RESTRICT YOUR FANCY UNAFFORDABLE WANTS

*A group of college going girls involved in flesh trade to support / sport a lavish lifestyle.

  • A techie commits suicide as he was unable to cope up with the pressure of credit card bills.

*Gang involved in card frauds, ATM thefts busted, revealed it was an attempt to make a quick buck.

These examples may not be some recent news  but definitely something we come across quite often nowadays. A bitter and harsh reality, strong enough to make us experience Depression and question “WHY?”

Reason is simple :  Our inability to find satiation and curb our “UN”wanted desires. Our incompetence in restricting our fingers from swiping left and right and to be finally get hit at the centre.  We are getting carried away by fancy statements from our films “life is now; eat, drink, spend and enjoy!” – so we take “spend” quite seriously😁. We are unable to restrict our minds from falling to the rosy advertisements promising easy EMIs and hands on easy plastic money.  Compulsive buyers we have become, repulsive to the thoughtfulness and impulsive in making descions.

A small question:  We feel so proud of our generation for we think that “we think and question”. We go deep into any subject matter before accepting it as a gospel truth.  But despite that our so called knowledgeable generation is not happy. What could be the reason?  Our direction less blind run behind maintenance of LIFESTYLE.  We want brands in our kitty which we could flaunt to others. From the slippers we wear to the school our kids shall go; from furniture at our home to accessories we adorn – brands matter!  To what extent? To an extent that we started feeling that if we lag behind someone in brand knowledge or sporting a particular lifestyle we won’t be respected. And to garner that dubious respect we not only spend but spend unmindfully even if it means borrowing/ begging or stealing (it’s a general expression, don’t get me wrong 😊).  A simple scenario we must understand: Would we be respected by the society we live in if they know that all the glitter they saw is actually hollow from inside? Would the people we want to flaunt our lifestyle in front of come to our rescue if the creditors knock at our doors with insults? Then what’s the use of all this frivolous vanity? On contrary our precedors were in quite a happy space, don’t believe me? Look at our parents, grandparents – satiation was the thumb rule.

An algorithm we shall follow to restrict our headless thoughts (read wants) before they turn us either victims or nefarious:

  • Do I need this?
  • Can I postpone this want?
  • Can I afford this?
  • To what extent my savings are getting affected?

This is very much required and very much in conformity to our “logical” thought process (sadly we are refraining from this).  Our generation must remember that

  • Life is more precious than Lifestyle.
  • Price tags won’t determine our value, had it been so even the scamsters would be regarded as greats for the brands they flaunt.ĺ
  • We have to depict a right path for our successors for they are closely watching us. Therefore use brains before using your fingers to swipe 😁.
  • Save a portion of income before spending, this is our responsibility towards our future for its unfathomable.

A contradictory argument:  Many might say if a man doesn’t desire higher than he wouldn’t have witnessed so much progress, he wouldn’t work hard. True indeed! But the problem lies in the direction of the hard work. On one hand we have great businessmen who desired higher and worked hard for not only their emancipation but provided a source of income for many and on the other hand we have scamsters who in order to make quick money are working really hard to invent new ways to cheat people and rob them of their hard earned money. And the world definitely hosts the second category in higher proportion, am I wrong? So restriction and direction both are mandatory.

 

I AM AN AGGRESSIVE SWAN

We were busy with our preparations, the festive mood was so on. There was hustle and bustle all around. Some were doing mundane chores, some were specialists, some were chirping in pearls of laughter while some were making faces for no apparent reason. In short “A Family” was there in its raw elements. 

But someone is missing from the scene. I was searching frantically who was the missing face in the group. And every time my eyes leave a face and move to the next face my heart sank bit by bit. At the end of the exercise I zeroed in who was missing – My Kids!

Where are they? They left with you, isn’t it?” Shock stricken me, I asked my husband who was as cool as cucumber and said “I don’t know, must be around” as he was unaware of the truth.

His words stirred up fear in me. Before he could react, I ran alone, barefooted in search of my kids. Raided the entire city only to be left high and dry in depression. As I drew my feet towards home I saw my kids standing at a nearby shop surrounded by people. They were about to drag my son and my daughter was witnessing all this and was crying helplessly.  And suddenly that mob was interrupted by a meek mother.

Please stop, don’t hurt him. He is my son. What has he done?“. A booming voice from the crowd “he was trying to steal food from the shop“.

No it is not possible, he must be hungry, he is nonverbal, can’t express himself. Have some compassion people” I was no meeker as I embraced my kids and enveloped them in my arms. I was up there ready to take on anyone who would and could possibly hurt my kids just as a swan who could get aggressive if she senses any danger around her nest.

And in the next moment, I was drenched in perspiration and got up only to find I was on my bed.  It was a dream, rather a very bad dream. I double-checked the room next to ours, kids were in blissful slumber. It did pacify me but a raked in the question “What after and without me?

LET’S POOL AROUND!

  • Got a new bike and mom asked to get milk from the shop down the lane which is like 10 minutes away, but the desire to “show off” his new possession will make him turn on the ignition every now and then, till the silencer goes abrasive and loud.

  • A household got lots of wealth and to display the same it invests in grand vehicles every time so that every member of the family can ride in the vehicle of their choice, all at the same time even if they are travelling in the same direction.

We all have the experience of encountering such nuts in life. And in their excitement to get noted by others to show off they are actually leaving a trail of serious implications in many ways. The impact of such exhibition on human society is a real complicated problem. But since this week we are addressing the Environmental Issues (International Environment Day, 5 June and here on Candles Online we are having Environment Week), we shall stick to the impact on environment.

If we notice carefully the number of vehicles running on roads that combust fuel for their power is on regular rise. I am not against the manufacturing or sale and purchase of such machines because that aids our economy but the question is how many of the customers are using them in a sensible manner. It’s not wrong to use them for commuting especially in countries like India with long lengths and breadths even within a small town but wherever and whenever possible “pooling” method should be used. For instance, in a locality stay four friends all working in more or less the same area (within reachable radius) and all have vehicles. If they use pooling method smartly, only one vehicle would ply on the road instead of four, which would instantly cut the gas emissions and not to mention how much everyone could and would save on fuel as well. But for such methods to work we need timeliness and discipline. Imagine three out of four people are waiting for the fourth person to arrive lest they could start for the work and the person in question is taking his/ her own sweet time to get ready, how ignorant and disrespectful! Understanding how interactions in society are getting curtailed with every passing decade the car pooling method may not be a hit in neighbours but how about inculcating it among family members? If a household got more than one vehicle that could accommodate more than two people at a time better use it instead of using all at a time. In this context the Pool Cabs run by taxi services like Uber is really an appreciable step forward – economical for the customers and eco-friendly to an extent (not going to explain Pooling again and again 😁).

I live in Belgium. Here and in Netherlands people use bicycles and scooters a lot to commute, especially in Netherlands. So much so that special bicycle lanes are all over. The most environment friendly and pocket friendly mode of transport too, isn’t it? Keeping the sizes of these countries it works no doubt but I would love to see this change in India as well. I mean if people are encouraged to use such modes instead of fuel run machines in smaller radii say 2-5 kms, how much impact it would make, just imagine! Not to mention the kind of impact such an exercise has on one’s health.

I personally prefer and do walk for distances ranging between 1.5 km to 2 km (only Google map says so, to and fro including the number of rounds in the shopping aisle easily counts to 5+ 😁😉). So instead of running on tread mill inside the four walls of a gym we can take a walk while finishing our groceries down the street (😉) whenever possible (housewives are exceptions in this, they already are a part of this workout 😁).

It’s all about small changes we make and conscious efforts we take towards a change we want to see.

 

ONLINE SHOPPING GONE WRONG?

PROMPT: Standing in front of the mirror she didn’t like what she saw…

Standing in front of the mirror she didn’t like what she saw. The fitting of the dress she ordered online wasn’t the way she expected.

But she wore the same dress without looking for a change as she was running late for her friend’s party. In a haste she left , not very happy with the way she looked.

To her surprise, she was attracting people more than ever and compliments poured from everywhere. “How are you losing weight, please share the tips with us” enquired everyone and she was left blushing and smiling ear to ear remembering how she found the dress to be ill fit.

Later, when she got back home she just smiled to herself thinking, sometimes it’s about changing the perspective to find the happiness lurking around the corner.

AND SHE MET HER ONCE AGAIN

PROMPT: Standing in front of the mirror she didn’t like what she saw…

door-opening
(Image Credit – Google Inc.)

Standing in front of the mirror she didn’t like what she saw. It’s not her. The reflection was only a mirage of her presence but the zealous, free-spirited girl was lost.

He just kept imposing boundaries caging her while she kept compromising her independence for her love for him.

Is it love or bondage?” she asks herself yet always reluctant to give up. While pondering about it the doorbell rang. When she opened it she found a beautiful woman smiling at her and asked “are you ready to come with me and take a freedom march?” She seemed familiar, she rubbed her eyes to take an attentive look at the woman and was stunned – it was her only!

And before she could stretch out her hand to reach the woman her phone rang and she was out of the dream. But is she out of the thought too? Not sure.

THIS PARTICULAR FANATICISM IS QUITE MEANINGLESS

Can the knowledge of a particular language be the sign of intelligence of a person? Can the fluency in a particular language be an indication of one’s educational background and character certificate? Sounds gibberish, right?

Well not completely. This is just a reflection of how the attitude of people in Indian subcontinent has shaped up over decades now. Undying love for “English” is an IT thing (rather a HIT thing).

People getting mocked for not being able to converse in English at native level¹. People finding themselves to be in a fix, out of place, losing confidence, nurturing low self esteem and inferiority complex are direct of shoot offs of our fetish for one particular “International Language” English. We (A majority) somehow have come up with the terms that mastering this particular language is a ticket to a better treatment in masses ; a person who can speak English impeccably is a genius and if some accent is sprinkled he/she is already a star – knowledge, character, education, skill doesn’t really matter. Look at the wannabe insta stars, you will know what I mean 😁.

Let me share few examples/ incidents that I came across or heard:

*I heard people praising someone who got expert skills in English “Kya angrezi bolta hai, wah!” (He speaks so good in English) never mind the grasp on subject matter is ZERO.

*My friend once shared with me his experience at his daughter’s school. The poor child faced the ire of the teachers because she wasn’t able to converse in a free flow manner in English and was comfortable in her mother tongue. Such a shame!

*If a person belonging to a foreign land (read West) speaks in any of our regional language though broken we go gaga over the attempt. “So Cute” is the expression that follows our excitement (not referring to Donald Trump saying Swamy Vivekanand 😁). But when the tables turn and someone among us try to speak the broken English we brand him “Illiterate” literally. What double standards!

*Parents insisting kids to speak in English, it’s a matter of fame while on the other hand more and more parents are coming out saying “our kids can’t speak/ read/ write our mother tongue” almost without any sense of attachment. I am at loss of words!

*People refraining from talking in the language they are comfortable with just not to be jeered by peers. How sad!

Well I can go on and on with such illustrations not so great to put forward for any country / society. In short we are focussing on the mode/ language of instruction and completely ignoring the importance of effective communication or the content intended to be delivered.

Talking about our overtly attachment with this particular language, light must be thrown at helm of affairs in other parts of the world, countries which we see as synonyms for “Development, technology, power, economy” and every possible positive superlative. I live in Belgium, have been to France, Germany, Netherlands; Have heard the social addresses of public figures from Japan, China and the counties aforementioned. No one carries a chip of shame up their sleeve while talking in their respective mother tongue. On contrary they are proud. Mother tongue is given the utmost importance right from the beginning. Schools that lay foundation and aid development of a child from the grassroots level emphasize specifically on the country’s mother tongue. If you are a foreigner in these lands you got only two choices either integrate with them via their language or be ready to pay exorbitant charges for translation be it education in schools or otherwise. I myself have paid extra charges for translator service for driving test because of my incapacity to understand French fast 😁. In a way they are promoting their language by using simple economics, period! Priority to the mother tongue is something we must learn from these countries.

Why? Language is a part of what and who we are. It’s an integral part of our history, heritage and culture. Precisely ROOTS! Can a tree stand still and upfront if it is alienated from the ground, if roots are uprooted? How meaningful it would be to have mastered a foreign language and yet not knowing the homeland? If we distance ourselves from our history there’s no way our future generations will know the past and future is definitely not bright.

I may sound as a fanatic talking over the clouds but a study is available that proves that for kids who start learning their and in their native language cognitive developments are better. Expression and communication comes easy to them. Better understanding of curriculum and positive attitude towards school are few more points to count. They feel more at home. This is just a bird’s eye view.

I want to reiterate that my argument is not against any language but the meaningless romanticism we have inbred within ourselves about a particular language belittling our own identity. I myself went to a school that had English as its medium of instruction but my teachers never made their students feel bad about their shortcomings in a language and most importantly my school had my mother tongue (Telugu) as one of the subjects and my parents wanted me to learn it. At home too we had an environment where we spoke to each other in our native language. English was just another language, a language for international exposure ( we were not aware or exposed to other world languages at that time), case closed. Rather the entire emphasis was on developing thoughts, transformation of a person to personality, ethical behaviour, earning dignity and respect. In short the purpose of imparting education was fulfilled to the core. It was not washed down by a meaningless glorification of a foreign language because it is spoken by “Fair Skinned” (another obsession of my land sadly).

A petty request: I am not out of “Parenting Mode” of last week’s topic, excuse me for that and kindly bear with me. Parents please make sure that you encourage kids talking (the least) in native language. If you could impart the knowledge if native language nothing beats that. Remember their thoughts have to be eloquent and it’s never about which language they chose to.

* Teachers: Please considering your own status don’t shame any kid for inability to converse in English. It’s just a language and can be worked upon. If the confidence gets shattered that might be something beyond repair.

* Schools / Authorities: Please focus on giving a buoyant support to the local language. Its a way to save our heritage and culture.

* Everyone: Learn as many languages as you can but remember your mother tongue is your inner feelings you share with your mother (loved/ closed ones), that comfort is the ultimate. And if Englishmen are speaking in English, it’s their own so nothing so great about that!

And here I rest my case.

PARENTING – NO KIDDING!

As a parent what is our constant wish and effort – nothing but to give the best to our children. Isn’t it? Be it the opportunities or the materialistic things at their disposal, we as parents never leave any stone unturned to provide our kids with nothing short of best even if we have to go an extra mile. That makes me ponder “Is providing of provisions enough to make us good parents?” Well in my quest I stumbled upon an example from the mythological story of Mahabharat:

Duryodhan (the eldest Kaurava), son of Dhritarashtra had everything at his disposal – loving parents, strength of 99 brothers, “Never Say No” best friend like Karna yet his greed led to his downfall and demise. Though his greed and jealousy were given flames by his ever conspiring maternal uncle Shakuni but it is an offshoot of Dhritarashtra’s failure as a good father. He always used his physical handicap as a trump card, as a camouflage to his insecurities that thrived against his own brother Pandu (father of Pandavas) and this very feeling made him to give in to every unjustified demand of his son. He thought the jewelled crown and the throne of Hastinapur rightfully belonged to his son and disruption of any sort will leave Duryodhan shattered and he never wanted that. He couldn’t see because of his physical disability but his insecurity piled up over the years decayed the truth in his heart, blinded his vision (morally) as he couldn’t see the harm his son is causing to the very roots of his own family in the disguise of snatching power, humiliating and even trying to kill his cousins (the pandavas). Had Drithraashtra intervened and took strong stand against the scrupulous ways and moral corruption of his son he could have prevented Kurukshetra war that saw innumerable deaths, wailing widows and orphans. But he always had crown and materialistic pleasures on his mind for his son because he thought that’s the only responsibility he had as a father. A perfect example of how providing materialistic world isn’t enough to be Good Parent.

This one character made me understand that there’s a difference between attachment and love. Attachment makes us to justify and act according to every unjustified demands of our kids lest our denial might upset them whereas love strive to work tirelessly for the evolution of a better human being and a great character. That’s some heavy philosophy, isn’t it?😊

Back to the present: With the family structures / set ups changing (disintegration of joint family systems into nuclear families), social dynamics changing so fast, the increasing distance between the parents and kids as to how they process thoughts and understand a particular situation parents have an uphill task of safeguarding their children from physical dangers, moral corrosion and emotional exploitation with an added responsibility of preparing them for life. What are we supposed to do then as a parent since parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual? What should be our parenting goals? Is preparing kids for competitions, making them do good in academics and extra curricular activities, giving them a comfortable cushion for a secured life ahead are characteristic traits of good parents? Well, I strongly believe that these are only perks. The foremost responsibility of a parent is to aid in character development of a child. If parents are successful in nurturing good human beings individually they are actually assisting in constructing a better society and pave way for a better environment for the country. To put it simple: parenting is about understanding and explaining the difference between literacy & education; price & value; right & wrong.

Face to Face with the current reality: Sadly incidents of cruelty, ghastly violence, atrocities are outnumbering gestures of kindness, love, compassion. And what is more horrific is that the young minds and souls are found on both ends – both perpetrators and receiving. For instance – in one incident that I came across on social media platform, a 15 year old autistic boy committed suicide because he was bullied so hard by his schoolmates that he found death as an easy escape. Both the culprit and the victims are kids only. In another incident in the Mumbai city of India it was found a school going students group (all aged between 13-14 years) were talking in an obnoxious manner in their group chats on WhatsApp, to be more precise they were talking about rape, one night stands, sex, making fun of homosexuality, tagging peers with tags like “gay”,”lesbian”. New (much talked about) to the list being the “Boys Lokcer Room” incident. That was horrendous. Where is our future heading? Who bores the responsibility for this? Schools as usual shrug off their shoulders and dust off responsibility. And to be honest not everything can be entrusted to someone else be it a person or an organisation (specifically in the times we are now experiencing where the teacher-student-school dynamics are not the same they used to be a decade or two back)

Parents time to think and act!! Perhaps time to reevaluate ourselves. Are we doing enough for our kids? Are we available to our kids when they need us? Are we listening to them? Are we aware of their exposures and exploitation? Are we setting good examples for them to follow? Before setting goals it is important to understand parenting isn’t JUST about Imposing rules and Supervision. It’s not just about telling kids “do this, don’t do that, sit there, don’t go there, don’t speak” and a long list of DOs and DON’Ts. Simply parenting isn’t a linear correlation formula. Also parenting isn’t about providing the comforts and luxuries (provision of basic needs is no more a parenting criteria sadly, we have surpassed that stage long ago). It’s a pretty complex web often comprising of simplest things. It’s about:

Inculcating the right values: Its the most tedious job of all. The paths of upright morals should be trend relentlessly to set a direction for them to follow the footsteps. Compassion, benevolence, trustworthiness and likes can never be taught by preaching only. You show, you sow and you reap, period!

Right kind of exposure: With the availability of world at the touch of a button or a click away our kids are highly vulnerable to the wrong influence. The different kind of applications and social media platforms have effectively targeted their audience and exploited their vulnerabilities. This situation demands parental intervention. Training of young minds with tools of moral stories (for young kids); history of great personalities who have contributed to the humanity and society, healthy conversations sharing own life experiences, constant to and fro communication with kids in the wake of understanding and addressing their fears, answering their doubts are few ways of providing the right exposure and limiting the unwanted ones. Praying together, eating together, doing household chores together too promote good communication flow. ** Take a cue from the past, remember how our grandparents used to tell us stories be it fairy tales, parables from epics, life accounts of great men and women and there’s no denial that they did leave a lasting impression on our minds** Since this generation is more at ease with technology, use the same for the right exploration. Parental guidance needed is not just passable condition

Building Strong individuals: The biggest hurdle in being a good parent is Our Fear! We are in constant fear that if we say no to our kids or if we tried to be strict with them they might get hurt, they will cry or worse being they might end up in depression. In few instances we also fear social embarrassment. “If we don’t oblige on something what would everyone think of us as parents” also impacts the way parents deal with their children That’s a big NO. By holding ourselves back from correcting them or by deflecting and acting / dancing to their tunes, whims and fancies we are not only spoiling them but creating an overtly sensitive brigade waiting to be released in the vast ocean of hostile world. And we all know life isn’t a bed of roses. Our children must be trained to accept “No”. In no way I am up for any kind of dictatorship but they must know that they can not boss us 😉 (one of my friends, a great woman who never ceases to motivate and inspire me shared this view with me. She is a mother of twins herself and doing a great job in bringing up her kids, we all call her SP fondly. If she is reading this she will know).

Disciplining and maintaining decorum: Every organisation and institution needs a set of rules to be run smoothly. So does a family. Without discipline in ways of life and thinking parenting is a penance without any fruit. It might be an algorithm of to do things during the day or a constructive manner of expressing the emotions or processing the same, discipline streamlines course of life.

What we have discussed so far are just touch and go pointers. Parenting is a humungous subject yet without any predetermined formulas or theories that fit into every individual case without modification. With every mind and soul beautifully different parenting is a thankless job which if done to the perfection will yield a healthy society to dwell in. And if handled inappropriately could prove to be fatal for numerous lives. This needs introspection..