Kids and Freedom!

The prompt for today was, “Giving Freedom to kids”

Once upon a time childhood was synonymous with Freedom. The freedom to lounge around the house on a holiday. The freedom to curl up with a book if you so wished it. The freedom to throw off your uniform and school bag and rush off to play the minute you came home from school. The freedom to play in the mud and get sweaty and dirty. The freedom to yell and laugh with your friends.

But that was way back, long before the age of trophy kids.

Today a kid is supposed to be a perfect robot. Obedient, no questions asked. And woe betides you if you don’t do well in academics. It doesn’t matter if you can paint like Picasso; you need to get into a medical college, because that is where the moolah is.

Holidays? What holiday? Camps and other activities come to the help of parents who have to work and can’t keep the child alone at home. God know what he will get up to!

Eeks! How did you get so dirty? Did anyone see you like this?  What will the neighbours say? They will all think that I am a bad mom! How could you do this to me? It doesn’t matter that you are just four. You have a rep to protect.

See that clock there? Every tick and every tock has to mean something. You can’t just doodle or daydream you know. There are lessons to be done, projects to be finished, and then you have to go for your cricket/badminton/football coaching.

What? You’d rather play badminton with your friends? How do you expect to be selected for the national then? Oh God! This child just doesn’t understand all the sacrifices I make for him.

No! I mean it! You cannot go out and get wet in the rain. Just sit at home quietly and study.

What do you mean that this house is a jail and you have no freedom?

 

This blog post is a part of #LetsDiscussFreedom Blogathon. I would like to thank Charu from https://themomsagas.com/   for introducing me.

I would now like to introduce Cheni Adukia from http://cheniadukia.wordpress.com/ and recommend you to read her views on the prompt, ‘Your take on giving freedom to kids”.

 

Freedom? What’s that?

For the first time in my life, I could not immediately begin writing when I was given a prompt. The prompt was , “What does freedom mean to me.” This made me ponder. Why can’t I write about freedom? What is stopping me? Why this block? After all freedom is such a simple word no?

And it struck me that I was scared of the word freedom. Because I truly don’t know what it really is.

The dictionary defines it as the quality or state of being free. But am I really free? Do I really have the freedom to be me?

Freedom to me would be the breaking of bonds. The bonds of my own mind first of all; which stops me from being me by saying, “Oh what will people say? Are you really willing to displease all those people by your decision?”

So okay, I will marry who ever my parents want me to. I will get married even if I don’t want to or am not ready to. And I will stay in a marriage even if it an abusive one, because what will people say?

To me freedom is being free to love who I want, irrespective of gender, as long as I am not hurting anyone. I want the freedom to be able to say to hell with your stupid religious sentiments that create more hate and intolerance and to hell with laws that impinge on personal life.

To me freedom would mean being able to write what I want to, without fear of being penalised for telling things the way I see them.

It would mean the ability to dream, to aspire, even I come from an unprivileged background knowing that there is a chance that my dreams can come true.

Freedom for me as an impoverished child in an ashramshala would be the knowledge that the resources that are my due, reach me and not a minister or government official’s pocket. Freedom would be enough food, so that physical hunger is not a cause for me to give up my dreams to become a better person.

Freedom to me means being free of the constant threat of rape and worse every time I am out late, every time I take a cab alone…. every time I am a woman.

And since I do not know these kinds of freedom in India, I am afraid of being free.

 

This blog post is a part of #LetsDiscussFreedom Blogathon. I would like to thank Charu from https://themomsagas.com/   for introducing me.

I would now like to introduce Cheni Adukia from http://cheniadukia.wordpress.com/ and recommend you to read her views on the prompt, ‘What Does  Freedom Mean To You’.

 

Putting others in our boxes

Today as I walked from the library where I conduct my creative writing classes to the auto rickshaw stand, I saw an old couple and a younger woman talking on the footpath. Judging by their body language they were either neighbours or close acquaintances; not family though. That kind of closeness was missing.

They were speaking loud enough for me to hear.

“We go to Dr.A.”, said the elderly gentleman.

“Oh!” said the younger woman, who I guessed to be in her 40s. “Why don’t you go to Dr. B. He is at XYZ hospital.”

“We are perfectly comfortable with our present doctor and satisfied with his treatment.”

“But you must visit Dr. B once. He is really very good.”

“So is our doctor”, said the old man a trifle impatiently.

With that they were no longer in my hearing zone and I went on my way pondering the innumerable times I have had similar conversations in my life.

How many times have well meaning friends and relatives tried to tell me that every other doctor is better than mine; every other home remedy is better than the ones I use; every other place is better to shop at than the one I patronize; every other author is better than my favourite one.

Why do we always try to force an opinion down people’s throats even if we are aware that it makes them uncomfortable?

Why do we need everyone to fit in “our” boxes? Why don’t we like it when other people’s boxes are of a different shape and dimension to ours? Why do we need them to come into our comfort zone even if it means that they have to leave their own?

Is it because we are afraid of them being different from us or because we are scared to be different from them?

What do you think? Do share your thoughts in the comment section.

 

This post was written in response to the prompt, “Write about an interesting conversation you overheard recently” for Friday Reflections

 

Friday Reflections is a link up hosted by Shalini at KohlEyed Me and Corinne at Everyday Gyaan. 

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Prompts for 5th January 2018 – choose any one:

  1. Write about an interesting conversation you overheard recently.

  2. “As long as you feel like a victim, you are one.” – Morgan Freeman

  3. Picture prompt – credit (Corinne Rodrigues)

My word for 2018

 

Sometime ago, Corinne Rodrigues had blogged about her word of the year. The concept intrigued me and as I read about it, I realised it really made more sense to have a word or phrase around which you want your year to revolve. What is Word Of The Year all about? Corinne has explained it very well in her blog and I am going to quote her here.

“In case you’re wondering what this word of the year business is all about, let me explain. I came across the idea that it is better to choose one word/ phrase for the year than have a list of New Year’s resolutions that don’t work. I know it helps me to see my life through the lens of that one word/phrase and focus on it. It helps me go through the year more positively and not feel burdened by guilt about resolutions I didn’t keep.”

I pondered over this and spoke to my daughters and mother about it, asking them what their word of the year would be. Natasha who has really been ill and down for most of last year, said her word was, “Zesty” as she wanted to get back her energy and start living life again.

Nakita chose tranquillity and my mom chose sleep.

I realised that all our words reflected how we had grown over the last year and what we had missed out on and had come to treasure the most.

My word is “Me”. The minute I thought of it, I immediately felt “OMG! That sounds so selfish!” and I realised that that is exactly the reason I need to make it my word of the year. I have to stop feeling that I am being selfish every time I put myself first. I need to stop making other people’s opinion matter so much that I end up losing myself in the process of trying to appease every one.

As I said in my last post of last year, 2017 was a mean mom of a year and I realised that if I don’t take care of myself no one else will. Not because they don’t care, but because they are busy looking after themselves.

When I say that my word of the year is this small two letter word, “Me”, I am looking at so many aspects of myself.

It stands for a healthier “Me” which means no missing out on meds, regular checkups, my physiotherapy or my daily walks.  It means eating healthy and taking the time to plan my food.

It stands for “Me” as a writer, which means no excuses to not write. It means having the confidence to commit to writing everyday and grooming myself to be a better writer.

Focusing on “Me” would mean gardening and dancing and reading and playing more with my dog, Muffin. It would mean giving myself permission to be happy even if I goof up. It would mean forgiving myself for perceived mistakes. It would mean loving myself first.

So what is your word of the year? Do share it in the comments section.