Location: Aboard British Airways
Time: Weeks ago.
Photography: Mallik Rao Nandanavanam
This blog’s been waiting to be written for weeks now. On my way to London, I sat next to a lovely American couple. It is rare that I don’t make friends with the people sitting next to me on long flights :). Routine introductions followed by a good meal, we dozed off for a couple of hours. Being a light sleeper, I was waking up every time they were trying to call the cabin crew or when they were trying to find something. Well for me they looked of my parents age and I was being a little help. A little bit of kindness from me paved way to an affectionate chat with them. The man started asking me about my career and life in general and he was glad that I was talking so excitedly about my family.
One remark particularly startled me. He said it was rare to find young adults these days who would be so closely connected with their families as much as I was.His wife retired as a high school teacher after 30 years of service and he carried great pride in talking about her achievements. She sat in the seat between me and him.It was such a beautiful sight to see her blush when her husband was praising her role as a mother, teacher and human.
I carry too much pride in the way my parents have brought me up and I was talking a lot about my mother in particular.
He started telling me about their only daughter. We were so engrossed in discussing about life and growing up that I never got to ask her name. Why I loved talking to this couple so much was, they resembled my parents a lot. And they shared such a familiar idea of parenting like my parents did. While I talked to them, I was comparing four human beings across two different worlds, who have been parents for last 30 years.
Everything they did for their kids was hard for both them and the kids. There were fights, struggles and disagreements. There were painful times when faith and abilities were tested. But the choice lay with them. To give up or to endure. And here I was seeing another couple who took the beating but never gave up their struggle to make their kid a good citizen.
Often these days I see young adults, talking big things about how parenting is a huge task. But when I closely look at their parenting style, I pity those young toddlers and kids. Well! I am twenty five years old and I have lived for twenty four years with my parents. I have seen and observed the way they brought us up from the closest possible quarters. And today, I say there cannot be another better way at all. Because, I know I am a good citizen with a kind heart to the human suffering around me. And if you ask me, I’ll say being human is all that is needed to live. Money and success will follow your duties.
To all those ‘parents’ who talk at length about parenting being a ‘full time’ job and not doing it ‘full time’,
Please stop ‘feeling’ and ‘talking’ and start doing
Please open your hearts to your children’s feelings and avoid going by the rule book
Stop following stereotyped advice of ‘child psychologists ( The child is born out of your bodies and shares your gene pool! So look within for solutions to your child’s problems. Not to undermine the scientific approach of the doctors here. Self analysis is important before rushing to a medico- in case of behavioural problems, hyper activity and other related issues).
What made me write the above lines is the disgust at the levels of foolishness young parents these days present. While no one remarks or helps them correct themselves directly, they are subjected to all sorts of jokes in their absence.
I don’t think my parents are the only best parents in the world. There are millions like them. But where our parents fail is when we don’t agree to disagree and go daggers with them over some things. I think they deserve a decent share of patience for all the patience they have shown towards us in all these years.
Carol and Bernie are just one of those millions of lovely parents that I got to talk to. And the pride in their eyes when they talked about their daughter and her achievements cannot be put to words.
When I look at winners today who make a difference in this world, with their compassion and kindness, I tell myself, this person had very kind people as parents or guardians.