India, as a nation is obsessed with sons. Every family craves for a son, there will be very few homes where daughters are treated at par. Even the parents, who today publicly declare themselves proud to have only daughters would have sometime visited all possible doctors, temples and God-men in the search of fulfilling their dream of having a son.
Where you reach, what you achieve in life is generally dependent on the education you gain during the journey (of life). It may not be just the formal education in the classrooms, but the informal education/ values one gains through elders or by just observing nature which will matter in fulfilling life’s purpose. The initial education (generally informal) gained during the first five or six years of life is what provides the foundation for the future. This is where the parents/ elders and the observation power of the child play the most important part. Continue reading “Blessed to have you as my first teacher….. “
Killing softly and slowly with our words is what many of us actually do daily without even realising it. Most affected are the people around us, relations, office colleagues (specially subordinates).
We cause hurt by our arrogance, rude behaviour, derogatory language, causing humiliation and what not. It’s not about killing physically, but killing emotionally, breaking the confidence, hurting self- respect, subduing initiative.
“I will tell you what to do/ how to do” and “I know better” or “I am more experienced” syndrome is so prevalent in our lives and we just refuse to give it up, knowing fully well that this the main reason affecting growth, both personal and professional. At home the elders (generally the father) and in the offices the seniors are the ‘killers’. Being elder/ senior doesn’t necessarily mean we know better/ are more experienced. “Experience is more related to the situation one has been through in life and how he/ she responded to it, it has got less to do with the number of years one has spent on earth or in the same office”.
Being elder/ senior doesn’t give anyone a right to hurt/ humiliate. Most of the time the arrogant behaviour is the result of our own insecurities. We refuse to accept our weaknesses, make no efforts to improve and hide behind the veil of arrogance and our seniority.
Arrogant behaviour of senior, regular humiliation, more than teaching actually pushes the junior/ child away. As an elder the aim should always be to empower the younger by sharing your acquired wisdom guiding him through, facilitating him find solutions. The root cause of the problem lies in the fact that most of us refuse to grow out of the boot of being a ‘father/mother’ or a senior. Instead try being and elder, friend and guide. Moment the relationship paradigm changes you will find a definitive change in the environment. You will not be a killer anymore, rather you will be ‘adding’.
“Soft skills and not soft kills are what makes the person and organisation grow, improve your skills”
Every family, every society, every community, every business thrives on its culture and traditions. Traditions qualifies any society and served as a tool over ages to bind the people/ company together. People lived and gave their life for the honour of traditions. Like every rule of law, every tradition needs to change to keep pace with the growth in society. Any business or society which refused to adapt to change either died a natural death or stagnated at best.
Cases of killing for family honour are not very uncommon in our society. Perceived violation of family tradition/ culture or bringing shame or bad name to the family by going against the societal norms have many a times resulted in violent cold-blooded murders. Entire families have been declared as an outcast for defying norms of the community.
Day before, I was really disturbed to read that a father killed his teen daughter because he found her talking on cell phone, to someone he perceived to be her boyfriend, at midnight. That was reason enough for him to lose his cool and strangulate her to death. I am sure he would have certainly cautioned her at least couple of times before the incident but is such an action justified under any law. Is falling in love a crime, specially, for women? Does an inter caste marriage or love affair warrants punishment by death and that too generally of the girl? Yes, there have been instances boys being killed too, but, by the parents of the girl because she refused to leave him. Somehow the onus of carrying the family traditions lies more on the ladies/ girls than on the man. A man may get away with gross violations. There have hardly been any cases of boys being killed by families for perceived violation of family tradition/ causing dis-respect to the community whereas instances of girls being sacrificed are numerous.
Man, the bread winner of the family is allowed liberty to go against the tradition whereas a lady, traditionally the homemaker, child bearer and caretaker is bound by strict traditions. Even in the so called affluent society the women do not enjoy the freedom as the folk do.
The only way the change can be brought in is by means of education. Parents, specially mothers, have to ensure that the girls are educated and empowered to stand on their feet. They have to ensure the right values are instilled in the boys. The boys have to be taught to respect the girls and treat them as equals. A girl may be physically weaker but she can’t be treated as second class citizen in her own home, as compared to the boys. Rule of the land has to be strictly enforced, by the civil administration, with exemplary punishments being given in cases of honour killings. Enough government schemes exist for educating the girl child, what is lacking is the implementation in true spirit. “Mental blocks have to be removed, the thought process has to change and this can only be brought about by education”.
“Allow your girls to grow…let them live their dream….they will only make you proud….trust them”
Losing a dear one, specially a parent, at whatever stage of life, is painful. My father passed away when I was 47 and yet I have not been able to reconcile to the loss. The My job took me to several cities across India and as a result the parents could never stay for long duration with me as they preferred to live at the family home. We would meet once or twice in the year when I got some leave and visited them or they came over to my place once a while. These meetings were generally separated by a gap of five to six months when our contact used to be only through telephone. Passing of my father left a vacuum in life I am yet finding difficult to fill. My mother had left for her heavenly journey when I was 41.
I clearly remember, it was on 26 Apr 2012 at around 6 am in the morning that I got a call from sister that dad had not opened the bedroom door in the morning and the knocks were, not getting any response. My dad was used to getting up around 5 am in the morning and loved his morning walks and his not opening the door was certainly not a good sign and soon my worst fear came true when I got the second call, this time from my brother informing that they had forced open the door and dad was ‘No more’. He had apparently passed away in his sleep sometime in the night. Considering that he was nearing 84, still relatively fit and active, departing for his heavenly journey in this manner without any sufferings is considered the best. But still for me it was a great personal loss, which the mind and heart was not ready to accept.
What made me feel sadder was that for no apparent reason I had missed out on talking to my father for the past 10 days. I was always very attached to my dad and made it a point to speak to him at least two to three times a week, if not more.
After performing the last rites, I thought of just checking the call records of my dad just to see if he had made any call to anyone that night and to my utter shock he made three attempts to contact me between 10 and 11 pm at night but unfortunately on a number I was no longer using. Maybe he wanted to convey something about his health. I have ever since lived with this feeling of guilt of not being with my parents when they required me most.
Most of us move and live away from our parents for reasons of job/ education. We get so busy with our routine life, job and family that the time we spent with our parents goes on reducing. Even the calls become far in between, and the content remains a formality. My father preferred to live alone at the family home because of his friends around and his attachment to the place. Maybe he found himself closer to mom there. But then these are just excuses, I could have convinced or forced him to stay with me. I never tried hard enough. Now it’s all over and I can only live with a feeling of regret.
Having gone through all this I would make a sincere appeal to the young people to be more sensitive to the need of the parents/ elders in the family. If they can’t be with you permanently, take time out to be with them. Make it a point to speak with them at least once a day. We can never be so busy that we get no time to talk to our own people. No use regretting later, make amends now. You will not lose out on anything by spending time with elders.
“You don’t have to look for reasons to hug your parents/ elders……just hug them whenever you can…..get blessings for lifetime”
We in India take pride in our old age traditions and culture of family bonding. Indian culture thrived on family bonding. Once a relationship was formed, it was for life. The strong family bonds continue even now, though the cities have seen a shift from joint to nuclear families.
Children are generally moving out of parental home for reasons of profession and also to a large extent, after marriage, in search of independence. Cases of separation/ divorce are on the increase. The elders, somehow, blame it on the increasing effect of western culture, but that may not be the main reason at all.
The joint families had a major advantage of emotional, physical and financial support available within the family. Whenever there was a problem the entire family used to revolve around to help resolve the issue. The work load was equitably distributed between all family members. However, as the families grew bigger the requirements increased, specially of the space, living and work space both. Thus, the need to move to alternate places emerged. Job opportunities was a major reason of young adults moving base from rural to urban centers.
Though the males apparently were the patriarchs in the family but in reality, the families revolved around the mothers, the ladies. It is the ladies who took care of the family, brought up children, helped maintained family bonding. Was, emotional support and love the only reasons for the family bonding, the reason for marriage to last till death interfered? Well, at the face of it, appeared so. However, in reality the reasons may be beyond emotions. In Indian families, girls, since ages, have been brought up with a mindset that their main role in life is to take care of the family, bring up children. The ladies were supposed to stay in home and only men folk were supposed to go out and work. Girls were generally groomed to be homely, not actually empowered to have a professional career. Rather the girls were discouraged from pursuing a job. Situation in rural areas or towns have still not changed much where girls are groomed with the mindset that they require the support of the man to survive. They have to be married at the earliest possible age.
Once the girls were not empowered to face the world, to be independent, they were forced to accept whatever life came their way after marriage. Even if the lady was not happy with her way of life, after marriage, she generally endured it all because of the fear of survival, if marriage broke. The parents forced/ convinced the girls to make compromises/ adjust.
Now, the modern-day girls in cities and to some extent in small towns are educated and longing to have a professional career. They are sure of themselves and don’t feel the need of a man to survive. Even boys want to move out of the shadows of elders to grow on their own strength. An educated, empowered girl/ boy will not take nonsense from anyone. Even husbands don’t like to see their wives being humiliated by elders in the name of culture and traditions. These are the main reasons giving rise to nuclear families, forcing young adults to leave the parental homes. There is a flip side to it; even small difference in opinion at times grow into major issues, as there are no elders around to help resolve the problems. When both, husband and wife are working, the child suffers to an extent. They are not able to give the child the attention he deserves.
A change in mindset, which encourages independence under the same roof, is required, if family bonding have to foster. Parents have to change their outlook. Even the youngsters have to evolve and understand their responsibility towards parents and family as a whole.
“Profession may force a child to stay away from parent, but the emotions can’t be allowed to die”