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.

 

My First Day As A Teacher

 

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I looked across the sea of faces,

My heart a mess of a million fears;

Fifty pairs of eyes watched me,

Some curiously, and some full of tears.

All the names I had to remember;

Make myself heard above their cries.

How on earth, was I, I wondered,

Supposed to make all of them wise?

Snotty noses, bathroom trips,

Amidst ABC and 123.

Who wanted their mamma more, I wondered,

Was it the little kids or was it me?

 

 

 

Of Hobbies And Perseverance

What do you have to look forward to in life when you are 72? Not much, one would assume. But not Walter Salvadore Pereira.

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My brother-in-law, Walter Salvadore Pereira, has at the age of 72, published his first book, ‘This Nightmare Is For Real.’  Walter is my brother-in-law and I am, at the moment, terribly jealous of the fact that he has done what I have been planning to do for so many years, and at the same time tremendously proud of him for following his dream.

Walter has always been passionate about reading and writing and it has been his deepest desire to, one day, author a book.  But as they say, life came in the way. Adulthood with its responsibilities in the form of a demanding job and being a husband and father made him put his dream on the back burner.

It was his grand-daughter, Riya, who awakened his dream with her insisting that Grandpa should tell her new stories.  And along with the stories he created for Riya, he also wrote, ‘This Nightmare Is For Real, an easy to read thriller.  Here is the amazon.in affiliate link for it: http://amzn.to/1PIirRP

I have read the book and here is my unbiased review of it.

This Nightmare is for Real

 The story: The hero, (or should I say the superhero?), Dr.Shivendra Sharma, a world renowned molecular biologist has invented a serum which gives him superpowers. Naturally, the entire underworld is out to get the secret serum.

Dr. Shivendra is being forced to choose between keeping his secret and saving the lives of those dear to him. As events unfurl, the reader is kept in suspense about what he will do next. Will love win or will responsibility?

What I liked: It is a quick paced book which keeps you wanting to know what happens next. Walter’s English is extremely good and makes for easy reading. The story takes place in India, so it is easy to relate to places and events.

Who will like the book:  This book is ideal for youth and young adults alike who would like a quick read that is not too heavy on jargon. It is also an excellent book for those starting out on the journey of reading English books.

What could be better: Hard core readers who are into serious reading may find it a little light and frivolous. The characters could have been developed a bit more so that the reader gets to know them better. Also, the Hindi dialogues written in English could have been better.

Overall:  A pretty interesting book. Well written for a first novel. It will keep you wanting to turn the pages to get to the end.

So just click on the link and order a copy for yourself. http://amzn.to/1PIirRP

Why Kids Don’t Come With Instruction Manuals.

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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!