Friday, April 23, 2010

Spoilt Brats or Spoiling Brats ??

Majority of the kids of this generation are very lucky . They have almost everything they wish for. From toys to gadgets, they get a chance to enjoy each and every new innovation. For every small step in their life they get a prize or reward. They are bribed for every possible natural activity. Right from making them give up the habit of thumb-sucking ,to visiting a doctor or a dentist we give them a prize. Even for the natural phenomenon of loosing a tooth, a tooth fairy comes to give them a reward. In the name of encouraging our kids we over-react and use all possible adjectives and superlatives to appreciate even their little scribblings. Indirectly we are making them over-confident from childhood. The prize we get in return is " I know, I know, I know" and "you don't know, you don't know". At the end of the day we blame them for being spoilt brats.

As a parent we don't want to see our children cry or feel sad for anything. We always strive to make them happy. Whether it is within our means or not we don't worry. In this modernized world we try to give them all the facilities which we did not enjoy in our childhood. We try to relive our childhood by seeing our children enjoy their life. We offer too many choices to our children --be it food or clothes or toys or gadgets or vacation venues. We are the ones who are opening a wide vista of luxuries to them. Failure in any form is like "the end of the world" to them. They feel there is no survival without mobile phones or computers. By providing them all the luxuries we think they will love us more and will unconditionaly listen to us . We hold their hands and walk along the path of materialism.

The other day I was watching a talk show on tv. A 19 year old girl told she had 10 models of cell phones. The reason being , the phone she carries should match her attire. Means of communication has been transferred into means of status symbol. Who should be blamed? the girl or her parents? Many of us live a false life to maintain our status in the society and unknowingly drag our kids with us into the quagmire.

My son, who is just 8 years came up to me and said "mama I want a nike t-shirt. It looks cool." I asked him "what is cool about just a plain white t-shirt?" He told it had the tick sign on it . I told him "If you are so particular about the "tick" sign I can get a plain white t-shirt and paint a "tick" sign in it. As long as the purpose is served why bother about the brand?" He was not convinced with my logical reason. Then the matter went to the CFO of the family. And you know what happens when they approach the dads. "O.K. APPROVED." My son gave me a sarcastic look. I felt like he was miming the words "Mama at least now you understand that you are not the boss of the house." This example is just the tip of an iceberg . Kids feel that the man of the house always has good reasoning skills. To them moms are just "quality controllers".

Kids are very smart these days. They approach us with their needs when we are too busy or on the phone or when we are doing some other work. They know that when we are busy we will nod our heads to whatever they ask for. Later we blame them for watching tv or playing on the computer. We let them loose so that we are not disturbed. Later they become the victims of our "finding fault syndrome."(My daughter says I suffer from this syndrome). In the name of teaching them to be independent we give them lots of freedom and later we regret in our lives. When the reins are in our hands we can have full control . But we want to be the 21st century parents , who leave the children to do what they want to do. We always say "the choice is yours." This is just a false way of trying to bridge "the generation gap".

I don't think our parents pampered us like how we pamper our children. That doesn't mean that we were not loved. Our wishes were not always granted. Most of the time they were rejected. Our parents loved us and we too reciprocate it till date (to some extent at least I guess--because all our love is being showered on our children thinking that they have no one else in this world other than us to shower unlimited love on them). There were not so many choices in all aspects of our life. Even if there were, those were the forbidden paths for us. Hence, it is the responsibility of the parents to help the child make the right choice. When our children stare longingly at something in a shop for more than ten minutes we fall for their longing glances and swipe our credit card immediately. Our children have mastered the tactics of "emotional blackmailing." Most of the parents with a single child feel that the purpose of their life is solely to satisfy the needs of the child.

In this world of consumerism the children are the targets. Try to be in their shoes. It is so difficult to control the temptations. It is like taking them to a chocolate buffet. At the first sight they get tempted to eat everything on the table. We have to be with them to help them choose the right ones which will suit their appetite. It is not their fault when they come up with the never ending "needed list of things." . Their attitude is "let me throw a stone at the mangoes. If the mangoes fall fine, I am lucky. Otherwise also I am ok." As a parent we want our children to relish only the sweet ripe mangoes. I feel we should learn to say "NO" to our children before they start saying "no" to us. My dad always says that we should not blame the thief. The person who gives the thief the opportunity to steal is the one who should be blamed. It is high time we understand that we are "the spoiling brats" and that our children are not the "spoilt brats." The fact is that when we are ready to give them the opportunity they are ready to use it tactically.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Is this addiction?

After my constant lamenting about "life is boring" Ravi, my sweet husband told that he will create a blog for me so that I can start blogging. Though I was very much interested in doing it I was skeptical about my writing skills. To start with, he suggested me to write in Tamil. Me being a lazy goose to learn to type in tamil kept postponing(complaining is easier than finding a solution to it). One fine day he created a blog for me called "Open Book" in English. My children were the first one to get excited when they came to know about it. They were relieved that "at last mama will be doing something for herself other than NAGGING us all the time. Now that the first brick was laid I had to think what was I going to write about?

There are thousands of blogs in the internet with all kinds of information. Right from do-it-yourself projects to literature everything is available in the internet. If I have to write, it has to be something different. How is that "different" matter going to be? It should be interesting, informative, and entertaining also . But, am I capable of doing it? The doubt was mountain high. I was contemplating on different topics . Many of my friends suggested me to write on cooking. For this I am not a very good cook. Plus these days we do not have time to cook all the recipes we already know. Being bored of the day to day cooking I wanted to do something different. No matter where ever I go ,what ever I do I didn't want the kitchen to be my "place of worship". Again why jump into the same well? Internet is already like a "sea of recipes". So the topic of cooking was ruled out.

Then how about my nostalgic memories. That will be more like an autobiography(who will want to read my autobiography--me not having achieved even 5% of what Gandhi or Abdul kalam did--look at my level of comparison--too ambitious right?). I have heard my friend say that her sister has a blog where she writes about her childhood days--about the sweet nothings mostly. She shares it with her friends, who enjoy with her. If I have to do this then I need all my childhood friends to read my blog to enjoy with me, because only they can associate with my writings. Unfortunately none of my school friends (except for one )find the computer user-friendly?? So the second option also was ruled out. Being ambitious , I wanted to reach out to a wider world . My writings should be of some use and be meaningful to someone at least . I know I am not going to make a great difference through my writings in others' life but at least one or two might be impressed.

We all like to look back into our past . When we were in that past, we would not have cherished it but at present we want to associate the past with all sweetness in our life. Does this mean present is always loaded with worries? We value a thing once it is gone out of our hands. Just like distance helps us maintain any relationship. Even if I write about a small incident in the past it should be of some value when I share it with others I felt. At last I decided I would write about anything that could help to improve human relationships. Even before starting to write I decided how often I should write. I started imagining myself as an upcoming writer. The more I imagined the more I started gaining self-confidence and self -dignity I would say. Something different from being a 24/7 home-maker. Thank God the usage of housewife is outdated.

As a test post I wrote my first article and sent it as a mail to two of my close friends for perusal and approval. Wow! because I am their best friend they both gave me approval to publish it in facebook. I did not use any force--believe me, other than constantly nagging them to read my mail and send their comments. Still I do it. They both are my first readers(voluntarily or involuntarily-- no other go for them though) .Out of sheer love for me they do it(assuming so). This is the kind of liberty you can take with friends.

I started off with my postings in face book first. After posting my first post I was so restless . I was fishing for readers literally--- Waited for comments to be posted. Just like after posting some photos on FB you wait for your friends' comments. I made sure that whomever I knew was told about my blog(shameless propaganda I know--but no other go). I even forced a few of my close friends to read it so that in future when I happen to become famous(if at all I become one) then they can tell that I am their friend(ha ha ha--was the reaction from all though) .

My husband was very happy about my blogging because my nagging became less, at least by 50%. Whether he liked my postings or not he pretended to like them. He knew that if he stopped encouraging me then he will be my target .I did get a good response from few of my friends for my post. In my initial enthusiasm I thought that I would post something once in three days. But then when I thought about it I decided not to spoil my reputation by bothering my few friendly readers often. So I started posting once in a week. I chose Friday so that my readers can find time during the weekend to read.( no time cannot be the excuse--am I not well planned? After posting my article??? on Fridays , I started getting up early on Saturdays to check whether anyone has read and posted any comments. In my over excitement I even checked my mails once in an hour hoping that someone would have read it and commented on it.(it took me some time to realize and accept that other than me all others were busy ). Seeing me checking my mails often my son started checking his mails(he doesn't mind going through the same old mails). May be he wanted to compete with me. Initially when I did not get the expected response I was feeling kind of demotivated. But then later I started taking it sportively. I am happy when even one or two read and send in their comments.

When I think about my sportiveness it leads me to various probabilities. Why did I start blogging? Is it to write something productive or creative? Does it make any difference to anyone after reading my blogs? Am I writing just to satisfy myself? Is it because I am seeking for attention or recognition or acceptance??Is this just to call myself "TRENDY"?( I know my age will surely disapprove this even before my teenage daughter says anything).Is it to kill my time so that idle mind won't become a devil's workshop? Is it to keep me off from unwanted worries? Am I sharing my thoughts with others to gain acknowledgement ? All these questions crop in my head often. Though not like Shakespeare or Milton I feel I should write with some moral responsibility.(again over ambitious or over confidence --your choice).Sometimes I doubt whether even anyone reads them?

If we start talking we need listeners . We need at least two people to continue a conversation . If we talk all alone then we may get special names?? unless you talk on the cell phone with a blue tooth attached to your ears. Initially I have misunderstood it to be hearing aid. I used to think "Why does so many people use hearing aids these days?"(keep this as a secret).This is my world of knowledge about telecommunications though my husband works in that field. But when you write you always feel that someone will read it--theory of optimism speaks here.. Even otherwise, it is like a vent to all my piled up emotions or thoughts or whatever you may name it.

After posting one article I keep thinking what is going to be my next topic ? I am flooded with limitless thoughts but my poor readers wont have the time to read them if I try to put them all in words. I would like to spare them the torture. Like many of the current civilization who are addicted to cell phones may be I am starting to get addicted to blogging. I feel at one shot I am able to reach out to all my friends and share with them my thoughts and feelings.But in what way is it going to matter to them ? When I go to bed I keep thinking what to write and how to write. So many ideas line up. But in the morning when I wake up my mind is a clean slate--all wiped off or short term memory loss.

Writing is not as easy I thought it would be. To write a meaningful article it takes at least three hours. Putting the points together, and writing in order, editing, proof reading, spelling check(thanks to the computer which does this job perfectly) etc. It has to go through so many stages. In between, I have to put up with my children's tantrums and needs. So I chose to write in the night when everyone goes to sleep. You might think why not write during the day after the kids are gone to school but day time my mind is only tuned for household chores.

One positive aspect about writing is,since I started blogging there is less argument in my house (this is how our fights or to name it very decently --our difference of opinions are termed in front of our kids) because we are busy in our own ways. Less time to poke my nose into his routine. I feel I too can do something useful. Every Friday night I feel I have a commitment to accomplish (committed to my imaginary fan club).I gave up my Friday movie time for this . I started sharing whatever impressed me or affected me. I feel good when I post an article. Some self-respect for myself. This is how my path to blogging began. These days with so many psychological terms referring to cell phone addiction, computer addiction, sms syndrome, etc. hope I don't come into the category of addiction. The latest trend is when something is done as a routine there are new names to call it as some kind of disorder. My habit I guess is with a purpose--(a drunkard never accepts he is a drunkard). Don't you agree that I need not call this attempt as addiction?

Friday, April 9, 2010


April 7th 2010.Today I was travelling by bus to go to my children's school to meet the teachers. It was 2.30p.m. It was very hot . When I got into the bus I felt the coolness of the a.c touching every cell of me. I wanted purposefully to dose off because it was a 45 minutes bus journey. I wanted to utilize the time productively?? I love sleeping when travelling by bus or car. People with motion sickness will envy me --I truly understand. This time a scene in front of me grabbed my attention and made me not to sleep. There was an old man , must be 75 years old at least sitting with his 4 years old grand daughter. Looked like he had picked her up from school and was taking her back home. They both were talking for a few minutes . Mostly one-sided conversation. She was telling him what happened in school. He was listening to every word with so much attention and surprise. Inbetween he took a chance to say "is it, wow, ok". More than these expressions she would not let him speak more. She had lot of things to say.(only girls will have tons of stories to say at any age--they can register and replay. Boys can only register --no replaying)

After having spoken so much the girl became tired. Then the little girl fell asleep in her grandfather's lap. The old man, who himself needed to hold on something to support him was holding his grand-daughter tightly so that she might not slip off from his lap. He had her head rested on his lap. He was not happy about the little girl resting her head on his rough pants I guess. He put his palm under her head to make it feel like a soft pillow. With one hand under her head and the other hand holding on to the side of the seat he was sitting without moving so that his little angel will have a peaceful sleep. He was admiring her face with a smile when she was fast asleep. The girl was drooling in his palm. He didn't mind that. Now and then he took his other hand from the seat and patted softly on her back to ensure her that he was there to take care. She slept peacefully for 30 minutes. Even while writing this I am able to visualize the whole scene again.

Then he woke her up saying that they need to get down after a few stops. She was reluctant to wake up. She was sooo tired from school that she could not even open her eyes. He kept on telling her some sweet words.(he was speaking chinese--I interpreted it to be sweet words because he was saying it with a smile). Though she did not want to wake up still she tried to open her eyes. She rubbed her eyes to have a clear view. Her cheeks were pink because she had pressed it against his palm while sleeping. He removed his hand that was under her head and wiped off the saliva she had drooled, in his pants. He combed her hair that was falling on her forehead with his fingers. Seeing this I felt sleepy. But did not want to miss the lovely scene. Still she was lying on his lap. He told her there were only two more stops for them to get down.(this I understood because he told her in English). By this time she woke up and sat . He took her school bag and lunch bag in one hand. Then held her with the other hand and got ready to get down. The stop in which they had to get down approached. They both got down slowly and walked . I was doubtful whether the girl was holding the man for support or the grandfather was holding her little hand for support. They walked hand in hand. I could not remove my eyes from them till the bus started moving.

I continued my journey physically to the school but mentally I was travelling into my world of thoughts. The whole 30 minutes I got to see how a grandfather showered his love on his grand daughter was, shall I say adorable,or cherishable, or lovable or sweet nostalgic feeling? It is all the sweet feelings put together. I felt that the girl as well as the old man were lucky to have each other. It gave them both a sense of security and love. "I am there for you and you are there for me kind of feeling". I could see the sense of bonding between them. I was reminded of my grandparents who used to stay with us when I was small.

These days we all are living as nucleus families. Our children get to see their grand parents once a year or once in two years. The love they show each other is also in ration. The grandparents want to shower all their love on their grandchildren in those few days or months they get to spend with them .The grandchildren are not in a position to enjoy it because they are not able to bond with them closely --the reason being the time gap in which they get to see them and because of the generation gap( this is what they call it).

With much force( we cannot convince them only force works) we try to make our children do the monotonous conversation with our parents over the phone every week .The conversation goes like "How are you? I am fine. O.K. Let me give the phone to my mama or papa." We are trying to build a bond via phone calls. We are so used to virtual living that we think sending photos and videos will act as glue to bind our children and our parents closely. They both live in different environment . The grandparents mostly don't have anything in common to talk about other than their good old days which the millennium children do not have patience to listen to. Our children's lives revolve only around us-the parents. Grand parents are referred as "your dad", "your mom". They are not part of their life. Are we depriving our kids from getting the love of grandparents? Yes. We are depriving our aging parents from showering their love on the grandchildren too. In the little girl 's life her grandfather is part of her life. He seems to do so many things for her. The love, the confidence , the dependency she shows on him is because she feels her grandfather's presence in every walk of her life.

Our children are totally depended on us for everything. Whether it is love or anger our children see it only through our eyes. We get angry one minute and after some time we ourselves console them. They do not have any loving shoulder to lean on when they are unhappy. They are not sure when we will be happy and when we will be showing the other side of us. That is why they do not value our love or anger with due importance. We ourselves try to justify our anger by explaining to them the reason behind it. In the worst case an extra hour of tv or playing with the electronic gadgets makes them very happy .Voluntarily or involuntarily we also encourage this because we feel they need some solace through some source--be it living or non-living doesn't matter. There is no one else to explain to them or console them. Hence according to our children the exhibition of human love is something "mechanical". They cannot accept even our parents as part of their family because they are not in their everyday walk of life. Is the far away distance from our parents the reason for this short coming ? Or is it because we all are living a self-centered life? It is good to have space between relationships . But such a big space widens the relationship itself. It leaves a vacuum at the end of the day. What can substitute the love of grandparents?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Conscience------What is the price of it????

For the past two weeks "the talk of the town" (Tamil Nadu state in fact) has been about the labeling of the expired medicines with new expiry dates. When I read the news I felt like shooting those culprits right then. There has been a huge network involved in this dirty, filthy business .This has been going on for the past 20 years all around India. Many children, pregnant women, people with chronic diseases ,people of all ages have been affected because of this. We go to a doctor for a cure and take medicines to get cured of our ailments. In this case medicines have turned into the cause of ailments. Pregnant women who took medicines hoping to deliver a healthy baby have been put on stake. Not only does it involve their life but also the unborn future generation of our country.

People sometimes blame the doctors for prescribing wrong medicines which don't suit them. Some patients even have adverse effects because of the medicine. Now we can understand that part of the problem lies on the standard of the medicines supplied by the pharmacy. When expired medicines are sold how can a person be expected to be cured of his illness. People who take long term medicines for their illness don't even know that many of the side effects are due to the expired medicines. How can the public be educated on this? We buy medicines from the pharmacy looking at the expiry date(if we are aware of it). But when the expiry date itself is changed what can an educated or uneducated person do on this matter.

To avoid paying the doctors (most of the time they don't have money for consulting a doctor) sometimes uneducated poor people go to pharmacies to get medicines hoping that the pharmacists will give them the right medicine if they explain their problems to them. To make their profit out of the loss these pharmacies have been selling the expired medicines. When innocent people are cheated in this way it is like ripping off their heart when alive. Now the government is taking actions against such people . Everyday loads and loads of expired medicines and cosmetics are being disposed in open areas. This in turn also is polluting the environment . There is a specific way of disposing the chemicals. To avoid being caught, these heartless animals are throwing them away in lakes and ponds.

The government of Tamil Nadu has announced Rs.25 lakhs for any information regarding the misuse of expired medicines. If the government wants any kind of co-operation from the public on this matter then they should give enough security for the lives of the people who are ready to give information about the culprits. There should be severe punishments (capital punishment) for people who gamble with human lives. Like in Middle East they should be stoned to death in public places. How did they escape for twenty long years without being caught? Such is our Indian bureaucracy. The government has been blindfolded for twenty years. It is unbelievable!! With such existing conditions India is trying to promote Medical tourism. Ironical !!What gurantee can be given to people who come to India for treatment? When people from foreign land come to know about this malpractice do you think anyone will want to risk their life by opting to come to India for treatment just for cost-cutting? What kind of belief will anyone have in our medical system?

How dare these people label the expired medicines with new dates and sell it in the market? So many pharmaceutical companies have been selling the expired medicines to agents, who have been acting as a a bridge in this underground dealings. Crores and crores of money has been earned by many while millions of innocent lives have been used as gunea pigs. Is this because of the flaw in our legal system? What have the authorities been doing all these years? Are there so many stone hearted people who close their eyes to this malpractice? Money, Money, Money this is all they want. For their greed why should the innocent lives of people be staked? Do they have any conscience?

As it is in India we have no control over the quality and effects of the pesticides or the fertilizers used in the food products. Because of this there is a huge rise in cancer patients. India which has tones and tones of gold stored in bank lockers does not have clean water to drink. Right from wells,lakes , and rivers every water source is polluted. We already have a lot of sources to make us unhealthy. On top of this now we cannot even take medicines to cure our diseases. Is this because Indians are ignorant or they are ready to compromise on the health issues?

We proudly say that India is an young nation with lot of youngsters when compared to other countries, where the majority of the population is getting old. We all are of the hope that India by 2020 will be a great economic power. WE can probably boast to become a great nation in all other aspects in life other than human values. Value for human life is zero in India. Is this because of the unbeatable population we have ? We claim to be a land of religions, hospitality, love, affection, moral values??? what not?? We all are very emotional but it is short lived emotional display. We talk about a problem with so much of emotion for a few days then we all go into Alzheimer.

We all talk about the lack of proper infrastructure in India. First let the priority be given to the health of the people. If we have healthy people we can achieve anything in this world. Health is Wealth. Let the governments first take measures to provide people a healthy living. Awareness should be created at all levels among the population about healthy living. We all get educated mainly to raise our standard of living. Let us all first raise our standard of thoughts. Then everything will fall in place. Value for life should be taught right from young age.

For a few people to become millionaires we cannot let millions of lives to suffer . The central government should take the right action as this is being carried on as an All India business.(Indians are very good in expanding their business even in moon).They should not yield to any external or internal pressures on this issue. I feel that the whole ring involved in this should be busted. They should be dealt severely. The punishment given to them should become a lesson for others who even think about such frauds. No bails should be granted to them. The case should be done in a short time and the punishment meted out immediately. No appeals. Let our law makers prove that human life is precious than everything in this world. All the criminals involved in this should be punished--right from the clerical level to the top rung in the ladder. They are worse than the terrorist, who take the lives of the people at one shot. These people are like slow poison in our social system. Hope our democratic government proves "IT IS FOR THE PEOPLE."