness too.

As nobody and nothing is disaster proof.Disasters happen…and there is no way we can keep them always away from our children.We can reduce the negative impact but we also should prepare ourselves to teach them what to do ..if and when a disaster strikes. We need to let them face obstacles and overcome their obstacles on their own. When disaster strikes , it takes a lot away from us in its waves …our calm, our feeling of security and leaves us vulnerable and scared. It brings in feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. To counter these we need to teach our children about resilience.

We need to teach them to be strong and to be tough and ourselves model resilience that helps them to not crumble in wake of a disaster. We need to prepare them for those times as well when things don’t go right and don’t go their way. The ugly head of Terrorism is surfacing everywhere and incidence of war, conflicts, death ….is in our face everyday. We should keep talking of hope and tell stories of courage and people bouncing back from disasters instead of brushing the tough talk under the carpet.

The best way to teach children resilience is to tell them family stories …not just happy days stories, holidays and festivals and family togetherness stories ….but “voyage and return stories”, “heroic stories in times of disasters”, “overcoming the monsters stories” too. Stories about Illnesses and death in the family , natural disasters,accidents, terrorists attacks, conflicts….should also be a part of our family’s story chest. Voyage and return stories told in a positive way …can teach our children that there is a way back from an illness or a bad incident …the journey back brings hope and a will to make things better. Overcoming our monster stories help children learn that …their shortcomings,fear or failures are normal …and we had a lot of those in our share too….and how we can overcome them and move forward. Heroic stories of people coming forward and helping people during the times of disasters like fire accidents, terrorists attacks, war like what’s happening in Syria today help take the focus away from the hopelessness of a degrading world order. Such incidents should make us parents tell our kids that there is enough good in the world too. Stories of people bringing toys and food for Syrian kids, stories of courage of the firemen during the recent Grenfell Tower fire in London, or what’s happening closer to home like families celebrating the person who is no more, a couple handling their divorce well and not letting bitterness creep in,devoted care of a loved one helping in recovery of a family member or friend from a fatal accident, grandparents story of courage during partition etc.

We can’t stop disasters always …death, terrorism, accidents, the famines and droughts , the war, the plane crashes, happening in the world around us or the sad events that happen in our family or with our friends and us..will happen …because that’s the only rule that applies to all of us …..that life doesn’t move in a straight line …it has crests and troughs : goodtimes and downtimes for each and everyone of us.

So let’s teach our children to be prepared for the downtimes ….to face them …and deal with them ….and learn from them.

Let’s teach them to be sensitive people who have a helping hand always stretched out for people suffering in disasters and who are in trouble!

Let’s teach them to be tough for themselves too when a disaster hits them …to push themselves to get back on their feet again!

Let’s teach our children to overcome their own monsters and learn to deal with whatever life throws at them too …instead of lying to them that there are no monsters anywhere and they are safe forever!

Let’s teach them resilience because that is the only thing in our control …not the monsters , not the disasters , neither is God’s will !

The realisation that human life isn’t precious anymore …..is hitting us with the speed of a tornado!

Life

Shaken to the core I am today ..and my heart is crying. Our lives are very fragile and it takes just a couple of minutes to change so much. A fire engulfed a part of our neighbour’s house leaving a home alone senior citizen with more than 90% burns …she is right now fighting for her life in ICU.

The realisation that human life isn’t precious anymore ….in today’s world …..is hitting us like a tornado.The course of events following the fire ….say it all. The safety measures in our country are in a pathetic state. Our own disaster management understanding is so so limited . Why ? We have never been through a fire drill in our lives , we don’t keep fire extinguishers at home , we take our lives for granted, we believe in leaving things “Ram Bharose”, our private hospitals don’t have Burn Wards, nearby famous starred hospitals have the courage to flatly refuse to take in a burnt victim because of the high risk of fatality of the accident, the fire stations shamelessly say , they will help but ideally we should call the station which handles the jurisdiction of our neighbourhood, and when finally the right fire station is informed …..it takes a long time before the fire brigades reach , the police emergency number 100 takes forever to connect and the fire emergency number 104 doesn’t answer.

Thankfully the gas pipeline people …do their job the fastest and cut the gas feed into the house…. And neighbours pitch in big time ….it still takes a long time to get the fire in control…The first floor of the house is salvaged …and the ground floor though gutted completely has a chance to be rebuilt…. Houses can be rebuilt , material things can be bought again ….if life goes on …spirit to rebuild future remains.

But what about the pain , the horror , the trauma that a eighty five year lady had to go through, what about the daughter who is seeing her mother lying helplessly in a government hospital that doesn’t care, what about the only hospital in NCR with a Burn Ward being short staffed …where the attendants tell the relatives of the patient to nurse the burn wounds…as they don’t have enough doctors or nurses…what about precious time lost at the local hospital which negligently said there is nothing to worry ….and the patient will be fine …as the burns are only superficial….and change their story completely with the doctor on duty losing patience and who starts screaming …. asking for the patient to be taken elsewhere because their surgeon is off duty …and he for sure is either a reservation quota doctor or a medical college bribe case recruit ……and to top it all…the hospital help comes in the form of overcharging for the sub standard first aid given and saying that they could order an ambulance on charge for the shift but can’t spare a doctor to go with the patient in the ambulance.

What about the insensitive world we live in? what about a human life being so cheap ? …where has all the goodness gone?

It seems ….she is hanging in there….. Ram Bharose!

Me ….Praying hard and in gratitude to our guru and fellow beings who are sending healing right now! Don’t know what else to do but for keeping faith in God’s Will! And telling my children it’s up to them , up to their generation to be a force that brings a change ….that makes this world a better place to live!

Have to end with the news that I just got…Auntie left for her heavenly abode..leaving us all short of words and with hearts bleeding!

Circle of Influence of our children…isn’t the same as Ours! And we need to be ok with that.

Life, Parenting

People say parenting is the hardest when our children are young because they are completely dependent on us. We need to remain in attention forever as it is only us parents who can bring to them the best nutrition, care, warmth, mental stimulation and love.

I say that is the easiest stage of parenting ..easiest because we instinctively know what is good for our child, can read up parenting magazines , can draw from our own parent’s parenting styles and learn from other people’s experiences. And our children listen , they follow, they look up to us , they think us to be God’s who know their pains and can always fetch things for them …that bring them joy. The hugs and kisses are in abundance and have the power to heal anything. Everything is in our control , what they eat, what they do, what they hear , what they watch, the friends they make and what kind of influencers that walk into their lives. We can keep them close and show them only the beautiful side of the world. There are no outside influences, it’s just us and our babies and our decisions and our understanding. I would say that is easy peasy…where is it hard ? …nothing is hard till things are in our circle of control.

And then they start growing up and becoming their own people, people with their own understanding of the world, they form their own set of relationships beyond our homes and our hearts. Many other influencers walk into their lives ….so many that even if we manage to keep an eye on them…we have no way of stopping them. They come with a force so strong ….no less than many tsunamis at different times in their lives.Sometimes we have the power to divert them or reduce their impact on our children but other times they hit us with a much harder force. Reminding us that our circle of control and influence is limited and …and our children have stepped out and are exploring the world with their own eyes, ears , hearts and brains. They are building their own circle of influence , relationships and friendships ….painstakingly for us ….this circle doesn’t include everything that was once in our control …..it’s a circle away from us and much different from us.

Hence the toughest part of our parenting journey is to let go when they are growing up and looking outside and to trust them to keep good influences close and bad ones at bay. We have implanted a seed in our kids ….a seed of wisdom , an understanding of judging right from wrong. We have to have faith in their relationships, their friendships and keep telling ourselves that from here on they have to be on their own. We need to work on ourselves to get settled with the idea of them having their own circle of influence.

This is the most difficult stage …because we know the outside influence will also bring in dangers ….and we know that our children can’t be and should not be wrapped in bubble wraps….we can’t always give them a sponge to break the impact when they hit the hard cold floor whenever they fall. But it is their decision to take , to fall, to get up , to experience life and live their relationships on their own terms. And however tough it gets for us ….we need to sit out and look from the outside and wait for miracles unfold …miracles of our children finally taking good decisions , having a trustworthy circle of influence …having friends and relationships which don’t pull them back ….but instead are a part of their journeys forward.

Cheers to my children’s awesome friends !
Cheers to us parents finally getting the time to sit out calmly and watching our children live their lives intelligently!
And Yes a Big Cheers to their Circle of Influence! Hoping forever it is trustworthy and helps them in their times of need and urges them to be good people Always!

Our Bundles Of Joy & Sleepless Nights!

Life, Parenting

Once we become parents, our children rent a big part of our hearts and keep living there for forever. All of them: our boys , our girls and our balls of fur have this nonsensical power over us and over our sweet sweet sleep. The one thing that can keep all of us from getting a good nights sleep on few not so good days of our life , very often seems to always have some connection with our children.

Our sleepless nights have many reasons during the growing up years of our children. There are nights filled with the cries of our infants who haven’t been able to regulate their time yet and are still adjusting to the life outside the wombs. Some nights we are awake worrying about our babies midnight screams from colic pains and ear aches. Then their are nights spent with over tired toddlers who don’t want to sleep because of their new found “we can be our feet independence”. The non stop chatter of novice talkers who love to hear the sounds that come of their mouth can make us hear their stories over and over again…all night long. The new big school joinees who have been pushed out of their comfort zones give us some more nights of anxiety where we are trying our best to pacify them. The middle school blues some related to our children not have found good friends ,pressure of studies, adjustment problems and maybe some bullying and teasing they experience in school….result in more sleepless nights for us.Then our older kids or not so old kids who have blackmailed their way into getting smart phones …stay awake to text and browse trying to escape our scrutiny in the darkness of night…mess with our sleep the most.And us parents keeping a vigil sometimes under the garb of being cool and sometimes being a dictator …end up fretting all night long yet again.

Some more sleep deprived nights get used in to comimg to terms with the fact that we are losing control on what our children will see, hear and do from here on. Teenagers and their love for odd hour snapchats, feeding and browsing Instagram stories…leave many of us clueless and some of us shocked with the kind of things people , pop icons, from our point of view stupid people post… ,in turn again keeping us miles away from sleep. Then comes the high school stage when students who need moral support of staying awake in the night with them or to be woken up at unearthly hours to study to ace that board exam or the SAT’s and the ACT’s,to write those important essays,prepare their portfolios or for calming nerves just before their college board interviews, board results or college acceptances and rejections.

They have now all grown up, are almost adults and much more sensible..but that is not the end of our sleepless nights.Before we know the time has come for them to step out alone, curfew times have stretched and “we can have late night parties ” realisation has come and is consuming them big time. We parents don’t get spared again ..because now we stay awake in the wait of getting that one syllable message of their reaching and leaving the party safe and sound…..worries over what’s being served there, what kind of crowd has been invited there, do our kids who aren’t kids anymore know their limits….. Will they honour the promises they have made to us of remaining safe?…. Not drinking or smoking or taking drugs and have the courage and will power to say no peer pressure …..Staying put in the group they trust etc etc…

We parents unknowingly bargained for these sleepless nights when we asked God to bless us with children …our bundles of joys. And we are stuck with these sleep starved nights for a long time to come still. The dates and days on the calendar are flipping fast to a time when all our children are ready to leave for college. Stepping out of our physical circle of control with we hoping to keep working at our emotional connect from here on …because controlling their lives won’t be possible anymore and nor we should try to. From here on, our good night’s sleep will depend on that one phone call a day/ a week( that is if we are lucky and they are free to pick up our phones), the one small sentence “I am fine and safe” on what’s app or snap chat ( or is snap chat for their friends only) , the look on their faces on Skype or FaceTime , the look that says “I have settled in ” ” I have all under control” and to hear the calmness in their voices.

Our furry ball dogs can’t be absolved from the blame either for some breaks in our interrupted sleep over the years. These come from them whining for getting the air conditioner on , barking to see what’s happening in the rest of house in the middle of the night or making us cuddle them on our way to the washroom at the oddest hour of the night.They will continue to make us tickle their bellies in the middle of night and some of their barking will hopefully keep us alert and kicking …which we need as we aren’t getting younger no more. But our children would be manoeuvring there own lives their way unlike our dogs who thankfully will remain babies forever and aren’t going anywhere.

Many of us are now progressing towards the stage of being settled with the fact that our nests were never supposed to be full forever anyways… and readying ourselves to happily move into the last phase of our life which would have much lesser strings attached and many more good nights sleep….hopefully!

” Boys Will Be Boys ” “Girls Poor Girls”

Life, Parenting

“Boys will be Boys “and “Girls poor Girls ” are the longest withstanding cliché that we know of in our world…Stereotypes that we resented when we were growing up and stereotypes that our kids resent when they have grown up enough to make sense of the above two phrases.”Boys will Be Boys ” phrase has for centuries absolved men from many wrong doings and it’s time to stop that and make them accountable too. ” Girls are Girls …poor girls “cliché has stopped the women from going after their dreams for far too long, and given them also a reason to not work hard enough … Again for far too too long!

Times are changing , so is the world around us , there are a few strong and sensitive leaders , both men and women who are emerging and breaking the stereotype , giving us and our children a chance to get inspired. To make gender equality a reality. In in this new era , are we parents trying hard enough to merge with this new reality? Are we contributing in diminishing these age old distinctions in how we are parenting our boys and also our girls? How far have we reached ? Quite far but not far enough still because even the progressive parents who have impressive educational background backing them up are guilty somewhere and not just the uneducated people or the regressive orthodox parents out there.

The orthodox regressive parents are more straight forward in making the distinction based on the sex of their children. And have the most consistent and most gender biased parenting style. They have no ambiguity and have more acceptance from their children..Which off course doesn’t make it into an ideal scenario because their boys grow up to be Chauvinistic king size pigs and their girls grow up into submissive , I can take any shit , because I know how to ….kind of adults. Girls should be doing the housework , they don’t need to study much, let’s get them married the soonest …kind of parents. Boys should be taught riding, driving the soonest possible , the boys should be fed as soon they come home, they never need to lay the table or pick up the dishes……kind of parents.

There are some parents who treat their girls as princesses who shouldn’t be rough handled, should be dressed in frills and pink, protected from the sun, the grime and harsh words and don’t need to do much work ( because they will have to may be do a lot of it when they go to their own homes with many responsibilities ). They feel that girls should be brought up with tenderness and tenderness only. These parents also treat their sons well ….they don’t have to do any chores and are given things on a platter but their boys aren’t allowed to cry. Crying is for girls , they say ..toughen up , you have to face the bad world tomorrow …they say that a little too often. There are too many expectations from the boys ….get your marks …you can’t suck at math, it’s fine for girls because they don’t necessarily need careers ….and not math and science for sure…., and the girls don’t have to work for earning their bread tomorrow, how will you run your own businesses and homes tomorrow if you don’t study or take sciences and man up today.

And then there are parents who try the hardest to make sure that their girls and boys are brought up exactly the same way, with the same leverages, same expectations and same tenderness and also the same toughness.These are the ones who are progressing towards making the world a better place …where people hopefully will be seen as their unique selves and not as the fair sex and the not so fair sex people. In homes like these girls aren’t delicate princesses and cry babies, they are warriors , wonder women inspired young minds making the most of their talents. Girls who understand the value of labour and know that their brains are most important part of their bodies.They are made to earn their privileges and don’t mind the arm rustles too. In homes like these boys aren’t kings either, they are sensitive to people around , work for their privileges, are allowed to cry and express their emotions. Boys who are tough Super Heroes who care and who can be the softies too and don’t mind shedding a tear. Homes where children know housework is not only the job of the mother and her house helps! Homes where boys are encouraged to be feminists and where girls are taught to be tough!Homes where boys and girls both are given the confidence that they can do anything that they want, may it be a job earmarked for men or stereotyped for women! Homes where they can dream big and are taught the importance of hard work and dignity of labour irrespective to their gender and the job associated with any gender.

But this is a long haul from where we are right now, because even these kind of homes where gender equality to quite an extent lives , aren’t the most ideal that they could be. Because when those boys and girls are maturing into teenagers …we parents find some of our gender distinction free parenting style going out of the window. Like we will make our teenage boys to be more independent ….go on metros, uber the town alone, come home later ( maybe) etc etc . And I am guilty of the above and so are so many of my friends …Not because we don’t want our girls to be more independent because it’s high time we absolve ourselves from the duty of driving them around and letting them live their lives as freely as our boys.

Sadly this is one area of our parenting style that we don’t like but are stuck with for as long as our world isn’t safe enough for girls. For as long as women aren’t respected by every monster out there. For as long as the other two kinds of homes and parents don’t start bringing up their boys differently. For as long as boys aren’t encouraged to be human and allowed to express their emotions openly, for as long as they are not brought up as kings and not as a the superior race, for as long as they are all brought up to be feminists!

For the baby who died on the pavement! Let’s Pray and Also Act so that we don’t have to wake up to this barbarism again!

Life, Parenting

Parenting is awesome and I keep wishing and thinking that everybody wants to do a good job of it and does it with good intentions. But when I say we are all a tribe and we have an amazing Circle of Love that we cherish and will surely leave for our children ….I am not been a hundred percent accurate. Because the ideal life me and some, actually many of us fortunate ones live is very far from reality for all the other people out there in the world. A life where children are brought up with morals, love , care, feelings of security , stability and attention, sadly is not the only reality in this world. There is an alternate reality parallel to people like us coming from happy homes, committed to give our children happy lives and them taking it forward making this cycle of happiness continue.

And this reality is evident and staring in our faces every morning in that newspaper on the table and the news channels we flip along with sipping our masala chai, our green tea or smelling those effervescent earl grey leaves as our morning ritual in our cozy peaceful homes.

A dark reality of hundreds of people who are not as fortunate as us, people who have lived in a cycle of abuse, bad relationships, some poverty struck and some who have the money but can’t and haven’t been able to cut their losses of a abusive home. Now how else can we explain what happened in Gurgaon a few days ago….where three men gang raped a nineteen year old mother in an auto after throwing her eight month old baby on the pavement to die. It’s hard to imagine these barbarians also have mothers and fathers and homes of their own. What went wrong with them , how come their reality is so different from us, were they born like that , where is their conscience , how come their hearts didn’t melt seeing a small helpless baby. How did a huggable piece of flesh and bones,an adorable innocent baby find itself on the pavement with a head injury who bled to death while the rapists were taking turns to rape the mother. Who does that to anybody? How can anybody do something like that?

We all woke up cursing the deplorable law and order situation in our country yet again . We woke up to the reality that not every one has a happy home , not every one gets to see their babies grow up in front of their eyes , not everyone gets a chance to do their parenting right, not everyone is fortunate enough to break the cycle of abuse …. not everyone is happy out there. There are barbarians roaming free with rods of steel and black hearts ready to pounce on anybody vulnerable and release their frustrations on them. Where do these people come from …they surely don’t come from homes like ours. They come from wombs of people who have had it tough, who have not seen stability in their own lives or from people who have become too materialistic to have any care left for humanity, who have may be lived with emotional , psychological and physical abuse , who have been scarred for life , who resent the goodness in the world because they didn’t get the same in their share.

They either come from homes where parenting is done very wrong ..I hope unintentionally, where stable home life is either non existent or so toxic because this has become a normal for them. The disadvantaged homes and some fortunate homes have to get up to the reality that there is something wrong that they are doing …..which is desensitising their children , who in turn are living selfish lives and hurting the entire mankind in return.

Our value system has been shaken from its roots ….and that is where our country is feeling the pressure the most. Our reality has changed with our country’s collective degradation of morality and we live in a world where lives are not sacred anymore, where abuse is so rampant that it has become a way of life. Not that the world is only full of such people. There is a lot of goodness out there too. Let’s hope the goodness can out do this barbarism , let’s get out our homes and give back where ever we can and teach our kids to give back where they can …teach our maids and their children to send their kids to school, run programmes of moral lessons in under privileged schools if we can. Let’s encourage our schools to make teaching morals in their schools mandatory. And for the rich who are stuck in the circle of materialism, who make their children feel like God and who are shirking their responsibility of teaching them values and are asking them to go after their happiness even if it means crushing other people on their way.

Let’s stop ignoring the barbarism!
Let’s all collectively make a difference in cleaning up our social structure and do whatever we can do to change this alternate reality and merge it into ours.
Let’s build a society where parenting well is a rule, a duty from which nobody is exempted from.
Let’s do our bit …and make our world more peaceful bit by bit!
Let’s start doing something , however little it may be!

Because we all deeply care for that baby who died on the pavement! And would not want another one being thrown out again and see another mother raped …living a life which is worst than death to forever have nightmares of her helplessness of seeing a part of her perish right in front of her eyes! 😭😭😭