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AtoZ Challenge 2018

AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyleParenting

A Zen Life – #AtoZChallenge 2018

posted by Anupriya April 30, 2018 0 comments

Mr. Gunjal was busy getting the house in place. He also made his wife chalk out the food menu for whole of next week, and stocked up the kitchen with every single item that would make his grandchildren happy. Candies, lollipops, all kinds of berries available in the local market and kids favorite fruits – he had it all sorted. Mrs. Gunjal though, was more excited to have her girls to herself for an entire week. Their husbands were to join only a week later for the celebrations. Continue Reading

AtoZ Challenge 2018MotherhoodParenting

Trying to be a Yes Mom – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 28, 2018 0 comments

Amrita woke up with a resolute gleam in her eyes. Raghav immediately sensed that his wife was upto something and asked as he picked up Nik in his arms to wake him up.

“What’s up wifey? You look like you are prepping yourself up for something today.” Amrita grinned and nodded with appreciation at her superbly observant husband. Yes I am on a very important mission today, she thought.

“I’m going to be a YES MOM today.”, announced  Amrita inviting a confused frown from Raghav, who was still struggling with a sleepy Nik. “I’ve been reading a lot about negative impacts of saying no to kids. They are all talking a lot about being a YES MOM and how it can be a booster for your kids’ growth and development. So I decided that I too must give this YES MOM thing a shot.”  Amrita further explained.

Raghav smirked and whispered something into his son’s ears. Nik immediately jumped up and gave out a loud shout of joy. Continue Reading

AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyle

Xerox Habits – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 27, 2018 1 Comment

Amrita wasn’t really feeling like socializing at the party today. It was short call from her mother-in-law to get ready for a family get-together in the honor of …. ahh forget it! With a family gathering almost every week, it had stopped mattering to Amrita what the occasion was. She had set a code with her mother in law, Radhaji to figure how pompously or soberly she should get dressed for the occasion.

“Get ready for a normal gathering dear. Raghav will pick you up by eight and I’ll stay back home to be with the kids.” a brief call by Radhaji was enough.

On another occasion, she would say, “We need to go to a large family gathering dear.” an indication enough for Amrita to up her dressing quotient a little for the occasion. She would gather the details of the gathering on her way in the car.

It’s not that Amrita did not enjoy going out. Infact she really liked meeting most of her husband’s cousins and had come to be friends with quite a few of them over the years. It’s just that the frequency sometimes got on to her. Nevertheless, Amrita did look forward to meet people especially after she had left her job.  These gatherings gave her the necessary oxygen to keep going through the motions of her otherwise monotonous life.

As Amrita entered the banquet hall at a newly inaugurated restaurant, she saw that around 50 people had already graced the occasion of annotation of one of her husband’s cousins as a Doctor.

Amrita shared warm pleasantries with most of the people present already. And then got into a her comfort zone with some of her husband’s first cousins and their spouses.

“So Amrita, what are you upto these days.”

“Nothing much. Just waiting for Nik’s vacations to begin and start packing for our trip to my sister’s place.”  Amrita said with a glint in her eyes.

“Oh! I happened to see your sister’s wedding picks on the social media. You two look so similar. Almost like twins.” exclaimed a cousin, as Raghav joined them at the table offering a mocktail made to order for his wife.

“Yeah! They are twins. Didn’t you know.” Raghav took a dig at his cousin as well as his wife, who he knew was tired of people calling her and her 5 years younger sister as twins.

“Yes! We do look similar. But twins? Please give me a break. They mean to say that either my girl looks beyond her age or I do not look my age. I chose to take offence on both.” Amrita often quipped whenever someone compared her and Smita as twins.

“But you two do look like ditto!” Raghav would then reply as a matter of fact and Amrita would sigh admittedly.

“I know. God it must be some very strong DNAs at work.” she grinned as she gave her husband a sharp look.

“Yeah in our case DNAs havn’t done their job too well.”, an eves dropping aunt pitched in.

“Hi there, Massi! How have you been?” Raghav turned towards his aunt and gave her a side hug. The short and stout lady ruffled Raghav’s hair fondly and asked him about her sister’s where abouts.

“Oh! Somebody had to stay back to look on the sleeping kids. Ma insisted that we go and she stay.”

“Oh! But talking about the DNA thing, you know what the similarities are not just about the looks.” Everyone looked on amusingly at the 50 something lady. They knew she would have something interesting to share with the group.

“Oh Mom! Please, we do not need your woven stories today. Just not in the mood.” said Mohan, the elder son, whom she dismissed with a slap on his arm.

“So when we were young we four sisters shared the room and our two brothers shared one room and the parents and grandparents shared one bedroom each. So that left no separate room for the guests whenever there were any.” Radhaji’s elder sister had everyone hooked with her stupefying story telling skills.

“So once my maternal cousin came stay with us and decided to take turns to sleep in each bedroom so as not to cause too much continuous discomfort to anyone in particular. After four days of his stay, he walked upto to my mother and asked her, Bua are you trying to save money? Is there a problem?. My Ma was almost bewildered at this question, so she asked her nephew the reason as to why he thought so.” It was evident to everyone that the older lady was going to come up with some thing really funny, because she was already grinning thinking about what was to follow.

“So what had happened?”

“Ahh! My cousin had spent four nights sleeping in four different rooms of the house with different occupants and he had not been able to have a sound sleep because even during the month of June, our fans were running at low speed. When he mentioned this to my mom, she said that in her room they preferred slow speed of fan because that’s how  her husband liked it and she had gotten used to it. Later that evening, when she mentioned the same to my Dadi, she got a similar reply. Betaji, your Dadaji likes the fan slow and so I too got used to it. In our times who would object to the husband’s will. It was revealed at dinner that all six of the siblings also like the fan to be slow. I find the loud noise of a fast running fan to be very distracting, said the younger one of your uncles.” Listening to this everyone in the group broke into laughter. That is, except for Amrita and Raghav. Amrita was startled, while Raghav was grinning.

“Maasiji, you mean to say, it’s a DNA thing. Your habit of liking the fan slow!” exclaimed Amrita. To this she got a long faced nod from Raghav’s aunt. And she herself slapped her forehead in response as everyone looked on in confusion. So Amrita decided to explain,

“So every since we’ve been married, I have had this basic difference with Raghav where he would want the fan slow even when I would be sweating. He just wouldn’t give in. And his explanation always is, I find the loud noise of a fast running fan to be very distracting. Thank god we have air conditioners, otherwise I would never be able to sleep in the same room with your nephew.” Amrita blushed at her last sentence and everyone in the group broke into a loud roar.

Well that’s some complex percolation of DNA across generations creating Xerox habits.

Read my other AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018Kid IssuesMotherhood

A Worried Single Mom – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 26, 2018 0 comments

Amrita picked up some pastries and muffins from their favorite bakery and proceeded to her friend’s place. Sakshi had been a sole friend in the town ever since she came to live here post her marriage. They had met as client and vendor in her first job at a web designing company and hit it off almost immediately.  What Amrita appreciated most about Sakshi was that despite being a single mother of a 14 year old boy, she never played the sympathy card in any of her commitments. Instead Sakshi was a bad-ass woman, who knew what she wanted from life.

“The father of my child, my then boyfriend doesn’t know that I gave birth to this child. I decided to bring my child into this world and raise him all alone. And I have no regrets about my decision”, Sakshi was often quoted saying to her friends. Continue Reading

AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyleMotherhoodParenting

Has the Real Village Burnt ? #AtoZ Challenge

posted by Anupriya April 25, 2018 0 comments

Amrita was exhausted. She couldn’t manage the pick-up and drops for Nik’s activity classes all alone anymore.  With a little baby to nurse to, Nik’s hectic routine was taking a toll on her. At moments, she wondered if she should discontinue with some of his classes. This she contemplated would give some breathing space to him and to her. But then I would have two kids in the house all the time to take care of, she argued mentally. That would be even more hectic, she reasoned shuddering at the thought of near future when the little Lucky would no more be constricted to the cot. As she envisioned herself running after her two kids all over the home, she had creeps about how she would manage life with two boys in the house.

Amrita really wished she had some neighbor who would have kids her boy’s age and would be willing to pool and take the kids to the activity class. Things would be so much more manageable then. The thought made her brood at the fact that they were living in an independent house and not in a residential complex where most of the activity classes happened within the premises and the kids could be left on their own within the safe confines of the complex.  While her husband had grown up in the same house, where they currently resided and boasted of having a fun time growing up while playing with friends on the streets, she hardly ever saw any kids playing the roads these days. Continue Reading

AtoZ Challenge 2018ParentingWoman Empowerment

Unwarranted Extravagance on Wedding Ceremonies – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 24, 2018 0 comments

“Everything about last night’s wedding ceremony emanated opulence. Isn’t it?” Smita remarked as she propped her back on Sharman’s shoulder.  Last night they had attended the wedding of the sister of Sharman’s colleague and thereafter had a Saturday night out at the night flea market, shopping for decoration pieces for their home.  They were now enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon post a late brunch. Sharman was watching his favorite sports series on the television while Smita picked up a latest release by a popular mythological fiction author. But Smita’s mind kept running to the wedding function she had attended last night.

The venue was like straight out of a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie. Decorations were abundant with colors and the choicest of accessories complemented by artistic lightwork. The garland exchange ceremony of the bride and the groom was set-up on an elevated revolving stage fitted with torch lights and flower pumps. It had felt like the Gods themselves had descended to bless the couple. It was not just the decoration, the food was galore. Continue Reading

AtoZ Challenge 2018Motherhood

Tears of a Childless Mother – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 23, 2018 0 comments

Amrita woke up at her regular time and realized that no one had unlocked the main gate of the house. She frowned as she cocked her head to look out as it was very unusual for her mother-in-law to be late. By this time everyday she would usual leave for the cow shed to collect milk.

Amrita hurried towards her mother-in-laws room to check on her and got her fears confirmed. The old lady was down with fever.

‘Please ask the domestic help to go and get the milk from the shed’ said the old lady in a semi asleep state. Amrita nodded to her and instead of telling her maid to go and get the milk she decided to go herself instead. Morning air would do her some good to awaken her mind.

At the cow shed she saw that the milkman was still milking the cows to give her the daily assured amount of milk for their family. Amrita often thought very irritatingly of her in-laws insistence on getting the milk from the cow shed. ‘This is the only cowshed left in the area. This too shall be shut very soon. Why can’t we switch over to packaged milk’ she had often argued. But to no avail. Nevertheless, as she sat in the waiting area overlooking the cows being milk in the traditional manual way, she kind of cherished the moment. Such antics, our kids will never be able to appreciate. Lost in her thoughts, she was brought back to the moment by a loud mow of a cow.

And there she saw her.

Mrs. Kedia looked nothing like her age. Her supple and clear skin and stiff and lean structure, made it impossible for anyone to believe that she was nearing 50 years of age. Everyday, around the same time in the morning she would come to the cowshed and feed hay to the cows with her own hands. Amrita saw that while she patted the cows one by one to feed on the fodder, she whispered in small sentences in the ears of the cows. It was as if she was having a meaningful conversation with them. If the neighborhood was to be believed, she had been following this routine like a ritual each day since last 15 years.

Amrita had heard Mrs. Kedia ‘s story from her mother-in-law and had wanted to throw up at the grossness of her situation.

Mrs. Kedia’s first born saw the day of light for just a month when he succumbed to chronic fever. The family grieved the demise for a couple of months, but rejoiced the news of her pregnancy only six months later. And this time there was double reason to celebrate, when months later she gave birth to twin boys. The household was bright with lamps and colorful bulb lights to celebrate the arrival of the twins.

Life was bliss for young Mrs. Kedia as she reveled in her fast growing twins. Time flew away in an eye’s blink and when the twins were 5 years old, she realized that she was expecting once again. Mrs. Kedia prayed to god that she be blessed with a girl child this time. Her family would be complete then. She spent her days, praying, working on the home chores and taking care of her twins, who were now going to school.

A couple of months later, Mrs. Kedia frowned for a couple of seconds, but did not really complain when the mid-wife brought a little boy-bundle of joy in her lap. But her heart went out for her husband’s younger brother’s wife, who had three girls and had medical lost all hopes of conceiving again. She looked at the tiny bundle of joy in her hands and then looked up to her sister in law. She tenderly signaled her to come near her and passed on the little boy wrapped in white cloth in sister-in-law’s hands. The mother of three girls looked on in disbelief. Her wide eyes questioned the implication of her elder sister-in-law’s action.

Mrs. Kedia smiled and nodded assuringly, telling her sister-in-law without words that she knew what she was doing. She understood how difficult life was for her younger sister-in-law. In those days society considered a woman incomplete if she failed to bear a boy child for the family. She was only insuring that life would be easy for her sister-in-law. Everyone else looked on appreciatively at her benignity, and the younger Mrs. Kedia fell down at the feet of the woman who had blessed her with a boy child.

The kids began to grow in a joint household, but the young Mrs. Kedia could not keep up her promise of gratitude over the years. She became more and more possessive of ‘HER’ son and did not like it when he addressed his taiji as ‘Badi Ma’. She snapped at him whenever he threw a tantrum that he wanted to eat with the elder boys what his ‘Badi Ma’ had cooked. One day the insecure mother declared  that they wanted to move out of the joint household and live separately.

Mrs. Kedia though hurt did not object and thought it only logical that the boy stayed with her mother without causing her any agony. She smiled sadly at her sister-in-law’s decision and got on with life.

Life seemed to be taking a smooth course untill tragedy struck Kedia household once again. And this time it came with a double blow. Mrs. Kedia had gone to the neighborhood to attend a ceremony while the boys decided to stay back and spend the evening playing. They went to the terrace to fly a kite. Some time later, a kite got stuck on the branch of the tree that was seemingly just at a hands distance from the concrete fence of the terrace. One of the twins, decide to go bold and smiled daringly at his brother telling him that he was going to get the kite back.As he climbed up on the concrete fencing wall of the terrace to reach out for the kite, he lost balance and fell down. The other twin looked down in shock. After moments of remaining numb, it occurred to him that he must run out to call his mother. Back then mobile phones were not common enough. Their father did have one, but he carried it with him for work purposes. He ran urgently towards the neighbor’s home across the road where he knew their mother had gone.

As he thought of his brother lying in a pool of blood, he ran mindlessly ignoring the speeding bike that was approaching from the end of the street.

The entire neighborhood looked tearfully at the double tragedy at the Kedia household in the form of bodies of two young boys that lay covered with white cloth. Those who heard the news, rushed the Kedia house expecting to hear heart rending wailing of a mother who had lost both her kids in a blink. But no! everyone was disturbed by the composed demeanor with which Mrs. Kedia sat at the corner. Tears refused to give away from her eyes that were set on the lifeless bodies of her sons. Relatives tried to bring her to realize the catastrophe that had hit her life by shaking her vigorously. But to no avail.

Mr. Kedia agonized by the possibility of losing his wife to the tragedy tearfully walked upto her and cried inconsolably while holding her hands. People who had witnessed this felt their blood freeze as they watched the couple who had suddenly turned childless. But Mrs. Kedia did not yield. Instead she held her husband’s hands and rubbed them trying to comfort him. What she said next has become a folklore for everyone present in the house at that time.

‘If this is what God has planned for us, we are nobody to question his will. And if he had planned to inflict pain in my life in this manner, I refuse to give in and shed even a single tear to impart him any satisfaction. Our 15 year old sons will remain alive in my memory forever. You too must not fear anything. We have a life together. Let’s not pain our sons’ souls by crying over them. Their onward journey will only become more difficult.’ She hugged her husband who was crying breathlessly.

Life continued for the Kedia household thereafter. Mrs. Kedia kept herself busy with more religious engagements like the one she practiced by spending time with the cows at the cowshed.  The gwala at the cowshed had once told her mother in law about a dialogue he had had with Mrs. Kedia.

‘Sister, why don’t you ask back for the son you had given to your sister-in-law? She still has her three daughters. You will not remain childless once you have him back.’

With a determined expression, Mrs. Kedia had replied, ‘If it was for me to bring up that kid, impulse would not have caused me to give him to my sister-in-law. He isn’t a property or a donation, that I can ask back for. And who knows, the reason why he is alive today is because he is being brought up by a different mother. I don’t even want to think about his destiny, if he were to grow up with me.’ She looked on at the cows with affection. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears that had become a part of her.

Read my other AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyleMotherhoodParenting

The Surrogate Mother – #AtoZChallenge2018

posted by Anupriya April 21, 2018 0 comments

Amrita looked on at the drama unfolding infront of her as she put little Lucky in the high chair and put a bowl of carrot infront of him. She had suffered so much with Niks eating habits that she decided to try out baby led weaning with her younger son. And was she disappointed? Not at all! At 9 months, Lucky ate all the fruits and finger foods on his own. She had to start with use of spoon and bowl with the boy soon. Amrita made a mental note of the same as she looked on at her elder son throwing a tantrum in the lobby.

‘Why do you have to go?’  Nik sobbed as he held on to Sandhya. Sandhya was short enough for little Nik to reach upto her waist and hold her tightly making it difficult for her to move. Sandhya’s toil worn face let out a mild smile as she ruffled 5 year old Nik’s hair,

‘I’ll be back in a day or two, Nik Baba’ she said in an assuring tone in her quaking voice. Her eyes checking out the wall clock repeatedly, fearing she might miss the direct bus to her village.

‘But please don’t go. What if I miss you? And what if Lucky misses you?’ Nik whined his hold still tight across her waist, he looked up pleading at the old lady with smoky grey hair.

Amrita observed Sandhya di’s face and realized that her eyes had become red suddenly. Probably due to the burning of tears that did not come out. Her heart went out for both her son and the old lady. She decided to put the old lady out of her agony lest she might miss her bus. Amrita moved towards her son and pulled him apart from Sandhya and held him tightly in her arms.

‘Nik baby, do you like to go to your Nani’s home in your vacations?’ Amrita continued when Nik nodded in affirmative, ‘Sandhya di also needs to go to her Nani ghar once in awhile. We must let her go.’

‘But I will miss her too much.’ Nik complained.

Amrita hugged her son and patted his back. Pulling him apart she smiled into his eyes, ‘She will miss you too dear.’ She turned towards Sandhya who stood looking at them with a torn expression, ‘Sandhya di, please be back soon. Nik will really miss you too much. Promise him that you will be back soon?’

Sandhya to overwhelmed to say anything, nodded quickly and put her hand on Nik’s head before quickly turning around to pick up her bags and leave the house.

Amrita let out a deep sigh and smiled at her elder son and distracted him with his favorite Cartoon show on the television. She settled back on the couch with a quick glance on the road outside watching Sandhya hurry away with tiny but hastened steps. Her thoughts automatically drifted towards the time she had met her for the first time.

Sandhya had started working in her mother-in-law’s household when she had been a young girl herself and Amrita’s husband Raghav had been as old as Nik. She had since been a permanent member of the same household. Even though Sandhya routed all her earnings for her ailing parents’ treatment, brother’s study and younger sisters’ marriage, she never married herself.

‘If I marry, I may not be able to work and earn as much.’ Sandhya gave a simple reply with a lopsided smile whenever asked the reason for not getting married in her hay days.

When Amrita became pregnant with Nik and was put on bed rest due to certain complications, Sandhya took it upon herself to make sure that she ate the right things at the right time. Amrita almost felt exasperated at the feel of having another mother-in-law hovering over her all the time, and a stricter one at that. When Nik was born, Sandhya volunteered to take care of the boy, while Amrita recovered from her C-section surgery. Even in the midst of the night, when Nik started wailing, Sandhya would pick him up to comfort him even before Amrita got up to check on him.

As Nik began to grow, Sandhya took over the responsibility of his nanny. She would massage him, give him a bath, feed him and play with him whenever she was not busy with other household chores. At that time Amrita had been really relieved, because she planned to join work in a couple of months. The very fact that Nik bonded well with Sandhya and spent a considerable amount of his awake time with her, came in as a major point in her favor, when she put her case to join back work infront of her mother-in-law.

A couple of months back in work, Amrita’s gratitude turned into jealousy when she would come back home and Nik would remain busy with Sandhya completely ignoring her presence. Amrita wished to spend all her time at home with Nik, only if Sandhya would allow that. A tiny squeal from the little one, and Sandhya would rush to sway him into his embrace and comfort him until he was playful again. Amrita today let out a smile of disbelief when she recalled how she had been extremely frustrated at that time. She had even contemplated leaving her job, lest she might lose any significance in her son’s life. She remembered how she had been on the threshold of snapping at Sandhya and asking her to mind her own business while staying away from her child. But better sense had prevailed, and she decided to slowly wean her son away from the old lady.

But during a week long break at home due to an ailment, Amrita observed that the dedication and affection that Sandhya showed towards her son was at a different level.  During those days of forced rest, Amrita realized that the old lady with blood flecked eyes actually did not have a family to call her own. They were her family. She did go back to her brother’s family time and again like this one instance, but that was not because she cared much about them. It was more because she still felt a sense of responsibility towards them and wanted to check on their well-being.

After the leave ended, Amrita felt a new sense of gratitude towards the old lady for loving her son as her own and made it a point to thank god everyday for having Sandhya in her life.  She knew that if for some reason, her mother-in-law or she herself were busy or tied up with an emergency, there was Sandhya di to take care of her son as good as like a mother.  Or maybe even better, Amrita contemplated. These days, when Amrita looks at the aging Sandhya who has slowed down a bit physically, she shudders at the thought when this surrogate mother to her kids, might not be fit anymore to take care of her kids. How then would she manage the household? Or more importantly, how would she ever be able to fill the gap of her absence in her kids’ life? With a little prayer for Sandhya’s long life – her kids’ happiness Amrita gets up and gets on with her work.

Read my other AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyle

Religion, Rituals and Marriages – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 20, 2018 0 comments

Amrita considered herself to be fairly religious. That’s because she believed in all religions.

As she adjusted the veil over her head while making an entry into the Golden temple, something inside her stirred. What made the tenth guru declare a separate religion? Was it not further polarization of the society? Who is to be held accountable for the aftermaths of friction between the minor religious group and the parent group? Having grown up in a decade that was recuperating from the consequences of the friction, she had heard enough storied and met several survivors who had hair raising stories to tell. Amrita shook her head and clucked her tongue to wave off the trail of thoughts, lest she be trapped in the vicious circle of Ws and H of circumstances that were and those that are.

The veil kept slipping and she was now getting irritated with the repetitive activity. Just at that moment she saw a boy hardly the age of her elder son, adjust his own handkerchief over his head and tie the ends into a knot to prevent the piece of cloth from flying away. Another thought clouded her mind.

Probably that’s the reason I keep coming back to a Gurudwara. This community has equal rules for all. They do not discriminate between a man and woman by setting different standards. Or that is atleast what I know of. I know for sure that in my religion, so much is imposed as only a woman’s duty that sometimes it feels unfair.

Amrita had often been miffed by the compulsory fasting rules for women in her religion. She observed most of the rituals followed ardently by her mother and mother-in-law, only as a mark of respect for them. But she really did not understand the point of it all. No! She wasn’t an atheist. She firmly believed in THE ONE who worked as the master planner with a blue print of this world. It’s just that she wasn’t sure how religion was connected to god. According to her, religion was the most ancient strategy to divide the mankind for the perpetrators to gain from the division.

“Even if one was to believe that different gods did exist for different religions, I can’t imagine them running a hateful propaganda against each other up in the so called heaven.” Amrita was often spotted thinking out loud her views about God and religion. “More over if all Gods are equals then how does it matter, what practices or rituals I follow or not. Isn’t believing in the fact that a God exists and remaining virtues in my thoughts and actions towards the mankind the most important thing?”, she quipped at anyone who disagreed, which was in plenty.

A lot of Amrita and her sister’s rationale towards religion was unconventional because they came from a town which came into inception only post independence and people from several ethnicities had come together and made the town self sufficient.  Though the natives were the Punjabi community, but she grew up in a convent school where her classmates formed a fair percentage of people from all religions and ethnic backgrounds. While they had school organized visits to the church every Christmas, they went to gurudwars with their friends from the sikh community. By the function of the society they grew up in they could never form any extremist view of religion. It was something they enjoyed, but not be defined by. But as she grew up and read about the world around her, Amrita was bewildered by the impact that religion could have on people’s thoughts and actions.

As a child Amrita had been extremely fascinated by mythological stories. “I know I am still guilty of being fascinated by Lord Krishna who is like an epitome of the practical God.’, she had once admitted to Raghav  while they were dating. But the very idea of practicing religion did not go down well with her. The rebel in her also impacted her role as a mother. She hated to push her kids too much towards religious ceremoines at home. While she did not dissuade them from learning the virtues of praying and paying obedience to God and elders, she was extremely against them being overtly involved in the prolonged religious rituals or be exposed to any religion related discussions.

Amrita along with her sister had often discussed the dichotomy of the so called religious elders. One day while at their mum’s place, they were sitting with their mom while she watched a mythological program based on a king’s life who in the age of bigamy, decided to marry just once. Amrita sighed as she told Smita how her mother-in-law too was hooked on to this serial.

Once the sisters had had a hearty laugh, their attention turned back to the show. The plot was showing how everyone had failed to pick up Lord Shiva’s arc and the subsequent entry of Ram (the incarnation of Lord Vishnu) with his brother Lakshman and his Guru to the venue of Sita’s Swayamwar. Though hope and anxiety were evident among King Janak’s family members, but Sita looked particularly hopeful and i must say desperate for Ram to succeed in picking up the Dhanush, a condition put down by her father for anyone who wished to get married to Sita.

At this Smita quipped, “Swayamwar and all is just an excuse. It is so evident that Site is already infatuated or attracted towards him.” To this Amrita added that having read the Ramayana, it is quite evident that love had already blossomed between them by the time things came to this Swayamwar.

The discussion then drifted to the realization that all the major pillars of Hindu Mythology are guilty of propagating love relationships.

Getting back to her favorite GOD, Amrita added, “Lord Krishna’s name has almost ceased to exist alone and he is worshiped along with Radha. Love tales of Radha and Krishna are have been subject to enough adoration as well as discussion. And here, Lord Krishna did not even marry Radha. Yet their love is the epitome of commitment and passion for all who consider him as their deity.”

“And di, do not forget, Lord Shiva who despite being a ‘Yogi’ living an austere life on Mt. Kailash is not devoid of love and passion. After a lot of persuasion and cajoling he gave in to Sati’s wish and made her his bride. Sati re-incarnated as Parvati in another life and her love for Shiva also took her to Mount Kailash where she was successful in pleasing Lord Shiva enough so he would agree to marry her. The story of their marriage and re-marriage and their ‘Grahastha’ life is a well-known mythological legend.” Smita added with excitement, as their mom chose to ignore their ranting and focused on her serial.

“If these Gods were not devoid of feelings of love, passion and endearment; then why is it so that the very same devotees of these deities refuse to acknowledge and respect the existence of such emotions among their kids. Why is love marriage such a taboo in most communities in our religion driven country?’ Smita was flabbergast by now.

“It is so ironic that most of the parents in my religion start to plan for their kids wedding almost from the moment they are born, how and why do they not take into account a possibility that their Ram/Krishna/Shiva may find a Seeta/Radha/Sati or vice-versa for themselves without their intervention.”, Amrita pondered.

Read my other AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018Parenting

The Quest for Perfect Parenting

posted by Anupriya April 19, 2018 0 comments

Amrita was slightly nervous for her son Nik’s first parent teacher’s meeting at school. It wouldn’t have been too much of a worry if she had not known that her son was a hyperactive and aggressive child. She often wondered why her 4 year old son was so restless. Yet, nothing had prepared her for the feedback she received at the school from Nik’s class teacher.

‘We don’t know what comes over your son. He is extremely aggressive with other kids. Although we do understand that some kids are physical more active than the others, yet it is not appreciated. We try and talk to him, but he is extremely unyielding’, said Nik’s class supervisor.

Amrita felt her world spinning around her. She did have a difficult time managing Nik at home too. He would jump around on the sofa, throw things and physically charge at other kids if they disturbed him in any manner. Although she had been concerned earlier, but she had not taken Nik’s behavior too seriously, attributing his behavior to young age and an innate quality of a physically hyper energised kid. But such a feedback from school made the ground beneath her ground slip.

She was trying to do her best while juggling her various roles as a working mom. She spent most of her time, once back home with Nik and tried to facilitate his learning as much as possible. There were days when she felt overwhelmed with the fast pace of her life with no time for herself. Yet she was trying that Nik not suffer from the aftermaths of her hassled state of mind. But now after the meeting with his Class supervisor she realized that she had failed miserably. Nik was turning out to be the naughty tantrum throwing boy that she had had always despised and feared.

Where have I gone wrong with his upbringing?, thought Amrita. As a mother who was constantly suffering from the guilt of leaving his child back to go to work, her demons began to dig at her conscience once again. Shall I give up my job and spend more time with Nik? May be then things will change for better. Amrita went around her day at work with numerous thoughts about why and how of Nik’s feedback from school.

When she shared the reason for her distraction with her a colleague mother during lunch, the mother of two girls approaching their teens told her that everything will be ok and that Amrita must counsel his son and continue to support him while he deals his ever changing environment during his growing years. Amrita smiled back at the encouragement, but did not really feel any kind of relief from within. She reached home in the same volatile state of mind and spent her time with Nik. She was contemplating if she should try talking to her 4 year old, but wasn’t sure how much could she drive home the point she wished to make with him. So she decided against it and thought that she must wait to have a conversation with her husband before proceeding on a course of action.

Throughout the evening, her mother-in-law Radhaji observed Amrita’s distraction. She knew something from Nik’s parent teacher’s meeting was bothering her, but did not ask her anything about it in Nik’s presence. She made a mental note to brace up the topic once Nik was off to bed. Unfortunately for her, she had to leave to meet an ailing neighbor while Amrita retired to put Nik to sleep.

Once Nik was fast asleep, Amrita settled on the sofa to have her daily dose of screen time. While surfing through the channels, she came across a new program on a news channel that was meant to be a helpline for parents. The host was accompanied by a child psychologist and they were in a conversation when Amrita stumbled upon the channel. The words ‘parenting philosophies’ caught her attention and she decided to watch the show.

TV Anchor: So Dr. Tripathi, how do you think that parenting is a larger challenge for the new generation parents?

Dr. Tripathi: Before I answer your question, I must give you some background to how like everything, parenting too has evolved over decades and generations.

TV Anchor: Oh! You mean to say that parenting methods are also evolving like technology?

Dr. Tripathi: Absolutely! The Genration Y parents are of the view that parenting in 21st century is much more complicated than that when they were kids themselves. The simple reason for this is the coming together of the world due to technology. Yet, that’s besides the point. I am talking from the different perspective about how parent attitude on issues other than parenting too is making a huge impact on the upbringing of the kids.

TV Anchor: I must request you to elaborate. I am curious due to your choice of words.

Dr. Tripathi: Ok let me pose a simple question to you. Did your father discuss things concerning your life while you were growing up?

TV Anchor: Uhmm! Sorry mom-dad, but I have to answer this honestly. Not really doctor, I had extremely authoritative parents, who believed in one way communication.

Dr. Tripathi (smiling): Yes! We call it the Instructional Ideology of parenting. This was a very common method of parenting a couple of decades back. Parents passed out instructions to their kids, and the kids followed them without questioning too much. Ofcourse I am removing the outliers, but this was a prevalent trend. But tell me, did you feel good about it?

TV Anchor: Not really! I would see my friends’ parents, who were so friendly with their kids. They would freely talk and discuss issues of mutual interest and even have a reasonable discussion on topics of conflict to arrive at an amiable solution. Looking at the display of rationality from these parents, I often felt that my parents were from stone age.

Dr. Tripathi: I would say that your parents’ friends were practicing the interactional approach of parenting, where they encouraged their kids to talk about their life and gave enough space to the kids to have a difference of opinion and try and find an amicable solution. They even shared their fears and shortcomings in their thought process with their kids. This made the kids slightly more understanding and considerate of their family circumstances and made the parent child bond stronger. You would agree with me if I said that this interactional approach of parenting had its own shortcomings in terms of bringing some embarrassing and awkward discussions to the dinner table.

TV Anchor (smirking): I remember, once my younger brother broached up the subject of menstruation among girls infront of my father. I remember that he was quite uncomfortable, yet he tried to take forward the discussion in the most rational way possible.

Dr. Tripathi: Now coming to the current generation parents and the evolution of parenting that I mentioned earlier. The present day kids are more evolved than you or I ever were. Also they have exposure to so much media that their minds are much more sensitive. They pick up by intuition what is going around them and assimilate it within them.

TV Anchor: You mean to say that there are things beyond the words said out loud or prominent actions performed infront of them that impact their personalities?

Dr. Tripathi: Yes. You’ve got me right. The present generation kids absorb every little display of emotion you make in their presence and form their opinion of the environment around them. It strongly impacts their sub-conscious mind and shapes their attitude and behavior. For example: In our times it was a well know adage that what goes around comes around. Thus, people tried to keep their actions clean. But with today’s generation, its not just the actions that need to be clean, but the thoughts too need to be in sync with the actions. Today’s kids are smart enough to pick up contradicting vibrations. So, I like to say that today’s parenting involves parenting by intuition.

Something snapped inside Amrita as she heard what the child psychologist on the television just said. The conversation on the show blurred as she went on an introspection trip. She realized that with too much on her plate with the job, kid and a large family to cater to, she was herself always over-whelmed and on the verge of break-down for no specific reason. A curt reply to her husband, a sarcastic response to her mother-in-law, a snapping comment to her brother-in-laws joke or over reaction to the domestic help for smallest of mistake. These were all indicative of how she was always walking on the thin rope. After listening to what the doctor on the tv show had to say about this ‘Intuitional’ parenting, that even if she was careful about not having Nik witness to her quipping, he probably was picking all her vibrations and was slowly transforming into the overwhelmed kid her class supervisor was talking about ealier during the day. When she resumed the chat show on TV she inferred that the solution was to transcend to a more peaceful state of mind. And the simplest way to do it was to go the spiritual way. As individuals we might not be religious, but spirituality was different from religion. And probably meditation was the simplest way to raise one’s vibration and simplify one’s life. Further testimonials by various parents who had gone the spiriatual way reinstated what the doc had just said.

Amrita sighed as she realized that the program was a promotional chat by a specific spiritual organization trying to promote their meditation technique for parents to improve the relationship between their kids. She waved her hand at the realization she was almost taken for a ride by some doctor who had been paid to say what he said. But later that night when she went to bed, the talk by the child psychologist and her own reaction to what he had proposed reverberated in her mind and she wondered if she really needed to clear her mind and soul of the complicated thought forms for her and Nik’s mental well-being.