I am in a party today. About five families are invited. The ladies look elegant in their stylish attires, long heels and up to date hair dos. Gents look handsome and dapper. Finally! some time out to relax and socialise in the company of good friends. A lot to catch up to. The aroma of yummy food is making everyone feel hungry. The house is beautifully decorated with fresh flowers, scented candles and festive lights. A lot of hard work by host for everyone to enjoy. However, the kids are all completely unaware of all this. They look smart, yet unfriendly, hooked on their gadgets and mobiles. A small world of their own, where every one is independent, have many choices and infinite freedom.
Seeing them, brought faint memories of my childhood. Being the youngest in the family, my parents had hands full of bubbly, confident lot before me. They appreciated my quiet nature and took it as a well mannered and groomed trait. I found them a source of unconditional love. I was much loved by my neighbours: few sisters who brought me up like a baby. I would stay with them during the day and come home at night when my father was back from work. They pampered me like anything, from designing clothes for me to my favourite dishes.. from painting, hair do, Embroideries to shopping.. It was a blessing to get my grooming from very learned and skilled Bajis. I owe my ethical and moral insight from them and also the superstitious side.
At their house, I had a big place and yard all to myself. I would sit under the guava tree or in the back garden surrounded by colourful roses, lay out my toys and playing mat and play all by myself. My theme, my rules, my territory. Whereas, the ‘bajis’ proudly commented how I play on my own, I was assumed that bringing friends in, will make one big mess, and may not be appreciated. That was where I got my first shell, perfect hide out, all happy and a win win situation.
I could hear the noise of children playing outside; yet, my own time and space mode, my freedom made me prejudiced, self centred and reclusive. While I enjoyed my peace, going back to my house became bit of a nightmare. When all my elder sibling would rush to give me attention, to ask about my day, to try and check out the toy I hold, or simply pull my nose and comment about my plain looks and features. It was too much to deal with in one go, and I would rush back, complaining how rude and trouble they all had been.
At school I would make friends with the quietest child, we would play together yet mind our own business. The trend carried on. I was being told to learn to only speak sense, and that made me more quiet and wondering if my words were worthy enough. People called me inexpressive, proud and boring. No one knew what I wanted, what I liked or disliked. They stopped putting effort to invest time with me and I became more lonely and sad.
It was very later on in life, that it dawned upon me why I was different. I deprived my self the social interaction and missed learning to give, get, take turns, compromise, sacrifice, to fight for my right, to speak for someone else, to love and cherish others and to develop effective communication to tackle ever-changing love and hate moment within friends. Keeping long-term friendships, and investing in relationships was a lesson I bunked from life. As a result, I still freak out amidst my siblings sometimes, put off valuable friends and not invest tools of communication that can develop emotional time and space bonding. This all occurred to me when I was in a new country, surrounded by complete strangers and nothing in common to start with. What I started alone, had to be corrected alone too. I had to develop a good understanding with my husband, speak up for myself, sacrifice my career for my kids and do household work that I never anticipated. My anti-social nature made me achieve an outstanding degree, yet I had to be street smart. In the practical world, there is no room for bookworm and reclusive.
It was a drastic change, took me a long difficult time to mend my ways and be a person I am today. Still, it was at the cost of all the times that I missed out in my life, the fun I could had with my friends yet above all losing my loved ones whom I could have shared so much with.. like my father, it always feels like an unfinished matter.. since he passed away in a road accident.
Now, how I wish my children never go through this and never learn all this the hard way. Their fondness for their gadgets rings bells in my ears. I try to play with them, to teach them teamwork, to sit, talk or write about all that is on their mind, yet… they are a new generation, they are surrounded by all friends with mechanical shells around them..this is another time, a new generation and a big generation gap in technology in between us…
I wish I could give kids quality time… like in old days… Keeping it short and precise, one issue at a time while sitting with one child.
Perhaps, we as parents need to shun our hideouts of gadgets and make it fun and excitement for kids to jump on too. Let it be messy, noisy and less perfect… let’s eat together, at one place, at the same time for the same energy levels and let us burn our calories in a healthy, fun and interactive way. Let’s us communicate as much as we could, so we don’t leave any unfinished matters…