Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Lessons from My Life

I was never a brilliant student, going by the academic standards set by our system. Though I did fare a little above the average usually, it was never good enough, neither for my parents nor the teachers. I still have a few of my report cards and the remarks have been consistently similar through the years - Neha is a bright child but needs to focus more and can do much better.

Though there were things I happened to be naturally good at, like sports, public speaking and even a bit of dramatics etc. Yet, it was never good enough. If I participated in a competition (and I participated in most of them!), it was expected of me to win. A second position or (God forbid!) a third meant failure. It had to be No. 1 or nothing at all.

And it was this incessant pressure to excel and win that broke me on those several occasions when I didn't get the top spot. Most of the times, the sheer fun and enthusiasm involved in participating was crushed with that pressure. And often, I had cold feet, numb fingers and a dry throat just before my turn at the mike or before aiming a basketball during a high intensity match. And I'd fail! It wasn't nervousness as much as it was the fear of failure and the consequent rejection I knew I'd face. Like every child, I wanted to feel loved and make my family and teachers proud of me. Yet, more often than not, I felt helpless and gave in to mindless self blaming and even guilt.

Today, as I look back at those times as a mother myself, I understand better as to why I was expected to excel in all. And that my parents did just what most parents do - make me fall in line and adhere to the standards set up by our education system and society. For it is, sadly, only the academic brilliance that is still noted and encouraged. Creativity and professions related to it weren't and still aren't given their due. Children are still measured by the digits they are able to rake up in the report cards through rote learning, which make or break a child's career as well as confidence.

My professors in college wanted me to prepare and sit for civil examinations. They'd tell me about the greener pastures in the IAS part of the world. When I defied them and took up a course in mass communication instead, most thought I'd lost my mind. That was over a decade ago. And even after so many years of work experience, I still am in the process of finding a profession or work I can give my heart and soul to.

Would that mean I've lost out because I didn't follow the norms or the herd? No. Instead, I've learned and grown. I've tested more waters than many others would have. I've failed and succeeded and learned a lot in that process. I've known hard work and most importantly, I've followed my heart. And that makes me happy.

As a mother, I pray that I don't get influenced by social and academic pressures as my parents did. While I'd want my son to excel, it shouldn't be at the cost of his confidence or never should he feel the need to excel to rise in my eyes. I want him to know that coming second, or even third, isn't a failure. There's just one top spot out there and it goes to the one who performs the best on a given day. And that doesn't mean that others weren't good. It's what he learns in the process which is important. Success doesn't necessarily imply self worth, for a child is much more than the medals and trophies (s)he brings home. I want him to know that his mother will stand by him through his failures and achievements and that she'll have his back always. 

For that's all I needed as a child and I know that's all my son would ask of his mother, in words or in deeds. And for that, I'm prepared.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Raising Prabir- Talking Shapes

Prabir (just now, looking at our marriage pic) - Mumma, woh jo tumhari shaadi ki photo hai uss mein aisi mumma kyon hai? (In that marriage photograph, why does mumma look like this?)

Me- kaisi thi mumma tab? (How was mumma then?)

Prabir - round round

Me- ab? (Now?)

Betu - Oval

I always knew motherhood reshapes you and your life completely. Hence proved!!

#RaisingPrabir #ToddlerTalks


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Raising Prabir- A Lesson for Life

We were walking out of the passport office last week when this little one came happily to Prabir, wagging its tail. Prabir declared that it's hungry and fed him a few biscuits I was carrying.

As we moved on after feeding the puppy, Prabir asked who will feed it when it's hungry again. I had no answers for him then, yet a sense of satisfaction loomed large within me.

Nothing exceptional in what happened, but a life lesson well learnt.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Raising Prabir - A Telephone Conversation

Prabir on a pretend-play call with his imaginary friend DD. The monologue went something like this:

"Yes, DD. Tum aa rahe ho mere ghar? Tumhe raasta pata hai? Nahi...? Main bataata huin raasta. Yahaan se Wahaan!"

(Transalated - "Yes, DD. Are you coming home? Do you know the way? No..? I will tell you the way. From here to there!")

That friend will never reach our home, it seems! 😂😂😂😂😂

Monday, December 26, 2016

Raising Prabir - A beautiful morning

Our househelp took a break from mopping the floor to have a cup of tea. While she stood with her cup near the kitchen door,  Prabir rushed to his room. He emerged with a little stool and kept it near her, asking her to sit.

Sitting at the dining table, sipping my coffee and simply taking in what just happened, I smiled as my eyes welled up. There's something somewhere I did do right as his mother.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Raising Prabir

Toddlers are fun and full of surprises.  As Prabir is growing up,  he's  picking new words.

We just returned from dinner.

A conversation that ensued just now verbatim.

Me- So, did you like the dinner?
Prabir - Yesss
Me- Is your tummy full?
P- Yesss
Me- What did you like the best?
P- zedzed
Me- I'm asking what did you like the best in dinner?
P- zedzed
Me- Red red? What's that?
P- Mummmaaaaaa zedzed......meethha!!!
Me- zedzed... You mean dessert!!!

Now,  that's some English, my boy!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Motherhood isn't all Giggles & Cuddles!

There.... I said it!

Yes, you have a tiny one to cuddle and play silly with all day, but motherhood is beyond that. While you bask in the endless baby talks and the sweet baby scent, you realize gradually that you are the sole one responsible for the well being of this little one too. And just when you 'think' you have it all figured and sorted out, the challenges change.

And the worst part is that there is no rule book to follow, no sage advice to guide you, and no precedence to look up to for a solution.

Is motherhood easy? Well, just yesterday morning, I was crying bucketful of tears and only wanted to go somewhere far far away. Somewhere where there'd be no one to calling out 'Mumma' every fraction of a second.

So, yes, motherhood is challenging! A few ways I cope, rather try to!

P.S: I'm almost always near the brim just about to sink in and yet managing to stay afloat!

  • Breathe! Yes. B........r........e.........a........t.........h..........e..............
  • Celebrate little moments. Your baby burped quickly? Dance a bit. Self fed without much mess? Do a little gig. Pooped in the potty seat? Now that calls for a big celebration!!! Rejoice. Celebrate. Smile. Laugh.

    The other night I was literally dancing after putting Prabir to bed at 8.30 pm, while my husband stared in amusement. Trust me, only a mother can rejoice and celebrate things like these!
  • Nurture a hobby or that long forgotten passion. For me, it's reading and writing. Not that you'll find the time to do it seriously enough, but a few moments away (mentally) do work.
  • Focus, prioritize and leave what's not humanly possible. Period. Let people think. Let people judge. You are doing your best and you need not prove it all the time. The laundry can wait and so can the endless cupboards that need dusting.
  • Delegate work. Hire help wherever possible. Gives you a little more time from the same 24 hours.
  • Look for support. Seek help. Online or offline...doesn't matter. Meet old friends and make new ones. Though I can't brag to have an awesome social life, so to say, I do have an extremely strong network of mothers who are my soul sisters now. Not a day can pass without their love and support!
  • Put on the music. It helps. It distracts. It changes the mood. And doesn't obstruct your work either.
  • Be easy on yourself. Yes, you are a mommy. Not a superwoman. That's another thing that your little one(s) see a cape and a halo around you!
  • Shut your eyes for a few moments every few hours. Even 30 seconds help.
  • Most importantly, love yourself. Get up. Take a shower. Get dressed, even if that just means putting on a pair of washed Pj's and tee. Brush your hair. Put on some moisturizer or even some kohl or kajal. And give that beautiful woman in the mirror a good admiring look every day.
Motherhood is beautiful. But equally taxing and nerve-wrecking. Every morning, I brace myself  for yet another day. But then, I remind myself that the days may be long while the years are too short. And these little cuddly babies grow up just too soon.

Love them with all your being, but don't lose yourself in the process :)