50 strands of grey

I have lived 50 years on this earth and my hair is streaked with grey.

My mom says that the grey is wisdom that you get as you travel along life’s way.

So feeling pretty wise, I thought I’d share

A little bit of wisdom through these 50 strands of grey.

  1. It doesn’t matter whether you are 15 or 50, if your parents live with you, they still want to know what time you’ll be home.nana and papa
  2. When you were younger you swore you’d never be anything like your mother and now you’d give anything to be like her.
  3. Especially as slim and well groomed as her.
  4. You suddenly feel all grown up when Dad calls up and asks, “Want to come over and share some chicken curry and a bottle of beer?”
  5. You still enjoy having mom and dad all to yourself.
  6. And feel on the top of the world when they listen to and praise the poems you’ve written.
  7. There are times when you kidnap your mom and both of you run away for a stolen plate of pani puri.
  8. You stop going over and tidying up your mom’s house when your kids come over and start tidying up your place.
  9. It is possible to stop being a mother and become a friend instead. It just takes a hell of a lot of practice and yelling contests with your kids; and midnight chats over coffee.
  10. You don’t really cry when your last chick flies from the roost. You come home after seeing her off, put on some music, open a beer, order a pizza and celebrate your freedom.
  11. Your kids don’t have to get married just because you want them to.
  12. In fact they don’t have to do anything just because you want them to.
  13. Your son is not unhappy because the live- in relationship he is in does not seem to be moving towards marriage. You are. He is perfectly happy in the relationship.
  14. Your daughter does not wish you were there to help her set up her first home. She is having the time of her life picking furniture and stuff that she likes for it, without your interference.
  15. A lot of fights happen because either one of you or both of you are hungry.
  16. People don’t like you telling them that you love them. It doesn’t matter if it is your kid, friend, sibling, or partner. It puts too much pressure on them to feel the same towards you.
  17. If you give in, it doesn’t mean you lose. As my mom always says, “Be an ant and eat sugar, don’t be an elephant and eat sugarcane.”
  18. Some of your best friends are half your age.
  19. There are friends who love you just for who you are, madness and all.
  20. But then, that’s because they are equally mad.
  21. You can go out on the most fantastic dates even if you are not romantically involved.
  22. You can still tell your teddy bear all your secrets.
  23. No matter how old you are, you still keep looking for that someone special.
  24. Finding pretty lingerie that fits is an achievement worthy of celebration.
  25. It’s possible to drool over Nathan Fillion, Jean Claude Van Dammne, Kevin Sorbo and Milind Soman all at the same time.
  26. You have to explain to your younger friends who everyone else except Nathan Fillion is.
  27. There is something very special about being all alone at home on a Sunday with nothing to do but loll about all day reading.
  28. There is nothing like music to start the day.
  29. Unless it’s the knowledge that you don’t have to get up for another couple of hours.
  30. Enid Blyton books are as much fun to read at 50 as they are at 5.
  31. You finally make friends with the mess in your house and gang up against those who criticise you for it.
  32. The best supplies for getting your house clean are a bottle of beer, a tub of ice cream and lots of chocolate.
  33. You wonder how you managed to sleep for so many years without a muff n mepuppy cuddled against your heart.
  34. You don’t cook for your self, but the dog’s dinner is always ready on time.
  35. When people ask you why you want the trouble of having a dog at this age, you look at them as if they are crazy.
  36. After learning parentese and baby talk and husbandese of course, you realise growls and woofs are pretty easy to comprehend.
  37. It doesn’t bother you anymore to walk into a restaurant alone for a meal.
  38. Or go for a movie alone. You know you might never get to see one if you wait for company.
  39. It is okay to wear a sun hat when you go for a holiday. But if you wear one in summer back home, everyone looks at you as if you are crazy. Wear one anyway.
  40. And for some reason ice-cream always tastes better when you eat it in the rain.
  41. Just because you are always the life of a party, people expect you to never be depressed.
  42. No one is really interested in your story. Their own story is so much more interesting no?
  43. You are not interesting when you are happy. Your misery is great fodder for gossip.
  44. You are considered no fun if you don’t gossip about other people.
  45. Never lend your books to anybody! There are libraries for that!
  46. You always get your best story ideas when you are scrubbing the vessels.
  47. When someone you love dies, you never really recover. You just learn to cope because there is no choice.
  48. Simple things like a sabudana vada can bring back memories and make you cry.
  49. Your sisters- in- law are more sisters than in laws and you belong.
  50. You are comfortable and happy with who you are and know no one can take that away from you.

 

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Am I Worrying Unnecessarily?

 

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Am I worrying unnecessarily?

Today I had a dozen articles that I had drafted out of which I had planned to complete and post one. But then I read an article by my friend Aamil Syed and it brought to mind things that had been worrying me for some time now.

More than the post by Aamil was the discussion on Facebook that his post generated where one girl vehemently insisted that the situation was only criminal and not communal. It made me wonder how much longer we are going to down play the things that we know are happening around us and so though I am scared about writing this article, I decided to do it anyway and post it instead of the one I had planned.

I generally tend to take life as it comes. I don’t worry too much because life doesn’t really change very much. Governments come and governments go. Taxes increase, prices increase and salaries also increase. People grumble but they manage to still make ends meet.

In fact in today’s world if you are a young urban educated person, you can definitely look forward to a good life. I can see the youngsters getting good jobs, earning well, living good lives. Then what is it that is making me feel so uneasy? What is it that makes me feel that there is something terrible looming in the horizon?

When I sit back to think, it is nothing big. Just small incidents, that over a period of time, add up to something more sinister. When a government of a secular country starts acting in a way that is not secular it is alarming. There is increasing evidence of this daily. And this doesn’t stop there. More and more on social media, on the net, people are openly and proudly claiming that India is a Hindu nation.

This by itself is not bad, but unfortunately this is being propagated by people who are intolerant and dogmatic. What does that then spell for our country?

Yes it makes me scared. I am scared even as I type this. Should I even be typing this at all? But if I don’t I will be giving into my fear and that is worse.

The banning of beef was just the start. If a lot of people of a particular community lost their livelihood due to this and related industries like the leather industry well, that’s just collateral damage right?  Who cares?  It just serves the purpose.

And if it gives people an excuse to kill someone who they suspect of eating beef, well, what can be done?

Atrocities against the Christians, atrocities against the Muslims.  Subtle and not so subtle. Who else will be targeted next? And why?

The senselessness of it all baffles me. What do they hope to achieve? How can a country that lives in fear prosper? And what are the rest of us Indians doing? Why are we just allowing it to happen?

The truth is I don’t know what to do. I know what is happening is wrong. But I am too scared to do anything about it.  In fact when the younger generation talk of not having kids, I feel relieved that there will be less people born into this nightmare that we are becoming.

The story of the mousetrap

Yet as I lack the courage to do anything I think of the story of the mousetrap.

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. “What food might this contain?” the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.”

The pig sympathized, but said, “I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers.”

The cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.”

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house – like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer killed the chicken. But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbours came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer’s wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral; the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness. So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn’t concern you, remember, when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

Author Unknown

What made me write this today

As I have mentioned earlier in the article, these thoughts have been going through my head for some time now, but this is the blog post that made me put my thoughts into words. Here is where you will find Aamil’s post:  https://aamilsyed.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/the-meat-of-a-cow-and-the-blood-of-innocents/

You will find a lot of other interesting reads on his blog.

 

Why Kids Don’t Come With Instruction Manuals.

baby instruction manual

She came to pick her little daughter up from my language development class. And she looked harassed. Now, she is normally not a mother to look like that, so I asked her what was wrong.

“Sunita,” she said, almost in tears, “I feel like such a bad mother. I don’t know what to do.”

“Why? What happened?” I asked surprised. She is generally one of the most sensible mothers I know. “Riya starts her appraisals tomorrow and I am terrified that she will do badly,” she said.

“But she is only in the first grade. And these are the first appraisals of the year. So why are you so worried? And even if she doesn’t do well, it’s just a school appraisal. Why are you so tense?”

“I was not tense. Her teacher made me tense. She says that Riya does not do anything in class.”

At that moment, Riya piped up. “I learnt vowels in school today. You put an before apple and elephant because a, e, i ,o and u are vowels. But you will say a book or a fan.”

“See, she is learning. Isn’t that what matters?”

“I thought it was. But all the other mothers have even stopped looking after the home to sit and take up their kids studies. Their husbands help in the house. I cannot afford to sit with their lessons all the time like that.”

“Do you want to?” I asked, “And why?’

“I don’t want to …..but then when I see how much the other kids are doing , I start feeling guilty. Even her teacher was critical of me as a mother.”

“Tell me, is Riya happy? Is Riya healthy? Does she talk to you and share everything that happens in school? Is she friendly and sociable? Doesn’t she love going for her dance and drawing classes and as you said, she hates missing our language classes.”

“Yes, I know and I felt that I was doing a good job till I realised what the other parents are doing.”

“And what are they doing?” I asked. “Turning their kids into assembly line people.  Into school at 3 years and out at 18; all of them with the same mindset, the same ambition, the same goals. ‘Get a good job that will pay me well for which I have to slog my whole life’, live the same life as everybody else and finally die.”

“They will never have a single original thought in their heads. They will never be independent learners because Mom or Dad is sitting next to them controlling and directing their homework, their projects, their lives.”

“What you have done is you have allowed your kids to chose. You do not tell them not to go for dance class because they have an exam tomorrow. You do not sit with them the whole time they are studying. You are teaching them so much more than school will ever teach them. You are teaching them to be independent learners, not just students. You are teaching them to be responsible. You are teaching them that life is meant to be more than just chores. While other parents are preparing their kids to earn a living, you are teaching them how to live.”

“Thanks, Sunita,” she smiled, looking vastly relieved. “I feel so much better now. I guess, being a parent is such a responsibility, that we are always second guessing ourselves, especially when we are doing things that no one else is doing. As they say, kids do not come with instructions booklets; it’s trial and error all the way.”

As she left, I couldn’t help thinking of the many parents who want to do something different with their kids, but buckle down to the system and become “normal” parents with “normal” kids.

When we become parents we are given a gift. A gift that is so unique and beautiful. Every child that we have is precious not only because they are our kids, but because there is nobody else like them in the world.  I have a pair of identical twins, and believe me; even they are so different from each other.

And what do we do with that precious gift, we immediately try to change it and make it just like the millions. If you were to own something unique like say, the Kohinoor, what would you do? Would you change it and make it just like any other diamond? Or would you do your best to ensure that its inner fire sparkled? Then why don’t we let our kids sparkle? Why do we dull their fire? Why do we not let them be what they are born to be?

There is a reason why kids do not come with instruction manuals. That’s because each child has to be brought up differently. Each child is different. One manual would not work at all.

You as a parent have a choice. You get to chose whether you want your child to be one in a million or just another kid in the system. YOU CHOOSE!  Because the kids can’t. And by the time they are old enough to realise that they could have been different, it’s generally too late. The years of conditioning have taken their toll. They are too weary to even try.

So what can you do? First of all realise that getting good marks in school is not everything. A school can make your child study. Only you can help your child learn. You can allow your child to explore different things, which are not necessarily academic. Is your child passionate about dance or drama or drawing or even cooking, encourage him to learn as much as he can. You never know, that might just be their ticket to fame. But more important, it will give them something that will add meaning to their life, something that will flavour an otherwise insipid existence and make it delicious, a life worth living!

A newsletter?

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Me? Writing one? OMG! I am feeling so many things all at once! Scared to the pit of my stomach! Yet, somewhere tiny butterflies of excitement flutter.

I have always loved writing. It is my “thing”. Something that made me different from others. Something I was good at. Something that took me from being the girl that no one noticed in school to being the girl who could make the school magazine stand out.

Yet somewhere along the line, writing took a back seat to life (familiar story?); to getting a degree, getting married and raising kids.

This year I turned 50. My babies have flown the nest and I realised that it was finally just me in my life. There was nothing and no one to stop me living my dream of being me.

And so “Project  Being Sunita” has begun. With the help of a couple of friends and a lot of brain storming, I set up my website Sunitasaldhana.com. I started writing and posting regularly and am now working on getting my book of poems published.

And since being a writer is just one part of me, I needed to cater to the teacher and trainer in me as well. This lead to the birth of my newsletters. Yes, there are two of them. One is “Let’s Write” for all those who want to explore the creative side of words and find the magic in them.

The other is called, “You Are Perfect” and is all about growing into the wonderful person you really are.

You can sign up here for either of them, or both and I’ll be with you each week, coaching and guiding you to live the life you dream about.