A SNOWFLAKE’S TALE – PART V

Meanwhile on the other end Sushma signalled Meera to get into the car.  Meera was blank, physically and mentally exhausted , only gave blank glances at Sushma but didn’t utter a word and got into the car.

The driver’s eyes from the rear view mirror sent shivers down Meera’s spine.  “Did Sushma trick me into something awful“, Meera asked herself aloud in her mind before she could muster courage and energy to mumble “where are we going Didi?”

Sushma in her usual stone-cold tone, “listen to me carefully Meera, when stranded in darkness for a while human eye adjusts itself to the darkness to see things clearly.  Similarly humans have to adjust themselves to the situations life throws at them.

This made Meera’s heart skip a beat, she was perplexed, hands cold and feet numb.

While Meera was lost in her fears Sushma started again, “You know clearly that I don’t have any soft corner for you but nevertheless you were wife of my brother.  That’s why I have decided to get you out of that place but you see emotions don’t feed you.  Deal is still on but not as dreadful as you fathomed….” . Sushma was interrupted sharply by Meera, “don’t talk in riddles. Why don’t you just leave us alone. It was my fault to come to you and look where I have landed” and she started wailing uncontrollably, cursing her fate.

SHHHH” Sushma hushed her fiercely “stop this melodrama, I have planned something better for you, now just follow me quietly“. And they reached a one storey building, built-in solitude.

Sushma got down and forcefully took her out of the car into the building. As they entered Meera saw a lawn guarded by gates with electrically barbed wires all around, CCTV cameras, few pregnant women loitering in the lawn. This confused Meera even more.

They were received by a man – well-built, seemingly educated, he immediately asked Sushma “have you explained everything to her” looking at Meera.

N… N… No” Sushma fumbled and this irked the man, Somesh. “How many times I have to tell you that the ladies you bring here need to be well-informed“, he retorted.

And he continued talking harshly looking at Meera, “look lady you just have to give us 9 months of your life, and life to a couple. Well, let me be clear you are brought here to be a surrogate mother, bearing a child for someone who have no strings attached to you in anyways and who are yearning for a child. In return you get a handsome amount and no one else would know anything about this, not even the client to whom you are bearing a child. Hence it won’t have any impact on your societal image.  Many women do it deliberately and repeatedly.  It’s a win-win situation for everyone. Think of it and reply me“.

And before Meera could prepare herself to say something, Somesh quite menacingly yet calmly said, “And we don’t take No for an answer” and called for an assistant to guide Meera to a room inside.

Meera was almost pulled and went out of sight into the long corridor and her voice died.

Sushma asked Somesh, “so you got the client, who is that?

Somesh replied, “What’s there in the name.  What matters is that it’s a wealthy party who could shower us with millions.  I hinted about this procedure, waiting for the reply and you know it well that we don’t take NO for an answer.  Their desperation is our cash point“, he laughed devilishly.

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“Firmly believing in yourself and losing is better than blindly trusting others and winning because in the first case you learn a lesson which is ‘Always‘ useful later on and the later one is purely in God’s hand and life will not be the same ‘Always‘.”
– Kalpana Vogeti

MY BUCKET LIST

When Chiradeep announced the topic for this week “What’s on your mind?” I was like “Ok, let the bucket of my bucket list flow” as if I was waiting for someone to ask this question 😂😂.

Resolutions, Bucket List, Goals – Naam mein kya rakha hai! (What’s there in the name), there are certain things that I want to, that I must accomplish. They would give me the gratification of achieving independence and mental peace.

  • Have to travel the distance between the passenger seat to driver’s seat:  I never had a driver’s license in my life, never been behind any steering or handle. And frankly never bothered about thanks to the public transport and on-call taxi services.  Easy escape! I would agree.  But now I have realised I have to don the cap of a driver TOO (😂) for my kids.  Though my husband is just a call away when amidst busy schedules it reiterates on the fact that “I am dependent on him”.  I want to shed that. Getting a licence would clearly spell new-found independence to me. And yes many more rounds of shopping 😂😂. So Driving Licence is on my mind, wish me luck😉.
  • Learn For My Kids:  Making kids learn, get their interest invested needs learning on my part too.  For instance, my son had a terrible last week, major meltdowns, very aggressive which I think (I believe and wish) is a passing phase only.  I discussed the same thing with his Therapist, he gave some massaging tips to relax him, I observed to be able to help him when things go haywire. So this is what I was talking about – Learning.  My resolution for next year includes learning new things and ways to help my kids learn better, behave well and stay happy.  I have to take the driver’s seat here as well😁.
  • Invest In My Interests: I won’t beat around the bush,  I would make it a point to write and paint more often (some baking too😂). Writing, painting and showcasing it to near and dear ones gives me a high and solace of another level.  And practising only can make a WO(MAN) perfect, what say😎.
  • Shed laziness:  How I wish I was not a procrastinator.  This is a major flaw in my personality.  My alarm is witness to my laziness, I made it my partner in crime as every time it signals me to wake up I put it to doze off, you can now imagine the heights of laziness! So hopefully next year I can….. 😴😴😴😴 alarm set!!

There are few more that squeezed themselves to be on my list – losing a few pounds,  gaining more patience,  better socialization, getting a job or enrolling into a new course and learn and enhance knowledge.  Well, one thing that would always top the chart of my priorities is  “Be a good human being“.  Because my dependency,  my flawed characteristic traits,  lack of expertise, blurred identity – literally everything can be pardoned if I serve my purpose of being a human. I have always and would continue to strive for being a compassionate person, period!

PARENTING – LOVING SANS DISCIPLINING, NOT DONE!

I think it was in the month of October,  and one of the Saturdays, after dropping our son at swimming pool we took our daughter to park as we had to anyways wait for an hour for him to return. We went to the park and my daughter was having a good time there and it was time to go. So she hardly spent half an hour there and was very reluctant to go for obvious reasons. She was adamant, holding her feet back and we literally had to force her out of the park. She was screaming loudly which was embarrassing. And this situation led to heated arguments between parents (inevitable), I can laugh it off now but that moment was something different. I doubted my parenting, where am I going wrong in bringing up my children”, “why she behaved that way”, “Am I a bad mother that my kids don’t pay attention to my words and many questions followed making me introspect myself and my ways. I felt broken, down and out. I must tell you that she normally abides by what I say but that day it was a different ball game, every parent experiences such incidents I guess.

As they say, sharing helps to mellow down the pain and burden, I confided to my dear friend about the situation and one thing she said really stuck me making a deep impact and that’s what I wanted to share with you all when the topic of “Discipline ” was tossed up for this week. She said “I don’t understand when parents say kids don’t listen to us. It’s really important to make them understand that WE are the parents and they cannot boss around with us, period!”

It made sense, not just “a lot of but wholly“. We all love our kids but loving them without disciplining them, without infusing any sense of responsibility, without morals is as good as a blind leading a bunch of ignorant minds. That would only lead them to fall deep down.

Though parenting is not a definite science with set rules as every kid and every parent is different but I would like to put forth my observation, rather this is what I practice (I do falter sometimes 😔):

A No Is A No:  Well this holds good for kids too. When my kids put forth unreasonable demands, I say NO straightaway. But sticking to it is a rather difficult feat to do. They may cry, bring in recommendations 😁, cling on to you and much more. And if you succumb then they know the trick to get you every time. For instance, my son for whom it is difficult to comprehend a “No” because of his Autism would just throw an agitated tantrum every time I say No. But I try to remain unfazed by anything he does and at the end he would return to normalcy. Actually, this was what proposed by his teachers too, I am following it as religiously as I could.

A timetable is important: Following timelines, having a schedule is of paramount importance when it comes to disciplining kids. And I believe in adhering to it strictly. Be it for how long they are going to watch television when they will have dinner, time to go to bed – everything is fixed. It sets an order and decorum. They should know “Early to bed, early to rise” isn’t just a rhyme 😁.

Parents should be on the same page: It’s a normal tendency that one parent is in charge of disciplining kids at home while the other significant one takes a comparative backseat. It was my mother in past and now I am the captain of the ship 😎.  So whenever a call has to be taken I insist that I and my partner remain on the same page (at least apparently in front of kids). The difference of opinion can be discussed in private. Kids should identify the authority and definitely shouldn’t get a chance to “Divide and Rule“😂.

Carrot And Stick: Ah! This is one of the management/leadership style that I learnt in college is proving to be handy now. I surely don’t believe in the thought process of “spare the stick and spoil the child but it is important to emphasise on Rewards (Carrot) and Consequences (Stick) theory for kids. It would make them responsible in the long run, to say the least. The excitement of a reward and fear of a punishment is very important in moulding up a child’s attitude. That would help them mark the difference between a “Good Behaviour” and a “Bad Behaviour”. A very recent example from Facebook though – a father made his daughter walk to school (5 miles spread over two or three days) in reaction to her inappropriate behaviour of bullying someone. And this is what I exactly meant.

Involve them in chores: Not sure how far this would go in disciplining a child but this would ensure more interaction with them, the autonomy of a greater level in kids infusing confidence. And the goal of parenting definitely includes shaping up a confident independent child. I try to include my kids as much as I can.

NOTE:  These are my observations (to a greater extent practice too) only.  I do fail many times as a parent. But I shall not stop because my kids are my responsibility. I hold responsibility towards them as a parent and towards society too, to give it a socially aware human being and the process is on. And this holds true for every parent. Remember, you are doing great for parenting is not easy and doesn’t come with a manual.  You might have a different approach, do share with me 😊.

BULLYING – LET’S SEARCH THE TIPPING POINT TO STOP IT!

“Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate or aggressively dominate others. The behaviour is often repeated and habitual”.

Bullying”  term often passed off as “just kidding” is a fatal catalyst that could trigger something as catastrophic as “Suicide ” and I am not “kidding” about it.

Let us see a few statistics (source: hail google)

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC.
  • For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 per cent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 per cent have attempted it.

For the past few days, I have been reading some horrific incidents about how kids mostly in their teens took their lives when cornered by bullies.  That really shook me. I was wondering can it be so strong to push someone to take such a harsh step?  I have too experienced bullying (though it was very short-lived, and at a  very, very young age) I was six at that time, got admission in a new school and my seniors (not in age or class but they were in that school since kindergarten 😁) started bullying me, well sort of! pulling my hair, teasing me, grouping against me and so on.  I told my father about it, he laughed it off (probably because of our age and the age we lived in, that was only innocence) and said make friends with them, everything will be fine.  Though they were never on my friend list things were better and the bullying stopped.

But unfortunately, that’s not the case with many.  And the severity of the issue has also increased by leaps and bounds.  There are a plethora of examples where bullying led victims to take the extreme step. But can bullying be directly proportionate to the suicides we witness?  Can it be so oversimplified?  NO! As I said earlier bullying is a catalyst, when coupled with issues like depression, mental health problems, hopelessness etc. the results are as fatal as Suicides.

So when talking about bullying the aforesaid issues must be touched upon, but who is going to do that?  Awareness is the tool that could hit the nail on the head.

Role Of Parents –   Kids learn from their parents (a lot). The simplest form of bullying – teasing someone based on their physical appearance (body shaming) or calling names, this is something kids many times learn from their parents.  And the sad thing is such things are often dusted off as “for fun”, “was kidding”, “wasn’t serious”, to begin with, and when unchecked that could possibly acquire a monstrous face.  I am just giving an example, just a tip of an iceberg.  Considering this, parents have to be really watchful about their behaviour and words in front of their kids.  Their outlook towards things and people affect and shape the psyche of their kids to a greater extent, if not fully. Rest is all about evolving.  One thing to be remembered: Making fun of others isn’t funny.

Notice, Talk and Listen: This is the Tipping Point that could make all the awareness campaigns work. Reading the silence or unusual symptoms like social withdrawal is the first and foremost step that needs to be taken by family members (read well-wishers, could be beyond family ties).  For instance, if a person who is normally a happy soul, a social person chooses solitude and prefers staying silent, that’s a clue big enough to initiate “Talk“. Many times victims are unable to decide whom to confide to and the pain starts building up and inability to crack their silence leads to the disaster. So reading signs at the right time is of utmost importance.  When the Talk is initiated, compassion and patience is a must.  The victim might not be able to give in at the first attempt, may try to conceal but persistence is the key here. Counselling from professionals is also helpful because they have their own tricks up their sleeve to let the victim release the flow of emotions bound for long.  And when they Talk, it’s important to Listen, to believe them and to respect their vulnerability. There is an ample number of cases when complaints are dismissed with statements like “it happens everywhere “, “don’t be a crybaby”, ” take it as fun” and so on.  Isn’t it enough proof that if a person is getting affected by something, which is “harmless” as per your perception then there is much to look out for or unearth?  Motto may be to instil some courage but rather their words are doing more harm than help.  Words have to be put together with utmost care so as to boost up the confidence of the person getting affected by this bullying business.  And again if someone thinks it’s beyond their capability take the help of a professional.

The “HELP” is meant for both the parties, this is my strong belief.  For the bullies, it is about the right kind of education (not just literacy). Any attempt or sign of being rude to a fellow human being shall be nipped in bud.  For the victims – it is about counselling and emphasizing on the fact “that people who laugh at you are either jealous of you or don’t have a better business. And that already makes you strong, go ahead with this strength “.

DOWN THE MEMORY LANE

It is said that Paris is the city of romance and fashion capital of the world.  I agree with that.  It’s been eight years when I first visited this city just a month before my first wedding anniversary as we were supposed to celebrate our first anniversary with family in India.  I was very excited (who won’t be) after all it was my first visit to the French capital which I have been seeing only on television and the first time comes only once in life.  We boarded Thalys, the superfast train plying between Brussels and Paris and the duration of the journey was about 1 hour 15 minutes.  After reaching there and checking in our hotel room we chalked out a plan for our three days.  Prepared a bucket list, which place needs to be visited first and so on.  We decided to take the metro to reach various destinations in the city.  Talking about the metro, the very look of the stations and the metro trains looked very old which meant they were running since ages. But we had a comfortable ride, in fact taking metro is the best option.  With a guide (book) in hand, we were all set to paint the city red.

(The fashion hub – Champs Elysées)
(The Sacred Heart Basilica)
(Museum de Louvre)
(Louvre, picture from distance)
(Arc de Triomphe, which I sarcastically call India Gate of Delhi as they are similar structures.)
(Moulin Rouge)
(River Siene, picture from Eiffel Tower)
(Guillotine, the execution place)

Hope you enjoyed Paris with me… 😛

To rise high and strong,
first bend down and
look inside to identify
your weaknesses
for every flight commences
from ground”