“Pray for Forgetfulness for if you tend to forget the good done by you to others and continue in your penance of compassion, the serpent of arrogance will never be able to poison your soul. You will be grounded with the weight of a jewel called Humility.”
Originally posted on Candles Online, participating in the “Allegory Week”
“The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round; The wheels on the bus go round and round all through the town”and the music stops and kids fight their way to get a place on the insufficient number of chairs placed in a circular configuration.
And we call it “Musical Chairs”, a fun game we all have seen and been a part of. As the number of chairs decrease the competition gets intense. Some physical dribbles, some sulking faces, few sportive acceptances, few angry stomping – all for that coveted chair of winner 😁😁.
Well that’s all fun but have a close liaison with our life, just need a deeper look, let’s have a look then.
The fight for chairs isn’t just a game in the birthday parties but a reality of our desire driven lives. Comparison with fellow human being is constantly fueling the competitive streak (not always a good spirited one though) in us. Success, position, power – the Chairs we are fighting for and resorting to every tactic we could. These chairs are placed high and have a pyramidal structure beneath them, paving a way to reach them and have two directions for the summit – one a long one and the other obviously the antonym for the previous one.
If hard work, patience, strong will, perseverance, honesty, optimism are the stairs to climb and reach the “High Chair” then deceit & envy are the second direction we were talking about earlier that can place us in a jiffy in the place we are eyeing for (remember the dribble/push/pull in the musical chairs?).
The stairs we take to climb here are surprisingly the raw material for the “Chairs” we long for. While the previous list gives us a durable product with an added perk of Goodwill that aides reconstruction in case of an accident which is a norm of an uncertain life. Success, Position, Power – all might get wiped out but with a great character a human being is always up on his feet and starts head on.
On contrary if a person takes the other route then the termites of fear, ego, greed and arrogance enter the legs of the chair we rest on, corroding it to the core from deep within. When the chair crashes the hurt is deep and probably beyond repair.
A close encounter: Talking about the choices we make, makes me remember a snack maker from my childhood in our neighbourhood. When we moved to that particular neighbourhood it wasn’t a busy quarter. Provisions, services were scarcely developed there and slowly evolving. So a snack maker started a small business in that area. He used to make wonderful snacks that we loved to devour. He had a good market in the absence of a stringent competition. He was comfortable in his “Chair”. Since change is thy life, slowly other entrepreneurs started making their space in that area. In the wake of losing out market share to them this particular snack maker started deviating from the path he chose. His quality of food deteriorated, prices soared (which is still understandable in the wake of market changes and if had been the food was great). His greed to keep the position of a higher market share purported him to take the easy steps to attain the goal. Something close to the game of musical chairs we were discussing, isn’t it? A recurring question:A strong belief that only losers preach or put it the other way round, preaching is only for the losers. I am no one to question or answer this – a candid confession! But the question that needs to be graced with deep introspection – Are Desires Completely Undesirable/ Unacceptable? Answer is NO. If desires of a person are acting as a fulcrum for his/her upliftment, if they pave a way for greater good and emancipation of many more then they are surely a necessary driving force. BUT ( noticed the emphasis?) if our desires are robbing us of sanity, peace of mind, values and inspire us to stoop to any level to reach the zenith (a mirage), then we better leave the game and enjoy the music instead.
There’s always another party and game to play and music is there anyways, so enjoy on a reclining chair with your hair down, what say 😁.
PROMPT: Standing in front of the mirror she didn’t like what she saw… Standing in front of the mirror she didn’t like what she saw. It’s not her. The reflection was only a mirage of her presence but the zealous, free-spirited girl was lost. He just kept imposing boundaries caging her while she kept compromising […]
As a parent what is our constant wish and effort – nothing but to give the best to our children. Isn’t it? Be it the opportunities or the materialistic things at their disposal, we as parents never leave any stone unturned to provide our kids with nothing short of best even if we have to go an extra mile. That makes me ponder “Is providing of provisions enough to make us good parents?” Well in my quest I stumbled upon an example from the mythological story of Mahabharat:
Duryodhan (the eldest Kaurava), son of Dhritarashtra had everything at his disposal – loving parents, strength of 99 brothers, “Never Say No” best friend like Karna yet his greed led to his downfall and demise. Though his greed and jealousy were given flames by his ever conspiring maternal uncle Shakuni but it is an offshoot of Dhritarashtra’s failure as a good father. He always used his physical handicap as a trump card, as a camouflage to his insecurities that thrived against his own brother Pandu (father of Pandavas) and this very feeling made him to give in to every unjustified demand of his son. He thought the jewelled crown and the throne of Hastinapur rightfully belonged to his son and disruption of any sort will leave Duryodhan shattered and he never wanted that. He couldn’t see because of his physical disability but his insecurity piled up over the years decayed the truth in his heart, blinded his vision (morally) as he couldn’t see the harm his son is causing to the very roots of his own family in the disguise of snatching power, humiliating and even trying to kill his cousins (the pandavas). Had Drithraashtra intervened and took strong stand against the scrupulous ways and moral corruption of his son he could have prevented Kurukshetra war that saw innumerable deaths, wailing widows and orphans. But he always had crown and materialistic pleasures on his mind for his son because he thought that’s the only responsibility he had as a father. A perfect example of how providing materialistic world isn’t enough to be Good Parent.
This one character made me understand that there’s a difference between attachment and love. Attachment makes us to justify and act according to every unjustified demands of our kids lest our denial might upset them whereas love strive to work tirelessly for the evolution of a better human being and a great character. That’s some heavy philosophy, isn’t it?
Back to the present: With the family structures / set ups changing (disintegration of joint family systems into nuclear families), social dynamics changing so fast, the increasing distance between the parents and kids as to how they process thoughts and understand a particular situation parents have an uphill task of safeguarding their children from physical dangers, moral corrosion and emotional exploitation with an added responsibility of preparing them for life. What are we supposed to do then as a parent since parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual? What should be our parenting goals? Is preparing kids for competitions, making them do good in academics and extra curricular activities, giving them a comfortable cushion for a secured life ahead are characteristic traits of good parents? Well, I strongly believe that these are only perks. The foremost responsibility of a parent is to aid in character development of a child. If parents are successful in nurturing good human beings individually they are actually assisting in constructing a better society and pave way for a better environment for the country. To put it simple: parenting is about understanding and explaining the difference between literacy & education; price & value; right & wrong.
Face to Face with the current reality: Sadly incidents of cruelty, ghastly violence, atrocities are outnumbering gestures of kindness, love, compassion. And what is more horrific is that the young minds and souls are found on both ends – both perpetrators and receiving. For instance – in one incident that I came across on social media platform, a 15 year old autistic boy committed suicide because he was bullied so hard by his schoolmates that he found death as an easy escape. Both the culprit and the victims are kids only. In another incident in the Mumbai city of India it was found a school going students group (all aged between 13-14 years) were talking in an obnoxious manner in their group chats on WhatsApp, to be more precise they were talking about rape, one night stands, sex, making fun of homosexuality, tagging peers with tags like “gay”,”lesbian”. New (much talked about) to the list being the “Boys Lokcer Room” incident. That was horrendous. Where is our future heading? Who bores the responsibility for this? Schools as usual shrug off their shoulders and dust off responsibility. And to be honest not everything can be entrusted to someone else be it a person or an organisation (specifically in the times we are now experiencing where the teacher-student-school dynamics are not the same they used to be a decade or two back)
Parents time to think and act!! Perhaps time to reevaluate ourselves. Are we doing enough for our kids? Are we available to our kids when they need us? Are we listening to them? Are we aware of their exposures and exploitation? Are we setting good examples for them to follow? Before setting goals it is important to understand parenting isn’t JUST about Imposing rules and Supervision. It’s not just about telling kids “do this, don’t do that, sit there, don’t go there, don’t speak” and a long list of DOs and DON’Ts. Simply parenting isn’t a linear correlation formula. Also parenting isn’t about providing the comforts and luxuries (provision of basic needs is no more a parenting criteria sadly, we have surpassed that stage long ago). It’s a pretty complex web often comprising of simplest things. It’s about:
Inculcating the right values: Its the most tedious job of all. The paths of upright morals should be trend relentlessly to set a direction for them to follow the footsteps. Compassion, benevolence, trustworthiness and likes can never be taught by preaching only. You show, you sow and you reap, period!
Right kind of exposure: With the availability of world at the touch of a button or a click away our kids are highly vulnerable to the wrong influence. The different kind of applications and social media platforms have effectively targeted their audience and exploited their vulnerabilities. This situation demands parental intervention. Training of young minds with tools of moral stories (for young kids); history of great personalities who have contributed to the humanity and society, healthy conversations sharing own life experiences, constant to and fro communication with kids in the wake of understanding and addressing their fears, answering their doubts are few ways of providing the right exposure and limiting the unwanted ones. Praying together, eating together, doing household chores together too promote good communication flow. ** Take a cue from the past, remember how our grandparents used to tell us stories be it fairy tales, parables from epics, life accounts of great men and women and there’s no denial that they did leave a lasting impression on our minds** Since this generation is more at ease with technology, use the same for the right exploration. Parental guidance needed is not just passable condition
Building Strong individuals: The biggest hurdle in being a good parent is Our Fear! We are in constant fear that if we say no to our kids or if we tried to be strict with them they might get hurt, they will cry or worse being they might end up in depression. In few instances we also fear social embarrassment. “If we don’t oblige on something what would everyone think of us as parents” also impacts the way parents deal with their children That’s a big NO. By holding ourselves back from correcting them or by deflecting and acting / dancing to their tunes, whims and fancies we are not only spoiling them but creating an overtly sensitive brigade waiting to be released in the vast ocean of hostile world. And we all know life isn’t a bed of roses. Our children must be trained to accept “No”. In no way I am up for any kind of dictatorship but they must know that they can not boss us (one of my friends, a great woman who never ceases to motivate and inspire me shared this view with me. She is a mother of twins herself and doing a great job in bringing up her kids, we all call her SP fondly. If she is reading this she will know).
Disciplining and maintaining decorum: Every organisation and institution needs a set of rules to be run smoothly. So does a family. Without discipline in ways of life and thinking parenting is a penance without any fruit. It might be an algorithm of to do things during the day or a constructive manner of expressing the emotions or processing the same, discipline streamlines course of life.
What we have discussed so far are just touch and go pointers. Parenting is a humungous subject yet without any predetermined formulas or theories that fit into every individual case without modification. With every mind and soul beautifully different parenting is a thankless job which if done to the perfection will yield a healthy society to dwell in. And if handled inappropriately could prove to be fatal for numerous lives. This needs introspection..
My neighbour’s garden is so beautiful decked with flowers, grass so levelled, every pebble just in right place that I really feel like singing:
“Marie, Marie quite contrary,
How does your garden grow “
Make sure you read it in rhythm and let me confirm her name is not Marie 😁. She is an eighty year old woman with love for gardening. I have seen the passion with which she caresses each and every plant, waters them, nurtures them. I can not imagine myself in her shoes at her age at this moment.
It’s not just her, I have a seen and met women who irrespective of what age they are, are living and leading lives with full zest spreading positivity and giving hope to follow. Be it grooming oneself, following passion, acquiring new skills – for few age is never a hindrance.
Mom: They didn’t invite me for their son’s wedding .
Me: Who? Whose son’s wedding?
Mom: My aunt’s third cousin who is herself second cousin to my mother. They didn’t invite me ☹.
Me: Mom when was the last time you met them or called them?
A silence ensues ….
Me: Ages right? Then how does it matter mom?
But frown continues till it acquires the shape of grudge which finally creates a unsaillable rift between relations and people.
Well this was an imaginary example on my part but one cannot rule out the presence of such instances in our lives – in our families and around us. We often see people complaining about such trivial issues like they didn’t call me, they didn’t invite me, they didn’t greet me….. it continues. We tag so much of importance to “ME “. We seek validation…
*Note: I wanted to narrate an embarrassing and awkward situation where I was locked in a toilet as I goofed up between Push and Pull but since my friend Pradita penned such a hilarious incident around Toilet, I didn’t want to repeat myself, so here I go…
Before you jump your guns let me finish the title. I “WAS” a compulsive liar as a child when it was about home work (that’s it). I loathed it. I preferred scanning books and digesting the content rather than filling pages (I wasn’t an environmentalist either😂) except for mathematics, because that’s the only way to practice that practical subject.
In that wake my notebooks were always (more or less) incomplete. For example if an exercise had five questions I would submit the work with three. Rest decoration scores. But I had a trump card up my sleeves that I…