In the mid 80s, every household didn’t own a television. My maternal grandparents had a black and white television and were the first ones to get a TV in our family. Every summer vacation apart from the excitement of visiting them, we looked forward to watching TV. My grandparents were in Kolkata and we used to watch Bangla news, Chitrahaar, and mainly Bengali programs there. Doordarshan had fixed timings those days. I remember my Nana feeding us dinner while we watched the TV.
Some memories remain etched forever. Today everyone has a mobile and we have lots of options in terms of programs to watch. Everyone can watch their movies or series of choice in their privacy. The grandparents can watch programs of their choice and so can the grandchildren. No one is obliged to watch the same program together.
I don’t remember what the programs were or which brand the TV was of, I associate the black and white TV with the affection of my maternal grandparents. The black and white TV and the grandparents have departed long back, but those memories are evergreen,
We all know about postpartum depression as this is discussed a lot now. More than physical care, a new mother needs emotional care, which is often ignored by the family and society. Its perceived that a new mother has to be “happy” and her emotions are overlooked.
Same is the case with the mother of another category, the moms of growing up or grown up children. This category of women are ageing, with some breakdown in their health, and of course who can forget the darned hormones! How much a new mother might prepare herself for her baby, she is not prepared enough when the baby is actually born. Similarly it doesn’t matter how much we talk about coping with empty nest syndrome, missing the childhood of the now independent grown-up children, the hormone havoc, nothing prepares the women when it actually happens.
So, just like the new mother this “wise” mother also needs equal support, more emotional than physical. Raising a little bundle to a full grown human is fulfilling yet exhausting. Let the immediate family, extended family, people in general be more supportive than being critical.
The journey of motherhood wasn’t achieved in one day…
I am a Probashi Bangali (Bengali born and raised outside Bengal). My brush with Bangla movies was through what my parents used to watch on Doordarshan (the only channel during my childhood) and a movie or 2 once a year when we visited Kolkata. To be honest, not all actors or movies interested me; partly because I grew up in a different environment and culture, partly because my Bangla vocabulary is not very strong, partly because I found few black and white movies outdated.
But Uttam Kumar and Soumitra Chatterjee’s movies never failed to evoke interest. Both actors were not just suave and great actors, they had a contemporary vibe to them. Both were equally loved by my parents’ generation and mine alike. Both were natural actors with charisma. Uttam Kumar passed away untimely and was a big loss.
Today another legend left us. I always remarked that Soumitra Chatterjee and Amitabh Bachchan are the only 2 legendary actors who are still fit, still acting, still smart and charismatic, still have the hunger for good work.Mr. Chatterjee’s loss is huge, irreplaceable. But till his last days he was active and continued doing what he loved the most, acting. Rest in peace.
When my daughter was born, we had decided to slowly transition our son to sleep separately in his room. But he was only 5 years old back then and would climb up to sleep with us every night. I also realized that the birth of his sister and transition to sleeping alone wasn’t a good idea, at least for some days, as it would made him feel left out. My son would share the bed with us and daughter would sleep in the cot next to the bed. In the midnight, she would wake up for feed and eventually somehow sometimes we all would end up sleeping in the same bed. Of course, eventually the kids slept separately. Even during travel we would share the same room with an extra bed.
Now my kids belong to the “adult” bracket and need to have a separate room in hotels. They no more run around the room or jump on beds. Its another transition like any other stage. When they were younger I would wait them to be independent and have a separate room, but finally when they did it felt strange. This is the way of life. From getting crammed in one bed together to having their own room; its like life preparing you for their eventual flight away from the nest.
Every little transition stirs up a lot of emotions…
Yesterday my son told that his friend has dropped a year after his 12th to do some job to support his family who is going through a major financial crisis. That boy intends to pursue his graduation from next year. There have been youngsters who are having family issues, body image issues, financial issues and they are trying their best to cope up these circumstances.
Before assuming that all teenagers’ life is a bed of roses or that they are carefree and ignorant about the world, before labeling them as reckless and selfish; one should never forget that assumptions are wrong. There are teenagers who are struggling, who are unhappy, who are trying to help their parents to the best of their abilities despite their own emotional turmoil. Most of my son’s friends have turned 18 and here begins the struggle of adult life. albeit a bit too early for these kids.
Life is not a bed of roses for every kid, so before assuming or generalizing let’s be, as a society, more mindful and sensitive.
As I grow older, I look around me and see equations changing, tables turning. Its just a matter of may be 2 or 3 decades but one thing that I notice is people who were young, powerful and with authority once have become older now and ones whom they dominated have grown young and powerful. Now that child is a young person and the young person is more or less powerless and repentant (might not admit though!)
The authoritarian can be a parent, a teacher, a relative, a boss, a neighbor, someone with more power, money, beauty and good health. They forget nothing remains permanent, that change is the only constant. The damage that they do is forgotten by them, but not by the one who bears the brunt of that damage. Someone prettier and richer than you might have mocked you and now he/she might have lost that youth, beauty and power. A parent who might have been emotionally or physically detached or abusive wants the grown-up child to shower him/her with love and emotions.
Don’t push away people and relations when you are at your prime. Don’t let your ego ruin everything. Some day you will lose your prime and the one who was weaker will be in his/her prime. Those lost years, damaged relations, hurt and bruised hearts won’t just mend magically. Be good, be nice when you have all the energy, money, youth, beauty and time because by the time you realize your follies it might be too late to mend the broken hearts and relations.
The entire country has become a moral police. They are behaving as if they don’t know about drugs. Look around you; youngsters and general public are taking drugs and that’s a reality. Look within you..are you treating women/men/children in your life and around well, are you free of gender bias, are you sure you don’t indulge in manipulation and deceit, are you sure you are not fake, are you sure you don’t yell and abuse, are you sure you don’t smoke, drink, or have other vices, are you sure you don’t body shame, victim shame, child shame, back bite and so on?
Movie stars should never be considered as role models. Its the people within the family and around us who are better role models. Before judging anyone else, pehle apne girebaan mein jhaanko. A strong character is much more than drug abuse.
A mother is shown wearing a crisp cotton saree, hair tied in a bun or plait, her eyes always wet with tears, running around the house like a robot, never shown resting or indulging in her own hobbies, who never eats with her family, being accused and mistreated by everyone including her children, sacrificing till she dies, cooking and cleaning for her grown-up son (daughters are groomed to be like their mothers and hence don’t need to be pampered) and then the tagline:
Maa to Maa hoti hai.
Reality: A mother like me with colored cut hair, seldom wearing saree,who likes to rest and pursue her own interests, who will not take any rude behavior from her children and cry in the bathroom, who will teach both her son (yes!) and daughter cooking, cleaning and being self-reliant, who will not sacrifice unnecessarily, who alone doesn’t take the onus of keeping relations alive, who likes to share pizza and chocolates with her children, who wants everyone to know the fact that no one should take a woman/mother for granted and yes I too deserve and justify the tagline of
Maa to Maa hoti hai
This is for all the makers and loyal viewers of regressive Hindi and regional serials which are immensely popular.
People posting from their Smartphones “Our childhood was so good” or “The olden days kitchen and women were so good”..what’s stopping you from doing the same?
Discard your mobile, laptop, and do the same for your children.Discard all the electronic gadgets in the kitchen and shun the gas pipeline and go back to good old chulha. Allow your children to run around freely without asking them where they are! Buy only 2 sets of clothes for yourself and your children and give them gifts only on birthdays. Shun social media.
Its doable, isn’t it? So, if you can do all this, only then lament about how good the bygone era was and how our kids have a not-so-great childhood. Accept the fact that times change, we evolve.
I remember when I was newly married my brand new husband had called his friend for dinner and he wanted me to make rajma-chawal. We had an arranged marriage and I was hesitant to tell him that I didn’t know how to make rajma! My mother mostly used to cook Bengali cuisine and rarely made rajma, so I had no idea how rajma was made.I put rajma beans in the cooker and even after 10 whistles I saw that the rajma wouldn’t soften. I had no idea that rajma needed to be soaked for 6-7 hours before being cooked. As expected, dinner was a total disaster. My husband and his friend didn’t utter a word and ate silently.
Eventually, my husband taught me how to make rajma, chole, matar paneer and 18 years into our marriage now he says I make these dishes better than him.New relationships are quite similar. They need time, experience, and patience. Had my husband showed his annoyance that day, I might have totally lost the zeal to learn a new dish.
As they say, experience is the best teacher. We learn to strike the right balance in all the relationships like we add salt and other masalas without measuring as years go by. Life is like that, the more we experience, the more we learn..be it cooking, relationships, or anything!.