Bridging the gap

“When we were of your age we did not have things our way. We strived for it, sacrificed so that we could be in this place.” Sounds familiar? Every youth must have heard these lines from parents or grandparents or uncles or aunts and even elderly people living in the neighborhood. The two strongest emotions that arise whenever these lines are uttered are that of humor or anger. Can we keep both aside and think from a third perspective of understanding. That is one way of bridging the gap.

Let me correct at the onset itself understanding does not equal to surrendering. That’s a very limited way of looking at it. It’s as weird as if I step into the sea, the waters will take me in. There are many other possibilities you can feel the water and step back, you can swim or you can even sail through. Let us look at how we can make the last option possible – ‘Sailing through’…

Take it light

Keep conversations light. Elders have their way of putting things across but you need not take it heavily. Because that’s when the words become bitter, expressions become stronger and you lose both the possibilities of understanding or making them understand. Being elder to us they have that natural urge to control and guide so their tone becomes imperative. On days like these it is better to step back. Create a space where matters can be kept on hold be it education, job or relationships.

Gauge what matters and how much

While you have created a space – decide on what you really want. If the point of conflict is about something that you are really passionate about, muster the courage and put forth your plan. Be soft-spoken and thorough as ambiguity about your idea makes most of the parents anxious. Convince them to give you a chance and hear what they have to say. Assure them that their insecurities will be taken care off (and you better mean it) because you never know if there is a hole in your boat.

But contrary to that if you yourself are in self- doubts consider listening to them. The latter is beneficial when you are unknowingly falling prey to herd mentality and fads that in no way connect to your personality. What is strange is that deep down inside you know it but for social validation you choose the veil. In such cases which are very prominent even amongst grown- ups parental reservations actually help one find the real meaning to life.

After all they are people who have contributed to your growth, trifling your relationships with them over pesky matters is not worth. Even they put in a lot of efforts to create a rapport with your new persona (that changes with puberty, college, higher studies, first love, poor results or excellent scores and the list goes on). For parents they grow with their child.

Never underestimate them

We often read stories of toppers coming from humble backgrounds. Yes every child is blessed and they must have worked hard but even their parents must have burnt the midnight oil to make them into the person that they are. However less is the exposure of a parent given their life span they would always have some valuable inputs to give if given a chance. So hear them out non- judgmentally breaking your own molds, inside which you have buried their experiential wisdom.

Find a mid- way out

It need not be their way or your way. In most of the cases one can find a mid-way – try reaching there the fastest. If you think your parents will not budge and you don’t wish to give in either, proceed your way with conviction. Worst case scenario is if its they who turn out to be correct, admit that you were wrong and best case scenario is that you succeed even then be humble and pay them your respects.

Fight with compassion

When as a child we make mistakes our parents scold us, reprimand but at the days end they always make it up. Till the time things are sour, a part of them is with the child and it is only for the betterment that they maintain a curt distance. Can we please treat them the same, it’s okay to have disagreements but as you fight for your dream, your passion, and your love can the fight be compassionate? Can the words and actions be chosen with due consideration to what they have given us over a life time? And trust me it is not as difficult. Yes, they put up a strong face but inside they already know they have lost to your decision, help them transcend.

You may think that my article is dwindling towards the side of the parents but somehow the aggression is uncalled for even in the most extreme situations. They have been patient with us when we messed up out of innocence and they deserve to get the same back. The rules of Karma never change.

Let’s talk heart to heart

Meditation, spa, sleep, vacationing – the words give immense peace. In fact the mind starts wandering in the imaginary bubble where we are engaging in these activities. Why do they rejuvenate? I guess they break the monotony, allow us to stop thinking about our commitments for a while. One such getaway could also be a heartfelt conversation with someone close to you or someone with whom you just connect. In the quest to have an active social media presence we have forgotten the charm of a good conversation.

The following three points are a feeble attempt to put the abstract gains of an undistracted chat in words:

It helps us to learn values when the other person shares his/her ways of handling of uncomfortable situations. Why am I so sure about this? Because as a conversation gets deeper, the ‘not so good’ part of a person’s life is out naturally. Post its out in the open it is human mindset that they will either share their virtuous approach or they will confess how they did not manage it well. In either case you learn.

It helps to catch vibes. Yes you may argue how is that a benefit? While having a good concentrated conversation as we discuss the highs and lows, we emit a mix of positive and negative vibes. While a positive vibe is all good to take home, in case of a negative vibe as you try to correct that person (you would do it because you don’t have meaningful self-dwelling conversations with anyone and everyone) in the process you end up checking your behavior too.

It helps us to understand how are life is not as bad as we sometimes feel it is. As it is only during such conversations that you come to appreciate all that you have.  The interaction makes you feel lighter and more often than not leaves you wiser.

Empathy encompasses all the above feelings as unintentionally you do put yourself in the other person’s shoe – And empathy is a value that is seriously lacking in today’s times because people consider empathy to be synonymous with surrender and unnecessary sacrifice. It has lost its original meaning which was unconditional love. 

Now I would like to steer you to how we can have a heartfelt conversation so we move on from abstract to real visible factors.

The first thing to keep in mind, I know every reader must have guessed by now – No mobile phone checks. Taking a call may be necessary; if you are in between some important task being available is necessary. But we all know where we stand – unnecessary checking of social handles and scrolling. Boom!! The conversation is wasted.

Be a listener. Don’t engage in a talk to answer, to show your greater side. While the other person is speaking, you cook up your response/reaction well in advance. What is the harm is taking a pause to register what he/she has said and then replying or sometimes may be not responding at all as you have nothing much to say.

Treat it as meaningful. Today cafes, restaurants, open public spaces are used more and more to do more work. People everywhere are seen with laptops and mobiles attending to messages, emails (both work related and casual). Two people simply talking are looked upon as old school or may be less busy. Shatter that cliché. I would say it is modern; it is in vogue to have a mindful and good conversation with someone whom you wish to connect with.

Be it a group of men or women or kids who are out together – I notice a disconnected, a continuous stream of halfhearted exchange of words. Same is the story between two lovers, parent and child or any two people who are known to each other. We are unknowingly missing out on a lot due to these incomplete conversations – that lack feelings and attention, words and learning. May be this somehow links to rising cases of depression in all age groups?

Take a moment to ponder and recollect your last healthy conversation – when, where, with whom? Let us learn to talk, to listen and to engage with full interest and inclination.

Be the sunshine

Hi! How are you? How is life? What’s new? Are you doing well? Common interaction when people meet. You keep connecting all the time with family, friends, neighbors, staff, domestic help, colleagues… and all those whom you meet during a day. Certainly you can’t be oblivious to how the people around you are feeling.

Through this article I wish to mention some ways by which you can create sunshine for those surrounding you – in their moments of dullness, anxiety, worthlessness or insecurity. A direct conversation does not work every time and even though you are not a reason for their sadness, for humanity sake; if you notice the unhappiness you can resort to any of these humble methods:

Do a part of their job

Seek smaller jobs that you can do for them like may be preparing a cup of tea for your mother, organizing the bill file for your father, helping  a colleague in some research, teaching the younger sibling, folding the clothes though it is the maid’s job…. I understand all are busy but these are tiny things which do not require much of time just some thoughtfulness.

Acknowledge the goodness

Each person has some special skill or attitudinal trait which is worthy of appreciation. Acknowledging what is good not only turns dullness into happiness but also allows you to develop gratitude. Gratitude – the supreme force of the Universe.

Go their way

You like doing things your way but sometimes it’s not a bad idea to do it their way. They like it when you groove to their music or walk their path. You prefer home cooked meals but once in a while a cheat treat with your daughter at her favorite joint can definitely cheer her up.

Converse about their interest

Communication is two sided. But sometimes let it be one sided where you only listen. Spirituality for example is not everyone’s cup of tea but if your mother in law or senior believes in it, you can actually probe them and ask them to share or narrate. It infuses enthusiasm in their otherwise somber minds.

Each of these acts can be the turning point in the concerned person’s day. And from that moment they revive and leave the sorrow behind. In fact most of the times there is no real sorrow – it is just a frame of mind that is too caught up in the day to day hustle – creating a sense of displeasure with self. That’s why the title – Be the sunshine because it easily spreads, to the contrary you need effort to curtail it….once its day, its day!!!

Bhaidooj – Time for sibling love

Bhaidooj is made up of two words namely- “Bhai” meaning brother and “Dooj” meaning the second day after the new moon which is a day of its celebration.

Bhaidooj is an auspicious occasion for the Hindus where brothers pay visit to their sisters and sisters in turn make special arrangements – treating them with delicious food and gifts too. An important part of the ritual is the tilak which the sister puts on the brother’s forehead wishing him prosperity in life.

There are few Hindu mythological based stories related to the origin of this auspicious day. According to one legend, Lord Krishna visited his sister, Subhadra after killing demon Narkasur. Her sister gave a warm welcome to him and made the occasion really special through flowers and sweets. Subhadra also applied the ceremonial “tilak” on the forehead of her brother, Krishna and hence the festival of “Bhai Dooj” was born from there. Another legend revolves around the story of Yama, the God of Death and his sister Yamuna. It is believed that he met his beloved sister on Dwitheya, the second day after the new moon.

I am blessed with two beautiful children, a girl and a boy. They are young and tender minded, sharing a special bond with each other. Once I was upset over my son for misbehaving and playing mischief all day. I and my husband reprimanded him, by not speaking to him for a while. I encouraged my daughter too to not converse. Her reply was, “No, I will not stop talking to him, we have explained him and he will not repeat.” Though she was not on our side, inside my heart I felt very peaceful that she did not give up on her brother. That is all that mattered…

Another incident was when we were at Jaisalmer at a desert camp. My daughter suddenly went out of sight. It was a spread out property and she wandered away. I and my husband were both worried and angry. The moment we found her I just bashed her for how she just slipped away on her own. Even my husband carried a firm face and intoned, that she should have been responsible. But my little son, simply said, “We were searching for you. I was sure though that you will not have any fun without me and you will soon be back. Now you stay together…” and just held her hand. My heart melted because he did not give up on her…

Siblings are special and worthy of the connect, so do revisit your innocent childhood memories and choose to bond better this Bhaidooj…