NEED OF THE HOUR

The other day while I was standing in the school corridor I felt a nudge.Looking back, I saw a little girl gesturing me to give her way. Slightly taken aback and annoyed, I tried to correct her saying that the right way is to use the words ‘Excuse me’.

This incident haunted me for long before I could bury it as just another error by an innocent child.Then I realized how much needs to be done at the foundation level. Academics apart, the need of the hour is to sharpen the soft skills of our children for us to have a civilized society tomorrow.

While we talk about seeing our kids do well in their lives,let’s not only focus on making them financially sound and acquiring material wealth.It’s equally important to ensure that they have the basic etiquettes of social life. No matter how high one’s scores are, it’s often seen one fails to make a positive impression on us. The culprit could be anything between rude body language and an absolute lack of finesse in one’s personality. Grooming has therefore become an essential part of one’s education.

However, owing to a lot of factors the focus today, is on polishing the academic scorecard, little realizing that this obsession is someday going to crashland us if we put up a poor show in the social front.We certainly would not love to be surrounded by techies owning fancy cars,visiting expensive restaurants in branded clothes, speaking loudly on their mobile phones in public places.

It’s time therefore to ‘catch them when they are young’ so that we can check the social behaviour of our children and lay the foundation of a strong value system during their formative years.Otherwise we must be ready to bear the brunt of a rude and insolent society in future.

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UNBROKEN

You tried, you teased her

You bruised and battered her

But she stands unbroken!

You promised empty words

Of love and solace

Of comfort and candour.

But she stands unbroken!

You shamed her and robbed her

Of her integrity.

You blamed her,called her names

But she stands unbroken!

Like a rock she stands

Unfazed, such is her fortitude

That nothing you do can

Ever shake or scare her

For, she stands unbroken!

THE REALIZATION

It was evening.There was nothing to brighten up the surrounding except the street lights scattered at uneven distances.Worrying about the well being of my children, I hurried home from the nearby shop with some grocery, picking up a few vegetables which appeared fresh, on the way. I was still a few steps away from home when suddenly I heard someone talking, as if to oneself. Not realizing who it was, I turned in the direction of the voice. All I could see in the darkness was the silhouette of a woman.It was the same woman whose everyday shelter has been this waiting shed,with just the roof and three bare walls. It was then that realization dawned upon me, for she was so familiar to me.She is the regular face one would come across on one’s trip to and from the nearby shops. Knowing that she spends every night on a roadside shed sent a chill down my spine.

Wondering about her safety, I resumed walking with a heavy heart, considering the dangers that she was vulnerable to. “Only if she was not mentally challenged, only if she had a family to go back to, would she not spend her nights here,” I said to myself.

I pitied her once again like I do every time I see her there.But apart from fearing the the worst and praying for her,did I do anything to make things better for her?”,I asked myself.Have I left her in the mercy of destiny?Am I then, one of those callous citizens who gives a deaf ear and a blind eye to everything that doesn’t bother ME and MYSELF?

In the meanwhile, I reached home, only to be hounded by these questions, the answers to which, I have none.

GRATITUDE

You are not in competition

with anyone but yourself,

You don’t have to prove a point

For I love you just the way you are.

If you think your grades matter,

Let me tell you, not to me

but certainly they do to the world

for that’s how your worth is weighed.

But I love you just the way you are.

Ever since the day of your birth,

all I prayed was to raise you as a

human being worthy to be loved.

Years rolled by with ups and downs

but you pulled through it all with

such grace that I feel the pangs of

guilt and shame wrench at my gut.

I ask myself, ” Am I being unjust and

unfair to my child?”

And then without pausing awhile

I move on with my round of DUTIES.

But remember I love you all the same.

For, I take great pride watching you

grow, all the eleven years racing by

in the wink of an eye.

Can’t thank you enough for all the

little help in those moments of chaos

when nothing else works.

You’re truly God’s best sent angel!

The Dying Habit of Letter Writing

In one of my writing skills classes the students were given the assignment of writing letters to their friends on how they spent their last summer holidays.I was shocked beyond words to find that in a class of forty only about five students did justice to their jobs, while the others just dawdled, waiting for the class to get over.

This experience did not leave me annoyed for the laidback attitude of the students towards their task. Instead, I was worried and concerned, knowing fully well that such an attitude is not going to take them any far.This prompted me to ponder on what could have caused their inability to complete their given assignment.

The above situation brings me to the topic of today’s discourse, that is the dying habit of letter writing in today’s world. While I can still remember writing and exchanging letters among friends and cousins in those days, I can’t coax my daughter to do the same today.The reasons, however, are obvious.With the internet and the smartphones having made its foray into our lives, why would one even bother writing those long letters, which appear to them to be nothing short of mere drudgery?This, however, is an alarming symptom as it has made the youngsters absolutely callous towards the use of language, be it correctness of words or appropriateness of sentence formations. Besides, their inclination towards the use of sms language is another cause of concern as it reflects even in their answer scripts. Surely internet has caused us, particularly our children more harm than we can repair.No wonder then that the children of this age are clueless about the use of such stationery as postal stamps, postcards etc. Therefore, it is no surprise that they are unfamiliar with the functions of a post office, a place frequented by us.

Coming back to the art of letter writing, I consider it to be one of the most powerful tools of communication.If we want our children to develop a love for creative writing, the best way would be by exposing them to some of the best written letters. It would also be a good idea if schools could organize letter writing contests, or for that matter such activities as ‘write a letter to your friend/ cousin/ parents’ and have them hand posted.

Until then, let me enjoy my space and allow my imagination to run wild.

Reflections on Women’s Day

The other day I was watching this video where a lady fighter pilot was seen taking off a jet with immaculate perfection, pretty much like her Male counterparts.While this left me in a state of awe, admiring the great height that women today have scaled, I could not help wondering if we, as a tribe have actually marched towards emancipation.

Although we can’t totally deny that we have come a long way since the days of ‘sati’ and child marriage, yet the fact remains that we are still a marginalised class- a class that has to deal with numerous stigmas related to various issues ranging from something as normal as menstruation to marriage, motherhood, divorce etc.

While education is the only tool to attain independence, it is often seen to be used as a device to secure a better bet in the marriage market.Therefore it’s time for us to realise that we can’t afford to barter our independence for something as routine as marriage. If education vouches for financial independence, then why do we surrender to the aftermath of marriage and child bearing and rearing? For,I believe that in a marriage such things as looking after the household and taking care of the children is a shared responsibility.

Although a lot needs to change and in order to bring about a complete revolution the womenfolk has to trudge many miles, yet with an open – minded approach from the society we can go a long way towards emancipation.The way forward, is therefore,by educating the society to accept women as individuals who deserve their due share of respect.Let us give them the liberty to decide for themselves the best thing(s) to do without being critical of them. It’s time we accepted that a woman cooking in the kitchen could also be the woman driving her car to her workplace and capable of working on her laptop or for that matter,flying the jet I saw in the video I mentioned earlier.

Having said that, I feel proud to belong to a clan of women who have crossed the threshold of their homes to carve out a niche for herself in the world and be known by her name alone.More power to women.Happy Women’s Day!

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