Conducts life skill courses for kids, teens and adults. Proprietor of 'The Know & Grow Learning Centre' Passionate about writing and helping people become the best they can be. Believes that education should geared towards learning and not studying.
Our trip to Bali had been planned over a year ago. My daughters were insistent that a holiday was much needed. And it was true. I couldn’t remember the last time I really had a restful holiday that was just a holiday and didn’t have a wedding or an engagement attached to it; or for that matter a puppy who had to be transported in a train and the subsequent arguements with the railway authorities about keeping her with me in my coach.
Even so, I argued loud and long that I did not have the kind of money for an international holiday and that India had so many beautiful places that we could visit…blah,blah,blah. And then it happened. My daughters gave each other “that look”. Anyone who has twins will know what I mean. When twins give each other “that look” woe betide anyone or anything that they have decided to pitch their unified will against. And if they are taureans, that will is herculean.
My finances were taken over and a part of my income disappeared every month into some mysterious black hole and I was taught that I could not only survive but could live very well with a little less in my purse.
And so plane tickets and private villas with beautiful swimming pools all to ourselves seemed to have got miraculously booked. (Only later did I learn of the hours that my daughters had spent every night on the internet meticulously planning, what they wanted to be, a perfect holiday).
And then two days before we could leave, I injured my leg. A severe hamstring injury is what the doctor said. I looked at him aghast. Somewhere through my haze of pain, as I lay on that hospital bed, I managed to ask, “But can I go to Bali? I am leaving the day after tomorrow.”
“Two days of bed rest. Take your meds. And use a wheel chair for the trip. Don’t exert and I don’t see why you shouldn’t go.”
Until that moment, I hadn’t realised how much I was really looking forward to the trip. It was just going to be the six of us. My sister in law, her son and his partner, my daughters and me. All the people that I love. So why had I been grumbling so much about it? Why had I been acting like such a whiny kid about the whole holiday? Why could I not accept and appreciate the wonderful job my kids were doing in organising the entire trip?
Why could I not see what my kids could see? That I was burnt out and needed a break. That I needed to stop being the person who had to be responsible for everything and everyone and that it was okay to let others take charge once in a while. It was okay to let others take care of me.
I had had to take the responsibility for everything for so long, ever since my husband and I had separated and then more so after he died. I had got so used to being the one in charge that I didn’t know how not to be. I realised that I actually felt scared if someone one else took care of me. I was scared to depend on someone else to make decisions for me. But holding the reins of my life so tightly was causing me to fray and tear and maybe that wheelchair was needed to let me know that sometimes it is okay to sit and let someone push you around. Especially when it is done with so much love.
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.