PARENTING – A RESPONSIBILITY WITH FULL-ON COMMITMENT

Parenting is a huge responsibility for which most couples land in, with their eyes wide open, ears sharpened and mind quite boggled. Even then it is a huge responsibility.  It is not easy to convince each other to reckon with the transition and adapt to it. But once you are a parent- you are always a parent, be it just for one kid, two or three or more. Parenting is not a cakewalk, it involves lots of hardships and commitment. As the couple enters into parenthood, they are responsible for a life that is growing up among them. It is not easy to understand and provide solutions for every instance, because in every instance a different solution looks appealing to the child.

Most people enter parenthood, expecting joy, the soothing presence of a baby, the sense of parenting, happiness of seeing a baby smile – but is that what it is all about?

A smile is worth -when you have undergone sadness. Happiness is worthwhile only when you know the harshness of sorrow. 

Parenting is all about committing yourself to your child as a couple. A child must be both parents’ responsibility. But if you look out in our society, we might stumble upon many families, where one of the parents has to take up the whole commitment. Most of the couples, after a child is born to them, leave the complete responsibility to one shoulder and burden them.  It always happens and none share the responsibilities and finally, parenting becomes the secret dagger to blame the partner for lack of commitment.

Parenting is all about commitment.  There are many things to keep in mind when you are a parent.

  1. It is not a single effort- As becoming a parent is not just a one-person effort, it is important to realize that, the task must be shared. The child is equally both mother and father’s responsibility. The sooner you realize it, the better the results.
  2. Give time –Time is essential. Parenting is not just about having a child. Parents should dedicatedly give time to their child and also ensure they spend it as a family. Mostly as kids grow up, they become independent and might not completely need parents to help them. I personally believe that a child should be given a requestive amount of attention at a very young age. This is the time when bonding happens.
  3. Kids rely on their parents, hence be their rock: Kids rely on parents for everything, from the very beginning. It is important to be their support, but it doesn’t mean you have to be there for everything, few things they should be let to experiment on their own. All you need is to offer a hand of help, they might not need it but will be happy to hear from you. As a parent, your commitment must be to guide them, as well as give them space to decide on their choices.
  4. Share your responsibilities: Parenting is a big task, hence it is ideal when sharing is done. Taking care of your child is not just one of the parents’ duties. A happy mother or father can only make a happy family. To get a happy mind, relaxation is important. When one of the parents takes up the whole responsibility, they get exhausted and will not be able to do it well. Both mother and father need to share their work so that the other person doesn’t get drained.
  5. Understanding: This is something that washes away quite soon in a marriage. You need to understand and support your partner in parenting too. He/She might be confused, hence understand their plight and be supportive.

Even though parenting is something unplanned, there is a joy behind every moment of parenting. At times when I am exhausted, juggling around the responsibilities, end of the day, I feel like I am dead, but the moment my kids come and hug me, I feel energized.

In the end, the joy of being a parent is in the touch of your little one. There are no best or good parents – all are just work in progress parents.

Advertisements

MY FIRST DATE WITH MR. HUSBAND

 

Ours is a typical arranged marriage. Both the families met, the would-be bride and groom stole glances at each other and then done! Shadi Mubarak ho! Oh, they did allow us to talk in private (in the other room) but all eyes and ears were on us though. We made the biggest decision of our life in those 45 mins.

Two days later, we mustered up the courage to meet all alone, obviously, it was a secret meeting. So I was supposed to see Mr. Husband outside Mc Donalds at Andheri station. Those were the days when smartphones were not introduced in India and there were no smart calling plans either. So the last we spoke was when I left from work. My cellphone battery was low and I had jotted down his number on my hand. As luck may have it, I got stuck in the infamous traffic in Andheri and I was delayed. What to do now? My cell phone had died out by then.

After 30 mins delay, I reached the venue only to realise the he was not there. I felt so embarrassed but heck, I had informed him that I have left late from work and he understands the traffic conditions here. I was contemplating whether he had left already? Also what started scaring me was thoughts like he being very strict or particular and he might assume me clumsy because of this incident, then it had be so difficult to spend my entire life with this man!

Cut to the venue, so strolled back and forth around the point we had agreed to meet but there was no trace of him. It had started raining by then and the rain and the overall embarrassment had taken the best of me. Finally, I gathered enough courage to call him up but my phone had died already. I spotted a public phone only to know that the number I had jotted down on my hand had been wiped off already. Gosh! Could there be anything worse?

I was almost in tears, partly because of the fear about what he will think about me and whether he will reconsider his decision of marrying me and partly because I was totally overwhelmed by the happening of events. I could have planned better, isn’t it?

I scanned every person who had taken shelter from rains under the shelter of Mc Donalds but he was nowhere to be seen. With a very heavy heart and eyes full of tears, I turned back and started making my way to the station……

…… and then some called out my name loudly… ADITIIII… I turned back at a lightning speed and I saw a man waving at me from near Mc Donalds. He was grinning from ear to ear and took quick strides to reach me.

I was staring at him in disbelief and with no memory of who he was…obviously wondering if it was the same guy I had agreed to marry two days back. Yes, you got it right, I DID NOT RECOGNIZE MR HUSBAND.

He was standing right in front of me all this while, he was watching me search for him from one end to the other of the premises, he saw me going to the phone booth and coming back without calling him, he saw me staring at every person out there trying to look for him and he was merrily having fun! He couldn’t contain his laughter and was only short of rolling on the floor laughing and poor me I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh.

Now, I can’t stop thinking how better it had been if smartphones had already arrived in India by then and I could have had his picture on my phone but anyway, the phone had died out so the whole universe was in tandem to put me in this embarrassing situation.

So that’s how my first date with Mr. Husband was. And if you are thinking whether he reconsidered his decision of marrying me let me tell you he didn’t! He said he was looking for a joker in his life and I am exactly that.

This was 10 years ago. Today I continue to be his joker doing silly things and making him laugh.

GLASS – HANDLE WITH CARE

I had always felt very sad and incomplete on seeing other children going to school while, I was at home all day, dreaming. I was a 10 year old boy, sitting at home with an imaginary tagline on my forehead – “Glass – Hamdle with Care“. I could only dream at that time, to be a big man one day, sitting on a table and working on a computer. But how would I reach that state of my life was nothing more than just a mirage for me at that point of time.

Finally, when the time came for me to step out of the house and enter into a school campus, my joys were leaps and bounds. I couldn’t contain them. I was admitted to the school directly into the fourth standard. It all happened because of my aunt (my mom’s elder sister). She convinced my all-possessive maternal grandfather to allow me to go to the school where she was working as a teacher. I was a thin timid boy with no courage at all, bearing the same imaginary tagline – “Glass-Handle with Care”. 

Years later, when I passed out of my school and it was time for me to get admitted into a college the tension arose in the minds of my local guardians. But I joined. The day I went for the admission I saw a senior student carrying a sword along with all his friends, protesting against the government during the Mondal Commission issue in 1992. This time, carrying the imaginary tagline “Glass-Handle with Care” by myself, I was trembling in fear looking at the rowdy students out there. This is how my first time at college started with a serious jolt down my spines.

In 1997 after my graduation, I wanted to taste freedom and fortunately, my aunt stood by my side trying to convince my grandfather to allow me to study away from them at Bhubaneswar in Utkal University for my post-graduation. My father’s elder brother was the Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor of Utkal University. I stayed at my cousin’s to complete my PG in Utkal University. But I was strictly instructed to carry my tagline, “Glass-Handle with Care” without fail.

That imaginary tagline was the chain which put me under its bondage at every ‘First Step’ I took at different stages of my life. But I could breathe free with my lungs inhaling the fresh air of freedom for the first time when I came to Kolkata, my first out of state stay. I sensed, the tagline “Glass-Handle with Care” disappearing for the first time after many years in my life. I felt God’s promise of “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go“, real and evident.

Have I become very strong? Am I free from all the sufferings? Don’t I have any weaknesses anymore? No, not at all… I have become more weak and slower. But I definitely am free from that all-encompassing negative tagline, “Glass-Handle with Care”. 

Never enjoy stagnancy but always be ready for the first time adventures relying on His divine strength.

Stay Blessed!

SPECIAL FIRST TIMES!!!

First times are always special because they make you either confident in continuing what we want to do or they make us really scared to go ahead in that venture. There are many things that have gone well for me when I think of my first times. Although there have been goof-ups too, sometimes because of me and other times not. 

The very first memory that I have of a goof-up is when I was going to the school in Dehradun for the first time. I was born in Gujrat and my parents had been staying there for almost 18 years. When I was 6 years old, my father got transferred to Dehradun and we packed our bags to come to this new city which was quite different. My father and one of his colleagues had got the transfer together and hence we were travelling together. I was 6 ready to go in 1st standard and my sister was 13 ready to go in 9th standard. And the other family also had two kids – elder one going to go in 4th standard and younger one was my age. 

We had shifted mid-session so getting admissions in the school was a challenge. Somehow we managed to get admission in a school named Scholar’s Home which had 3 branches. The farthest branch was quite far off where my sister was supposed to go since she was going to High School. The first branch was quite a big school but we did not get admission there, we younger ones got the admission in the second branch which was only the Primary school. The schools were quite far off from our home and there was a school bus that would take us there. 

I don’t remember a lot of it but I remember being dead scared. It was a brand new city, new school and away from home. I don’t know if I cried but I know that the only relief I had was that I was not alone going to that school. So, the goof-up happened when the bus conductor got confused about which branch he is supposed to drop us at. There were no mobile phones or landlines at that time. My sister was on the other bus. We three kids got dropped at the first branch which was not the school we were supposed to be at. I remember kept telling the bus conductor that I don’t think this is where we are supposed to be, but who takes a 6-year-old seriously? 

As soon as we came in, the teachers were surprised to see us as we weren’t even expected. I started crying and so did the other two kids with me. We spent the whole day sitting in the Principal’s office. There was no way they could get the confirmation from anywhere either our parents or the other school. We did not know which bus to take us back home, so we waited for long 6 hours or so for the school to get over. Once the school got over, we were escorted to the school bus. The bus was waiting there and I was so relieved to see my sister on the bus. I remember telling her the whole story and then repeating it for my parents multiple times about what really happened. I don’t know how scared or worried they got. 

Now as a parent, I feel that it was a pretty bad goof-up. We could have been lost and I can imagine the state of my parents once they came to know what really happened. Later on, till the time I was at that school – it was a pretty funny story to tell other kids that how I got dropped at the wrong school.

The first-time event isn’t always goof ups. They are also memories for a lifetime. And there is one more first time that I would like to share which was rather special – it was the first time I travelled abroad. It was an official trip to the US and I was just 22 years of age. That opportunity was rather an unexpected one but I was quite thrilled that I got a chance to stay there for 3 months. During the journey, I kept listening to the song from the movie Chak de – “Badal pe paon hai”. It did feel like I am cloud 9 and everything around was so very exciting. The first experience of explaining a Mc Donald’s cashier that I wanted to have a vegetarian burger was quite funny. After a while, I asked them if they could make a burger without meat and the lady looked at me as if I had asked for all the trash in the restaurant. Just by her look, I left the place after having fries and coke. 

At the Denver airport, I was quite nervous at the security check for a simple reason that I had to take a domestic flight now. I had heard quite a lot about their security checks. I did the regular drill of taking off the shoes, socks, coat, specs, etc. Unfortunately, my mobile was still in my pocket. So when I went through the metal detector, it beeped. And I realized that those guys take the metal detector beeps way seriously than I had ever seen. The security personnel there looked quite scary and he asked me to step back. In all my nervousness, I did not understand him at all. He had to say this thrice for me to get it and my eyes were fixated on the gun that he had taken out because I wasn’t listening to him. Of course, once I stepped back they checked me thoroughly only to find a harmless innocent mobile in my pocket and then they let go of me. I was trembling by the time all this got over, but now I knew how to handle the security there. The more nervous you are, the more trouble you are in.

We were a group of Indians working together on a project while my first stay in the US. Our project manager was an old American lady who was a workaholic. She once came to me and said – “Prabhjot, I have trouble communicating with some of our colleagues”. I was a bit puzzled if my friends were in some trouble. 

She said “Every time I ask a question to Anand, he always nods his head sideways. I cannot make out if he is saying a Yes or a No. What does it really mean?” 

I couldn’t help but laugh at this. She was sincerely quite embarrassed in asking this question and it was her first time working with Indians. I told her it is not just you, we Indians also get confused with each other. And then I had to tell my manager to sensitize the team to not use nods and communicate very clearly in Yes or No. 

Well, first times are special. Not just first time events but also the first time objects are super special – like first salary, first address of your own, first house, first car, first pet and the list goes own. My husband gets quite frustrated every time we cross the ATM where I withdrew my first salary from – because I always remind him that this is the ATM where I saw so much money in my account for the first time and what a thrill it was.

Tough circumstances do not necessarily mean
that the worst is soon going to be over;
they are preparations for tougher struggles.

The struggle is inevitable,
only options available are less or more of it.

I AM DISAPPEARING

Cynthia: Hey, why are you staring at me? 

Lucy: You look beautiful.

Cynthia: Thank you! 

Lucy: You seem so happy. 

Cynthia: Aren’t you happy? 

Lucy:  I don’t look beautiful as you. 

Cynthia: What has beauty to do with happiness?

Lucy: No? See, so many people come to visit you. They are amazed by your beauty. They take lots of pictures of you 😦

Cynthia: You would have seen many who admire my external appearance. Have you encountered anyone who cares for me? 

Lucy: Oh! But why?

Cynthia: Yes, people are interested in their recreation but never think of what can be done to preserve us. 

Lucy: No? 

Cynthia: Well, no.  They aren’t even bothered if I am going to be extinct. Many of my fellow species have already become extinct. 

Lucy: Then I am the one who is better off here. At least some people are interested in giving food and accepting me as their family. 

Cynthia: Yes, you are lucky. 

Lucy: Most of our habitats are being occupied, I hope they stop doing this. 

Cynthia: Yes, sorry, Lucy. I cannot do anything for you. 

Lucy: Yes, you can. Please be happy

Are you wondering who Cynthia and Lucy are? This is their picture together. 

cat-4277400_1920
(Image Credit – Pixabay.com)

From the moment I saw the picture, there was only one question on my mind. When was the last time I saw a butterfly in Bangalore? Except for parks, I have never seen them otherwise. I remember during childhood, so many caterpillars and butterflies were taking rounds in our garden. Now, we don’t have them. It is sad, the first thing I thought of is the butterfly extinction when I saw this picture. 

Butterflies do not need much from us. They have their own enemies in the form of birds and insects. All we need to do is not dwell on their habitats. Another reason why butterflies are dying is the use of pesticides. Fruits, vegetables, and nectar are the main staples for butterflies. The use of pesticides is causing genetic changes in the produce, that butterflies could not survive on them. During summer, when the temperature crosses 40 degrees Celcius, butterflies cannot fly. They lose their capacity to fly. If you see a butterfly in your balcony or garden, during such time, provide water and some corn for them to eat. They cannot survive otherwise. Butterflies are very beautiful, and future generations would have to only read about them in books if we do not become responsible. Hope to see lots of colorful butterflies coming season.