REBEL FOR GOOD

Sab gussa karte hain, main ghar chod ke jaa raha hun” (everyone scolds me, I am leaving the house) are the lines of an old advertisement where a 4 year old is sitting grumpily in a railway station, with his small bag, but returns home when his postman uncle tells him that his mother has prepared jalebis (a special sweets). We often hear such cute stories of little rebels and let go because they are too small to understand and follow their impulses.

I always preferred to go with the rules until I realised something good can also happen when you break the rules. When I was in Class X, two of our classmates went to play during the transition time, after the bell rang for another period. They came back to the class as soon as the next teacher entered. She got angry, obviously, and punished them. To my surprise, the whole class retaliated and everyone wanted the teacher either to let those two go or punish the whole class. I, along with my best friend failed to agree with our classmates as we felt that those two boys were at fault. However, our teacher got pleased with the unity of our class and withdrew the punishment. That day I realised that it’s perfectly all right if some rules are broken, provided there shouldn’t be any negative implication on anyone. 

During teenage, many times I opposed my parents, fought with them when scolded for being out late with friends after the 8’o clock deadline, for wearing clothes which they felt inappropriate,  for not getting permissions when I needed and for other whole lot of things.

Rebelling against my parents for the love of my life was one of the least things in my mind. I had earlier agreed to their rule of arranged marriage, but the destiny couldn’t find a suitable match for me. Later, when I found my eternal love, my parents opposed. Since I was confident of my choice, I continued to portray my conflicting views in front of their emotional saga, until they agreed for our match. Lo and behold, just after the engagement, they were more than happy with their son-in-law!

There is a ‘rebel’ in everyone of us and standing up against anything, for a good reason should be the mandate. One just has to remember the limits, lest to offend anyone.

JUSTICE DELAYED IS INJUSTICE

On the night of 2nd December 1984, many lives changed, destinies were re-written or rather written off. People sleeping peacefully were woken up by a sudden cough which refused to stop. Some felt burning eyes due to which they weren’t able to see anything. They started to rush out of their homes into the white cloud of smoke that had engulfed them. “Run for your lives”were all the words that could be heard. Other sounds were of coughing people, wailing babies, people who were vomiting and some who were crying until they fell down unconsciously. They were running to move out of the white cloud that was not refusing to follow them. Many pregnant women had instant miscarriages. On a cold night, everything gave a burning sensation. Everyone was trying to reach the nearest hospital. Trees were shedding leaves as if it were a wildfire. But, it was worse than that. 

I am talking about the world’s worst industrial disaster- the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The disaster that took the lives of thousands of people, permanently disabling lakhs and pervaded the birth defects in the generations to come. 

The leak of highly toxic Methyl Isocyanate from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal. The reason of the leak is still not clear. However, the reports suggest that it was due to lack of maintenance and a floppy management. Several cases were filed against Union Carbide Corporation  or UCC and Warren Anderson, who was the then CEO. The cases kept on shuffling between the Indian courts and the US courts for 26 long years- from 1986 to 2012. Anderson was refused to be extradited by the US government as they stated that he had no role as the plant was owned and operated by its employees. However, in 2010, eight of the plant’s employees were charged with negligence and sentenced to 2 years imprisonment, with a fine of $2000 each. For all the deaths and the aftermath of the disaster, all they could get was just a moderate fine and 2 years in jail, which they never got as 7 of them were soon out of the prison on bail, shortly after the verdict was out. The 8th convicted employee already had died before the judgement was passed. 

From 1984 to 2010, justice after 26 years! Is that justified? 

And such a meagre punishment to those who played with the lives of many! Is that justified?

Bhopal Gas Tragedy is just one example of the justice that was delayed for more than 2 decades. The punishment given to the convicts was the maximum punishment given by the Indian Law. Change is the law of nature and so the changes should be made to the rules and laws that were made decades ago. It’s high time the cases are heard quickly so that the justice isn’t delayed. But, above all that, we, as humans need to value our ethics and moral principles.

An ethical life is built of integrity, honesty, kindness, decency and belief in truth, justice, honour, love, respect, compassion, and working together to make life better.

(Inspirational quotes)

IF YOU CAN’T FIND TIME FOR YOUR LOVED ONES, THEN MAKE IT

I am too busy with daily chores.

These kids keep me so occupied. 

I am unable to find time. 

There’s so much to do.

These have been some of my reasons which were keeping me from talking to my family members. Talking on phone really has become a great deal for me, especially after kids. Even with my friends, I prefer chatting over phone call. With so many things to do, I seriously couldn’t take out time, which I have been regretting ever since I lost some of my close family members. I kept on thinking to talk to them in free time, but before that could happen, the ‘time’ came and took them away. Its very normal that we often take our loved ones for granted, without realising that life is short and our little gestures can make them happy. 

phone-ringing-seo-kc
(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

“If you love someone, show it”, said one of my aunts once, which made me realise that we need to show our admiration and respect to our elders in some way or the other. When my mom used to ask me to call someone in the family, I used to feel weird, as I didn’t know what to talk to them. However, I gradually realised that one phone call gives immense happiness to the elders. Just a normal question- ‘how are you’ starts the conversation. 

Ever since we moved to a different city from joint family, my mother-in-law makes a video call daily to watch her grandsons. And if she gets late, I ask my kids to video chat with their grandparents. They have now started talking to their little cousin too, by making silly faces and making him laugh over the screen. Because distance shouldn’t keep the feelings apart, this way of communication holds us together. 

I am very fond of capturing cute, sometimes silly, moments of my sons, either by taking a picture or making a video. Rather than just restricting these media files to my phone, I have now started sharing to my family members and trust me, they, especially elders, feel so happy to see them. Even if I don’t get time to call them up often, I keep them updated by sending photos and videos regularly. I even send them pictures whenever I cook something special. It’s a delight for my family members, who have known me since childhood, to know the varied food that I can cook now, as I hardly entered the kitchen before my marriage!

Family is a prized possession and nothing is better than being with your loved ones and spend time with each other. So, even if you don’t stay with them, utilise the technology optimally to be ‘together’.

THE YEAR THAT WAS

The beginning of every new year promises new dreams. As in the year 2018, me and my family mourned over the loss of not one, but two members (my paternal aunt and my maternal aunt’s husband), we prayed 2019 to be blissful for everyone. But, just as the page of new year’s calendar turned to the second month, there was one more untimely death in the family. My eldest cousin sister, who was still in shock of the demise of her mother (my paternal aunt), lost her husband. My brother-in-law, who was a jovial personality and was helping my sister to come out of the lament, left her suddenly, leaving her and the rest of the family in distress.

And, if this was not enough, God left us more devastated, as just after three days, my beloved cousin brother, who was going to turn 50 this year, left for heavenly abode. While my brother-in-law was being cremated, the shattering news of my cousin brother came. He was my beloved cousin who used to make me laugh, treat me often and keep my secrets. Meeting my relatives after a long  gap, particularly on such a situation was not imaginable for any of us. Watching your elders cry in front of you is one of the worst things to face. I was shattered too, but showed a composed me so that I could console my elders. Being emotionally weak, I never thought that I could watch anyone being cremated and that too my own big brother. I watched him burn in front of my eyes. The next day I dared to pick up his ashes too, along with my sister Prabhjot, just to accompany my father and uncle. I was more concerned of the pain that my elders were going through. 

“No more bad news”, we literally prayed to God to forgive us and stop punishing us like this. Till today, whenever I receive a phone call from my family members, there’s a big fear inside me and I just pray that everything’s all right. ‘Death is the inevitable truth’ and ‘life is too short’ are the two biggest things that I have learnt.

2019 was simultaneously a good year as well because there were three new births in my in-laws’ side of the family. With two nephews and a niece (much awaited girl in the family), there are little moments of joy in watching them accomplish their milestones, especially at this stage when my sons are growing bigger and more independent.

The year end proved to be a landmark for me as I got the recognition as a published author with my first book Realms of Life. The love and wishes I got from my family and friends have inspired me to write more. 

I feel time really flies. And with the blink of an eye, this year will also end, not to mention the decade too! With new hopes and dreams, I wish everyone a wonderful 2020!

EVERYONE HAS TEAR GLANDS AND SO DO MEN

This famous toothpaste ad pops up onto my children’s favourite channel frequently. It’s an ad where some boys are playing football and a girl comes in. One of the boy says- “Ladki hai, chot lagegi to rone lagegi” (She’s a girl, if she gets hurt, she will cry) . 

If any of those 7-10 year olds get hurt badly, they will cry for sure. What’s the point in giving a statement like it’s the birth right of every girl to cry! And making it air on the kids’ channels so that the gender fights begin from childhood only is just ridiculous. 

It’s a very common notion that is imbibed in most of the boys- “Mard ko dard nahi hota” (Men doesn’t feel the pain) or Men don’t cry. 

Why? Does the pain comes only to girls? 

Doesn’t every child cry the moment it is born?

Does the pain sees the gender first and then decides – “Ok,  it’s a girl, so let me hit her”? Ouch! 

If the God hasn’t reserved the crying part for the girls only at the time of birth, then why is it so that as the children grew, there are such statements in many homes- “Don’t cry like a girl” or “Boys are strong, they don’t cry”. 

Well, really? 

The answer is NO. Boys do cry and so do men. It’s just that as the boys grow up, they start hiding their emotions because of the social stigma and don’t shed tears, at least not in front of anyone! 

When you are a child, crying is easy. As soon as you grow older, you realise that crying is a big no-no, at least in front of anyone. Obviously, when an adult cries, something seriously is meant to be wrong, that’s what I felt as a kid. When our mom used to have wet eyes in a movie, my brother and I used to laugh! And now look at me- I cry during movies or watching my sons perform on stage or even when I am mad with anger, as I mentioned in “Let them fall”.

Men tend to get emotional which is perfectly normal. Otherwise the feelings will vent out in anger or abuse. So, tears are always better. 

My dad skips every “Vidai” function after marriages, just because he can’t see the bride and her relatives crying as he can’t control his tears. Though he couldn’t skip my ‘vidai’, he cried his heart out. And the person who made me cry during childhood, courtesy sibling rivalry, was weeping loudly when he hugged me as he bid me adieu after my marriage! 

Our society doesn’t lack stereotypes who believe that dolls are for girls and cars are for boys. One of the psychological column that I read mentioned that it’s important for the boys and girls to be introduced to every kind of toy, not being gender specific, as this improves their creative and problem- solving skills and develops empathy. I realized this when my elder son went to play at her cousin sisters house, where he found all sorts of dolls . He was amazed on seeing and holding Barbie dolls, their dresses and shoes. When he came back, I asked him if he liked playing with the dolls, I will get him one, but he refused and wanted a kitchen set instead. 

I bought him a kitchen set and obviously faced statements like- ‘why did you get him a girl toy‘, etc. Trust me, he enjoyed playing with it so much and now my younger one also likes to play with it. I got them a miniature pressure cooker and they now want me to add more cookware to their kitchen. In real life, they watch how their father helps me in the household work and so they also eagerly lend me a helping hand in drying the laundry, unloading the dishwasher or even dusting. My elder one loves to prepare tea (under my guidance) and younger one rolls a Chapati when he wants to. My younger son has a ‘Masha’ doll from his favorite show Masha and the Bear and both of them fight over aeroplanes, lego blocks, cars and plush toys too. 

The other day my sons and my husband were playing in-house cricket when suddenly the game had to be paused as the latter had to attend a call and said- “Play with mummy now.”

 “But, she doesn’t know how to play Cricket,”  my son said confidently.

And what makes you think so?” I asked. 

Because girls don’t play cricket“, he said. 

My husband laughed and said, “They do and our country’s women’s cricket team is a strong one.”

Really! Then why don’t you play mumma?” My son asked. 

Because I don’t like it too much. I hardly played cricket when I was young. I preferred skating though and learnt that on my own. No game or sport is specifically either for boys or girls,  just like colours. My favourite colour is blue which doesn’t mean that I am a boy.” I replied in a hope to make my sons unconventional.

FIRST TIME I DREADED HOSPITAL

You must be thinking why did I give such a heading to this article. This is because of the simple reason that earlier when I was admitted to the hospital (twice) was for the best reason- birth of my two sons.  Before that when I was hospitalized, I was too young to remember, which I already mentioned in “Who Was That Guy”.

Visits to the hospital with my elder son, Arjun, wasn’t new to me as he has gone through staples, stitches, fracture, etc. Yeah! Quite an adventurous life he witnessed already before the age of 5. 

But this time it was different. He got high fever which refused to go even after giving Paracetamol. His pediatrician suggested to get his blood tests done as Dengue fever was on outbreak. However, his body showed no symptoms of of Dengue except high fever, so my husband and I were keeping calm and positive. The blood test reports however proved us wrong. His platelets were 1.2 lakhs and Dengue NS1 Antigen came out positive. The pediatrician suggested us to admit him to the hospital straight away so that his platelets could be monitored. 

Arjun dreads going to the doctor, even though he hardly cried on getting immunization shots. Breaking down this news to him was very difficult. As we started packing up the basic stuff for going to the hospital, I couldn’t control my tears and started crying. Just the thought of watching my son getting admitted scared me. Gathering myself, I got determined to stay strong so that my son could stay that way. 

As we got into the car, we told Arjun that we were going to a different doctor and as we entered the hospital, he started questioning hysterically- “ Why are we here? Is the doctor here? But, shouldn’t he be in the clinic? Am I getting another blood test? “

We calmly told him that he had got Dengue, which was a serious illness if not taken care of. So, for better care, we were at the hospital, assuring his mumma being next to him all the time. 

We were taken to the emergency ward where some blood test samples were to be taken. As we waited, we saw a serious case where the patient was being put on a ventilator. My heart sank as I was hearing the sounds and talks of the nurses, doctors and the attendants. I immediately wanted to leave that area. 

Soon, Arjun was taken to ICU. Electrodes were pasted on his chest for monitoring heart and a Cannula was to be injected in his veins, before which, the nurses asked me to wait outside to which Arjun immediately shouted- “No, mumma will stay with me.” I smiled and told the nurses to go ahead with the insertion, while I held my son tightly. 

The blood samples were needed every morning and evening. Every time the blood was taken out, Arjun would hold me tight and hide his face, while l just watched the vials of blood being filled. 

Since the time he was admitted, there was only one question in my son’s head- “When will we go home? “ And with that question, he lost his smile. His favourite books, games or even mobile videos failed to lift up his mood. 

Every two hours his blood pressure and temperature was observed, thankfully both remained in limits. 

The doctor strictly told my son to drink lots and lots of water if he wanted to get discharged soon, which Arjun religiously followed. 

For the next two days, we stayed in the hospital and the third day my son smiled because he was getting discharged as his platelets showed improvement. 

Getting back to home was nothing less than a celebration. Those two days proved to be very long for both of us. While my son was full of joy as he entered the house, I thanked God for embracing him. 

JOYS OF RAISING BOYS

“It’s going to be fun
For you have always gelled well
With every little one”
My dearest ones told me this
When I was blessed with a son. 

No, don’t do this,
Why don’t you try that.
Stop playing with the spices,
Go play with your bat.

Stop throwing a tantrum,
For I won’t give you my cellphone. 

Blue stars for every good deed,
Black stars for not paying me a heed.

I will reward you if you be good, 
Else will take your favourite toy and scoot. 

I tried and tested every advice,
Recalling that my class of 30 was amazingly nice.
I could handle them with perfection,
But my own showed no flexion.
It’s time to get him a sibling,
The new role will be fulfilling.
Another boy it was meant to be,
Sweet brotherhood I thought I’ll see. 

One year later I woke up from my dream,
There was a hard crust under the cream.
Screams and cries became an everyday affair,
Feuds became fights for me to interfere. 

Joys of raising boys is that you call?
Stress and yelling make my hair fall!
Girls are always caring I sometimes yell,
Get ‘Baby Alive Doll’  my elder one tells. 

Let’s send them to boardings,
For they’ll learn discipline and good things.
That’s the last resort we say,
But the heart remains in dismay. 

Hundreds of sorrries
Are oh-so-sweet,
The kisses during those worries,
Hugs and cuddles are my big treat.
These tiring years will soon fly, 

When I’ll realize these energetic boys are my only joy!