THE INVISIBLE INFLUENCES

A couple of months back I was at the OB-GYN, waiting for my turn. There were almost 20 women already waiting, so I thought it would take time before I would be called in. I took out my phone to continue reading the book I started. Few pages into the book, I was pondering on the idea of the author when a girl in her mid-twenties walked in. 

Receptionist: Good morning Mam!

Her: Good morning! I need an appointment with OBG.

Receptionist: Name mam

Her: Abigail 

Receptionist: Number of weeks or gestation period?

Her: 28 weeks

Receptionist: Age mam

Her: 26

Receptionist: Married mam?

Her: Unmarried 

Receptionist: (Little hesitant, she asked again to reconfirm) Unmarried mam?

Her: Yes

By now, everyone’s eyes in the room were fixed on her. I slipped back into reading my book. I was called for my checkup and the doctor ordered for a scan. I was seated at the waiting area of the radiology wing when Abigail approached me and almost snapped with the question, “Would you mind if I sit here?“. There was a dose of anger in her face. “Sure“, I replied. 

“Is it so difficult to not make me feel awkward? Why can’t you do your own stuff and not concentrate on others?” – she said in a tone which was screaming frustration.

“Excuse me, I didn’t mean to. Abigail, right?”. She nodded

“Abigail, you are feeling awkward because you noticed us glance at you when you said you weren’t married. I understand that it might be difficult for you to go through the process of birthing being unmarried. In a conservative society like India, heads are going to turn every time you say you are unmarried with this baby bump. By now, you have made a decision to go ahead with the baby, so, the only thing you should do is to get accustomed to these stares.”

She was staring at me with a puzzled face

“I am not judging you. In fact, I don’t know how you ended up with this pregnancy. This pregnancy could be a result of someone not keeping their promise, or you are having an IVF, or you are the receiver of an unconsented sexual encounter. Whatever the reason may be, personally I appreciate that you stood for your baby. There is a lot more for you to handle apart from these stares. Don’t give too much importance to what we would think or say. Am I going to help you during your delivery? No. Would I be taking care of your kid in the future? No. Do you think if you would ever cross my thoughts again? Maybe.  Am I your family or friend? No.. then, why should you care about what I think? Abigail, I don’t want to be harsh on you, but straight to the point, please stop consciously noticing other’s behaviors.”

“Are you saying it’s my fault?”

“It is not about one’s fault. Not about what is right or wrong either. When you made a decision, you should be prepared for the consequences, good or bad. Whatever your path may be, there would always be people who dislike it or criticize it. If I were you, I would think about ensuring a safe and secure future for my kid. The rest should be taking a back seat at this point in time.”

She smiled and I moved on with my scan. I never saw her again. I hope she is doing fine and had a healthy baby. 

It is not just Abigail who thinks about what others would think or behave when we do certain things, all of us do. Many think that only when we are doing something that does not fit into the “rightness” of society we tend to change or modify our decisions. In fact, these invisible factors are influencing us every day, they would continue to do so if we allow them to. 

Consider a situation when you are out for dinner with friends or family. When we are placing an order in a round-robin fashion, if anyone before us chooses the same dish as we have in mind, we tend to change our choice. This is often because we think it hinders our individuality. We do not buy shoes or clothing we see are being worn by many others. 

One more example could be choosing our next vacation spot. Many who follow others on facebook or Instagram, choose their vacation spot that is different than others in their social network. Somehow, we like to say that we visited a place no one else did. Constantly, we are conscious of our decisions. 

As far as I am concerned, I give the least importance to what others or society thinks. I believe society does little when we are in trouble. If we have a very caring society and family, we wouldn’t be so worried about our decisions in the first case. So, why give so much importance to what others think? Why should we base our decisions on their thoughts? We should always do what is best for us but do not hurt others at the same time. 

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

– Dr. Seuss

PREPARATION FOR PARENTHOOD

This week on Candles Online, we are discussing the importance of preparation in our lives. There are things that you can enjoy the most when you dive in head first, but for a majority of important events in our lives, we feel that we must prepare ourselves. Is parenthood one such event? Without doubt, yes. And yet, it often throws even seasoned parents into a conundrum.

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Source: Good Parentig Quotes

No matter how many books you read, or gyan you get from mothers around you, or prenatal yoga you do, nothing helps you get back on your feet faster than the thought of your newborn unattended. The stitches from my C-section still burnt with intense pain but one whimper from my daughter would make me spring up from my hospital bed. I wouldn’t entrust her feeds to anyone else. I’m sure many mothers will agree with me when I say that their mothering experiences were quite different from the one’s around them in certain aspects. The same goes for parenthood in general. No amount of research on being a parent is enough when you’re tackling a toddler who refuses to brush her teeth with ‘pink’ toothpaste and wants the ‘blue’ one instead. Aaaah, now there wasn’t anything about toothpaste choices in that book on parenting, was there? Don’t bother checking. There may be a thousand, no make that a million, other instances that the book doesn’t offer advice on. Why? Because every parent and every child is unique.

So should we not prepare for parenthood?

Of course, you must! While much of the learning about parenting happens on the job, there’s still a lot you can learn beforehand by observing others, through books, even through your own experiences as a child. For example, I am eternally thankful for the parenting books I read that acquainted me with the bowel movements of newborns, or else I may have had a heart-attack when I saw my daughter’s first few stools changing colours after every two days!

So yes, books, videos, the experiences of others, they all help you prepare, but the very first step in preparing for parenthood is preparing oneself, and by this I don’t mean buying things for the child, or redecorating your home to make it baby-proof, or going to the doctor or taking your health supplements on time; I mean preparing oneself emotionally to become a parent.

Two days back I talked to my best bud who is not a mother yet and we were discussing how some of our friends are second-time parents already, whereas she couldn’t conceive of being mommy to even one child because she thought she wasn’t prepared for it. What did she mean by that? Not prepared financially? Or her residence wasn’t baby-proof? Or that her career didn’t allow her to be a mother? It was all of that too, but mostly she meant that she wasn’t yet ready to take on the responsibility of taking care of a child. She wasn’t emotionally prepared.

Why is emotional preparedness important for being a parent when it’s your body and your pocket taking care of the child? It’s because biologically, after attaining puberty, most people can become parents very easily. Some are as young as just teenagers when they become first-time parents, but to be a good parent, one must be willing to take that responsibility and ensure that they will do their best to be good role models to their children. 

 

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Source: Pinterest

From what I have learnt after being a parent, parenting is all about being responsible, sacrificing and setting a good precedent for your child. Parenting is a lot of work and most of the time it’s a thankless job. Oh! also most of it is guesswork. Add to that, today’s definition of a parent does not limit itself to ‘someone who takes care of a child’ because the term ‘childcare’ itself means taking care of the physical, emotional, educational, financial and spiritual needs of a child. No wonder it’s a confusing experience for most first-time parents, but let me tell you, it isn’t any less confusing for second and even third, or fourth-time parents, because every child is unique! Again taking an example from my own life, my mother tells me, I gave her hell at mealtimes, and she fretted that my brother would turn out the same way, but he turned out to be an angel. So much for her parenting experience!

So if you are planning a family or are expecting a child in your world soon, the first thing to prepare is – yourself. Ask yourself if you’re ready. Ask your self if you will be devoted to your child – love him, nurture him, ignore his tantrums and bad habits, yet guide him on the right track to life and be a friend, mother, father, family, guide, teacher, protector and cheerleader to him for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. When you answer yes to all of the above, you’ll know your preparation for parenthood is almost done. Now go ahead, have fun being a parent and yes, you may now buy that cute dinosaur onesie! 😉

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Source: Pinterest

Featured Image: OnlineMommyDiva at Pixabay

​THE SOUND OF SMILE!

6p.m. : Sanket logout from his system and sent a WhatsApp message to Priya…

Sanket: Hi… How are you?

Priya: Yes…I’m fine. How about you?

Sanket: Just logout. When will you logout?

Priya: In 15min.

Sanket: Okay. Let’s have coffee and then I will drop you at your place!

Priya: Okay. Coming to next building CCD in 20 minutes

Sanket: Okay Ma’am. Waiting for you

At CCD…

Sanket: (with big smile on his face) Hey dear… How was your day?

Priya: (with a bit of reluctant smile) Hmm… as usual. Nothing new. How about yours?

Waiter: Hello Good evening Ma’am, good evening Sir! Your order please?

Sanket: Priya, what would you prefer?

Priya: One Cold Coffee!

Sanket: One Cold Coffee for Ma’am and One Cappuccino for me

Waiter: Thank you Sir. (He walked off) 

Sanket: I am doing good but what’s the matter with you… How’s life going on?

Priya: Wish I die at once, rather than dying every moment!

Sanket: Why are you saying like this? Is there anything wrong?

Priya: I have never expected Sanky will cheat me. Last month I caught him intimate with another girl from his company. How come he can do like this? For him I went against my parents. I pushed my life into all kinds of messy situations. I trusted him. He was my first love. I had dreamed so many beautiful things but why he did like this? Where shall I go now? What shall I do? It’s better for me to kill myself rather than dying  remembering his betrayal each moment. 

Sanket: My friend…why do you think like this? It’s good that you saw his real face quite early. Still you have better option to choose. Live your life with your parents… Keep dreaming for something better rather than that cheat. You don’t know people are in worse condition than yours.

Priya: Yes… dear. Since then my parents and their aspirations regarding me have helped me to survive. Though the days to come may be harder for me but I will try to live on.

Sanket: Okay. Good and courageous girl. Let’s go…it’s already 8 and I need to drop you as well.

Priya: Don’t worry, I will call Uber. 

Sanket: No…it’s okay. I can ride 2 km more for my dear friend.

Priya: Thank you for being so kind to me. You’re truly a good friend of mine. Wish we could have met early.

After an hour Sanket dropped Priya at her home. And with a smiling face he gave her a nice Indian hug. Kissing her forehead he said, “Stay in peace. Wish I could meet you tomorrow but…”

Priya: Wiping tears from her eyes.. thank you my dear for the love and encouragement. Why people are not like you? 

They Shook hands with each other and went their ways. Next morning at 7am  Priya sent a WhatsApp message to Sanket…

Priya: “Good morning dear. Thank you again for yesterday. Almost after one month I was able to sleep last night. It’s all because of the time spent with you. Can we meet sometime today?”

But there was no reply from the other end. She tried to phone him but his number was switched off. After 30 minutes…the phone rang. 

Priya: Hello

Other end: yes… this is Smita yaar.

Priya: oh…yes. Tell me

Smita: Did you hear the news?

Priya: What news?

Smita: Arre…yaar about Sanket!

Priya: (very worried and in loud voice) What happened to him?

Smita: Rahul phoned me and said… Sanket hung himself last night in his bedroom. Police took his dead body for post-mortem this morning. I came to know that, last week his girlfriend rejected him because he was from a middle-class family and was unable to afford her the luxuries. 

Priya: With sobbing tone… what a girl is she? Getting partner like Sanket is a blessing. But you know last night after office both of us had coffee. As I unfolded my story to him, he counseled me and encouraged me to move on leaving the past as past and so on. Even he dropped me with a nice hug, kissed on my forehead and said, “Stay in peace. Wish I could meet you tomorrow but… wait….wait…  Stay in peace. Wish I could meet you tomorrow but…

She thought for sometime thinking of those sentences what he said to her…

Priya: OMG…what a blunder I did? (slapping her forehead)

Smita: What blunder?

Priya: That’s the reason he said, I wish to meet you tomorrow but…..! How fool I am  that, I just ignored that ‘but…’

We come across this sort of stories in our walks of life… Isn’t it?

Often we meet people like Sanket. Though they carry too much of pain in their heart but still they don’t display it on their face. You will only find smile on their faces and encouraging words on their lips but they have a stories underneath their aching hearts.

It is very unique… ‘Human life begins with tears and ends with tears…’ But still there are few people who know how to smile. Because they know that smile is contagious and very effective. Smile is not just a display of emotion rather it displays relationships…it displays love…it displays care… and more over the silent words behind it are – ‘I know I have problems but still your problem is greater than mine. Can I help you?’

Though I don’t have younger sister in my family but still God has provided me a sweet lovely younger sister Alaka (her elder sister is my friend). Whenever I feel worried and in much of sorrows… I feel desperate to see her face. It’s just to see her truthful smile I search for her because I usually don’t share my problems but her smiles bring a smile on my face  spontaneously and I feel bit comforted.

Bible says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”. And in context of giving smile, this is absolutely relevant. The tendency of selfish human nature is to move around in our own stories and own problems, we never tend to give a smile and look at other’s problems. We always love to wipe our tears and give tears to the other person.

But I will encourage you to ask yourself a question – 

“How many times I stood as the reason of someone else’s smile?” 

Life will begin and end with tear. That’s the reality and the perfect pattern to teach us many things. Life lessons cannot be learnt in the stillness of water, it can only be learnt facing the high waves in the seas of life. But along with the tears in heart we have to smile and look at the other person’s story. I am not giving an encouragement to reflect a plastic smile but encouraging to be a reason behind the smile.

Be a reason and read the story behind every smile or tears.

God bless you!

Avinash

TEARS CAN BE USEFUL

There’s an iconic dialogue in one of the Indian movie – “Pushpa, I hate tears”, this is what the protagonist says to the lady of the movie.  That actually makes me think not just twice but many times – Why?  Why hate tears? They are not that bad per say, what say?

Tears according to my understanding have their own importance in human life.  They are a strong weapon a woman possess (men say so 😉). Ok let’s not dig deeper into serious and sensitive issues of feminism and gender equality.

*Note: This is my personal take on tears and you can always have a different view-point.

I vividly remember when I was in 11th class, I along with a group of friends went for the renewal of bus pass as we started using public transport. Everyone in the group got their bus pass renewed and my turn came and the person on the other side of the window declined to renew my card. “Why?” I asked.  He said…… (actually I don’t clearly remember where the problem lied) but the crux of the matter is denial to oblige the request.  I broke down in tears as everyone from my group almost left the place with job done and that was the last date.  The person in charge looked at the sad face of mine and decided to grant the permission for renewal.  And I was relieved.  My tears played positive for me.

In another incident I had a similar melt down in front of doctors while I was searching a place for my son in special schools.  My tears definitely impacted them (I believe so and wholeheartedly).

But trust me my reaction in any of the above mentioned situations was not intentional.  It just happened.  And I am unapologetic about it😊.

So frequent are my melt downs that my teacher once asked me if I have an inbuilt tank in my eyes that start overflowing at the click of a button. But can’t help it, this is Me!

So tears in melt downs can melt the hearts and prompt them to help others.  This is how I think tears are useful.

Crying your heart out relieves the burden :  There are times when I feel knocked down in life.  I can not voice my inner feelings vocally but only let my eyes swell with pain and the tears dampen my cheeks.  Slowly and steadily with every drop pain seems to vanish leaving me light.  And of course one such session gives a good night sleep, a blissful slumber 😁.

Only sensitive not weak:  Many think that tears are a sign of weakness.  And God forbid if a man is seen teary eyed he is branded “weak”, “girly”.  It is an absolute wrong notion.  Tears show how sensitive you are and sensitivity I don’t think is a synonym for weakness.  Your tears are a way of expression be it happiness or grief.  And there is nothing wrong in letting them flow.  On contrary suppression could lead to build up of agony within oneself.  That equals to volcanic eruption as anger that could damage our relationships, our image, could result in possible depression which is fatal in every possible way. Expression and letting the pain go is very important.

Therefore let the tears flow, it’s absolutely Okay!

​LIFE IS ALL ABOUT SMILES AND TEARS

It was a week after I got to know that I am pregnant  with my first child. After 2 years of marriage, my husband and I decided to have a baby as my biological clock was ticking as I was 29 already. We were elated and extra careful, as I was working as a pre-primary teacher in a formal school. I noticed 2-3 rash spots on my abdomen. I immediately called up my mom who said it’s not normal and asked me to visit my gynaecologist as soon as possible. I went to my school to give my cupboard keys and by that time another rash erupted on my neck. I was just smiling and wasn’t perturbed at all. We were not sure what was the reason behind the rashes.  We went to the doctor, who asked us to wait and watch the rashes, as they were too less in number and I didn’t develop any fever. Just the next day my rashes grew and yes, we were sure it was chickenpox.  I was referred to a dermatologist  who gave me varicella medicine and assured us that there’s nothing to worry. However, the gynaec told us that chickenpox, that too for the first time in life, possesses 2.5%  threat to the foetus. The child may be born without limbs, without eyesight, or with mental defects. Also, she told us that the 5th month scan will confirm whether to keep the pregnancy or terminate it.

Just when I had started to enjoy the pleasure of motherhood, I got this blow. My smiles turned into tears. I was terribly scared and no matter how much I tried to be happy, tears would roll down on my cheeks. The dermatologist told us that since I have taken the medicine, there’s no need to worry. My 5th month scan came out normal and I was relieved, yet a bit petrified. Finally, when the labour day came, the second question (first being the universal – boy or girl), I asked my gynaec if there was any effect of chickenpox on my baby. The moment doctor showed me my boy and told me everything is normal, I was smiling wide and shedding tears of joy. 

During schooldays, when we were taught the famous quotations, I came across this one-

“Life is not a bed of roses”.

I always used to wonder why… But realised when I grew older and learnt the complexities of life. Life gives you so many reasons to smile and many resaons to cry as well. I have been complimented often that I have a beautiful smile, so I always try to put a big smile on my face and feel confident to face the challenges.  Yet, I am able to break down easily. If I am very upset or angry, I cry. I just cannot control my tears. If I hit my son, I regret and cry. Any little sweet gesture that my children give me can also make me cry. In short, if I am upset, I cry and  even if I am too happy, I get teary-eyed. My husband makes fun of me, saying that I have an ever-ready  tear tank in my eyes! I just tell him, “Yes,  I am emotional and it’s ok.” 🙂

PREMARITAL SEX IS INJUSTICE TO THE NEW BORN BABIES

I had a very healthy discussion about Premarital Sex with one of my best friends. We had disagreements on some aspects which I am not going to mention here… LOL… But will definitely raise the point on which we both agreed.

I am quoting her statement: “When baby is born without marriage, then there is a third person also involved – which is the baby… And that’s not right… that child is born to be messed up. And then unmarried individuals can never really be so committed to bring up a child together… So an injustice would be done to the child.”

And my reply to her was: “So that’s why marriage boundary is essential for that particular risk.”

Her response was: “Yes. That I totally agree with.”     

Keeping the moral and religious issue aside for some time and thinking in the line what we discussed… it is evident that “Premarital Sex” is an injustice for the child born out of that act.  

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Original Link: “thenationalcampaign.org

The above picture depicts how teenage or pregnancy without being married has been such an injustice to the new born babies!!!

This is seriously not accepted.

Keep reading, keep discussing…

Stay Blessed!!! 

(Picture Sources: Google.com)