Sunday, June 13, 2021

Time...


You can never know when,
You've had the last conversation,
With people you love...
When those final words,
Are all you will have,
To cherish and behold,
For the rest of your lives.
Words that replay on loop,
Every time you think of them,
Making you realize, yet again, 
That this fleeting time,
Is all, but slipping away,
Like grains of sand,
From the palm of your hand.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Two sides of the coin...



Have you ever heard the saying, “Having one child makes you a parent, having two, makes you a referee!

If you are one of those, left blowing the whistle all the time, frantically pulling out strands of hair from your own head each time there’s a fight, you’d probably be nodding your head in agreement with me!

Has it ever occurred to you that the first one to complain, always meticulously tips the odds in their favour? How you are almost inclined to believe everything that they say, coming to a speedy conclusion that the other one is most definitely wrong? What do you do then? Do you pounce on the other one who hasn’t been giving a fair chance to put their side forth? Or do you make an attempt to listen to both sides of the story and then draw your own conclusions?

As a parent, we are sometimes forced to come to a decision – who’s right, who’s wrong? And many a time, we succumb. We look at it from the angle that looks best to us and pronounce our verdict. But that’s where I want you to pause and reflect.

Is coming to a decision that important? What impact does pronouncing your verdict have on the morale of the one whose side you have forsaken? Will it ruin relationships in the long run? If you don’t want to take sides, is there anything else you can do?

Well, I have been tempted to prove myself to be a fair judge when it has come to resolving quarrels between my children. But over time, I’ve found that I have also managed to hurt the other one unwittingly. That’s when I choose to pause and reflect. And the more I reflect, I also realise that this applies to every aspect of our relationship – be it a quarrel between spouses, between family members, between friends, or even at the workplace.

Why should there be a quarrel or fight between two people?

I’ve always heard my mother tell me, that just as all five fingers on our hand are different, so are people and their opinions. We are conditioned differently, we have learned differently, we have different experiences about life, and we have faced our struggles differently. How then can we think alike? We are bound to disagree.

But just because we disagree, does one person become right and the other wrong? Each one is right from their own point of view.

When it comes to siblings, we may argue that they have been brought up in similar environments, and have had similar life experiences and struggles, then why the difference? While that is true, how can we forget that they still continue to be different individuals?  

 

Do personal biases creep in when we are the judge?

We may say, that as parents, we really do not have favourites, when it comes to our children. While we may not have favourites, we do tend to go by previous experiences when dealing with our children. The one who has frequent temper tantrums, the one who habitually lies to escape punishment, the one who has anger issues, automatically finds odds against them even before the entire issue has been listened to! How often have we jumped to conclusions like - ‘The younger one is naughty, it is possible that he broke the vase’, ‘the elder one is always bossy, it is possible that he hit the little one,’ ‘he is well behaved all the time, he couldn’t have screamed at his friend.’     

When we solve fights between our children and their friends, the bias becomes pronounced. It is easy to take sides when we know just one of them – right or wrong, be damned (pardon the language). It is equally true when are dealing with two people having a disagreement, the weight always tips in favour of the one we know better.   

 

Are our one-sided decisions ruining relationships?

Definitely. Hearing only one side of the story, means we have no understanding at all.

I remember reading somewhere that, ‘Too many people speak after hearing just one side a story. Judging a situation without being there and knowing the actual facts, ruins lives and relationships. So it is best to know the full story before attacking someone and making false accusations.’       

Profound, right?

I found that whether it is a fight between my children or between adults, the first storyteller always modifies the story to suit their own agenda or for their own benefit. In a fight, everyone wants themselves to look innocent or good. Hardly anyone is going to own up to their own goof-ups.

The little one will sometimes come to me and say, ‘Dada hit me. I was completing my work, I didn’t do anything.’ Now I know the elder one is the stronger one, and he has bullied the younger one on some occasions, so do I lash out at the elder one based on the version given by the younger one? Do I take him to the task? Would I be right to judge without hearing the other side of the story?

Accusing someone takes a second, but the impact it has on their morale is immense. It leaves one with a feeling of not being trusted enough. It leaves them with an impression of being alone in an unfair world. And this is as much true for adults as it is for children.  

 

Is being a judge so important?

Children do keep quarreling all the time. the disagreements are bound to happen. Are we going to be pushed to take on the role of a referee all the time? 

Though thousands of books have been written on parenting, nothing teaches you to be a good parent except your own experiences! We learn from our errors and lapses in judgment.

Being a parent has taught me certain things. I’ve learned to listen to both sides of the argument without any bias in my mind. But most importantly, I’ve realised that only listening is important; a judgment is totally unnecessary. I only end up hurting one child if I support the other. No matter what the situation is, both have their own reasons why they did what they did.

What children need is not to tell them who is right or who is wrong, but to talk to them about their actions and see if anything could be done differently. Toning down my angry voice and talking to them calmly, resisting the urge to say, ‘You shut up and listen to me first,’ and letting them see how the same situation could have been handled differently, are some things that have helped me bring a sense of peace in the house.

Just listening to them, or maybe giving them a different perspective, has worked wonders. In the end, my goal is to make them love each other and respect each other’s boundaries without overstepping their own. By judging their actions, by holding them accountable, by hurting their feelings, or by punishing them, I realise that they are more likely to drift apart, hating each other rather than knowing that despite the differences, they should have each other’s best interest at heart.

 

Can we agree to disagree?

Whether it is at home or at the workplace, it helps to understand that not everyone can agree with you. They are as entitled to their opinions as you are to yours. Not agreeing with you does not make them a bad person, unless someone is doing it out of malice. Is it not possible to coexist being individuals with diverse opinions, each as unique as the person having them? Are our opinion and judgment so important that we place them above our relationships with others?

Can we just agree to disagree? Can we realise that there are indeed two sides to a coin?

  

 

 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Oblivious...


 He tugs at her sleeve, 

Excitement bubbling on his face, 

A sheet of priceless art,

Hidden behind his back, 

A smiling sun, rays flying about, 

In an azure sky, with v-shaped birds, 

Trees laden with apples,

Flowers strewn on the ground,

A meandering river, making its
way,

Through mountains with sharp peaks,

A misshapen hut, and at its door, 

Smiling parents, and a child.



He tugs at her sleeve again, 

She glances over her digital screen, 

He smiles, talking animatedly,

About the cow that had almost been. 

She listens, hardly hearing, 

She looks, hardly seeing, 

Engrossed in her world,

She misses the wistful look in his eyes, 

He retreats, head bowed, 

The sheet of art, crumpled in the crook of his arms, 

She taps on, oblivious to life,  

That has just passed by, 

Memories that could have been made, 

The artist who might have been born. 

All sacrificed, at the altar,

All in vain.

Monday, December 7, 2020

In search...


PC: Better Homes and Gardens


A quaint door painted blue,
Through which I'd quietly slip into...
 A silent world of magical words, 
Interspersed with flowers and birds.
Rocking on a wicker chair,
Warmth and serenity everywhere!
Bougainvillea, so exuberant and wild,
Demurely resting among thistles, leaving me beguiled! 
The tranquility soothing my soul, 
Mirroring my spirit, making me whole.


(This pretty picture inspired these lines...) 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The chosen one?


A pair of big brown eyes peered from behind the chariot watching the Kuru princes make their way back to their quarters, after a long day of arduous practice in the sun. Heavy footsteps accompanied by garrulous laughter, filled the air. A few paces behind, the soft crunch of footsteps and quietude could be heard, in stark contrast to the ones in front. In the second lot, the eyes spotted Arjuna, walking with his head held high. After all, wasn’t he the chosen one? The other four brothers looked at him with pride as the Guru continued to shower flowery praises on his favourite pupil.

After they could be seen no more, he emerged from his hiding place. An imprint of the sun marked his forehead and a bright sun-shaped pendant dangled from the gold chain around his neck. A pair of golden ‘kundalas’ adorned his ears and a magical armour was rumoured to bedeck his chest when he was in danger. He was merely twelve and yet was wise beyond his years. His face shone with unexplained radiance, yet the sadness in his eyes was unmistakable.

The Kuru princes were in training under the tutelage of Guru Dronacharya, and Radheya had been watching them hawk-eyed for days. He had approached the Guru requesting to be taken under his wings but had been turned down on account of his lineage.

Today, Arjuna was hailed as the greatest archer for having hit the bird’s eye. The Guru could not stop admiring him!

What a gift that was! Radheya longed to be recognised. Only if he had been chosen to showcase his talent!

Where one would expect anger to burn within him, he was unexpectedly calm. Was it the calm before the storm? One could never tell. But at the moment, the only fire that burned within him was that of fulfilling the challenge. Of showing that he was no less a warrior. Of proving that he was as great an archer as Arjuna.

He hurriedly picked up his bow and quiver of arrows and marched to the forest. Climbing the tallest mango tree, he hung a toy bird from the highest branch. Then he climbed down and took aim at the bird’s eye. He hit it without as much as batting an eyelid! It seemed too easy a target!

Arjuna? The greatest archer? He smirked.

I could do this blindfolded, he told himself.

He studied the bird’s position for a minute and then loosened his ‘angavastram’ and tied it around his eyes. He took aim and again, easily achieved his target! He beamed with joy!

But it didn’t seem enough. Restlessness filled his heart and he paced around, eyes devoid of satisfaction.

He looked around searching for ideas to challenge himself. His eyes fell on a broken earthen pot lying a few yards away. An idea struck him. He filled it with water and placed it under the tree such that the reflection of the bird, fell into the water.

He looked down at the bird’s reflection in the water below and aimed upward at the bird without even looking at it. Concentrating on the bird’s eye, he shot a swift arrow piercing the bird’s eye in one masterful stroke.

Yes! he pumped his fist in jubilation. But there was no one around to applaud. The happiness was short-lived.

But, he did not see Guru Drona observing him from his quarters.

“What an amazing archer!” the guru found himself saying. “It’s a pity I cannot teach him!”

Only if Radheya could have heard that!

Suddenly, the skies turned fiery. A streak of lightning cracked up the sky and thunder roared in the distance. Was it reflecting the agony in Radheya’s heart? Was an achievement still worth the same, if there was no one appreciate it? Was the longing to be the chosen one, the only gift he desired?

Soon, the skies opened up. A slow trickle gave way to a huge downpour soaking Radheya to the bone. He started to hurry home, as the trees shook uncontrollably in the gust of wind that followed.

It was then, that another idea crept up his head! He walked back to the tree and looked at the reflection of the bird in the earthen pot below. The bird shook violently in the storm. Radheya, strung his bow and took aim again.

Would he be able to hit the bird’s eye looking at its reflection in water even when it was moving?

He wanted to test if he could.

He patiently observed the bird and after a lot of deliberation, he released his arrow.

To his pleasant surprise, the arrow hit the bird’s eye, once again.

His eyes shone in the darkness and he puffed up his chest in pride.

He held his bow high above his head and thundered, “Who’s the greatest archer now, guru?” oblivious to being watched by the Guru himself.

The Guru nodded his head in approval. There was no doubt that he was equal to Arjuna in every way, maybe better.

Yet, he could never be the chosen one. That was one gift, he would have to crave all his life.

                                                         ******************



Written in response to the prompt "Being chosen is the best gift you can give someone." 

#Blog-A-Rhythm

#PreBarathon2020 

 

 


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