COME WALK IN MY SHOES FOR ONCE!

Waiter: How would you like your coffee, Ma’am?

Me: With kids tucked in their beds.

And the next scene, waiter scratching his head, “What does that mean?” 🤔.

Ok, that was just an exaggeration, nothing of that sort has happened so far.  But trust me parenting is never an easy job. And unlike any other job it doesn’t come with a manual.  So the foot is always on the pressure pedal.  From healthy eating habits to good etiquette; from studies to extracurricular activities; from explaining them about their bodies to respecting their privacies  – we have much more to look after and we can’t  take up fancied portfolios as per our ease.  I repeat parenting isn’t easy!

And the pressure of parenting a child with special needs is altogether a different ball game. Ask me!

In the year 2014 when it was finally established that my son is Autistic, I went blank.  I sensed it, yet wished it not to be.  Since then to this day it’s always been a run – from pole to post.  With such a diagnosis tag, an entire army of questions spurt up in front you. Though I don’t belong to that school of parents who decide a career for their offspring even before naming them but I must confess that at this point of time I worry about his future. ” What would happen to him after us?”, “Who would take care of him?”, “What would be his future like?”, ” Will he ever be able to take up some formal education?” And the questions  continue to infinity.  The fear and pressure, looking at the world around is immense.

Soon after, the school was informed about the diagnosis and they took no time to ask us to take him out of the school as they were not equipped with the expertise to work with an Autistic child. I don’t blame them for that, trust me.  It was the first jolt as he had no place to go by then and was still on the waiting list of the day care section of the hospital. But my prayers were soon answered and things kept rolling since then as far as his schooling was concerned as he later got a place in special school and he is continuing.

So where’s the pressure?  Pressure churns when he is unable to express himself about the intangible things like pain for example,  for he is still non-verbal (though now he has started uttering single words about the things he likes, for example: pasta, park, school bus 😁 etc.).  And it’s equally difficult for him to comprehend “NO“.  If he wants something badly he just wants it and won’t take a ‘No’ for an answer.  I can’t explain the consequences to him as I could do to my daughter.   He simply shuts himself down, though unintentionally.  And that causes major meltdowns – could be a result of many factors, sometimes without any apparent reason. And when meltdowns strike, he goes all violent, shouts, cries, taps hands and legs on the floor vehemently, simply lies down on ground and that ground can be of a bus stop, pavement, supermarket, literally anywhere.  And with people oblivious to your situation watching you with a judgmental overview, shivers are sent down the spine and the voice chokes while hands go numb and cold.  While handling and calming him (which sometimes take really long and sometimes I am clueless about what to do) along with keeping an eye on the second child is enough pressure to take, explaining the onlookers “Why and What” is equally painful.  I simply hate telling people about the issue, about why he is behaving absurdly.  Few People tend to understand, few come forward to lend a helping hand but few make faces (really few so far, shall I care about them🤔?). Whatsoever maybe the reaction I always have a bated breath and watch of an eagle when out with him. Going to stay this way, at least for a while😟.

Also searching and booking a place for him in the activities during long vacations (Belgian calendar has too many for kids 😁) is nothing less than pressure cooker situation for me.  With really limited number of places available, his constant need for individual attention makes it real tough for me to have one place ready for him.  I usually start working three to four months in advance for he enjoys his activities, he enjoys discovering and I want him to.  There are instances when I was rejected straightaway.  Bearing it all and to be on a look out constantly is my job now. By the way, his autumn break is busy!😁

Who helps me out? Family and friends – too obvious, isn’t it?  But I have an elongated list here:

  • Surprised you will be to learn that I owe Facebook too a thanks.  When you read a lot of stories from all around the world from people sailing in the same boat on one page it definitely refills the depleting levels of confidence.  It reminds me, “You are not alone and we are together, let’s make it a better place“. So many motivational and inspiring stories kicks in the positivism I need.
  • Organisations working for and with my son including his school.  Their innovative ideas, patience and moral support have gone a long way in making things a bit better and every bit matters. They told me that “You Are Strong” and that helps, period!
  • A lady, my friend whom I am unable to meet often but we do have long conversations often (that’s technology for you 😁) and she is full of wisdom. Always gives a positive perspective of looking at things and instills courage in me. I can’t name her here since no permission taken but I would drop a hint to her – an experienced trainer of English language/ business communications. Thank you dear.
  • And last but not the least – my kids themselves.  My daughter – just three of age but acts like my shadow to her brother, gives me a ray of hope.  And when my son laughs with me, plays with me, embraces me, it seems he is giving me a message “mamma, you, me and God will set things straight“. By the way I forgot to tell you that he seems to be more inclined towards the supreme power as at home he spends a great amount of time singing devotional songs 😁😁.

 

Did I tell you that sometimes my son gets up at 3 or 4AM in the morning and demands a breakfast – that’s also a pressure – 😂😂😂.

And for all those who have free advise on what shall I do to raise my kids prim and proper I request, “Come walk in my shoes for once”.

 

 

 

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BEYOND THE DOORPOST

There is danger out there, my love
You’re safe in here.

 

Numerous times a day did I hear,
These lines from my mother dear.


Unaware what she meant exactly,
I often sulked dejectedly.

 

The house and the square courtyard,
Was all that I had to myself under everyone’s surveillant guard.

I loved my family,
So dared not march towards anomaly.


But their fears unspoken deep within,
And tears unshed bothered me day out and day in.


Courage had I none,
To venture out and have some fun.


The open skies beckoned with their serenity untold
The lush green orchards how I wished to behold!

There is danger out there, my love
You’re safe in here.

 

Leaving behind the years of tender childhood,
As a young man I one day stood.


Shaking my fist and bellowing loud,
I threatened to go past the ominous doorpost.


Quiet silence surrounded me,
Sad lowered eyes refused to look up at me.

A sudden gust of wind,
Brought traces of noise from outside.


In no time was a flurry of stones pelted on the windows freshly painted,
Gun shots and fire – hearing which my mother fainted.


Hours went by as we stayed securely in,
Hoping it would stop and we would save our skin.

 

The night brought with it a silence so eerie,
I heard my father step into my room with eyes bleary.

The night was long with stories of attacks ghastly,
Of lives lost and families ruined.


Of women violated,
Kids killed and mutilated.


The reason for years of safeguarding,
Now clearly stood at my face staring.

 

Clutching my blanket close to myself,
I looked at my father’s retreating poor self.

Blood seemed to gush from my veins,
And the brain threatened to hold the reins.

 

Sleep eluded . . .
Thoughts crowded . . .


As the clock struck six,
I tip-toed down the staircase.

 

Looking back at my loved ones,
Would weaken my resolution.

I looked ahead and opened the latch above my head,
Taking a deep breath I slipped out . . .

 

Beyond the doorpost . . .
Into the darkness that my mother had guarded me against, the most.

There is danger out there, my love
You’re safe in here!

 

 

(P.S. Written from the viewpoint of a youngster in a violent conflict zone of war and extremism)

INTO THE LIGHT

The day I was born you called me princess,
You laughed when I cooed, you jumped to see me stand,
You held my hand when I fell and fell,
You were my first teacher and saw me through good and bad.

You saw me grew, but to you, I am always tender,
You cried for my pains and overwhelmed by my tiny success,
You drove me to school and “kiss me before bye” was your rule,
You were so thoughtful and cheerful, and to you, I am the most beautiful,

I was a naughty child and confused girl who frequently needed an aid,
And you were always there to guide your little mermaid,
Never know what’s trouble cause of your care,
And you gave me many memories to share.

When all the hope seemed to be gone,
You were my shining beacon and gave me strength to carry on,
Many times you embarked on official trips leaving me sad,
But when I am in your arms, I am always glad.

You enriched our lives with your care and love,
And for which I can never express how much I owe,
To help those in trouble, you always had a way,
And your job got a special pay.

Till that unfortunate day, everything went so well,
And I never knew even the meaning of the word HELL,
If I knew that would be the last day, I would see you walk out of the door,
I would have hugged you more and more,
Since you are gone, I tried so hard to show nothing is wrong,
But deep inside I know without you how I can never be strong.
I yearned for your hug, your words and your kisses all these days,
And I tried to speak to you one more time in a million ways,
That uneventful night I heard you cough,
But little I know that’s the end of my laugh.

I never had any bitterness for God in my heart,
But now, in my life, I still struggle for a new start,
All I wanted to see you step out of that hospital my dad,
But all those doctors failed attempts made me mad.

It was hard to accept that you will be missed,
But I felt your skin so cold as I kissed,
I heard people saying “its okay he became old’’,
But how can I ever say that I lost my “precious gold”.

Days months and years passed since you left,
But the pain in my heart never left,
Each day I kept watching the infinity,
And living each day with uncertainty.

I asked God for your love again, one last miracle,
And I kept waiting for the answer from the oracle,
There was always dawn after dusk,
And little I know, I just needed to ask.

One fine day, I felt your tender touch again,
And I know it was the flutter of an angel’s wings,
God answered my yearning prayer,
And again He made me happier.

Now I know I am being watched and not alone,
All the sadness and despair is gone,
Dad, you never failed me before,
And from now on I will never fail you for sure.

As a father, you gave me life, strength, happiness, and everything,
And I won’t let it go for anything,
One day the world will sing about my success so loud,
And I am sure that I will make you so proud.

HOW MUCH EMOTIONAL SPACE DO WE OCCUPY UP IN OUR RELATIONSHIP?

My co-writers have talked much about Allowing Space in any relationship. It may be between spouses, other family members, friends, colleagues and so on. Space is always necessary for the growth of an individual, no doubt about it but I somehow feel very apprehensive of this term SPACE in a marital bond. Because a marriage always involves two different individuals where they grow together in that beautiful institute. If the husband is having a growth and the wife is not growing along with her spouse or vice versa then there’s something wrong in that marriage. But again as an individual each person needs to grow for him or her own self. In that case a reasonable amount of space is indispensable for both the partners individually.

Now in a relationship, how much emotional space does each partner occupy is essential to know. But before that we need to understand what does this term ‘Emotional Space’ means. Emotional Space is the time, energy, and space a partner spends dealing with or listening to the emotions, words, thoughts, needs, etc. of the other partner.

There are three types of scenarios that we find concerning Emotional Space which will help us to understand where we stand individually and together in our own marriage. Those scenarios are as follows:

Scenario 1

WHERE ONE PARTNER USES UP MOST OF THE EMOTIONAL SPACE

In this kind of scenario, one partner usually seen to be involved too much in a marital relationship and expressing most of the time where as the other partner seem to be uninvolved. One person may seem extremely emotional, needy, intense etc., while the other person may seem to be aloof and seem to have no needs at all in a marriage.

In my marriage, I actually feel very content at times and feel my wife to be complaining and needy all the time. It’s good that this scenario doesn’t exist all the time in our marriage.

Scenario 2

Where NEITHER of the PERSONs uses UP ANY EMOTIONAL SPACE

In this kind of scenario, two individuals seem to be enjoying each other’s company and can be intimate with each other but they don’t feel the need of any emotions in their relationship. Whether they have been staying long or short they fail to move deeper into each other’s emotional lives.

Sometimes, I feel very scared when I find both of us holding our phones and busy using up our so called space. I ask this question to myself that time, “Are we drifting apart?”

Usually, this is a worst scenario of a marriage relationship where the partners are busy with everything but themselves. Usually, they keep drifting apart till they get separated.

Scenario 3

Where BOTH the PErsons use UP required EMOTIONAL SPACE

This has to be the best scenario where both the partners deeply get involved with each other emotionally. They occupy the emotional space equally and beautifully. This is definitely the most ideal and healthy marriage relationship where neither of the partners will ever take the step up shutting out the other or stay far away emotionally for long.

Friends! Where do we stand in our marriage relationship today? Are we drifting apart in the names of space or staying involved in our marriage with joy?

Remember, if we are involved emotionally more with an outsider (includes our parents or siblings or closest of friends) than our own partners then there’s something wrong in our relationship which needs to be considered right away.

So, how much emotional space do you occupy in your relationship?

Keep reading and keep pondering,

Stay blessed!

BEING ALONE

Being alone 2

Those who know me in person would be rather surprised that I am blogging something about being alone! Ha ha.. someone who is always chattering and who is always surrounded by friends is talking about being alone, what an irony!

But its indeed true, my friends. Some who have known me inside out would vouch the fact that I am moody – I think all cancerians are 😉 well, no blame on the sun sign, but yes, I am indeed moody. I like to be with friends but I like to be alone. I know this doesn’t make sense, but this is what it is.

I will give you an example. I could have an amazing day out with friends, but later in the night I would want to withdraw, I would want to be with myself, I would want to be alone. Funny, isn’t it? Actually, it is not!

I believe that when we are continuously surrounded by people, be it friends or family or colleagues, we are often influenced by them. In some cases, we are intimidated by some people and at other times we are overwhelmed by certain dominating personalities around us. Sometimes we often behave in a particular fashion because that is what is expected from us. And many times we behave unnatural to please an important person around us. I agree that all this is inevitable but I feel lost in all this clutter. I feel artificial and I don’t like it. As the saying goes – “when in Rome do as Romans do” I would continue to be like that all through the day, but in the end I like to withdraw and be myself.

I like to sit down and do nothing – absolutely nothing. Because this is time when my mind ponders over what I really want – what I really want from life and what I really want from myself. All through the day I may focus on what others want from me, but at the end of it all, I think it is very important that I understand what do I want, what do I feel. That’s why I like being alone. All alone.

Life had changed so much after marriage. Suddenly I was feeling so busy with all the new responsibilities that I felt like I am having identity crisis because in the initial time of an Indian marriage – it’s more about being the daughter in law than being yourself. I had to change my likes and dislikes, I had to adapt to the new way of making food and I had to change the sleeping and waking up time too! No cribbing about that because almost all girls go through it, but the point here is that the transformation phase was so overwhelming and that was the point when the thought of being alone crept into my heart.

Fortunately or unfortunately I got a work assignment that took me to Europe for 15 days – all alone. No family no colleagues. I was so happy for those 15 days. I did miss my family for sure, but I didn’t fear the loneliness that came along with it because of time zone difference. I used that time for all that I always wanted to do without being disturbed – read, read and read more (books), sleep for long, watch senseless shows on television and take showers for a long time. Wow! It was indeed refreshing.

Many a times I just vanish from my friend circle – not that I cut contacts with them but it may not be like a usual call to ask how they are doing or have usual chats on the messages. And this is so frustrating for my friends I know, but I do have this “Being Alone” streak to my personality. And I really like that. Because it gives me time to understand myself. If I can’t understand myself how will I be able to understand others?

When I say I like to be alone I am absolutely clear to myself that I don’t want to be alone for life. I can’t imagine my life without my family and my friends. But yes, I certainly want to be alone on certain occasions. I echo Celine Dion’s words “Some people can’t stand being alone. I love solitude and silence. But when I come out of it, I am a regular talking machine”

I learn about my mistakes when I am alone and it gives me strength to accept those mistakes and apologize for them. It is so difficult to apologize, not many are able to do so. That’s because when a person makes a mistake, often he tends to defend himself. More than explaining, it is a process where the person is trying to makeup an excuse to himself. I have done that, but when I am alone, I acknowledge the fact that it’s easy to convince others about your mistakes but it is very difficult to convince yourself. I can see through my mistakes more clearly and I am able to understand why did I do so. And all this happens only when I am alone. All alone!

To conclude, I would say that being alone makes me a better human being, it makes me happy. But I reiterate that I also value to be around with my family. Jodie Foster’s words describe me perfectly

“Its an interesting combination: Having a great fear of being alone, and having a great need for solitude and the solitary experience . That’s always been a tug of war for me.”

I like to push and pull myself in this tug of war 🙂

DO YOU GIVE ENOUGH SPACE?

Read this:

babyyouaremylifeandIwanttoconfessittodayIcan’treallyimaginemyworldwithouyouYougivemehopeyouaremypassionandyouarecompassionEveryemotionthatIfeelinlifestartsfromyouandendsonyouIfIgetanotherbirthinlifeIwouldliketospenditalongwithyouYouarethemostspecialpersoninmylifeBabyyouaremyworldandIcan’tlivewithoutyouWanttospeciallyconfesstodaythatIstillloveyouandmyloveforyouistrueIloveyou!

Now read this:

Baby you are my life and I want to confess it today. I can’t really imagine my world without you. You give me hope, you are my passion and you are compassion. Every emotion that I feel in life starts from you and ends on you. If I get another birth in life, I would like to spend it along with you. You are the most special person in my life. Baby you are my world and I can’t live without you. Want to specially confess today that I still love you and my love for you is true. I love you!

When you read the first part, how difficult was it to read? Most of you must have skipped reading this part because of its tedious appearance. The beautiful message (part2) lost its essence only because there was no space between the words. It made a lot more sense and could give out the feelings in part 2 only because it was spaced properly.

Same happens with relationships. If you do not give space, the relationship becomes complicated and looses its essence. The charm of the relationship dies. Space is necessary.

Spacebar is the longest key on the keyboard. Ever wondered why? Because, SPACE is very important.

Give space, make life easy and beautiful.

SOCIETY CAN YOU MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, PLEASE?

I was in school when I read this line “Man is a social animal“.

As I grew up I realised that it made so much sense as a human being cannot live in solitude.  He needs constant support of the society around him for his survival.

And what’s Society? It’s You + Me = WE.

It’s all about inter-dependence, co-ordination and co-operation.

But over the ages with the evolution and development of civilizations across the globe the society has not just been an integral part of a man’s life as a support system but started poking nose into the private matters of his life and tuned more hostile, encroaching the space, the domain not meant for trespassing.

Petty examples explaining the gravity of the situation, of how the “society” is not just around us but very much in our living room or perhaps (worse) in our bedroom.

  • Marriage which is a very personal affair/ decision has always been a matter of keen interest for the neighbours and relatives.  “When are you getting married”, “why aren’t you getting married”, “your marriageable age is already passing, you must hurry up now before its too late”.  These questions might seem to be funny on this page but when in shoes of those, facing them, it’s irritating beyond explanation to answer such recurring questions to those who are not even remotely connected to their lives.
  • Marriages especially in countries like India have always been grand affairs.  No stone is left unturned to make it memorable. But unfortunately the prime motto of having all this glitter and bling is to impress “chaar log” ( Indian meme for friends+relatives = society).  Even if a suggestion is passed off to keep it minimalist pat comes a reply “log Kya kahenge” ( what would people say). And none of those “log” would come to pay off debts that one makes for this pompous celebration.
  • A neighbour always eavesdrop to listen what’s going on in other’s house, is everything alright between a daughter in law and  a mother in law or not?  And by “everything alright” I mean they are fighting  (that’s a rule of thumb perceived by many for that relation).  If that condition is fulfilled then their quota for gossip is filled for that week.
  • Honour killings are nothing but a grave offshoot of this habit of society appeasement. A family won’t mind turning criminal by breaking law as it is more honourable than allowing two individuals to culminate into one barring the lines of caste and religion. What a shame!
  • Rules and regulations as to how one should dress, behave, eat etc. are prime examples as to how our society controls our lives.

Man is under constant pressure of behaving himself so as to not to infuriate the society and face its wrath.  Fear of being judged, fear of being outcasted is rendering him helpless and hindering him from thinking, thinking free rather.

From Socrates to Newton; from Raja Ram Mohan Roy to Malala Yosouf, society around them have been telling them:

Dare to dream, dare to fly

We are here to chop off your wings and never let you try”.

Biggest Truth or Irony:  A society which is meant for the betterment of every individual comprising it never (of late) really means it.  Had it been so why would one empty the trash in front of other’s house? And mind you that’s not an unmindful act, people do it deliberately; Why no one would raise a voice against an eve-teaser teasing a girl in full public glare? For that matter why any injustice is tolerated or goes unnoticed willingly with a coward thought of “let’s not get into it“, ” how does it concern it to me“.   Truth is when it really matters the so-called “Society” deters from taking a charge and involving in our lives and set a life changing example for everyone to follow henceforth.

Hence my only request to the society:  “If you can’t stand for and with me when it matters, don’t try to crawl and make inroads into my haven later.  In this world I have a small world of my own : my family and my life, and that’s my space! Would you mind leaving that to me and minding your own Business, Please?”