Aside Posted on
After a long break, chancing on a poem I had written during my school days – has spurred me on to get back.
A Ray of Hope – Mathangi J
The skies were dark
when along life’s long river I decided to paddle
And on the banks I saw a bunch of people
all they did, was just dawdle
I found a number of willing comrades,
but neither of them had any grace
They said to me
” You may come with us, or you may go
Between us, relations will forever remain shallow”
The skies were darker when I went further down
But even there,people were frantically searching
for the materially studded crown
Hardly did they give me a glance
And to communicate, I did not even have a chance
Scaling my vision, I saw a figure at the deep end
Slowly I paddled yonder and far
And when I saw her,
I thought she possessed invisible scars
As I saw her –
there was a question in my glance
To which she replied –
with a faint smile and understanding countenance
“I know what you search for
People – they possess none
They try to reach it thro’
temporary periods of fun
You’ve come in search of the keys
which will unlock your mind to peace”
I stared at her with calm excitement
As I stared, her form suddenly did change
and flew towards the mountain range
…. In the form of a dove
It was then that I realized
there was a ray of light from the dark skies above!
I was about 14 years when I wrote this .
A discussion I had with a friend a month earlier was still swirling around in my memory I guess. And when things get stuck in your sub-conscious, you start getting clues from the outside world that keep drawing your attention to the same topic ( a newspaper ad, a dialogue in a movie, a quote that stands out…etc) – you know you have to address the issue. Pretty much last year this time – I had a post on similar thoughts – you can read it here :
Well, coming back to the topic.PAIN.
The discussion I had with my friend was about the fact that there were socially accepted negative situations – an accident, rape, a divorce, financial crisis, a death, loss of a job… that qualify as pain . This is when people try to understand you, sympathize with you sometimes, empathize hopefully, and maybe lend support so that you may get out of a situation.
But that set me thinking – is this pain okay because it is generally accepted? Hear about someone who lost a spouse / child ? – we nod our heads sadly, click our tongues and talk about their bad times. Hear about an accident ?- we thank the fact that it was not us in the situation and look concerned for the others. Someone undergoing a break up/ divorce? – call me anytime we say!
But does it justify the pain actually? To understand it further – I try to classify types of pain as I think there could be.
1. PHYSICAL PAIN
The accident types of pain come under this category. Broke a leg? Splinter? Heart attack? Eye pain? Also under this category – I would add heart ache. The pain you feel when you have lost a loved one. The vacuum left behind when a parent passes away. When it actually hurts. And heavily! Sometimes it can manifest itself to other parts of your body – the stomach pains, constant fever, nausea ,knee pain, migraines, stiffness etc… When pain seeks its release through some physical level – it all comes under physical pain.
That may be the most cliched picture I have ever put up, but who hasn’t endured a bit of emotional pain without your lachrymal glands setting to work? Under emotional pain, comes my next two categories :
a. Tangible pain : Pain that you can explain. In a perverse way – it is logical pain. The reasons which you understand. The cause and effect of your actions. Or others’ actions. You feel the pain but you know the origin as to why it happened. It may not be fair or just, but there is clarity. Examples are :
* A bad report card
* seeing your toddler cry for a shot
* when your pet has to be put down
* seeing your parents / grandparents become slow, dependent, or weak.
* someone getting credit for your idea
* rash driving and an injury thereby * having no kids
* a lewd comment from a deranged moron
*being passed over for promotion
* not getting a scholarship / university of your choice
* extra-marital affairs / infidelity
* a bad marriage
* children with physical and mental health issues…
The list goes on (Please feel free to add if you have more thoughts…)
Many of these situations are difficult. Life changing even. They affect our thought patterns. Make us angry. Make us depressed. Make us anxious. Sometimes, they tell us what we want to do to get out of a situation. Sometimes oddly, can even be positive. Bad marriage? – the best here would be to get a divorce and get on with your life. It might be the best thing that happened to you. Seen a loved one suffer due to illness? – we end up taking good care of our health. People who come out of these situations are stories of motivation / courage / and emotional strength.
b. Intangible pain
This is where you don’t know what happens. Why something happened? What made it happen? And where you torture yourself with a million ” What-if ..” situations. Sometimes drive yourself to madness. Or loneliness. Or Depression. Because suddenly you are sliced out from a comfortable situation to the other extreme – without being prepared for it. An example I heard earlier stays in my mind . ” It is when you put your whole being into planning the perfect surprise for your spouse, just when you learn they are cheating on you”.
Examples are :
* when your partner hides their health / career issues from you
* when your till-now-friendly-teen no longer wants to talk to you
* when you realize your “friend” was the one selling you out
* when the person with all the good health habits ends up with cancer
* the one person you want,but can never have
* when no one recognizes you
* or respects you
* when the nest you carefully built all these years, is broken (from the inside or outside)
The emotions that hit you. Shock.Anger. Betrayal. Self-sympathy. And the feeling of foolishness. Followed by loathing. Sometimes self-loathing. But most of all.. the lack of understanding.
How did I not know it was happening? When did the situation change? From when was I unnecessary in the equation? These are the intangibles. All of us have felt it at some time. Along with the tangible pain. The intangible pain, is the one we are shy to share with others. Those are our innermost wounds. They affect our self-confidence and our power to let go.
THE SOLUTION ?
People will always give you options.- Time is the best healer. Surround yourself with friends. Keep yourself occupied. Meditate. Travel. Join a class.Think positive thoughts. If you have been in this situation – you will tell me it hardly works. What can you do?
Get in touch with yourself. Sit in plain view of nature – actually see the sky stretch endlessly. Let your thoughts wander on its vastness, the brilliant blue or the villainous grey shade it chooses to show you. Trees, grass, flowers nearby. Look at them closely – look at the small insect that goes about its work, irrespective of your problems. It might bite you when you get too close. Feel the air. Look at the tiny grains of sand around you. Those are the basics.
And if at that point you forget the whirlpool of activities that usually smuggle your happiness – the quarrel with your kid / the wondering of what am I doing? / incommunicado parent or spouse / the cooking/ driving / budgeting… its worth it. You will slowly get there. The Pain will start to heal. And you would have found your own way to deal with it.
Finding your OWN way – that is what you want. Just be YOU!
The news of a 15 year old school student stabbing his teacher to death, rather disturbed me a lot. (Read link below)
While on one hand my heart went out to the teacher, her family and her two young children who very suddenly lost a parent for no fault of theirs, on the other hand it set me thinking – what prompts a 15 year old to take such a big step? While the authorities, the media, behavior experts and peers are getting geared up to judge and play the blame game – I really think the boy should not be blamed.
Yes, you heard me right. I am not blaming the boy. I am not welcoming this incident of violence towards teachers or anyone else either. My eyes are searching for just one figure in this chaotic crowd – the parents! For I truly believe – that parents influence their children whether they interact with them or not.
They cannot get out of this responsibilty saying ” I was not there. Hence I do not know what was going on”. My question to them is “ Why were you not there? ” . To the parents who do take an “active interest” in their children’s lives, my question is – “What are you teaching them?”
Parents of today have become aggressive and greedy. They think an early start is always an advantage. But not for everyone.I see parents sending their toddlers to play-school. I see mothers explaining to their children (very patiently) ” You must drink milk darling, for you need calcium to be strong“. Yes, I heard your soft and patient voice sweetheart. I know you did not raise your voice and scream.”DRINK YOUR MILK, OR ELSE…” But why are your telling your child this? Why does he/she have to know the effect of calcium/vitamin D in his/her body? Why can you not just use the traditional method of telling a story or playing a game during eating? “One sip for you, one sip for me! ” That works just fine. I tell you.
But how weird is it – when you see a child of 5 at a supermarket, telling the father ” This chocolate has ‘pre-suh-vati-wes’ ” (preservatives!) . How does that child know to look at the back of the chocolate for ingredients? Why is it important for a child to know that the Owl is a nocturnal creature, at the age of 3? Can we not just stop at ” O for owl” ?
Why are you feeding your children information? Instead teach them it is ok to share. Ok to smile. Ok to lose once in awhile. It is ok to make more friends. It is ok to adjust. Teach them to think. Not learn.
Recommended advice that was given earlier ” Support your child” has become advice out of control. Parents now think they have to support their child irrespective of “whatever the child does”. Earlier, the teacher was the substitute of the parental figure at school, where the child does spend a long time. The teacher observes behavior patterns, development patterns, friendship patterns of the child and informs the parent in case of a problem. The teacher these days is not expected to have a say in the student’s activities, but just take on the responsibility of the parent figure. “Supportive parents” do say – ” I trust my child completely.” And what role does a good teacher have at the end of the day? None.
We hear/see/read about shooting incidents and stabbing incidents all around the world. Done by students.These are children with access to education. Not children on the streets fighting for survival. They wear branded T-shirts and Jeans, drive fancy vehicles, have a laptop/Ipod/Ipad and carry a gun/knife as well. How does one communicate intrinsically to a child- that it is fine to take a life?
The answer is – You did. When you smiled at your child stamping an insect. Throwing stones at a dog. Clipping a butterfly’s wings. Education has nothing to do with this. It all boils down to attitudes. A cumulative effect of what the child has observed in its environment. Has it seen you smirk at someone in authority? The child will do it too. Has it heard your condescending remarks about your boss? The child is processing that too. Has it felt your unconditional support towards all it’s illogical thoughts and activities? Congratulations, on turning out a weak-minded child that is of no help to the society.
I really wonder – what kind of trends there are in the society now in child upbringing ? Do not scold your child. Do not spank your child. Do not do anything that makes him sad. But what should we do to make him happy? What explanations should we give him about our actions? How do we give our children conviction that we are indeed “Respectable” people? These are issues that need to be addressed.
The pressure on parents to be a “friend” to the child is immense. The problem is the parents do not see it as an additional role to their parental one, but make the common mistake of replacing the “Friend” role with that of the parent. The parent feels helpless at many a time, and wonder of wonders so does the child. For the child needs a parent too!
And so I plead. Parents – stop overdoing it. Stop making your children independent. You are isolating them. Stop thinking you are instilling discipline. You are compelling them. Stop thinking you are making them relaxed. You are making them indifferent. Stop thinking you are making them responsible. You are over-tiring them. They are just children. They will grow. They will ask you questions. They will sometimes want to find out for themselves.
You are tampering with natural processes. And killing something precious in the bargain. Childishness.
Back to the present – My thoughts are with the teacher and her family, that is undergoing such an irreparable loss. My prayers are with the boy who was sent to the juvenile home.
Both should never have happened.
I am a mere observer
Others lives I record and see
What this one-word institution
“Marriage” is meant to be
Some marry in a hurry
Like there will be – no other chance
Soon, neither gives the other
As much as a second glance
Some marry for money
It seems to be a practical choice
But then, its not all honey
Often, their thoughts have no voice
Many marry under pressure
With people dictating- what they SHOULD do
And when the big day is over
On their own, the partners
hardly have a clue
Some marry their friends
And discover a new avatar
Men – scream, Women – cold war
Well,That’s how this relation ends
Some marry for security
And standing in the “society”
Unless blessed with serious conviction
Their life fades into obscurity
Some try their luck at ” _____ . com ”
Firmly believing in technology
While chatting, fiance(e)s are in full form
And later a mismatch in psychology
Some marry for fame
And try desperately to fit in
Very few survive
The others, just can’t seem to win
Some just feel alone
They need to get themselves a spouse
The difference is similar to –
Creating a home
And just buying a house
Yet, there are those who strive
Unassuming, sometimes unglamorous to the eye
This small fraction
shares their strategy, which is
To keep it going, they say
there are a few many things
you have to do,
If not –
Kiss peace of mind – Adieu!!!
Somewhere in a far- off land…
A Place bathed in gold…
There stands a castle now in ruins, or so I am told…
Majority of their subjects were groups, passive at heart…
And then there were the leaders – eccentric,aloof and standing apart…
Obviously those below and those above did not see eye to eye…
For each perceived the other as cunning, wicked and sly
Finally common sense prevailed, as one group decided working together could not be a crime…
The results were evident for all to see. Footprints etched in the sands of time… !
Some of us are loners,
To work with someone is beneath our honor,
On our own efforts we want to fly high,
Any attempts to join a group will we continuously defy,
And then there are those,
who think – the others are not their type,
They feel like the odd one out,
when they do not fit the stereotype
Some of us put up with another,
Albeit from a distance,
Getting too close with a fellow brother,
Sometimes might be a hindrance,
And then there are those who work in twos,
Without the other – one cannot even choose
And then there are the small homogenous groups,
Where everyone feels the need to keep each other in the loop,
The group grows into a herd,
It becomes difficult to move forward,
Gone are hopes of peace
Familiarity soon breeds contempt,
As everyone wants to have their way,
Discussions and compromises are the last attempt,
Before you realise – together you cannot stay
And then the final phase,
You realise – no man is an island,
Rules of nature apply,
And everyone we no longer can ban,
The Solution – Keep them all equidistant,
Not too close, not too far – that here is absolutely salient,
Wisdom dawns at the end of your strife,
For what you went through – is called the circle of Life!
P.S. Click on the pictures for a larger display. I thank the birds for helping me gain some perspective!