The App generation

Why is it so hard for some people to believe that times are changing, world is evolving?  Also, correlating the changing times and technology with lazy parents and selfish kids has become a norm.  Yes, this is a generation of apps.  I admit there are times that I don’t like to slog in the kitchen and I order food from the app.  I don’t like traveling by public transport and book a cab using my app.  I pay my bills through an app.  Does that really make me a lazy mom or a bad parent setting a bad example for my kids?  NO..

Imparting right values has got nothing to do with technology or apps.  If I don’t cook for a day or 2, my children won’t judge me and label me as a bad mother.  Also, if my kids use apps I won’t call them selfish or self-centered.  Teaching the children value of money, imparting them values such as compassion and love has got nothing to with their app usage.  My son uses public transport most of the times but on days he might book a cab for him and his friends.  Does that make him selfish or the fact that he doesn’t value his parents’ hard-earned money?  Does a woman not slogging 12 hours in a kitchen make her a selfish/lazy mom/wife?

Technology and right values can go hand in hand.  Times have changed, dynamics have evolved, parenting has become more difficult, but generalizing moms as lazy and kids are selfish all the time is not right.  Its not that during our childhood there were no self-centered children or negligent parents.  So, once and for all stop generalizing..

The stalker

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Past 2 weeks had been extremely nerve wracking for Ratna.  Her daughter Pia had just gone to Bangalore about a month ago to join her new job and within a few days she complained of being followed by some one.  Pia said she could feel his presence near her rented apartment, her office, in the bus, near the office.  He would simply stand and stare at her creepily.

Ratna advised Pia to lodge a police complaint and never venture out alone.  Pia lodged a police complaint and from the next day the stalker was nowhere to be seen.  Pia sighed a breath of relief.  Finally, she was free and happy again.  But within 2 days Pia started getting blank calls.  Soon, the stalker started saying obscene and nonsensical stuff over the phone.  Pia soon started getting panic attacks.

Ratna decided to be with her daughter in Bangalore now for a few days till the time the stalker was caught and punished.  Ratna was a single parent.  She and her husband had divorced when Pia was 6 months old.  Her husband was abusive, drunkard, and a womanizer.  When Pia was around 5 months old in a state of drunken stupor her husband had dangled Pia upside down from the balcony.  Ratna had decided that very day that she cannot survive with this dangerous man.

No sooner did Ratna arrive in Bangalore, Pia hugged her and started sobbing like a baby.  Ratna could not see her darling daughter like this.  She personally went to the police and requested them to handle the case and catch the stalker.  Police decided to tab the phone.  After a lot of cat and mouse chase, finally the police managed to nab the stalker.  Both mother and daughter cried with relief.

Ratna had to join back her work and after her daughter’s reassurance she came back home.  ‘She Turned The Key In The Lock And Opened The Door’. She froze for a moment when she saw a silhouette near her bedroom door.  She switched on the lights with trembling fingers.  Soon that silhouette emerged and stood in front of her.  It didn’t take her one minute to recognize the face that she hated the most.  The balding head and white beard could not overshadow those creepy eyes and smile.  It was her ex-husband smiling creepily at her.

He said with a shameless grin, “So, you thought you can keep me away from my daughter..huh?  She has turned out to be a beauty just like you.  Do you really believe that police can keep me jailed for long?  I will go and watch my daughter everyday again, everywhere she goes..”

Ratna stood speechless, trembling with rage and fear…

Raising A Good Son In The #MeToo Era..

The other day my 15-year-old son decided to attend the Bandra Lil Flea, a flea market, with his friends.  Since it is holiday time, he and his friends decided to make the most of it.  Since Mumbai is a vast city, most of his friends are located in different areas.  Two of his female friends reside in our area.  So, my son and those girls went together.  It was a bit late when they came back.  My son dropped his two female friends and then came home.

This is not the first time that my son has done this.  He ensures always that after a party or even otherwise his female friends reach home safely and then he comes home.  Many people have appreciated this gesture of my son and I am proud of him.  But shouldn’t this be the norm?  Most parents of my son’s female friends know him and can blindly trust their daughters in his company as they know him from a long time and know that their daughters will be safe with him.  Wouldn’t I want such a friend for my daughter as well?

In an age of #MeToo where more and more women are coming out with horrid tales of their abuse sometimes unknowingly the entire male gender is looked at with suspicion and disgust.  Not their fault as one doesn’t know who is good and who is not!

But I am extremely happy and proud that me and my husband have managed to raise a son in this era who is respectful and protective towards girls, believes in gender equality, does household chores, and in general a nice young gentleman.  He has imbibed a lot of qualities from his father and some credit can be given to our upbringing.

Is it difficult to raise a good son?  Not at all!  Simply raise him like you would raise any other good human.  Few pointers to raise an awesome son from my own experience:

1.  Don’t spoil the son by making him believe that he is superior.

2.  Instill good values and discipline right from a very young age.  If the son is aggressive, don’t encourage it by saying that “boys will be boys”, correct him then and there itself.

3.  Teach him to believe in gender equality.  Here the father also plays a very important role.  Sons imbibe a lot by observing their fathers and the overall home environment.

4.  Teach him household chores and cooking.  Don’t make it a “girly” thing.  Its for his own benefit.

5.  Set same rules for both the son and the daughter.  Raise them in a similar fashion.

6.  Talk to your son a lot.  Let him express, let him cry if he wants to.  Don’t ask him to toughen up and not express him emotions since he is a boy.  Don’t ever say that “Boys don’t cry”.

7.  I have talked to my son about menstruation, sex and sexuality as and when he grew up.  Be frank with him.  The more repressed he is the more mistakes will he make.

8.  Teach him about consent.  Most grown-up men don’t know about consent since they were made to believe that men can get away with everything.

Just a few things and you will see your son grow up to be a fine young man whom the world would love and appreciate..

Age of Innocence

My son and his friends play some instrument or the other and yesterday they decided to simply go and check out instruments and inquire about price and talk about options of buying it (instruments can be pretty expensive). They then went to Juhu beach, had pav bhaji and simply had a nice time talking about life, instruments and money among other things😀
Today my daughter and her friends came back from their morning walk and decided to celebrate Children’s Day by baking cookies at my place. Their laughter, giggles and excitement filled the house just as the aroma of the cookies did.
Children at every stage teach us to be alive and happy, which somewhere growing up we tend to forget might be because of gaining maturity, bitter experiences, and in general getting older. These children are the spirit of the society, hope they remain lively, lovely and innocent always.

The Marriage Drama and the Emotional Blackmail..

Nobody knows exactly what has gone wrong with Lalu’s son’s marriage and now he is adamant that he won’t come back home till his decision of divorce is agreed upon. Nobody knows his wife’s side of the story though. But isn’t it a typical Indian arranged marriage scenario where the parents and the family play the emotional card? Dad becomes unwell, mother is distraught and stops doing puja, log kya kahenge, ghar ki izzat, and please adjust! So many loveless and hopeless marriages drag because of the pressure created on the couple. Adjust kar lo so what if the couple is unhappy or can’t stand each other! Next suggestion might be, have a child! Who knows!

WhatsApp kids!

When we were kids, when we missed our school or wanted to complete our incomplete book, we would go to school and ask our fellow classmates for their notebooks and complete our work. Our moms didn’t bother to get the notes for us. Even when my son was in junior classes, he used to do that. And then came WhatsApp! Yes, it became very helpful in getting information about notes, notices, timetables, etc. But somewhere that is making the kids complacent as they leave it to their moms to get the notes for them. Here, I am talking about students of class 5-6 onwards who are capable enough of copying notes from their classmates. More than the kids, I see the moms getting worked up about notes, notices, and timetables.
Let the kids learn to take the onus! If they miss something, if they are inattentive in the class let them face the consequences of it at least once. I might sound harsh but it will make them responsible. When the kids are old enough to play mobile games and chat on WhatsApp, they are capable enough to get their own notes and other information. Of course, the WhatsApp mom groups are always there to help. But let that only be help and not make a habit of spoon-feeding the kids.
Today its the notes, tomorrow it will be something else; let them be responsible for their own stuff.

Strong girls

The other day my husband decided to rearrange the room and re-position the bed and almirah differently. My son was sleeping at that time and I asked my husband not to shift the heavy bed and almirah alone. My daughter quipped in between, “I will help Baba.” I said, “Its too heavy, let Dada (elder brother) wake up. He will help Baba.” She said confidently, “But I can do it.” Looking at her confidence, I said, “Okay, then go ahead!”
She did help her Baba in moving the bed and almirah and rearrange and clean the room. After doing everything she looked at me, there was a look of victory and pride on her face. I was so happy and I appreciated her for her strength and help.
Isn’t that what society does with girls often (not generalizing), nip their dreams in bud before allowing them to show their true potential? “Not your field or you can’t do it.” I appreciate the parents who have broken the shackles and let their girls follow their dreams and gave them the choice to do something different. Those girls emerge with the same victorious look that I saw on my little girl’s face🙂