I stand Humbled

It was one of the soul-humbling experience for me, yesterday. I had to try hard to suppress my tears.

We visited a home for destitute children and differently-abled children, yesterday evening, where my BIL had arranged for dinner to these children @ AMS IPD Orthopaedic Centre, Chennai.

OMG !!! The selfless service attitude people around that place, made me feel that I’ve wasted my life, thinking only about myself and my family.

The children staying there,  also help the others, in feeding and serving.  There are so many children who cannot eat on their own….all of them were fed by other children and volunteers.  These children are given mixed food (sambar or dhal + veggies, mixed in the rice), because they cannot mix it on their own and secondly its easier to feed them like this.  Not only this – a patient Nurse was going around giving medicines to the children….for some it’s before food and for some after food. The concern shown towards each and every child, is certainly a way towards the higher domains of life.

Here I am sulking about life and other silly things around me, whereas people with so many disabilities carry on life with such vigor, smile and happiness and the feeling of caring and sharing among them, really touches one’s heart totally.

We happened to meet a person whose hands and legs too, were disabled. He came towards us in a flat wooden board with wheels under it…but with a huge smile on his face, which was quite infectious. Even with such sorrow in my heart, I saw myself smiling at him. He wished us all and showed us some greeting cards from his bag. All these movements of opening the bag and taking the cards were done so deftly with his leg. While I was amazed at his use of legs, the cards surprised me even more. All the pictures in the cards are drawn by him, with his leg…WOW, what fantastic pictures he has done…an artist with amazing talent in his toes. And he was selling those cards for a price. I, then understood the confidence with which he wants to live life on his own earnings and not to expect money through charity…WOW, certainly a lesson to learn there.

We were there for an hour or so. And I would really like to appreciate the Warden, the care-takers, the helpers, the Nurses who take care of these children and the grown-ups, with such patience and love.

The whole experience yesterday, has humbled the soul-within and here I say a Thank you Prayer, for all the blessings to me, in life. And this is what I am telling my daughters, right at this juncture, to count the blessings in life.  And also to lend a helping hand to others, in whatever way they can. 🙂

Alone in the City

LONG POST ALERT !!!!

Yeah, I was not born in Hyderabad, but I belong to this city so much, that I feel that there is nothing out of this city for me.

What possessiveness about a City – is some people’s questioning glare, to my obsession with Hyderabad. Being a 13 yr old teenager, don’t I have the rights to choose my city of happiness??

I love Hyderabad and each and every part of me, is synchronised with the city.

My friends are here, both in the school and in my apartment. I just have great fun with them. They understand me and love me so much and I reciprocate their feelings only too well.

At school, I’ve the maximum fun. Shakthi is my best friend and I share everything with her – my feelings and secrets. She’s always a top scorer. Even though I don’t top the class, I come within the top 10.  She helps me with lessons, if I miss classes.

There is this huge gang of girls – me, Shakthi, Joyce, Saras, Harini and we have great fun together.

Me and Harini, always join together for mischiefs and naughty get-togethers.  Only one of us studies for tests and the other copies from the other. Our gang of girls knows about it, but they always smile and let us do our naughty things.  Even when we are asked to stand outside the class, for not bringing some notebook, me and Harini have great fun, standing outside.

The flat I stayed in, is a huge complex and I’ve so many friends over there. Every evening, we get together to play Kho-kho with each team comprising of 20 members. Its so much fun.

While I was busy playing, making mischief and enjoying myself, something mysterious was going on in my home. Mom and Dad were deep in discussion always and sometimes I saw that their smile was forced.

I didn’t know what to do neither I knew what was going on.

All the secrecy was out after sometime, when I heard my Mom talk to her sister, about shifting to Chennai. My God, I was shocked.

No, I don’t want to go to Chennai.

Why, your cousins are there. Grand parents are there.

But still, all my friends are here, in Hyderabad. We can go to Chennai to visit them, not shift there.

No baby, it doesn’t work like that. You see, Dad has got a new job over there and it’ll be better if we too shift with him.

Let him go and stay with Uncle. I don’t want to go to Chennai.

My darling, you’ll miss him later and trouble me so much. You remember how much you missed him, when he went for that long tour last year ???

If I miss him, we’ll go to Chennai and see him. And, Mom, this is our own house. Why do you want to leave our home here and go ???

Yes, baby, I do understand. Leaving this home and going to a rented house is a difficult thing. But, still, we need to undergo this shift to Chennai.

But which school will I go to ????  Already Quarterly term is over…how will I manage with the notes and all ???

We’ll find a good one, darling. Don’t worry, you’ll do fine.

OMG !!! OMG !!!! OMG !!! This Mom always has an answer for every question of mine. Why can’t she just understand the fact that I don’t want to shift to Chennai ??? How will I have friends like this, in Chennai??

Now, was the more difficult task – to tell my friends about this shifting.  None of them were happy, neither was me. We all sulked the whole day and everyday after I told them about the shift. We never smiled, we didn’t want to play. We held hands and sat quietly, sometimes we cried.

After a whirlwind visit to Chennai, the school and house were all set.

We came back to pack our things.  It was difficult to say Good-bye to my friends, my neighbours and more difficult to say bye to our home. I loved this home of mine.  I never knew it so much till now – but looking at the empty house now, with all the things packed and loaded onto a truck – I felt immense love for my home. I loved my study table, my cupboards, my dressing table, my mom’s beautiful kitchen and actually every inch of it.

Now that we got admission in a school, just next to our new house in Chennai, I was really scared of one thing. Will I get friends here ??? Will the class mates be friendly towards me ??? I put up a brave face and went to school, but the fear and the utter necessity of finding a friend, tugged at my heart.

What if none of them talk to me ???

What if they are too busy with their own friends and start rejecting me ???

How can I tell Mom about all these ???

The first day went off just well, even though nobody talked with me so much, I felt OK.

The trouble started the next day.

Because already the group of friends have been formed, I was left alone. I couldn’t join into any group – someone in the group didn’t want me there.

The teachers were so different from the ones I had in Hyderabad. They are more oriented towards serious studies and the concept of having fun in class is totally prohibited.

Every day was proving to be more difficult. Even if some girls came and talked to me, they kept me out of the class secrets.

I felt alone in spurts, when they’ll all leave me and talk something in whispers.

The boys too were unfriendly here. I felt it quite strange that girls refrain from talking to boys here.  I had so many boys as friends and we were having so much fun in class, in the city of my heart. But here, everything is different.

Everyday, I cried and complained to Mom. I was adamant on going back to my city.  But she had the patience of a mountain. She’ll take all my tears and talk to me patiently. She was the only thing that made me happy in the first few weeks of shifting.

Then after my performance in the half-yearly term exams, slowly the other classmates started talking to me.  Performance in exams was a criteria to make friends huh ???? Strange. But still, I was sad – there’s no one called a Friend.

I used to chat with my friends in Hyderabad over the weekend. I cried when they said that they miss me so much and the class is not the same without me.

I was drooling on my sad thoughts, when I heard that 2 girls are shifting out of this school. I wished that I was also among them, to shift back to my friends in my city of love.

But the moment, the new classes began, I found a change in some girls. The going away of those 2 girls has actually given freedom to others to choose their friends. My God, I didn’t know that students can hold others as friends by sheer force or I don’t know what reason.

I found 2 girls getting friendly with me – they came along with me when I went back home – they stood with me to chat about all silly things. And the surprise of surprises, I was responding to their friendship with a smile. I really liked these girls.

And when one of them asked – Will you be my best friend ??? – WOW, I readily accepted.

I’ve come a long way, from that day, probably a little short of an year. But I still remember the day, the friendship flower was offered to me. Its one of the best feeling, I’ve experienced.

I still chat with my friends at that lovely city, but life’s not so bad here too. I am learning to make friends all over again.

The girls who left the school, were partly responsible for my lack of friends before, which I came to know later.

Now, that all’s settled, I am having a great time with my best girl friends.

Someone’s loss of friends was my gain. And I am happy to be here.   But given a chance, I would go back to the city of my heart. 🙂

Thinking aloud…

When I got up quite early today and walked through the semi-lit living room in my in-law’s house, I just didn’t see it coming. Damn, I hate this creepy thing. And I was totally wide awake, when that creepy creature ran over my left foot. OMG !!! OMG !!!! It was a lizard…che…che….I ran into the bathroom to scrub the traces off my foot.

Damn that lizard….it spoiled my mood, just as soon as I got up. This is really a freaky thing to happen to me. I hate it.

I had to even swallow the scream, so that I won’t wake up the whole household !!!  I hate lizards. Really.

When I was busily scrubbing my feet and cursing the lizard under my breath, my mil came in to ask what happened. I vented out, thanking her for asking me.

Then in 5 mins, she was back, with the Panchangam** in her hand. I wondered what she’s going to tell me now.

So, where are you travelling to ???? – was her question. I was totally confused.

According to our Panchangam, when the lizard touches the foot of a person, it signifies TRAVEL****.

Now, I stopped scrubbing and started smiling. WOW, Travel !!!

That means, I might get a chance to travel to Hyderabad…. 😉 😉 😉  WOW !!!  Suddenly, from the non-superstitious ME, I became a superstitious silly woman, to totally believe that the lizard running on my left foot, will take me to Hyderabad. What all I believe, when the results are all goody goody for me. 😉

** Panchangam – Hindu Vedic Calendar – we refer to this for almost everyday.

**** The lizard is considered to be intelligent enough to even predict the future, by forcing itself to fall on a certain body part. The Panchangam lists the significance of such lizard falling !!!!  Also, we can find lists for the significance of even lizard sounds. It’s an amazing thing to read – how people have related day-to-day happenings with that of lizard falling and lizard sounds. I googled to see that there is something called even Lizard Astrology too…

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Yesterday, while travelling in the car, I noticed something. We were at a signal, waiting to go straight.

Now, the car to our right, suddenly took a left turn, forcing us to brake hard.

And the guy to the left, wanted to take a U-Turn. 🙄 We were stuck between two senseless drivers.

It made us to wait for sometime, even though we got our green signal to go straight.

Now, that is some bad driving sense, which is picking up fast in India.

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I flicked this from my Sh’s diary….now, SSShhhh, don’t you tell her that I copied it from her. 😉

Sometimes people can’t tell how they feel because people who made them feel like that sit right beside them.  But then, what will they do at that time ???

Don’t worry !!!! Call Sh anytime, anywhere at 1234567890. 🙂  This is a special number only for you. 🙂

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I love to bargain

I remember so well – those vegetable shopping trips to the South Mada Street in Mylapore and in the Thani thurai market near Sanskrit college, Mylapore. Two markets near my home and we get absolutely anything to do with cooking and of course flowers, too.  Also, there was a small shop which sells the salted peanuts fried to perfection in hot sand – OMG, that smell will just hook me and drag me to the shop.

I used to tag along with my amma or my patti, especially to carry the load of veggies, we buy for a week. And so we get to munch a carrot or radish or a lady’s finger, while trying to balance the bags – one on the shoulder (the long strap one) and the other in the hand. I also used to get an additional bonus of 25 paise for buying peanuts, which I used to munch while walking back home with 2 heavy bags.

With my mom, it’s a more technical shopping – she’ll buy the root vegetables first and put it in. Then the tomatoes and other soft stuff on top, to avoid the crushing of soft ones.  So, one bag will surely be more heavier, with all the root veggies in it.

I learnt a lot – to choose the tender ones, to look for skin color in some veggies, check for worms…so many other things and of course, with it, the art of  Bargaining.

Isn’t bargaining an art by itself ??? While I watched my amma and patti bargaining so well, I’ve also seen my appa, pay the amount they ask. We had all sorts of people at home.

Elumichai pazham eppadi ????  How much are the lemons ???

Pathu roobaikku naalu.  4 for 10/-

Anju kudaen. Give 5 na.

Athalleam kattu padi aagadhu ma. All those won’t work out fine.

Amma will pester and talk some more and convince some more, till she gets 5 for 10/-

I was enthralled at this conversation. I thought that this is the way I should shop.  Those people always raised the prices and its our job to bargain and reduce the price, before buying, was my idea.

Then slowly, I was sent on my own to buy things. I was first hesitant to bargain. And the vendors too thought that what this little girl will know about bargaining. How wrong were they ??? I did bargain and got the veggies at a lesser rate than he told. And that was only the beginning.

I loved those talks – the bargains – me and the vendor used to have great conversations, while bargaining – starting from the economic policy of the country due to which the prices are sky-rocketing to the farm from which he gets his greens. I used to love them all.

The bargaining went for anything – even when I used to buy those accessories for my dresses, in those countless platform shops in and around Luz Corner – those lovely handbags – the stylish chappals – those dolls, which we used to keep in the Bommai Kolu during Dussherra.

Then slowly came in the culture of supermarkets in Chennai and Food World caught everyone by surprise. I started loving those trips to the supermarkets, where you get everything under one roof, in a much cleaner environment than the South Mada Street vegetable shop. But there was one thing that disturbed me – I couldn’t bargain here – I had to buy it at the cost displayed – even the vegetables were neatly packed and sealed and priced. The most horrendous thing was I had to pay for my curry leaves and coriander. That was too much for me – all along, when we bought vegetables in those Mylapore markets, we always get the curry leaves and coriander for free. That was a happy moment, when the shopkeeper acknowledges the fact that you’ve chosen his shop among many and made some business for him. And we are happy with the free coriander – can make some good chutney at home.

Then slowly and slowly the super-market culture grew over me and I stopped visiting those markets, but still they have a special place in my heart.  Even today, I go to South Mada Street, to buy some delicacy like mavadu (those small raw mangoes). It’s the best only in those markets.

Now a days, I go to the super market, in my apartment, to choose the veggies or better still, the lazy one in me, calls the super market to home deliver the veggies. I’ve actually forgotten the art of bargaining…wherever we go it’s a fixed price shop right.

But, we do love the SALES, where the prices drop and we get to buy more for the same money.  🙂 😉 I think its human tendency.

Today morning, when I bought the veggies, the lady gave me coriander and curry leaves for free…WOW, I was reminded of my veggie shopping days and endless bargaining.

So, do u love those open markets, where you can buy and bargain and converse too ???  Or has the super-market bug, bit you too ???? 😉

A good and A not so good one…

Experience something Good first…

AAA is rocking Chennai with their programmes and the children are really going crazy having fun and being themselves. At the same time, there’s lot of learning happening too.

Starting today, till 23rd July, the Film Festival is On at the Film Chamber. The following Children’s movies are showing in the timing given below. Please contact Upasana 8056212458 or email upasana@nalandaway.org for booking.  Donor passes are available at Odyssey and Landmark !!!  See, you can visit your favourite book store, browse through the books, buy your favourite titles and at the same time, buy tickets for the AAA show too !!! What a wonderful thing to do…come on, ppl !!! Go on, book for the shows and have fun !!!

Date 10 AM 1:30 PM
July 19th UP Ratatouille
July 20th Monsters, Inc. Bolt
July 21st Meet the Robinsons Night at the museum
July 22nd Lion King Finding Nemo
July 23rd Over the hedge Open season

And there’s this wonderful Sing Along with Krishna Iyer and Jeeva at Museum Theatre, 7pm on 24th July. Don’t you ever miss this – your tiny tots will surely love this show. Go on, book for this tooo.  Such events don’t attack Chennai, so often. Grab your opportunity to see some great events.

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Now, to some bad experience. Guess what ??? I went to Lamha – a sudden ticket booking and driving ensured that we were at Sathyam 30 mins before the movie started.

I could see all the hindi speaking crowd of Chennai, attacking Sathyam then !!! My God, it was a small theatre but booked full.

So, I just thought that I could sit through the movie easily. Oh, how wrong I was !!!

It had a very bad plot, if there was one…I couldn’t find any plot or substance in this movie.

Dialogues are boring and without life.

The actors have just been there…there is no life to their performance.

I wanted to walk out of it very badly, but I believe the song which my girls’ liked didn’t come till then..so had to wait for it.

If there was one more movie, which I just couldn’t tolerate was the Sawariya. We walked out of that one, then. This Lamha is better not gone only.

Its a drab documentary on Kashmir and the militancy and terrorism there. NDTV’s documentary on the same is quite interesting…

So, avoid it people.

AAA-2010 At Dakshin Chitra

The AAA-2010 began on July 16th, with a 3 day Art festival at Dakshin Chitra, a fantastic place for those art-loving people, in the East Coast Road, Chennai.

So, I took my girls for a taste of art to soak into us !!! And I was overwhelmed by the happiness in my girls, while coming back. It had been a fun trip, time well spent in learning new things and most of all, gave them an exposure of what different kinds of art survive around our villages.

That was a cute art made out of shells.  So many children did this and they were so happy with the result. It’s so easy and simple.

Then Sr took up painting on a peepal leaf and she gave it an artist’s touch to it… 😉

While Sh tried her hand at candle making  !!!!

Then, there is this wonderful art of writing on a palm leaf called Patta chitra !!!  The children were going crazy writing their names, but see what the experts can draw on it !!! Its amazing !!!  I never knew that such an art form existed before this visit.

Then there was the pot painting, block printing, kalamkari painting and puppet making tooo !!! Look at this cute puppet !!!!

Other than this, workshops on the techniques of photography was going on, in batches.  I also found out that the story-telling session was real fun, but we missed it listening to it.

The most important and the most joyful experience for my girls was pottery. Oh, how they loved to dirty their hands with clay and create something so wonderful and pretty. Now, I have two proud potters at home !!!! 😉

The elder one’s looked like this. 🙂

Not only potter, I also have a basket weaver , who can weave her dreams into beautiful products like this !!!!

On the whole, this trip to the Art Festival was an enriching experience for the three girls !!! We are all happy with the things we learnt, did and brought home to show our talent !!!

Dear Chennaites !!!!

Now, what are you waiting for ???? Come on, go on to this festival. Today is the last day !!!  Attack the Art and feel happy about it.

Paint and Weave and Create Magic using Clay !!!

Take your children for an unforgettable Art Experience !!!!

Don’t miss the story telling events !!! There is a puppet show too !!!! And not to forget the Origami workshop !!!!

Be there and Enjoy yourself thoroughly and spend your Sunday the Artistic Way !!!! 🙂

It’s a place where there is food for the mind and the soul. Happy Sunday !!!!

Art Arattai Arpattam – A prelude

Now, I need to tell you all about this. I had been busy, quite busy over the weekend. And I am really very happy at the way things turned out for me. A big satisfying smile seems to be my USP, past two days. smileys

Two important reasons, which I need to share with you – otherwise, my head will burst !!! 😉 You know, I never keep secrets from you !!! 😉

– I have been invited to cover a Children’s Festival, in my blog. I am just flying over the clouds !!! laughing smileys

– Second, I am selling home-baked cakes, on order. And the response has been very good and I am jumping with joy. smiley icons

And it all began about 10 days back, when I got one impressive comment asking me whether I would be interested in blogging about an event. Intrigued I was, immediately called to satisfy the curious cat in me.

While I was greatly impressed with this Non Profit Organisation – NalandaWay, asking me to cover their event, which is about to begin by July 16th, they were quite impressed with my blog. Isn’t that great news for the blogger in me ???? LOL !!! Really, it does matter. smiley emoticons

A few words on NalandaWay :

NalandaWay works with children from challenging situations from the poorest districts in India, helping them raise their voices and issues through theatre, visual arts, music, dance, radio and films.  Over 5700 disadvantaged children and young people in the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar and Jammu & Kashmir in India are involved in their projects.  Their intervention have helped the children learn creativity, life skills and self-confidence to create the lives that they truly want to create.

So, when they called me and other Chennai bloggers to a meeting, I was quite happy to go and meet with these people, who made a difference in the lives of so many young boys and girls. Such dedicated work towards a social cause, certainly deserves an applause from me !!!! smiley icons

I am certainly proud and happy to be a part of this initiative. 🙂

The Children’s Festival of Dance, Drama, Music and Film is named Art, Arattai, Aarpattam !!!!

Dear People in Chennai, Please take time to attend one of the shows or events, at the same time, involving yourself towards a worthy cause.

People not in Chennai, keep watching the events unfold in the pages of this blog…where, I’ll be writing about these events and happenings !!!!

Follow me in the cause !!! Follow the events in my pages here !!!  Be a part of it, in your own way !!! Talk to or write to NalandaWay to show your participation.

The Sacred Dress in Town !!!

IHM had written about choosing the dress, when they have a choice. And how so many women don’t have the freedom to choose what they wear.

That made me think from the angle of being in Chennai and here it is….

Do you watch these Fashion shows, where those skimpy models walk the ramp in designer outfits ????   Yes, in today’s world, fashionable clothes straight from the Fashion Shows are the most preferred.  And those designers who designed them, are made richer by a night.

And, these Fashion Shows are the places, where lingerie, swim wear, inner wear, night gowns, dresses for pregnant women, winter wear, summer wear – any kind of new design and texture is being launched.  Why, during the recent fashion shows, Kaftans were re-launched in style.  And they look Awesome !!!

But there are some untold dress codes, which we follow. Like no one goes to their work place, dressed in swim wear.  Or no teenager goes and gets dressed in those out of size clothes meant for pregnant women.

People generally go in for smart clothing, as the awareness has grown about fashion.  Stylish yet affordable clothes are being a rage.

But, there are people who stick to their comfort level and being stylish is never their criteria.  There are people who are comfortable in a sari or a salwar suit, anytime of the day or night.

So, what are comfort clothes for you ????

Each person can have a different definition on these, but mostly it comes inside the circle of the untold dress code, we’ve for ourselves.  Nobody is forcing all these codes on us.  These codes are what we make for ourselves.

But, being in Chennai, I’ve understood that the comfort clothing for these people is the Night Gown or simply Nightie.  My God, it even looks like that it is the National Dress, and totally adhered to, in Chennai.

Nightie is like the sacred robe, for the women around here. I am surprised and shocked by the use of this dress.  Doesn’t the name suggest, that it is a night wear ????

Ok, if you stick to the comfortable dress argument, yes, one can wear whatever they feel comfortable – please, go on, wear a nightie.

I am shocked when they try to put a towel or a dupatta on this nightie, to cover their upper torso.  So, if these find it uncomfortable enough to cover themselves with a towel, then why wear this dress ????

And this is the costume, in which one comes down their flat, to put their kid into the school bus.

If they feel so comfortable with a nightie, then why that dirty towel or a totally misfitting bandini dupatta on that nightie ?????  🙄

They come to fill water in pots, from the main tap, wearing a nightie and tying it up like a dhoti.  Is this OK ????   (There is water problem in Chennai and some areas are provided water through tankers and the people come out to the road to fill their pots with water)

Why ? She even comes to the supermarket dressed in one.

I see them driving the scooty, to drop their kid in school.

The vegetable vendor loves his lady customers in nighties.

You visit anyone’s home during the day…they dont wear saris, salwar suits, pant & t-shirt…they are all adorned in a nightie…so, its not a nightie anymore, its a daytie ???

I agree there is a choice to wear the nightie and these Chennai women have chosen this wonderful dress. So, isn’t it necessary to present oneself well ??

Why do we spend so much in buying clothes ?? Not only to cover ourself, but to present ourself in a pleasing manner to others.

These women roam around in nighties, with a dirty towel on top, but I cannot roam in my capris, jeans or leggies with a top. Isn’t this unfair ????

Follow thy heart…

Uma, is your daughter learning Carnatic music ???

Nope.

Dance – the traditional one ???

Nope. All she is interested is the Shiamak Dawar one.

Instruments -violin or veena ??? (Only those instruments which is traditional to Carnatic music)

Yeah, my daughter wants to learn the guitar.

Ok, did you send them for the Abacus classes, when they were young ???  Everyone sends their kids to Abacus classes.

Nope. They managed Mathematics, without learning it the Abacus way.

Any crafts classes ????

Nothing in specific. Once she has gone to some Drawing class, becos she wanted to learn shading. If she is interested, I might put her in some class.

What about summer classes ???

Summer vacations are meant to enjoy and take a break from studies. If my girls wishes to go for some class, then let her get the details, then I’ll put them in it.  She should show the initiative that she is interested in something.

What is this ??? What kind of mother am I ????   – This is people’s perception, when I answer like this.

What to do ????    I don’t like the idea of forcing my child to learn something. If it has to be learnt, the interest should come from within, for a child. Then the learning process is easier. Isn’t it ????

Already we are seeing so many instances, in our life.  A child who doesn’t want to learn Mathematics is forced to learn the subject to appear in the Board Exams.  And there are no options to choose either Algebra or Trigonometry or Geometry separately. It is forced on every child to learn them all.  While a child might have tremendous capacity to do Trigonometry, that same child might struggle with some other part of Maths.  That’s why I feel, the selection of subjects should be more broadly categorised, to help such children.

Even for reading a story book, the interest should come from within. I might try to spark her interest by taking her to a book shop or  a book exhibition. She might even buy the books. But, to sit down and read and enjoy the fairy tale world, is certainly up to her.  While my elder one is an avid reader from very young years, the younger one has to taken to the books only recently. Each person is different and their passions too.  I needed to be very patient in not comparing the reading habits of both the girls. When me and my elder one discussed books, the younger felt the need to be part of the conversation.  Then started her journey with books.

The past decade gave so much importance to the Engineering and Medicine fields, while the Humanities group has taken a back seat. It’s so much back, that I am struggling to find a school which offers that group, for my daughter wishes to join that group. CBSE schools are all concentrating on MPC / Science / Commerce groups. I am having a tough time researching schools, here.

My daughter is not interested in doing Engineering or Medicine and I appreciate her decision very much.  Anything is fine, as long as she learns it with a passion and is happy doing it.  To find a job or to make a living, one should have the right aptitude and the required knowledge and of course, lots of positive attitude and a smiling approach.  It’s not necessary to have an Engineering degree to make a living.

I’ve seen how all the parents used to pounce on the teacher during the parent teacher meets, to discuss their child in detail. They dissected the child’s personality, marks, behaviour and everything possible under the sun, in front of the child itself. Just imagine how embarrassing it’ll be for the child.  I certainly disapprove parents doing this year after year and then complaining that the child has no self-confidence.

I was the only parent, who will just slide in and out of the class in a minute or so. I’ll collect the report card, sign the register and ask simple questions like – “Is she considerate to others in class ??? Does she enjoy being with other kids??”   The other parents were shocked to know that I don’t bother about marks at all.  All I want is my daughter should be a good human being and enjoy her life.

And I have also insisted this to my daughters, from the time they were young.  Marks don’t add up your life. But your moral values, your smiles, your josh for living life are the important factors which decide your future.

I am very thankful to my parents for making me understand this and giving me lots of freedom to choose my own subjects.  Even the decision to work was entirely mine and I’ve never regretted any decision.   To give such freedom to girls 3 decades back, was difficult and my parents did it, even under pressure from other family members.

If you don’t find happiness in designing electronic circuits / building bridges or apartments / handling the financial accounts, then you are doing the wrong job.

The happiness factor may lie in painting or pottery or photography or travel journalism or fashion design or hair styling.  Just do what the heart desires and you can see yourself soaring high.

So, it’s not following the traditions and learning Carnatic music or Bharatanatyam, that will satisfy my daughter.

It’s following the heart. Whatever the heart is passionate about, we will give 100% focus and hard work and will surely make it a success.

And I think I’ve done a decent  job of making my daughter understand this difference between – scoring marks and having a passion – following traditions blindly and following the heart with passion.