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Love me tender

Pictures and text by

Pradeep Maheshwari
mydaughtermyjoy@yahoo.com

Dedicated to all the wonderful souls who adopted me, befriended me and nurtured me in this life from all over the globe.

For background details of the author, please visit:

http://gunas.impex.googlepages. com/pradeepmaheshwari http://gunas.impex.googlepages. com/thisbusinessofliving

Introduction. In India, the girl child is getting a raw deal. Selective abortions have become a serious malaise which is creating an imbalance in the sex ratio. What is happening is wrong. I am doing my little bit to bring in a change into this mindset.

In this world of double standards, this same girl child becomes “desirable” as a wife and Mother by some and by most as an object of pleasure, commercially exploitable and traded like a commodity; never a person.

How did everyone miss the source of JOY and undiluted AFFECTION that she is? It seems this mind-set is not limited to India alone. What a sad state of affairs! What is so special of adults that they have the right to marry and procreate but not think any further? How many people really think of the aftermath of their trysts and romps? None! Pairing up is more an exercise in hope that they will find the rainbow and the pot of gold at the end of it. As if willing it will make the consequences go away. None of their dreams are underlined by the pragmatic display of life around them; nobody seems to learn from life or are they refusing to look in that direction at all? Does not the child have a right to be NOT born? And once born, what exactly are his rights?

The Young Lady in her Elements.
The hurt and harm parents can do inadvertently or otherwise is needed to be recognized - even when they are concerned and try to do the best within the scope of their understanding. Very few humans, even the better ones, are able to rise above their preconceptions, habits and prejudices. Taking out their ire and often making their own children the focus of their desires is not an uncommon phenomenon. People lead such selfish, introverted, limited and "me first"

lives and it automatically extends onto the child. The focus, I have seen is always on the parents. It is “Their” child as it was a piece of baggage on this journey of life. “They” know best what is good and bad for the child – how was this ever presumed? “They are doing their best – whatever that means! I maintain that 1) people should not be allowed to have children until they have done at least a course in child psychology or/and Aptitude test. 2) Financially comfortably endowed. 3) Divorces not allowed when children exist.

night. I could dance all night

It is unfortunate, that for everything like driving a car, we need a license, but when it comes to having children there are no rules. Every guy who can get married is automatically given the license to have children. Of course marriage is not a binding factor either. The number of children born for a moment’s romp and then abandoned is a mute testimony to the utter irresponsibility of humans and disregard for the hapless child. The parents have to get out of their egos and not think of the child as "Their Possession". The child is not an extension or medium for the continuation of their dreams and wishes. I see all around me parents behaving as if they had done the child a favor by bringing him in this world and now it was the child’s duty to pay them back by making sure the parent got all he wanted from the child – no questions asked. Deplorable! My focus here is on the girl child. She has always received a raw deal. Things have really come to a

point where I feel voices need to be raised.

The Municipal Corporation really needs to be pulled up.
My daughter at 16 months old was everywhere and into everything. This was a hot topic for debate. My reply then and now is the same. I think it is her natural curiosity and she should be allowed

to explore. But everyone who sees me with her complains that I am not scolding her enough and that if she is not made to understand the correct ways, she will become uncontrollable and end up totally spoilt. My point of view is that she is too young to understand and that this can come later when I am in a position to explain the pros and cons of each action to her. Right now it is all play for her. More often than not she is aping me. How can I scold her when she has done no real wrong and surely no deliberate mischief? And why, even if I have something to say, why should I scold her? It will only kill her curiosity and stunt her persona.

Me? I did not do anything.

Centre of Attention. Aruna quickly became the centre of attraction and quite often total strangers would make the effort to come and want to cuddle her. The crowd that gathered around her somewhere on a beach in Kerala was a beautiful experience.

We consciously took the decision to travel all, over India with her to expose to her to as many different conditions of life as we could. I have always believed that the first two years are the most important. The basic character of the child is forming at this time and will make or unmake him in later life. Let him absorb as much is earthly possible in terms of sounds, sights and people,

specially of the positive kind and he will never feel out of sorts in this world he finds himself.

What shall we give Papa this father’s day? serious All serious conversations are with grandma alone. By some quirk she has learnt how to tease grandma and they both play the game with glorious abandon

The case for taciturnity.
Now that my baby is over one year old, I receive instructions from all including my doctor to focus on teaching my child to articulate words and communicate in a spoken language that we understand. I am asked to repeat certain words and commands so that the child learns faster and we may be able to communicate more easily with the child. Every time we meet a friend or relative, the first question that is posed is “Has she started to speak? Which words can she speak now? Does she say mama, papa? Then their focus switches on to the baby and they start asking her “Where is your nose? Show me your nose?” What in the name of heaven is the hurry? I have never really understood the need to bring speech so hurriedly and in such quantity and intensity in our lives. The stress on speech and talking is rather exaggerated considering the exchanges I see happening around me. I say that the time has come

to consider this factor and stress a little on taciturnity. Let’s bring a little silence in our lives. As far as the child is concerned, she is already picking up so much from her surroundings that we are amazed at her ability to sponge in. She is communicating perfectly and we understand her. We are acting as gardeners. We are not trying to push the plant into overgrowing itself by speeding the process. I have noticed that children have a charm and grace that is soon subdued and stifled by overzealous parenting. Parents want to control their every movement, teach them what to say and how to behave and what-not. Why? Let them just flower knowing that they are loved and secure. Parents need to instill a sense of belonging and self-confidence in children but end up by frightening and confusing the child by making him feel inadequate and often unloved.

Her love for all things beautiful was apparent from the beginning.
It is the parent's duty to learn as much about life as he can and then pass it on and apply it in life. Don’t bring up the child on "don’t do this and don’t do that" Help him explore himself and the world and be there for him when he needs an elder friend. Teach him the pros and cons of each situation and let him decide for better or worse. We need to teach them to think for themselves and NOT tell them what to think. Don’t be there hovering around your child and doing everything for him so that he has to never lift a

finger. Our job is to help the child discover himself and his new world. Let him do it and find out for himself.

My daughter and I on her first birthday

We rigged up this swinging chair right in the centre of our bed so she could be helped thru her colic attacks. I would lie down and help her to sleep by pulling on a string. I got my first scolding when for a moment the swing stopped. Fortunately her colic attacks stopped when we started boiling aniseed in her feed water.

birth Just after birth

A full bottle and all’s right with the world. What more can a man want?
ADORED

He is mine

The joy and cohesion she has brought is beyond calculation. We just can’t have enough of each other.

Since the very beginning we have let her play with food and taste everything we eat. Today she is not a fussy eater and always eats by herself. She loves spoon feeding her poor father who is quite a clumsy guy. She loves to lay the table and carries the used plates back to the sink. When children show a willingness to help, let them, help them and praise them.

Please try not to make them cry!
That was my lipstick!!!!!!!

IT really does not take much to make them laugh.

The Pleasure is mine.
I have finally understood the need to spoil children. Although it is a relative term I am quite happy in letting my kid have her way. You can see in her eyes that she knows that this is HER place and that SHE is master here. The confidence that she shows when I am around vanishes with others, including her own mother who is a little more stoic in her responses and not averse to impose rules and conditions that to the baby may seem draconian. The other day one of my friends mentioned that he had noticed that I rarely censor, forbid or discipline my child; rather I tend to go along with the child. He wondered if this would not eventually lead to spoiling the girl. Well, I told him it is my belief that we all need a friend who would accept us as we are without judging us and I was being that to my child. To the child the parents should be the friends/mentors/guides in front of who he can be himself/herself. If I

want to stop her from doing something, I do so by diverting her attention.

Are you upset because I wet your pants?
This attitude needs to be nurtured. If we become too much of the teacher or the disciplinarian we risk alienating the relationship and a heavy price would have to be paid later in life if a great distance and distrust gets created between the parent and child. So I told him if he felt a little show of displeasure or correction was warranted, I would be glad that he showed it. The child should learn that everybody was not the same and it would be honestly a big mistake to protect

the child too much from the big bad world. I want that everyone took the liberty to behave with my child as they thought best. Let the child see the world in all its facets from the word go. This was in its best interest. If, of course, things went too much out of hand then I would be there for her and step in as a barrier. I am and shall always be the island where the child is protected and told the secrets of life. My job is to explain the tragedies and teach her the tricks of life. The ideal is that I change my style with her growing. As she grows and her stances change, so should my behavior and responses. Parents who are able to do this will never have much to complain.

Can I have the other balloons too?

Let’s not kill all incentive and stifle them before they get a chance to flower. The truth is that we stop the child when it is not convenient to us. The child is not here for our convenience. Period. Note: there is no deliberate mischief in her. Just play and of course wanting to play at all the games she sees us playing. Her ability to ape is astounding. She is a keen observer and repeats every action she sees us do in one shot.

Everyone wants to know why I am spoiling her. My question is am I? She needs to play and explore this world - right? And I am letting her do it. How else will she know what is OK and what is not?!!!!! But I must say, having her in my arms or when she comes and envelops me in her arms or recompenses me with a kiss, the experience transposes me out of myself and my heart melts into chocolate syrup and blows up out

of proportion like a Goodyear airship. It is such a lovely feeling to be the chosen one. I have never been loved liked this. The smile and her tinkling laughter are worth it all. Not only hers, for that matter any child’s. Let us not become so staid that we lose all sense of the fun of life. PS: But I have not lost my head yet. I am now teaching her to take me a little more seriously and show my displeasure through my eyes + shake of my head. I must say that she is beginning to recognize and respect this. It has to be made as a request or tears will flow, backed highly dramatized acting- and make me feel like a jerk. I know I am being manipulated but then my mother, wife, colleagues and everyone I know is doing it so what is new? I just wait for my opportunity to have my own tantrums one of these days.

She loves to pose.

Her ability to recognize and differentiate between what is real money and the rest is All surprising. All the cash payments are made thru her hands.

The Balding traditions.

by

Indian

See what they did to me and I had no choice!

Growing up Pleasures & Pains

Papa you are the cutest.

Whatever For?
A news coverage commentary on CNN made me pen these few words. She was talking about the spread of this new disease in Africa. She was advocating further funds to be poured in aid of removal of suffering. My question is: are we removing or promoting? Why are we so eager to pour millions and millions into programs that lead us no-where? Why are we so eager to promote the welfare of people who are not really eager to do anything for themselves? It is fantastic how humans can delude themselves that life is one Silk Road with happiness and wish fulfillment is its goal. Life may be utter misery, so what? The very person who complains about it also goes about doing precisely what he should not to make it worse. This reminds me of an instance from my own life. Many, many years ago my maid came to me with a request for a

loan. Not a small loan; something in the nature of Rs 10.000 which left me aghast. I was paying her a salary of Rs 300 per month. Her monthly earnings were barely Rs 1200 from work in four homes. But look at her courage. She was prepared to take on a loan which she would never be remotely ever to pay. I was well aware that her husband was a never-do-well and had never earned a penny in his life. He did assist in spending the money on a drink every evening. Her married daughter had been deserted by her husband and was living them. Her two sons were coming up the same way. She was bringing them up to become gentlemen with education and white collar jobs but she forgot to imbibe in them the value of work – hard or soft. In every household, starting with their own they were seeing the man of the house shirking work and yet being taken care of by the women. So finally both the boys grew up into expecting that their wives would take care of the earning and working part. They were convinced

as would have been obvious to all that they were a gift to mankind or at least to their womankind. The maid was taking this loan to marry off her first born. I did not give her any money. I did not have any to give. I did ask her how the son would support a family. She had no reply. Sheer optimism won through. She did find somebody to give her a loan at an exorbitant interest and she went ahead with the marriage. Some months ago I met her again working as a sweeper in the temple I sometimes visit and enquired about her family. The sons it seems were not doing anything. Their wives were working and keeping the home fires burning. Her husband was now too old and sick and although she did not say it, it could be seen that it was all a great burden. She had perpetuated her own miserable life on to the next generation. The loan had become a weight around the neck. What bothers me is this – when we assist these short-sighted people are we helping them or hurting

them? Can we really ever help them? I cannot stop thinking that if she had not found anyone to give her the loan, she would have been far much better off!

Lovely day is it not? Coming out for a drive?

Upset at being denied. She has not learnt yet to accept denial in her stride. She cries for Papa or comes to me and complains in strong terms and clamors for redressal of

her complaints against grandma and mother.

her

The first thing is to have children only when one is ready for them as they have to be given 100%; emotionally and physically. There can be no half measures on this score. The child is totally dependant on its parents. He has full rights also on them. He needs and he has to be given everything needed for his flowering. Love and total devotion to the child’s welfare is the key.

Some pertinent thoughts and questions. Look at how we have fashioned our life. The same mother who is supposed to be a know-all about children and is allowed to give birth to babies and raise them up, needs a certificate and training to teach children when she applies for a teacher’s job and if she wants to become a foster parent (in the USA), she will need certification to take in children. Consider the fact that the General medical practitioner is not considered good enough to treat our children; for

that we need specially trained doctors called pediatricians. So quite obviously on one hand we accept that children are special and need special understanding but on the other we think nothing of letting sperms meet eggs and let them grow into babies indiscriminately. Our logic being that every baby comes with his own destiny and we happily rationalize that we are doing it a good turn by allowing it to enter into this wonderful world of ours. Why are our law makers not thinking about corralling these males who are spawning away with total impunity? What rights have they to bring a child into this world and worse when the child is here who is letting them run away? Should we not make it a cognizable offence? All these children who have been brought into this world without their consent and who now have no roof over their head with little hope two square meals, how will they manage? There is no justification to things be as they are. let

What does the future really hold for me? As a lone child she depends on her father for playing and other activities. She misses other children. She will have to wait till she starts going to school for more playmates. In a general way, on the spiritual level, one can say that the worst that can happen to the child are the parents. The parents, 99% of them, do not bring up their children consciously. They are following a natural trend by habit and instinct. They are simply being themselves. It is not only how we behave with the child

but the galling fact is that the child picks up the same behavior patterns and repeats them and this can go on into many generations. In India where arranged marriages are the norm, there is also the social responsibility to get one’s progeny married off as a religious duty. I have seen sick and mentally challenged people found mates on the strength of financial clout or plain and simple duping of the other party. Why?

Now what?

People have sex for fun. Nature does the rest. The children are "Gifts of god" and accordingly we expect God to rear

them for us too. These gifts we throw out into the world without care. Even the best parents do not think beyond, "food (without any attempt at good nutrition), clothes( not always chosen with the child in mind), schooling(with no serious intent behind it)" after that it is all left to GOD and he is squarely blamed for anything that may happen later. And of course, when the weight of rearing the child becomes too much, the child has to bear the brunt of our ire which can often be horrendous in the extreme. It is so saddening.

But I want to go there.

We are born of a selfish beginning and live selfishly thereafter. The children we give birth to reflect our pride as our possessions, brought into this world by our effort and we may even imagine ourselves as The Creator. All the philosophers tell us that this world is an illusion and I suppose that we can add this thought of being Creators as another illusion. Unfortunately this illusion has repercussions way beyond the fallibility of a random thought. It is true that all our thoughts and imaginings to a very

great extent make or mar our existence; we learn this truth after a life lived to the full and when our chickens come home to roost. Unfortunately, by the time we come to our senses, the harm has already been done. .

The bitter truth of life is that the laws of nature implore us to

procreate at an early age when we still have the drive and strength to rear the child through the long gestation period needed for a human child to come into his own. This normally works out to be in the age group when in many other ways the humans are themselves still children mentally and emotionally. So the end result is children rearing up more children and passing on all their fears and insecurities and making colossal blunders in the actual act of feeding, clothing and educating. Generation after generation this is being repeated and we can safely say that we are perpetuating our miseries on to the next generation who in turn will most probably do the same. Of course with every generation, with more education there is an improvement but it is unfortunately not the norm yet in terms of percentage of the world’s population. Even in so-called educated societies, only few ever try to improve themselves and put the interest of the child before their own.

We forget very easily that the child is totally dependent for everything on us to understand its needs and that The Lord has put a very great responsibility on our shoulders. It is imperative that we forget ourselves totally and immerse ourselves to meet the child’s every little need. Our attitude should be of compassionate indulgence. Every whimper and movement should be taken seriously and we should go to great lengths to learn and study every piece of information available to us to learn what the child may be going through and the best course of action in every tiny inconsequential situation for that particular time. We have to make this effort for our

child. This is the karma we have imposed on ourselves and our own lives depend upon it.

My story begins with my daughter Aruna born to us on 31st August when I was in my 58th year. I was very apprehensive. Would I be able to do a good job of rearing her up properly? But mine has been a life of teaching and counseling and therefore of learning. After all the trial and tribulations of a life lived to the hilt, I was well aware that happiness comes from spreading

happiness which then comes back to you.

As explained in Zen philosophy, join the club of givers where everyone is giving each other all the time. So the day she was born, I took the vow that I shall totally subvert my interests in the joyful and attentive bringing up of my daughter. I would not permit myself to be sidetracked by my own fatigue, bad moods and her demands. There were special reasons for me to do so. Many, many years ago I lost my brother just in front of my eyes. The date was 31st August. I felt

that I had not taken care of my brother as well as I should have. I have missed him deeply. I had prayed often that if I ever get another chance, and if only The Lord would give me one, I will do a better job of it. When this daughter of mine was born on the same date I took it as Divine providence and got into the job of fulfilling my vow as best as I could. I realized early in life that whenever we step into a relationship or responsibility; we should prepare ourselves for it assiduously. Something I find that most people really do not give much thought to. We do prepare ourselves for jobs or sports or even hobbies but when it comes to getting married we never think twice and go into it for the game of it. In extension having a child is just part of the natural course of things. I find it difficult to accept this attitude. Before we commence preaching we must have practiced it they say. Well, in this case I am well qualified. I studied all the

books on psychology I could find when I was in college. Reader’s Digest was my favorite journal. And I devoured every word I could find on the subject. I observed my peers and others in our huge jointfamily system. Marriage as a happy state did not seem to be quite the thing at all.

Everyone around me was bickering and unhappy with his/her partner but still would advise marriage to the unmarried and wherever they could they would organize alliances and push them through. I wonder

if this is not a revenge they are perpetuating for having been pushed into lack-lustre marriages by their own peers. My own parents never put up for us a very encouraging image either. In short I was confused and did not feel that I had the acumen and patience to live with what I concluded to be inconsistent and often unreasonable behavior of women. So I experimented and got into relationships with the opposite sex and was lucky enough but I noticed that as soon as a friendship would develop so would begin the demands and sulks; this I found to be unacceptable, a waste of time and energy and soon the relationship would come to a natural end leaving a bitter taste in the mouth. I realized that when I was initiating a relationship, a certain amount of “taking-forgranted” by the other party was involved. I then happened to come across the book By Somerset Maugham – Mrs. Craddock. The sentence in the book which suggests that in every relation there is one who loves

while the other lets himself be loved struck a big chord in me

In grandma’s loving hands
and clarified my own observations. From then on I decided to wait for somebody to fall in love with me while I let myself be loved. And I must say this too happened, but I could not for the life of me stand these women as they followed me too insistently. Their need to have it their way was just too restrictive for my sensitive ego. They wanted my whole time and focus. It was claustrophobic. So I remained unmarried till the age of 46. It is only at this mature age that I felt that I have seen enough and

should be able relationship well.

to

manage

a

It was a practical affair with biodata exchanged and the alliance fixed between the families. It is only when my wife gave me feed-back on certain aspects of my behavior that I understood how selfish and inconsiderate I was being. I was truly at fault. The learning process and my arrogance that I was better than others took a solid beating. My wife was a mirror that kicked back and I am really grateful to The Lord for a wife who taught me to grow out of my self-centeredness.

There were times when a break-up was imminent but the maturity of the years stood up to trial. Then we had Aruna. My wife’s first question was will she be pretty, whereas I could already see the most beautiful girl in the world in her.

Bringing up Aruna
My wife has a responsible job in a bank so she was not there in the day. I took the mantle of nurse and papa. It is then I realized what a stupendous job women do and the unrelenting continuity of the responsibility it is to look after a child. The first thing was the immediate response that was required of us. We are on call 24 hours without break and no respite in sight. That is if we take our parenting seriously. I do wonder often how mothers with more than one child cope at all; what with house-work and the clamoring of attention by the children.

The first three months were ok. She was just lying there and all I needed was to cuddle her to reassure her that she is in good & hopefully capable hands. I was feeding her every 3 to four hours and changing her nappy every now and then. Making sure that she was covered well and when she was in a bad mood which she indicated by crying I would carry her around snugly ensconced in my arms and sing to her. She loved that.

I love you mum.
Then came winter. The first winter I felt is a dangerous time and the little one is too fragile to meet its

vagaries. So I enclosed myself in my warmed up bedroom at a stable temperature of 24 deg centigrade and stayed there. We came out of it only when the weather had moderated. I am sure many of you would say that this is not possible for anyone. There are other responsibilities and tasks beckoning. I would agree with you all. But then, this is what I mean when I say that we should have children when we are properly prepared and have the means and time to meet their every need and really can afford to have one. I had mine at a ripe age, working from home and with time on my hands that I could call my own. At this juncture of my life, the daughter was absolutely the most important thing in my life and I was on call 24 hours of the day for the next two years without a break.

Nutrition.
I have the good luck of having good friends who are doctors and brothers and sisters who are doctors too. Additionally I have been a student of Adele Davis, the nutritionist and Biochemist who has had a big influence in my life. So I was well aware that at this stage of life the most important factor is to ensure that my baby is well fed and all her developmental needs properly taken care of. This we did to the utmost possible. Supplements, milk and nutritional requirements were met without fail. Her growth was well documented by her pediatrician and even she remarked that she was pleasantly surprised. As she grew I added elements like Cod Liver Oil and Protein supplements into her feed. Later on before she could manage to feed herself only on solid food as many advised and even my wife felt so, I introduced her to ready-made nutritive supplements so that her growth was not restricted in any way of for

any reason she did not feel like eating. Cuddling and being by her side was in my opinion part of the package. I believe in sleeping with the little one by my side as I could and would respond with alacrity to any change or sign of discomfort. I am mortally afraid of crib deaths or such. The only thing that we had to work out for ourselves was how to control her colic. Eventually I hit on the possibility of boiling a little aniseed in her feed water and it relieved her almost totally. Here I may add that doctors and other mothers were no help. The doctors prescribed medicines and the mothers advised 101 things but to no avail. Homoeopathy helped the most. I was often advised to stick to a regimen of time etc. This I found difficult to agree with. The body is not a clockwork machine. It is not in the same “mood” all the time. So we gave this advice on fixing times and quantities a miss. We

catered to the child when she demanded it and let her direct her own life. No stress and no pressures was our motto. Later on when she was ready to taste solid food we let her taste everything she wanted to. Restrictive upbringing is in my opinion is stifling the child before it has a chance to find anything about the world. Today we are rewarded by the fact she is not fussy at all. She eats everything we do and she does it with relish and abandon.

Hold on to that branch baby.

On the matter of eating habits we let her choose her style and

method. This did result in some messing up and a lot of cleaning up but this is all part of the play and only a game for the child. A wise parent should learn to play with his child and not worry too much about teaching and browbeating him into acceptable habits of adults. There would be time enough for that. Aruna with no fear or stress of any kind in the form of scolding from her parents did things by aping us. She even started helping us by the time she was 15 months old by laying the table and then clearing the table. She is very organized and very orderly. She eats with us and at the appointed table. We did not have to teach her anything. She learnt it by trying it out and venturing out which we were just too happy to let her do. She was showing a level of intelligence and initiative that we as adults tend to ignore in children. I think it is bad form to run after kids to make them eat and saying no for many things while yes to only some things. This confuses

them to no end. I have seen so many children becoming difficult because their parents simply do not listen to them or let them play at adult games. Surely what is good for the parents is good for them too! If you are really interested in your child, try to see the world from his viewpoint.

Aruna at play
Letting the child play is the first lesson in raising a well balanced and rounded personality of the child.

A very important point is that everything is play to them. Whatever they will see us do they will want to do both at home and in the playground. This is one reason I did not agree to have nannies or servants bring up my child. I tried for a few days when fatigue was overtaking me sleep deprivation was seriously affecting my health but within four days we found that the child had become silent and the eyes had lost the sparkle. Then we observed closely how the servant maid was behaving with her. Not only that we also observed how the other children in the park were being chaperoned by their maids.

Papa come here.

It was the same story with all of them. They would take so much care of them and protect them so much that they would keep the child in their arms and refuse to let it get into any activity lest it get hurt or dirty the clothes. I asked one of them why they were denying the child the freedom to play and explore and they said quite logically that they would be blamed if anything happened to the child.

Are you listening to what I am saying?
They could not risk their own job as no one is going to listen to their side of the story in case of a

mishap so they had no choice but to be careful and play safe. The result was a constant barrage of “You will fall down” – “you will hurt yourself” – “I said NO” – “Come here, play with this ball” – from what I could see there was a focus on disaster as if we were inviting it. And what were the children learning from it? The way I see it they were instilling fear in every word an action as they would simply not let the child do anything for himself. If he wanted to climb on the slide they would pick him up and do it for him. If he ran they would hold him lest he fall; and many other idiotic reactions that I could never agree to.

Then there is the possessive attitude that we end up inculcating in children. I could hear parents and/or their maids constantly warning the children NOT to play with the toys of other children with sentences like “This is not yours. Give it back” – “Play with your toys” – “Don’t cry, we will buy you another one” and often comments

like “You have all the toys of similar kind at home” as if trying to tell the world at large around there that they were not beggars. Why not teach them to share?

The parents should not feel ashamed for the actions of the child and simply laugh it off when he does something that we in the adult world would consider improper. I wonder why these parents with no time for their kids ever have them. Seems they have children more out of tradition than love for a child. Or is it an accident that happened. I talked to many of them and they all replied that they were not really aware what child bearing would entail and one of them was candid enough to say that she was just raising them up as a responsibility thrust on her and did consider them a nuisance although with time she learnt to love them and be attached to them but as I could see it was more as an extension of herself. They knew fully well that all their capers would

result in a child but never expected that it would be downright slavery to the little imp.

I would advise to all would-be parents to think well before having a child. Because once you have one, you are on the burner and if this does not appeal to you, don’t have one. What has the child done to you to merit a fate of neglect? I delight in my child. The smile on her face transposes me to ecstatic heights. I am her friend and assistant. She recompenses me with kisses and embraces and of

course with cries of Papa whenever the world is not going her way. I just love it. Whatever this word means in today’s world. I had a very pleasant experience the other day. A neighbor stopped me in the park and complimented me on the time and effort I was putting in the raising of the child and said that it was visibly paying off because it was there for all to see how smart the kid was shaping up.

Cuddles and the security of your presence are more important than all the wealth of this world.

When I see her romping all around us, supremely happy with her condition and smiles at me, tears of contentment well-up in my eyes.

My child was a little prematurely born. To compensate of any shortcomings, I went overboard with the cuddles. Now I am happy that I did so. For one she cuddles me back especially when she sees that I am annoyed. She loves to snuggle and is affectionate like a puppy. She trusts implicitly and has no fear of strangers although she does take a little time to open up to most. We did a lot of traveling right from her age of 6 months so that she sees the world in a larger perspective. I have always felt that the exposures we give to the child in the first two years are going to be very important in the formation of character later on. Go out of your way to help the child explore the world.

Teaching the child adult things.
On this subject I have much to say. I find we are far too much in a hurry to teach the children what

can be safely termed as “Adult Behavior”. We see our own selves mirrored in the behavior of the child and we want it that way; which means we try very soon and often too early to teach children a lot of things so that the world at large will see us too as cultured, high IQ and superior people. What is the hurry? Let the child flower at her own pace. For example: Don’t force the child to say thank you when she is not feeling like it. I would admit that it may be the right thing to do and the child has to eventually learn to be polite and so many other things. But don’t push her into it. You will only end up creating a lot of stress which does no one any good. I did not bother to teach my child anything. But I saw that she likes the Oswald series on TV. She learnt to say many things from these serials which are repeated over and over again so it was like an audio-visual education with the added advantage of being repeated often. Now she says thank you on her

own. She wishes “HI” to everybody and waves them off cheerfully. There was absolutely no coaxing from our side. One of the points is speech. What a worry it is with everybody. Again, I ask whatever is the tearing hurry. A child will speak when ready. Just have the patience to listen to your child when he begins to articulate. The temptation to correct and educate can be very high. From your side continue to speak normally. Don’t use child language ever. It puts the child on the wrong track. Some parents can even be a little violent and impatient. This pushes the child to stutter. Take it easy. A very good idea is to raise the child on soft quality music. My child loves classical music and rock n roll. All instrumentals with a little lilt and rhythm like Latin American tunes fire her up and she will come and ask me to join in dancing with her. I have to. She does not give me a choice. Music is good for the child’s overall mental development.

If you want your child to develop into a genius let her play and get her involved in as many activities requiring actions and manipulating with her hands and fingers.

Commitment.
To teach your child commitment and responsibility never threaten or promise him things that you cannot or have no intention to follow through. This gives him the signal that nothing is to be taken seriously and that lying is part of life. I have noticed parents telling their children that they will leave them behind or that the Big Bear will come and take him away or some such thing. This is bad. Threats that eventually the child realizes are empty. Making promises that you shall buy a new ball or that you will come back with chocolates and promptly forget about it all with the smug thought that you have handled that particular moment with aplomb are terrible things to do to a child. His

faith is shattered and he will never take commitment seriously.

Aren’t Aren’t you taking me with you?

Similarly, never raise them up or make them do everything for a reward. Not too often at least. I had once a small girl coming to me for learning French. With me she was perfect. She knew everything and always gave the correct answers but in the school exam she did not do well. So in a friendly

way I asked her why she gave the wrong reply and she replied that her mother did not give her anything for it. Later on I found that her mother was giving her rewards for everything, even small things. That girl would do anything for anybody against reward. Jus imagine what this would mean in later life.

A king is king because the populace lets him be. So if you want to be the master in your family you need to pay attention and listen to your children and follow them. There will be fewer recriminations now and later. When we pre-empt others in speech or action and try to control them in many other million ways, we are only exercising the primary human tendency to regulate everything around us. We have a very high opinion of ourselves most of the time until disaster strikes then for a while we see our faults and reflect. But for the rest of our lives we are quite certain about our wisdom and abilities and we even

prove it and justify ourselves by quoting earlier “Greats & Gurus” as if we were on par with them while we have nothing to say from our own fount of experience and learning, except perhaps a few biting words and make the world aware of our own merits in comparison to the demerits of the rest of the world!

And, please, do not shout at the child. You will only teach him to shout back. Control venting your irritation on your child. Kids have to be handled with kid-gloves. Every situation is an opportunity to teach the child a thing or two. Always take the attitude of explaining and helping him to

understand the world at large and obviously his own impulses and reactions as well as desires that shape our actions. Once a French Chef was asked what the secret of French cooking is and he replied that the main ingredient was butter and butter and some more butter. Similarly the ingredient in raising the child is affection and more affection and some more affection. The love between a child and an adult is sacred and a serious love affair and should be treated accordingly. Most parents use the “NO” rather too often. In the Reader’s Digest I once read of a lady who managed every situation with a YES. For instance on a request for ice cream in winter she would say “YES” but in the summer.

Our children are us.
Recently I noticed an advert on the TV showing a proud man not taking help from his children while getting off the train. The song in the background sings of the fact that the head has never been lowered and never will it be. What a sad reflection on our values. Does becoming friends with our children make us into weak dependants? This speaks volumes of our intelligence and our attitudes. I read this sentence in my younger days and it has kept me on track since: “A lot of arrogance and nothing to be arrogant about.” Is pride only a matter of wearing a clean designer dress and standing tall and not even accepting your son’s hand in a gesture of love, respect and regard?

Will our manliness be shadowed and emasculated by letting our child stand tall along with us? Remember, we made him into what he is today. Can’t we derive

pleasure from his persona and the grand guy he has now become? Do we have to be the guy in total control and know-all! It is funny how we think of our progeny only as our possessions and extension of our selves but never as friends and shoulders to cry upon. What the electronic media is doing to the impressionable minds needs to be reflected upon. The lack of sense, reality is appalling. . Humor is still at the village bumpkin stage; an insult to intelligence. The intelligence of the people making these movies and story-lines can be gauged by the fact that in the 40s and 50s it was fashionable to throw barbs at Hitler, of course with the Hitlerian mustache. This has now become a fixed feature. You are supposed to know that the guy with the Hitler bush is there to give you a comic break. Successful people with money to burn always have a bimbo on their arms and drink whiskey to relax or forget. Rape has been made into a sport.

We are spreading ignorance and misinformation by making storylines easy. And worse of all we are giving them ideas. The number of instances where crimes were committed because the idea came from a movie or a book are one too many to ignore. And as a last parting shot, I might as well mention the over dressing, over make-up, over-lighting, overtalking, over-acting, over-doing the colors and deafening levels of recording and playback.

What the heck are we promoting?

NO! With Love When I was young, in college and still sorting out the everyday contradictions in terms of human relationships, one of the features of my life was to understand the attitude of my parents towards me. From one angle it was clear that I was precious to them and from another angle, they seem to take me for a nincompoop. At one end

of the spectrum I was supposed to do them proud by coming up to some standards that were never clearly defined while at the same time I was not supposed to show any initiative and do what I was told. On this point the directions were clear: as if the parents were saying “We are here and know what is best for you. We are doing the thinking for you, all that is needed will be provided; you just have to be a nice, sweet chubby child, the apple of our eyes.” As if they had never bargained for the child to grow and assert some of his own personality. When this time did come, it changed into a period of confrontation. It became a competition between two diametrically opposite tendencies. One set in their ways, afraid of change and the other experimenting and exploring, feeding and thriving on change. Eventually the situation came to a pass where all listening came to a stop. Every sentence of my father began with a “NO”.

This puzzled me to no end and unfortunately nobody was giving me the right honest answers either. Another of his attitudes was that his wish and pronouncements be carried out or taken cognizance in the here and now. No further discussion or questions were permitted. Even the smallest hint of non-compliance was taken as an aggressive opposition. Then one day I went to somebody’s house and there I saw a sticker. It showed an older

cranky looking man shouting at an obviously younger child: “The answer is No. Now what did you want?” This was the beginning of wisdom finally coming into my life. I realized that a sticker made in the USA, if so universal in its character, is floating around then certainly this attitude of my parents which was puzzling me, is more universally prevalent than is honestly accepted. A little more close observation of all the parents around me, backed by reading The Reader’s Digest made the answers come tumbling into my life.

Today into my late adult life, I am astonished to see how much this tendency to negate and contradict permeates life in general. As I see it, the seeds are sown when the child is growing into an adult and the parents are not grasping this

fact in its entirety. They want to protect him and shield him. In their zeal they don’t want him to act at all, as if this way they can protect him from all adversity. The child on the other hand begins first by seething inside and then hiding his true self and living a double life; so to say. The parents get more and more strongly into the denying and the child starts even more vehemently saying No to it. Is it any wonder that the adult who results is afraid that his life will be taken over and therefore learns to say No to everything. His relationships are all difficult; whatever kind it may beprofessional, amicable or amorous. This way he gets into a perennial “denial” mode. This perverted character then gets passed on from generation to generation. Look around closely. How often do you see people agreeing and accepting each other and in comparison how often we are crossing each other out? I remember when I was just entering teenage; I was trying to

paint a sunset. My father’s comment on seeing my attempts was that I being a child should try to paint subjects more suitable to my age. But I kept on which upset him and finally got what I wanted, appreciated by others or not. In my case the story has a happy ending. Eventually, many years later, I painted a canvas which before even it was dry; my father took it and hung it in his room. This was appreciation of a high order. Fate had a hand in my upbringing. I had the good luck to grow into an adult far away from the restrictive and limited scope of my home. I had an international exposure and had teachers who were always listening and ready to help me find the answers to MY questions; without the bias of social norms restricting our exchanges. Yet sadly my father never got over his habit of taking the opposite side to any exchange of idea, conversation or suggestion. It was so sad. I wanted so much to converse and share my life with

him. But he would not accept me as anything but his child who should in all good sense let him run his life. He never outgrew my childhood and this contradiction always showed in his behavior. The focus, I have seen is always on the parents. It is “Their” child as it was a piece of baggage on this journey of life. “They” know best what is good and bad for the child – how was this ever presumed? “They are doing their best – whatever that means! Most parents will argue that they are doing a very good job under the circumstances which is precisely the point I am making. Why bring a child into this world if the circumstances are not conducive? There is always hope of a brighter future but by then it is too late for the child. Why cannot it be accepted that like any other “thing” in the world, we can’t have everything we want? We should strive but wait for the conditions to be right and then alone bring forth a child.

Does not the child have a right to be NOT born?
Now please don’t tell me that a child is not a “thing” – an object. A cursory look around will show that is exactly how we think of a child. “HE/SHE” is an extension of the parent’s self, an object of desire

and at best, insurance for the later years.

Come on lets go for a walk.
I have seen this attitude surface in my own life through both my parents. Once when I got into trouble in my teens, I decided to confide in my father’s elder brother who was more kindly disposed; who then brought my father into the picture. My father’s reaction was simple: as expected he did not want to know about my troubles but what troubled him was “How dare you bother my relatives with your troubles?” The “I, Me, Mine” always came first. In a similar

instance my mother berated me that “You can’t talk to MY relatives like that” when I said something to my maternal uncle and aunt. And this is from parent’s who were coming from families of wealth and education. Just because a parent feels they are doing a good job does not mean that they are not leaving a trail of complexes, prejudices, negative experiences and habits firmly embedded in the child’s subconscious psyche which will color his life for ever. To this maybe added sickness resulting from ignorance of nature’s ways etc Many parents argue that they are doing a satisfactory job on the basis of the fact that the child loves them. This can be a very blinkered view and is pointless as all children will love and return affection ten-fold as matter of course because that is in their primary nature. It is only later as adults that displeasure and long term affectations come into play and create havoc in their lives and of those connected to them.

So I come to my basic premise. THE CHILD HAS RIGHTS TOO. The child has a right to NOT to be brought into this world which is obviously and visually not adequately ready to bring it up!

How did you manage without me, I wonder.
Let’s not forget that the theory or belief in passing of our "samskars" (passing on of family character traits and karma) is not new to us and Freud/Jung is not to be taken lightly either. Suicides due to peer pressure, crowds of uneducated/unemployables,

abandoned children, physically abused kids, psychologically stunted kids and spoilt brats are proof of what I am trying to bring into focus. There are so many cases where I have seen a gifted child being brow-beaten into an average bum just because the parent’s did not know how to help the child realize its full potential. The schooling on which most parents depend upon is no better than useless.

It is very sad that leave alone the aim of forging new paths, the majority is not even prepared to take responsibility of their everyday irritants. One day I visited my niece whose daughter was not very well but the niece did not seem to be overtly perturbed. I felt that something was being overlooked there so I asked her what she was doing to treat her. Her reply was matter of fact – I have taken her to the best pediatrician, what more can I do? Many may agree with her attitude in today’s world, but I found the

nonchalance disturbing. What I gathered from her demeanor was that it was the doctor’s responsibility or the hospital if necessary. Her duty done, she could take it easy. The way to imbibe creativity, focus and a sense of purpose in people needs to begin early in childhood. They have to be inculcated with habits that will make them uncomfortable otherwise. In childhood we were taught chess to learn to plan, concentrate and focus but more importantly the need to put the coins back in the box and put back the chess board and pieces back in the cupboard because other students may want to play and they should be able to find it in its appointed place. We were also encouraged to study chess problems/books and find ways and means to win. Carpentry was taught to us but more than making us craftsmen, the lesson that was continuously being hammered in was the respect for the tools as prized possessions and to work in a way that we do not endanger or disturb others. The

uncompromising attitude of my teachers always with their eyes on excellence on this score was absolute and today I realize the value of it. These habits when they become deeply a part of a person’s psyche and their second nature will ensure that anything they take up, they will be making a success of it and will come out on top as leaders and a balanced personalities that others will look up to. The future of our children: My experience when trying to help the less educated has been rather depressing. There is a resistance to change that creeps in even with the first sentence exchanged. When this is coupled with our tendency to take short-cuts and soft options, we push ourselves into a hole and then pine and mope. Let me just enunciate some points: - Refusal to see the misery we are propagating by having more and more children even when our own cupboards are empty. We see

children only as eventual insurance for old age. How the child will be fed and educated for the next 20 years is not taken into calculation. - Our socio economic environment is such that it spoils the boy child and burdens the girl. Most often it is the girls who keep the household provided for while the boys become loafers. - Lack of proper nutrition results in stunted growth; both in the visible state of the body and worse in the internal organs that we do not see. - Lack of stimulation and exposure results in visionless and aimless youngsters without mental development even of the basic kind. The underdevelopment of the brain is a reality. Their ability to learn and improve themselves is totally lacking. - By association the only trade they ever learn in their "learning" period is the one from their father. They have no other recourse but to follow the trade. - Their lack of “savoir faire” means they have to work for middlemen who are earning handsomely even in this shrinking market. Had these artisans spent some time planning

their own education and future, things would be quite different. - Before you know what, the children are married off and some more children, "Gift of God" appear to feed and care for which the necessities are simply non existent. - The dreams sold by our celluloid world and now by the TV, giving a totally wrong impression about the realities of life. Instead of showing the way, it is emotionalizing everything and leaving it there. Most of the Indian population is learning from these and patterning their lives wholly on the perverted nonsense they see through the medium of films and soaps on TV. - There is nobody to guide them or show the way. Especially the different norms and practices of different social classes and so they remain unaccepted by their peers and ignorant of business practices. - The art and artists merit all the help possible but not as doles. Let’s record it all for posterity and let Institutions like the Victoria Institute of Chennai keep the art alive.

- The Government can only play a limited role. We have to take responsibility for our own lives.

What are we telling them? Our wisdom has some weird ways to show itself. The scenarios being given below are founded on reality. Take this scene: A three year old is seeing that when father comes home he is given a glass of water first thing. So next time he opens the door to his father, his first reaction is to run into the kitchen and pick up the first appropriate vessel he finds, fills it with water from any source he can reach and goes to offer the same to his father. If he is alone, hopefully there will be nobody to stop him and hopefully if the father is a kind and wise man, he will gladly accept the water. The other scenario is unfortunately more likely. The child is bound be seen and the first reaction of some adult would be to stop him in his track. With words to the effect

telling him that he will make a mess although he has not done anything of the kind yet. Many apprehensions will surface because for all one knows he has dirtied many other vessels with his unclean hands or picked up a dirty one and of course the water is undrinkable being from the wrong source; etc, etc. All this with a thunder and stormy effect as if the sky has fallen and accompanied by a loud shout of warning. The poor kid gets bawled off for no apparent reason that he can remotely understand and all that will register in him is that he has done something unacceptable. His goodwill gesture becomes a disaster scene for him. He has been thoroughly scared and upset. One thing that has been very succinctly made clear to him is that: (a) He has no rights and he will always wonder if he belongs there, (b) Taking initiative is bad, (c) Nobody appreciates him, (d) He is totally inept; and so on so forth in the same train. The child has in this scenario received the gift of a very negative

self-picture and an even more negative world, which is reinforced every now and then with similar situations and this may go on for the rest of his waking days.

Then will come the day when he will grow up and he will be expected to take charge and prove himself to be one of the elite! Rather incongruous, don’t you think? Take this second scene: A young lady of some merit has landed a job as a teacher. It is a new life for her and the new environment is somewhat daunting although not

impossible. She has some good reports even to her credit but all is not smooth sailing with her colleagues. She has really never been exposed to the outer world and this blunt world can be mystifying. She comes home and has a lot to say on the subject of clashing egos and her grumbles.

This tickling business is not fair.
The mother responds with the sage advice that she should leave the job with immediate effect. The message that has been in reality conveyed is: (a) Stay at home with

us, (b) Snobbism is acceptable, (c) Effort is painful, (d) Compromises are demeaning, (e) Stay within the known comfort zone. This is hardly the way to ready one’s progeny for an independent life later on; especially when marriage is not far off. The mother is sowing seeds that encourage weakness of spirit spiced with selfcenteredness, which will only bring pain to her daughter. But in this topsy-turvy life it would be called doing well and standing by their children! A last incidence to give more meaning to the subject in question: A young boy of seven is very friendly with his neighbor who is a smart guy going about on a motorcycle, the very epitome of what a young boy dreams of being. It is winter and he evinces a great wish for a pair of gloves. The neighbor agrees to buy him a pair if he would clean his bike every morning. The boy is in seventh heaven and gets started right away. But his mother hears about it and right away a thunderous

situation develops. The mother is absolutely against the idea that her son, the apple of her high born Brahmin eyes, should be wiping off the dust on bikes like a menial. THE VERY IDEA! “What” says she, “do we lack? I’ll buy you all the gloves. What do you have to worry about as long as we are there? The neighbor is a monster!” The child is hurt. The neighbor is shocked. The point has been made. Father Time has now shown: (a) the mother is no more, (b) the son is incapable of sitting down in one place for long enough to make a career for him-self, (c) the wife he has been lugged with is beyond his understanding to manage, (d) now the son is into stealing and cheating.

I would have thought it is easy to love and the sheer joy in the eyes of a child would melt the toughest heart. Till the age of two the child is treated as a soft toy and all the affection we are capable of is given to it. I suppose the problem begins after this stage. The ever growing

child starts becoming independent and this is where we are unable to reconcile ourselves. We saw it as a baby under our total care and we wish to continue seeing it this way. We have to steel ourselves to grow with the situation and allow the child to grow in his own God-given parameters. The truth is no one even thinks of this as a situation. Every individual sees himself as perfect and introspection is hardly the forte of human beings. Righteousness mixed with judgmental attitudes and the law-given rights of the parents permitting absolute control over the child blinds us to the relative personalities that we all have. I wonder in how many people the thought even remotely creates a shadow of doubt that we may be wrong and the child is not an extension of ourselves. When we are dealing with a child, why do we let go of all self-restraints? In extreme cases parents have known to indulge in monstrous acts and when confronted they have always justified themselves. How come

they do not see the suffering they are causing? I have noticed this phenomena in other better provided families too. As a teacher I have seen that bright spark go out by the time a child reaches class 8 or so. The keen and enquiring character of the child gets taken over by a tendency more in the nature of calculating and manipulating. The desire to excel gets superimposed by the mundane. What happened? Where is the lacuna in our upbringing and educating that fine, bright, wide eyed, curiosity filled and intelligent children turn into people so much lesser than their possibilities? My own way of seeing is that, adults make life so difficult for the child that the child soon learns to do everything to please the elders. This conditioning is total. An element of insincerity enters into the character which becomes one of the strongest traits. Soon life becomes a clash of wills between the child and his elders.

I remember a sticker, I saw when younger. It showed an angry looking father saying to his child“The answer is NO. Now what did you want?” Do we really leave any choices to the child? The conditioning begins to take hold in the very early formative stages. The minds are badgered into submission as taught in our societies to think not, speak not, show no initiative but simply do as they are told and learn by rote whatever the teachers tell them. All expressions of curiosity and activities of exploration and experimentation so studiously discouraged earlier, now form their personality. Even the best intentioned parent is unable to let go. Any vestige of individuality is systematically squeezed out of them. How often have you noticed that when you ask a question of the child, it is the parent who answers? The fine connection between the conscious thinking brain and new experiences that results into “thinking” and consciously growing human being is snuffed out of existence.

We need to teach them to think for themselves and NOT tell them what to think.

Oye. Are you coming?
We forget that children are given to us for bringing up and not as

possessions. Of course as babies they need total dedication and care. But how can we forget that as they grow they are also becoming persons in their own right? These poor unfortunates have had their memory and learning boxes virtually removed almost as if surgically. These are supposed to be the fine young men and women we are helping out to mature and grow up as the adults of tomorrow. Eventually life will make them acutely aware of their limitations but what can be done? It’s too late to start all over again. The mental make up is strongly in place and the demands of life leave no space. Emotional immaturity will only be adding to the woes. What we have brought up is a confused and unsure adult with an unrealistic ego. The parents will eventually realize this truth sometime well in their old age when the habits and attitudes that they have instilled in their wards come to haunt them in their own lives. The circle is then complete and pain is everywhere.

Even if these people wanted, they would not know how to get out of this impasse. It is no wonder that so many are landing up on the psychiatrist’s couch. The good natured ones bumble along and the ones with a strong “amour-propre” take refuge in forever justifying themselves, rationalizing and on the defensive if not outright

arguing whenever there is any need for the brain to make an effort at listening and learning. What is to be expected of them? Not much.

Education and Real life. Life is getting complicated. Interactions are getting more international, fast and furious. Yet our syllabi of life’s values, especially what we teach our young ones, still remains tinged with the ethos of the 19th century. Just look at our moral education. What are we drumming into our wards under the consideration of morals? Is it really what they would be seeing around them? Today our wards, right from a young age are exposed to behavior patterns on the TV and real life around them which can be safely said leaves nothing to the imagination. Nothing really matches the education with what they see. Is it surprising that young people have only a very confused sense of what is right wrong and correct or incorrect? Parents and educationists are not leading by example and this is very confusing. For every question the child has, millions of possible answers crop around him.

To party, to party.
Without personal experience to back this plethora of unexplainable and sometimes terribly contradictory scenes, the child remains in a state of utter melodramatic puzzlement. And, of course, when he asks his elders some very pointed questions, the elders who are still mentally locked up in their Victorian castles; give disjointed and embarrassed answers that only go to increase the child’s consternation.

For example we teach our children to speak the truth and back it up with sayings like “God is Truth” but in practice we rarely show signs of it. Often we even forget that a child is around us and our acts belie our own teachings. When the child is young, the parents are the world in microcosm to the child. He believes in them. Yet ask any child who has traveled in the car with his parents and has ever been stopped by a cop for speeding or jumping a red light; what would he relate as to the exchange between his parents and the cop? He would tell you that the parents immediately began to explain themselves to the cop giving excuses and explanations which were outright fibs. In these kinds of situations, many children tend to correct their parents by blurting out the truth and only get their ears boxed for their effort. So what are we finally teaching the children after all?

Why make the child pay for it? Have you read my write-up on “Why a child”? In this I raised the points that there is too much freedom to have sex and behaving irresponsibly by having children but not preparing oneself for them either psychologically, financially or intellectually. In response I got some replies which are worth sharing. One reader said “Your post here is judgmental, depressing and as a single mother, I've taken quite an offense to it.” She goes further and relates her own experience which I give here in her own words “But life isn't always perfect or goes as planned. To generalize and to imply that anyone who is not in the ideal scenario would be best to not have children or that they can't do a good job simply isn't fair. . I was engaged to be married and three months before the intended wedding, we got pregnant. He didn't want me to have the baby and when I refused to terminate the pregnancy, he "postponed" the wedding and eventually left when I

was 7 months pregnant. Things aren't always perfect. I don't always have as much time or money that I would like to provide for my son because I sometimes struggle with doing it all on my own. But he knows he is loved and I thank God for him every day.” This was my reply: You are doing a better job than millions who just have babies and throw them on the streets/gutters/to the wolves. Does not mean the scenario I have painted does not exist or should not be discussed. We are trying to make people conscious of the facts. Basically which is that once you have a child, you HAVE to take its responsibility too. That I have said the right things is proven by the behavior of your child's father. Another comment that attracts our attention is given here: “And in my view, most of the time ...a mother has to abandon her child as mentioned by Pradeep...it is due to the unbearable cruelty of MEN...who are of the self assumed opinion that just because it is the woman who is bearing a child...it is

none of their responsibility.” The truth is both are equally responsible or irresponsible. It has always been my contention that the educated and free classes of people who have sex for fun and pleasure can at least be a little more mature in their attitude. Women are indeed subjected to sexual violence and have to bear with many things. Children out of forced sex are a very painful evidence of the animality of man. But it is also true that women are fully conscious of their own sexuality and what attraction value it has for the male and they use it willingly to snare men into a relationship and commitment or fall for the wiles and false promises that men dangle as a lure. The point to note is that the Male of the species tends to gravitate towards anything that is Female and is programmed by instinct & our so called society to think of it as the ultimate aim of life and contentment+ add to this the primary objective to just find a partner for sex with no intention of keeping his promises or

commitment. If he can get away with it, why should he not is at the back of every male’s mind. The need of every man to have a female partner to complete the life cycle is without doubt overpowering and the lure of sex is too strong for most to resist. The female understands this very well and is not averse to use it for her own benefit and often gets trapped into a dicey situation of her own making. The female on the other hand mistakes the passionate attachment of a man to be permanent and that she can count on him to stick to her forever (I would go to the extent of saying that she mistakenly feels that she will be able to control him forever) - and here what I have to say becomes hurtful- she then starts taking him for granted, even goes to the extent of becoming unbearable, insisting on having her way and even imposing her way etc. This explains why some couples who were happy as lived-in ones for years, could not stand each other when they got married and separated before the year was out.

Violence is another painful reality; Men tend to by physical and women verbal. When they are out to hurt each other there is very little that can be done to make them understand or see reason.

Both the sexes can be violent and vengeful; men more so bluntly and women a little more intelligently.

Take for instance the attitude of sulking; this can be very annoying to a man. Either not talking or going to the extreme of not stopping when started can be very difficult for men to understand. On the other hand the detachment men show when their sexual needs are satisfied is puzzling to women. So violence seeps in and eventually separation; of course if economical, social and legal situation permitting. In the final analysis, it is the children who pay for it. Their lives are traumatized and they are definitely scarred psychologically and often things can be worse: quite many are abused physically and violently. Why? With all the devices now available to avoid pregnancies why are we visiting our animalistic tendencies on helpless children? I say – have your fun and go. Why bring children into the equation at all? Live in peace and when the time comes, leave the world in peace!