Has it happened to you that often when you hit the nadir of your emotional wealth, you are surprised, nay shocked by a sudden affirmation of your worth , that somehow changes your view of the world and of course of yourself!
There have been many instances of these in my life, ever since I became aware of the presence of forces beyond me in my life and living, such was it on my birthday.
You see, I had stopped celebrations of birthdays after my brother’s passing, thinking of the unfairness of it all…
My daughter though would not let me be alone or unattended to on my birthdays and we would go out, ‘ let me take you out!, come on dress up!’, so she would say!
With her work and moving to another city, it is impossible for her to be with me. But it so happened that while I was sitting and brooding on my birthday, the door knocked and in walked two bright smiling faces, ‘ let’s celebrate your birthday’, the voices of the smart beautiful ladies said in unison!
I was stunned, even shocked to take the event for a good half an hour, and then it all changed, I was grateful that they thought of me and decided to visit me. I could not contain my happiness and I realized how like minded souls bring in so much joy!
But the mood swings are such that it hits a high and a low, with a severe headache, I walked home today, lacking in energy or verve, when a bike stopped by, I turned around to see two smart girls!
I could not recognize them. ‘We are your students mam! I stay here!’. ‘Oh! I recollected the faces and the names, the chirpy youngsters brought to my evening a sunshine that it lacked, ‘come home sometime, will you? I have a cat!’
‘I am a cat person’ , said Paki and Spoorthi smiled. They had changed from when I last taught them for the better, looked more hep and smarter today.
I walked home feeling instantly rejuvenated. It is a good day after all, and a good life too!
Having spent years and years in some sort of rather weird isolation, for causes that were demanding, for reasons that seemed not to give courage to be sociable in the real sense, opening up my home to friends has been a slow process.
A process of slow healing, a s slow but steady building of courage to say to say, ‘hey, look, come over to my place, will you?’
For someone who has been cautiously quiet, fearsome of judgement maybe, I realize how some visits have warmed me up to the human race and trust building.
Some people are special aren’t they?
Some people who come with love and bring with them no judgement and but warmth, add to your lives and spaces and then you realize its a good world, perhaps you should have more people over, more often, perhaps…
Broken hearts heal but slowly….but they do when you give them the chance…. So I did and viola… it helped when I had a dear friend visiting me in August.
And I think of Ashwini and Nimmy chechi, who come running, without hesitation to share a moment, to spend some time, make the home wholesome somehow with their mere presence.
And now when Maya came home with family, the feeling that has been recently positive and joyous returned ……..and her friendship and her positive family, filled up the home with a warm glow of love, in which I now sit basking….and left Andrew my cat, purring in joy!!!
To good friends, to friends who last, to those that care and show that they care… cheers!!! You make life worth living!!!!
Oh! did I see my little nest blushing..nah! just an over imagination!!!!
So, which friend called on you recently, how did that make you feel?
Self esteem begins when you own up your only home on the planet, the body that the soul inhabits, not by choice but by a happy/unhappy coincidence. With the acceptance of your only home, will you be able to stretch yourself, move out of the inner workings of your mind, to see what lies beyond. Later, you will come back with thoughts that wandered outside your inner realms and mull over it all, to see how it makes or ‘umakes’ you or how it adds to who you are or takes away small portions from your being, to chisel your life into exact measures of the soulful, albeit clueless, life journey that you are in. But again, acceptance of the body that you live in, majorly comes, I believe, by accepting, acknowledging where you come from, your parents, your immediate family, those extended craziness in your family, the place you belong to, the language you speak, the faith you are born into, the food that you grow up eating, the social hierarchy in which you are placed, the identity you are sometimes given or some times that which you make and so on. Well, acceptance of these aspects that are beyond your immediate control, does help in being at ease with who you are, and then you will surely start to explore the light that your soul truly seeks. If you are lucky, you will find a mate or two on the way, but the journey of your soul will continue, till the last breath lasts. Well! then, it makes sense to keep the smiles and embrace who you are in order to grow into who you want to be, doesn’t it?
#Embrace who you are to grow into who you want to be – Sreelekha
The title is strong and perhaps skewed but that does not hide the fact that parenting is and often becomes a ‘power play’. A space for smart deals, ‘I did this for you, now you do this for me’.
‘How much have I sacrificed for you, can’t you do this much for me’?
Years of popular culture of idolizing the parent has made the lives of many young people miserable, that of course includes parents, who were themselves miserable living for other dreams and not having space to think or plan their life on their own.
Now the parent, being in a position of the provider tries to extract maximum benefit to satisfy his needs some times material, emotional, social or otherwise and cleverly packages his/her aspirations as a target to be achieved to the child.
Ok, so I have also been guilty of the same and have been tempted to go down the lane far too often.
One day though, in all my right senses , I told my daughter, ‘Child, sometime in future, maybe, your mom may become so needy, so dependent on you or just seek your attention so much as to dare to emotionally black mail you, then my love, you will stand only by what you feel and go with your intuition or your reasoning. You will not allow any of my manipulations to have a say in your decision ‘ and heaved a sigh, a long one at that. It was not easy to do that but I knew this was important. If there is one thing that teaching has taught me, it is to respect the young and trust their wisdom, worldly and otherwise.
I had not thought much about this until I read the Khalil Gibran poem,
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children. And he said: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
I was shocked at the truth in these lines. And remembered how ancient wisdom prevailed on the need to treat an adult son or daughter as just that, another adult, who has an independent mind and soul and dream of his/her own.
Some among us parents, consider child- upbringing a ritual of grand sacrifices and responsibility, yes, it is but we need to ask ourselves, ‘was it not our choice to do so?’
‘Did we as parents do what we did for our children out of love and because it gave us joy in doing so?’
‘Did we not derive pride and joy in thus showcasing our children to the world?’
‘Was the joy only theirs? Really!!!?????
If we think this over, and find that the reason why we lavished love/ materials/ attention on our kids was also because, we wanted to , sometimes even more than what the child would have wanted, then it becomes crystal clear that, if the process was enjoyable, what is the point of taking a ‘grand stand’ of nobility, unlimited sacrifice etc?
The numerous videos that flood the social media of the supreme sacrifice or sense of duty every animal possesses towards the upbringing of its off spring should tell each one of us parent, is somehow genetically tuned to protect his/her offspring for reasons beyond our control, yes, there are exceptions, but aren’t they far too less to the majority of us who would give our right hand to do justice to our children!
Read on to know what the famous Tamil poet, Thiruvallvur said in his famous poem penned a good 5000 years ago on the subject of parenting….
In his ever relevant poem called Thirukkural, a lesson in life skills, written a good 5000 years ago, the Tamil poet gives the following commandments to each parent.
*If your children lie to you often, it is because you over-react too harshly to their inappropriate behaviour.* 2. *If your children are not taught to confide in you about their mistakes, you’ve lost them.* 3. *If your children had poor self-esteem, it is because you advice them more than you encourage them.* 4. *If your children do not stand up for themselves, it is because from a young age you have disciplined them regularly in public.*……read more at
Yes, we are all but humans, but it would do us good to ask ourselves as conscientious parents, am I in the right, when I ask/ advice this to my child?
Parental hegemony has and will continue to create unhappy adults who never got a chance to do what their heart called for, live with who their love chose to be with, or just be happy individuals in general.
As I talk to quite a few 18 year olds, they all seem to have decided that ‘making their parents proud’ is all that want to do or even, ‘fulfilling their dreams ‘. Yes, the parent has every right to give suggestions about career and other life choices, but just leave it to the child to decide what he/she wants to do.
Reading between the lines one can also clearly understand the enormous pressure of living up to someone’s dream that the child is facing already. Sometimes this leads to unhappiness, confusion and a general feeling of unworthiness, which can be detrimental to their happy state of mind, even many years later.
Do we really want our children to carry the baggage of our unfulfilled dreams or do we have the confidence to tell that that ‘fly you may, love you may, explore you may, just know that I am here for you!’.
What is success to you, asked a student? Me? I asked surprised, perhaps feeling a little important.
Success is taking out the 2 wheeler after having sold the car to buy a laptop in a time of emergency, (now who does that?, well I did) and riding it after 10 years to college, with a heart crazily thumping out of fear and being startled every time a new gen motor bike whizzes past me!
It is reaching home safe and getting a sweet sleep, by far my bestest friend ever!
It is being able to pay the bills and being able to be there for those I love and sometimes for those beyond my small circle.
It is walking out of a classroom with a smile of satisfaction and being greeting with happy, cheerful faces in the classrooms and the corridors.
It is sky, who seeps into my conscience to clear doubts, fears and always promising new hopes.
It is a brother who sits far, very far and looks over in love.
It is having achan and amma and ammu in life with Andrew of course.
It is a few friends who ask how are you?, do you need something, can we go out together and so on.
It is a purr and a fragrance and a knowledge that life experiences have been good and being grateful is the only thing to do.
It is being able to write and speak your mind when you want.
It is being able to be there for your parents and being able to do what they ask you to do, despite your misgivings, for success is happiness and nothing beyond that.
Success is new learning of what is not known and a sense of wonder at living and that life is love in bits and pieces and a hope for a bond of a lifetime.