You always put your family first…How true is it?

I was just going through my postal mail when I saw a mail coming from Canada.
I opened it and it had these lines “You always put your family first… and we want to help.”
It was about the government program for the Canadian citizens for the Universal Child Care Benefit, for Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, for Post-Secondary education and much more…!
Such a nice thought isn’t it that a country thinks so much about your kids and family and I am thinking what we do to make this family happy, healthy and flourishing?
The other day at lunch time one of my friend said, ‘we all say hello – hi by sitting in different rooms of one single house to each other – i.e. kids and parents’ and she said remember when we were kids how we used to have our family sitting together whether it’s near the dinner table or near the fire place, it used to have so much meaning and bonding that even when my parents are not there I still miss them and value their teaching and try to induce those in my kids. But what can I do…they are growing up here and it’s all about computers and internet.
It took me to my childhood days. Growing up in NDA always induced certain discipline element in us and hence there was no question as why we have to come to dining table to eat our dinner or snacks. It was understandable if you don’t reach to the breakfast table at 8.30 a.m. then no one has time to wait for you and everyone will finish their breakfast and move on with their daily routine. The person who used to come late will always feel that guilt as he or she has to sit alone on the dining table and eat the breakfast without having anyone to talk to. Those days it used to hurt but the best things that I remember even today is from those moments.
We used to have our evening tea time when my mom and dad used to come from work and I used to make tea for them and some snacks – either I make it by following the recipe from the magazine or the cookies that my mom used to bring from Canteen – either way it was a refreshing moment for my parents who come all the way from work tired driving and having a sip of tea along with those snacks they would look at us and ask what happened today at school? What made us happy and what was not so good according to us.
I was known to be a story teller as I have a way to describe each and every detail of that single day. I will even describe what our teacher was wearing and how my friend and myself were discussing about a topic on dad’s after reading a story from Reader’s digest – all this used to be shared there and in between I will see my brother fighting to get in his point and so forth. When we both kids are satisfied with our stories and we are done with our tea, I will see my mom sharing her office issues and concerns and dad as always giving solutions to it. I have always seen such sessions as family time which I see in today’s time we lack. Our kids are growing without knowing what family value is, they are thrown into stuff where parents think we are keeping them busy with all kinds of programs and extracurricular activities. The child though keeps hearing about family and family values through books or movies…but if we don’t implement them ourselves how are they going to even get to see a glimpse of it?
I have never seen my parents fighting though there will be instances where my mom may not agree with my dad on certain topics but they both had their justification to it and no one’s ego was crushed. That’s called understanding.

Today kids eat in their room or they may end up eating by watching TV or reading books…we are becoming more social on the internet though face book and twitter but in reality we are so far in same house but sitting in different rooms.
There was a time when families in India used to live in one room with 2-3 siblings and yet they all were able to live and have their privacy – today we have rooms for each member in the house and what’s the use we go in those rooms and sit and socialize and make visual friends. You add your friends up to 500 on face book and you feel good about it. In reality physically how many friends do you go to with whom you can chat and discuss things where in your friend can straight tell you on your face what you are doing is right or wrong or even consider thinking about certain things which is for your own goodness? If you ever happen to have such friends also people will break the friendship with such because they don’t like anyone to show them the mirror. But then how are we going to bring this change into our life, when we talk about the continuous change and collaboration and family concept?
MK Gandhi, said to see a change that you would like to bring in implement in you first…(not exactly in those words) but you need to change yourself first to see that change around you.
Sadly, social networks are making money and adding more and more applications to keep everyone busy only to see each individual is kept busy with activities whether it is on the net or on the programs such as swimming, soccer etc.
Companies will grow and mint money but the families won’t be there to live together. The mere concept of it is eradicating from our society and yet when someone tries to bring the change – how well this change is faced? How much are we thinking what’s good for our kids? Again, the note from the Canadian mail reminds me the words ‘You Always Put Your Family First…” Do we?
Can we help ourselves first and then seek help later if needed?
“Family faces are magic mirrors.  Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future” ~ Gail Lumet Buckley

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To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else

Life is so complicated, that I always refer back and wonder there was nothing wrong with my childhood. Why life doesn’t remain a child always?

As a kid we fight with our best friend and we also know how to make it up. But its only when we grow up we don’t know how to make up and why is that? Specially, when we say kids don’t know anything they are still growing..they are still learning.

“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today” ~ Stacia Taushcher

I think it’s time for a change in understanding that kids are not mere kids who don’t know anything. In fact we can learn a lot even if we have grown up we have our kids or kids around us from whom we can learn.

I always like to go back to my childhood and many of my friends say that I am going in my past. There is nothing wrong in taking tips and learning from past – isn’t it?

My dad many times supported me as a child on my decisions and I think he knew exactly what he was doing at that time even though it looked to my mom that my dad is unnecessarily spoiling me!

This reminds me of an incident it was my 12th birthday. I remember I had few friends who used to fight to be my best friends. Why if you ask, I am not sure may be because of my fun loving nature or something else but they used to make me say it and make me write it on my rough book that – so and so is my best friend.

“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget”


I remember my nature was that I used to do it just to make them happy. Because prior doing that I always used to tell them that you all are my best friends and one is under one arm and the other is another and I used to put my arms around them. I realize still they had this insecurity of loosing me as a friend.

Hence I used to write it and I think this nature of mine make them take me for granted! Something that we all complain today about it isn’t it?

In all this we had another rival friend who always wanted to be the boss. I am pretty sure these things exist even today in school with kids. The names might have changed like a popular group and not so popular group.

Anyway when this ‘want-to-be’ popular person tried to influence my friends it didn’t work out in her favor and it so happened that she tried to play in a bad way – which we might call it as bad politics! See even kids know how to play politics and those who don’t will never learn anyway!

This friend – why I call her a friend is because she used to act as our friend and we trusted her. She tried to influence my friends and it so happened that they all came for my birthday celebration – wished me, brought presents, sang with me and had a ball of time. Everyone went home and around 10 p.m. we get a knock at our back door. When my mom opened the gate we see all of my friends along with this ‘want-to be’ popular friend and they started complaining about me to my mom.

Your daughter said this about her and that and what not and it came to a stage where my mom was getting so furious that she called me with anger and said, you call them your friends? Now on you are going to school only to study and no friendship. You don’t go to school to make friends. Hence forth you will not talk to any of them.
My mom told my friends that hence forth my daughter will not talk to you anymore. Please don’t make any friendship with her. If she is so bad then you shouldn’t be having such friend.

That night was a terrible night for me – the fun and excitement of my birthday ended as if a beautiful piece of glass vase was thrown down from top only to crush it into tiny pieces.
The night went in thinking as what made that my friends who were looking for me to be their best friend changed them so bad that they were complaining about me to my mom? and then my mom’s decision that was just thrown at me. No one asked for any explanation, nothing as if I don’t have a say!
I was very upset and waited till the night took me into the darkness till where I unknowingly went to sleep.

Next day when I woke up it was rough and sour – the feeling. I was kind of unhappy and was angry with everyone I suppose and hence I got ready for school. When my mom was about to leave for her office she came to me and said, ‘so you remember what I said yesterday? I don’t want you to be friends with such kids who come on your birthday and complain about you. You don’t need such people as your friends.’

I was like mom, now in school what will I do? When everyone is going to play I will have no one to play… !
My mom said, ‘you have only these friends as friends in school? You don’t have any other kids? and this made me think…and I just took my bag and walked out of my house to go to school.
I felt the way to school was longer today than the other days. I was feeling as if every one on the way, every shopkeeper from Gole Market and the people around there knew what happened yesterday night. I was some how looking down and walking towards school.

I reached my class and kept my school bag on the bench. My friends so called who just added cherry on my birthday cake last night were sitting and observing me as what will be my next move.

I am very scared of my mom’s anger and hence to follow her instruction is the only way and hence I went to other friends in my class and started talking to them. I went for my assembly with them. I didn’t look at anywhere else and made my self comfortable with my other friends. These friends were the nerdy ones who are very good in studies – very good in the sense they don’t come below 97%. Some may find that very good but I always felt education is not all about percentage. Probably I used to understand life’s core ethics from my dad’s heavy duty proverbs that we live for today and live it fully as we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.

One thing I noticed that I started completing my homework in school during the free time as these kids were like that. When I used to go home, I used to walk home with these kids. Though life was a bit different but I didn’t mind the change. Some how my dad always taught me to adopt the life style of ‘when you are in Rome be like Romans’ !
“Life’s not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow” ~ Terri Guillemets


I didn’t even come to know how time flew away that it was the year end where I had participated in a fancy-dress competition and guess what none of my nerd friends were there in this.

It was awkward for me as I was dressed up as a native from State Kerala – which is in the southern part of India. I had worn the traditional sari and I had to say two sentences – ‘I am a lady from Kerala and I am proud about its culture.’
I had to say this in the native language of Kerala – i.e. Malayalam.

It will be funny to say that no one was with me yet I got first prize and it started raining like cats and dogs.
I was very happy. The day was done for all the students after the fancy dress competition and other cultural activities. My so called friends who spoiled my birthday didn’t participate in anything but I saw them coming behind me.

I was walking in the rain with my umbrella as that was part of my fancy dress, these friends behind me whispering – call her – you go – you talk to her.
I was still walking without letting them know that I know now the tables have turned.

I crossed the road and the school seemed to be going far and the Gole Market came near by, the smell of sweets like balusha, jalebi and ladoos from Karachi Sweet Mart.
Suddenly, the so called boss came in and said we all want to say, sorry to you’ and they gave me a greeting card which I still remember had a blue peacock and inside was – We are sorry, please forgive us. We will be friends forever.
I stopped and looked at all of them and smiled – it was a feeling where I had already forgiven them in my heart. Life is much more than this and I had these realization when I was ten and hence at that time I just smiled at them and said, I would like you to come and tell this in front of my mom so that if she allows me to be friends with you only then I will re-unite with you all.

We all walked together and reached home. We didn’t talk through out as we were walking in the puddle and splashing water. My off-white sari was getting spoiled yet the feeling of getting wet and playing in the rain is something you can only feel no one else!

Today mom had a weekly day off and hence when I knocked the door she opened it and excitingly she asked, how was your fancy dress competition?’ and believe me I was all excited to show her the trophy and certificate that I got. My mom gave me a big hug and that’s when she saw my these friends.
My mom gave a look at me as – what’s all this about now? and she asked them – did my daughter do another mistake this time?

And, I was like mom please, they want to be my friends again! and I showed the card that they gave me.

My mom invited them and we all had the sweet porridge that I love – it was a celebration.

All I can say is my mom was happy that I kept her word and everything turned out to be as she expected. But my question was, what made to happen all this?

The so called boss was way elder to us and it was her mind that created all the differences among us. I maintained my friendship with all nerds and these ones and never showed any difference but my friends came to know what one should believe in and what one shouldn’t.

Kids learn from their mistakes but elders not necessarily!

“I brought children into this dark world because it needed the light that only a child can bring” ~ Liz Armbruster


Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men

This Thanksgiving was unusual than before! Family was the theme!

“I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich.” ~Dan Wilcox

We drove around 180 miles and stayed at a hotel room facing right to the ocean at Pismo beach. Sun was at the right moment to set when my camera clicked it all!
The redness with a touch of orange in color brings all the excitement even though it was sun-set time.

“Color possesses me. I don’t have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour: Color and I are one. I am a painter.” ~ Paul Klee

The best part was the Hearst Castle which is near San Simeon beach. I mean we all have heard these fairy tales and stories of kings and queens who had this big palace or castle where they lived happily ever after. Such palaces, castles which we had only seen in story books and in granny’s stories and yet with the imaginary tales we used to feel so happy and content that we used to go to bed peacefully.

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~ Dr Seuss

This castle is something which was built by a gentleman at the age of 56…can you believe this that dreams can come true and you can make it happen and age is not a hurdle to this? William Randolph Hearst who always loved big castle as a kid and was able to fulfill his dream when he reached the age of 56. This palace faces the Pacific Ocean from top of a hill and is halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
It’s quite interesting to see the view and everything captured as a movie right from when the castle was getting build.

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens” ~ Carl Jung

It’s so amazing to know Mr. Hearst built it and he shared it too but I often had this question bothering, why he always invited all the celebrities and not common people :D!

Because any how celebrities will definitely go to places where they are treated like guests, isn’t it? And they always get treated well everywhere but what about the common people or say poor people?

How often such things take us towards the reality of life?
I kept hearing kids saying ‘oh! He was rich! Well, I felt like saying his father did all the hard work to bring that richness he just utilized it when he was able to.

I only took the positive aspect out of this was that there is no age limit to fulfill your dreams. It’s all in your determination to make that change.

Altogether it was a good get away from real busy life to a dream story land

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” ~ Gail Devers