The other day my teen daughter was talking to me and casually she said, “I like this certain quality and attribute of mine very much.” I cheekily said, “Self praise, eh?” She said, “Why not? Aren’t we entitled to appreciate ourselves too?”
This set me thinking. We are always critical about ourselves, but why don’t we appreciate ourselves? We always end up being critical about the way we look, our behavior, what we couldn’t achieve, but how many times do we pat our back about what we are good at or the qualities that are worth appreciating? May be because we are conditioned that appreciating oneself will sound boastful or vain. How is that being critical comes easily to us and not being appreciative?
I would definitely want to have the confidence of my daughter when it comes to self-worth. May be we all should start looking and cherish our worth more and be less critical…
I was watching a 90s movie, a movie of my school and college time, and the leading lady and the hero were looking so ridiculous with their gawkiness, unpolished and unfiltered looks, funny costumes, makeup and dance steps. Those two actors are considered to be good looking and stylish in their 40s now. Why just them..even when I see mine and other 90s kids photos and videos it makes me cringe. We were ridiculously dressed up, had funny makeup on, had awkward poses, camera was basic.
But those actors and even me or kids of my generation had one thing which time has changed, the innocence in the eyes. We have become wiser, more confident, the tide of time has shown us good and bad of life, and all those have gathered in our eyes. The eyes are more tired now, wiser now, with lesser gawkiness and sparkle.
We acquired life skills, confidence, etiquette, diplomacy, wisdom, experience, great mobiles with good cameras and filters, but left behind those innocent eyes and the sweet awkwardness.
It was another event for the superstar; the heartthrob of millions, superstar Raghu. People thronged in thousands to catch just one glimpse of him. He wasn’t just another superstar; he was a superstar down in the Southern part of India where heroes are worshiped as Gods. They have fanatic fans who build temples and worship the star. They bathe their giant-sized cutouts with milk. They throng to the theaters to watch the first day first show; whistle, clap and shout on their entry; dance when the superstar dances, believe that the fights are for real; cry when the superstar cries.
Raghu was now in his late 40s. He knew he was ageing. He wore his expensive wig, asked his makeup man to cover his fine lines before he went for the event. Just last month he had gotten a face-lift and liposuction done in an expensive clinic in London. For his fans, he had to put up the facade of being young. They wanted to see him forever young, immortal.
He had entered the film industry as a gawky 20-year-old in the 1990s. He was from a middle-class background, very ordinary looking. He somehow got a chance in a movie as the hero’s sidekick and over the years after immense hard work, many setbacks, multiple humiliations and rejections he had finally become the darling of the masses. When he was on screen, he was on fire. He would bring out a thousand expressions with ease, dance, sing, fight, romance with ease, but off screen he was this quiet and aloof person who had a certain melancholy in his eyes. He looked uncomfortable when his co-actors, producers, directors would flatter him with compliments. He knew that 2 flops and the same people will ignore his existence, fans will burn his effigies. He had seen it all. He knew how he was mocked and sidelined when in the middle of his career he had 5 flops in a row. He was seated in the fourth or fifth row in any function, sometimes people wouldn’t even invite him for parties and premiers. Producers wouldn’t sign him. Raghu knew “Nothing succeeds like success.” Now that he was a huge superstar again everyone wanted a piece of him, wanted to be clicked with him, seen with him, work with him. Heroines 20-25 years younger to him would want to work with him as they knew even one scene with him would mean a big boost in their career.
His own parents, relatives, so-called friends also wanted a share of him; his money, his fame. His children were constantly hounded by the media for a photo or a byte.
As soon as his BMW entered the event venue, he could see media persons, fans, film industry people thronging towards his car. He could see the familiar “flattering smile” on their faces. He knew once he got out of the car he had to act off-screen as well. He was tired now, but he had chosen this life. He knew he enjoyed this attention, this demi-God status. He was at that stage of life where he had millions of admirers and fans but no genuine friend. Despite thousands around him, he was lonely.
The cameras flashed and captured him at the angles where he looked good,, but even those flashlights couldn’t camouflage the blank and pained eyes.
The biggest mistake most parents do is not owing up to their mistakes and accepting it in front of their children.
As once my headstrong daughter commented, “Both the parents and kids behave similarly, but just because they are parents they can get away with it and the kids cannot. Isn’t that unfair?” It had set me thinking. Sometimes both the kids and the parents show similar aggression, say similar things, do similar actions; but the kids are supposed to apologize and own up to their mistakes and parents don’t even utter a “sorry.”
When the kids are younger, they accept this behavior as normal, but when they are in their teens and start questioning the age-old norms, this is one of the things they do question. Some kids are upfront about it and some are not…
After a long time, I visited my beautician today. I have known her for over a decade now. She is a hard-working girl from Mangalore who has always a smile on her face and is very talkative.
Today while I was in the salon she got a call and she became disturbed. She vented out that it was her younger brother who wanted more money from her to buy some stuff which was not really necessary. The girl’s parents are no more and she has literally raised her brother. She literally was in tears and said, “You know ma’am, my brother only wants my money. He is younger to me, still he doesn’t respect me, questions about my character, doesn’t let me wear clothes of my choice, humiliates me, dominates me.” I simply advised her not to take the crap anymore and start saving money for herself as I am sure the brother of this kind wouldn’t be of any help. She said, “Ma’am, all men are the same. You are lucky that your husband “allows” you to wear what you want or doesn’t question you or insult you. I hope your son also doesn’t become like one of the usual men. I told her, “Dare my son ever do anything of this sort, I will be the first one to rebuke him. “
Its really sad to see how most Indian boys are raised. The parents don’t question them, discipline them, or teach them to be respectful towards women. This is not just confined to any one strata of the society; this is prevalent in all the strata. Girls are asked to mind their manners, what they wear, where they go, what they spend. This girl was not the only one whom I have seen in tears or disheartened; I have seen many such women and every time it breaks my heart to see these heartbroken and sad women.
Its raining here in Mumbai and it takes me down the memory lane of my first tryst with Mumbai monsoons way back in 2002. I was newly married and started my new life here in the City of Dreams. I had joined work. My office was in Andheri. I was getting used to the local trains, discerning East from West (areas), trying to figure BEST bus numbers taking me to the correct destination.
Once on a rainy July or August then, I boarded a BEST bus from Andheri to my home and it was raining heavily. It took almost 3 hours or more for me to reach home. Back then there were no mobiles for communication. I would always reach home earlier than my husband. But that day he reached earlier and I hadn’t reached still. He was worried as I was pregnant with our son and in a very delicate stage. Heavy rains, no way of communicating, me still getting acclimatized to Mumbai all this caused my young husband to panic. Finally, I managed to reach home and both were relieved. Dinner was pizza amidst the rainy weather.
Those were the days
Last week my husband was casually playing some old songs on his mobile. Those were the songs of our childhood, the songs of early and mid 80s and 90s. The songs were truly melodious but more than the melody it was the memory associated with those songs which stood out. I remembered my childhood how my mom used to switch on the radio every morning while me and my siblings hurried to get ready to go to school, mom used to give breakfast, dad used to get ready for office while all those songs kept on playing, almost daily. I remembered the school and college days.
While traveling by Ola cab when the FM is switched on, the songs that play often remind me of my early days of marriage, the time I was expecting my children, the time my children were younger, the time I used to listen to radio along with my sister and mother before marriage and so on.
Any Bengali Robindro Sangeet is associated with my childhood and my father teaching me and my sister those songs or us performing at the small Bengali gatherings.
As my husband played an old Hemant Kumar song, it brought back the memories of my late father who used to sing Hemant Kumar’s Bengali and Hindi songs.
Why are some songs so special to us? Most of the times it’s the memories that are associated with them, both good and bad, that make those songs special. We go back to that time, re-live that particular moment.
“One old song, a thousand old memories.”
My son has just started driving and today he drove while my husband sat next to him. My husband has been driving for more than 30 years now and is a great driver. My son was a little nervous to drive with his dad sitting besides him. He faltered once or twice due to his nervousness, but my husband calmly asked him to not worry and rectified what needed to be. This gave him more confidence.
When someone is a newbie the expert in that field should guide him/her without getting annoyed or pointing out his/her mistakes harshly; it shatters the confidence of the newbie. One eventually learns after practice and experience. This is applicable everywhere; workplace, home, children, a new bride, a new mother.
A little compassion and encouragement costs nothing for the veteran but means a lot for the newbie.
This is the second year in a row that my kids are unable to celebrate their friends’ birthdays by going over to their houses with cakes, giving them birthday bumps, and in general having a good time. With every friend’s birthday, I can sense my kids’ disappointment of not being able to cherish that moment in person. Zoom calls cannot replace the actual presence.
My son is in his second year of graduation and my daughter in class 9. They have only another year before they move out of their college and school respectively. As such, the kids will choose different colleges and schools and won’t be able to meet regularly.This pandemic has robbed the kids of their precious moments and memories. The disappointment in their voice and eyes breaks my heart, but there is nothing that I can do. Even vaccines aren’t available for their safety.
Waiting for the kids to go back to their normal life soon, God knows when and how…
Today being Brothers Day I came across a post where it was being said that God made brothers to protect their sisters. This reminded me of an incident where I was discussing about the various fasts that are kept for husband, brothers or sons for their well being and longevity. Basically, women fast for the well being of their “protectors”. Almost all the festivals are for boys and men.
My son, who is the older one, is a feminist and he said, “I will be always there for my younger sister, but I am sure she will be so independent, fearless, and self-sufficient that she won’t need me to protect her. When we grow up we might not stay in the same city and I might there be around immediately. Rather I will help her in being capable to take care of herself.”
That’s how a brother should be or for that matter every man should be; protective yet not overbearing.