Archive | July 2011

An encounter of another kind

The alarm goes off. Its 5.45am. Time to get up and prepare breakfast and lunch-box for my daughter. I walk sleepily towards the kitchen, wishing I could sleep for a few minutes more, and switch on the kitchen light. Immediately my eyes are drawn to a creature (the creepy slithery type)resting comfortably on my kitchen counter as if it owned the place. It looked at me with a bored expression and seemed a tad bit annoyed for disturbing its slumber. I, meanwhile, was petrified with terror.  My mind raced to find ways to get rid of it from my kitchen. All my shooing and wild hand flailing came to a naught. It continued to stare at me, a bit more defiantly now, as if daring me to make it budge from its place.  The time was running out so I decided to deploy a weapon. Found a rod in the store and tried to make it move, standing as far away as possible. But alas! It just simply slithered beyond my reach. My courage failing me I tried to think up a back up plan but my mind had simply logged out and refused to reboot. I was now on the verge of panic and realized I had no choice but to wake up my knight in sleeping pajamas (you don’t expect the shining armor at that time of the day, do you?)to rescue me from my plight.

I stepped slowly into the bed-chambers where he lay slumbereth and tapped him gingerly on the shoulder. He awoke and on hearing my dilemma immediately agreed to come to my rescue. He took the rod from me and boldly went into the territory forcibly occupied by the terrorist.

His presence itself had a remarkable effect and it was now the creature’s turn to beat the retreat. It slithered further back trying to take shelter behind the pitcher but after some smart moves and taps on the counter by my knight it soon realized that the battle was lost. He was no match for my brave heart and surrendering, it crept out of the door leaving me free to take the control of my territory back. My knight, meanwhile, went back to snug warmth of the bed and was soon snoring away. After all it was a rest well deserved.

I tell this story because this act of bravery and courage, in the face of an enemy that so terrorized his damsel, should go down the pages of history as a battle well fought and won.

Ode to the ‘Bai’

The hour is approaching. The wait is about to be over. She waits, painfully aware of every passing moment. The hours never seemed so long. She paces the floor, an eye on the watch.

The whispers of the wind, the creaking of the twigs on the pathway, the tick-tocking of the clock, all senses fine tuned to any signal of approach of the awaited one.

She never felt this way before. The quickening of the pulse, the flutter of eye-lashes, the shiver down the spine, the heaving of the bosom- not felt even when she first met and fell in love with the man who recently became her husband and together they stepped on to a journey of matrimonial bliss. All seemed as picture perfect as riding into the sunset or a fairy tale where it was supposed to be ‘happily ever after’.

But then… times changed. She didn’t realize when she changed.  This pining for a person other than her beloved was something very difficult to deal with. She can’t seem to remember when she last felt this joy at her hubby’s homecoming as she does for this new person in her life; a life which now seems to depend solely on this person.

The bell rings! Ah! What a beautiful sound. She rushes, with a smile on her lips and a song in her heart. Her feet take on wings as she flies to open the door. It’s her! It’s her! Without whom she would surely die.

For it was none other but her ‘BAI’.

Parenting

“Parenting “is the new buzz word in today’s times. Everyone, the young parents, the would be parents and even newly weds , are talking about it. There are discussions, seminars, workshops, books and tv shows dedicated to Parenting.

Has rearing children become such a big job that it garners so much attention from all quarters? Is there a right way to bring up your children? A text-book method to go step by step? Or is it like a perfect recipe – take a child, add a teaspoon of discipline, a pinch of scoldings, 2 cups of your time and simmer lightly in the flame of love. For extra zing add the rigorous schedule of various extra-curricular activities. If you follow these steps you can’t go wrong. Why then are the child and family counselors getting busier by the day?

Is that what parenting is all about? Does shouting to the world about your child’s good score in exams make you a good parent? Does sending the child to all possible activities whether enjoyed by him or not make you a good parent?  Does attending lectures and workshops make you a good parent? And did our parents not do a good job despite the fact that they never attended a single class on parenting?

This when, sometimes, they themselves were barely beyond the boundaries of adolescence and did not fully comprehend the meaning of parenthood and the responsibilities that came with it. And yet they managed to raise a generation that did fairly well for it self.

Today parenting has become ‘a game’ ,’a race’. “uska baccha mere bacche se aage kaise” and everyone joins the melee following the herd mentality, and trying to outdo every next kid in the vicinity. In the process, ironically, the victim is the child and its childhood. They are made to grow up before time and act as adults before they are out of their cribs.

So the question again… what is the right way to bring up your children? Is there a “one size fits all” mantra or a customized package to fit  each individual type. Should we impose our thoughts, beliefs, dreams and ambitions on the child or we let them learn through their own experiences, gently guiding, so that they gain insight to the world as it is now. Let them explore the world both outside and inside themselves and grow into whole human beings and not machines for whom success is only equivalent to money fame and glitz.

As Khalil Gibran says in ‘The prophet’—

“your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The Archer bends you with his might that his arrows may go swift and far”

I swear…. I’m up to no good

Recently saw a movie, liked by most , in fact a major hit. It was a path breaking- film as far as the language goes.  But that got me thinking, having been brought up in an environment where profanity was glared down upon by family, teachers and people around me in general, as to what makes people swear and why has it lost its shock value today.

After some basic research found out that swearing has been around ever since man acquired language. In fact similar behavior was also observed in chimps. It was a common reaction to pain, surprise, shock. A volley of foul language had a powerful analgesic effect as it triggered the ‘fight or flight’ response in the brain. Also found that men swore more then women ( a gap that I’m sure is lessening by the day!)

Every country, region, language has its own arsenal of expletives. In our country also, you will find a wide range of swear words to choose from. Where as the common man resorts to the more vulgar, baser form of local lingo, the upwardly mobile tend to use the videshi  gaalis imported from (among other things) Europe or the US of A and strut around with one more thing phoren in their kitty.

Some time back, saw a bunch of kids, 6-7 yrs old, playing games that kids play, the way they play, that makes you smile at the innocence of childhood. Imagine my surprise when a little squabble brought forth words from them that could put even the most seasoned swearer to shame. The parents may blame the tv or the movies for the enhanced vocabulary but it doesn’t completely exempt them from their responsibility. And yes, the media ( read tv and movies)must also pick up its fair share of responsibility. We all know there are certain shows on tv and now movies that glamorize the cuss-words despite all the bleeps in place (or is it because of the bleeps that these words become so fascinating to a fertile mind?). Endorsing profanity in the name of reality is not an excuse that can be accepted. Since when did masala movies start showing reality? Show me a guy who can take on 10 armed hooligans singlehandedly, or a poor girl who doesn’t have food to eat bit yet can afford designer outfits and I swear I’ll change my Bl@#*y ways..

I’m not trying to do any moral policing because I too have indulged into my fair share of cursing in my life time.  But I do have my reservations about popularizing them and bringing them into the radar range of the minds of the yet uninitiated. Yes, it does grate my sensibilities.

The D.K.Boses of the world have suddenly woken up to an added dimension to their name. Wonder what Shakespeare would have said about it; ‘what’s there in a name’ or ‘much ado about nothing’.