Let Them Speak Their Mind.

Let Them Ask…

Who did that?

What happened?

Where did it happen?

When did it happen?

Why did it happen?

How did it happen?

Yes. I am talking about children. Of all ages. Don’t just shut them away.

I hear complaints from a lot of parents that their child is not inquisitive. Or he/she doesn’t take initiative. What I have noticed in most of the cases including mine is that we do not allow them to talk. Yes, it is purely our mistake.

All fingers are not alike. All children are not the same. Some are born as risk-takers. Some are under-confident.

When a child asks repetitive questions, we tend to shoo them away either because we are tired of answering the same questions or we fear them to become rebels who question anything and everything. Isn’t that what we have grown up with? Were you allowed to ask questions, raise your doubts or voice your opinion as youngsters? I was not. Every time I opened my mouth to ask something, I remember being asked to shut up or being labeled a rebel. Either by my parents or by an elder in the family or by a teacher.

I shut myself up in my cocoon. But thanks to my habit of maintaining a journal, I did ask all the questions I had. I did raise all my doubts. I did voice my opinion. Of course, without an audience I did not receive any answers for most of them.

But there was just one person who I wish had more time to spend with me. Dad. He answered most of my queries. Silly or otherwise. I wrote to him almost everyday.  My letters reached him in bunches of seven to ten. The high cost of sending an Airmail was the reason. But Mom did sent him every single letter of mine. And she did let me maintain my privacy. She would never read them. And Dad took the time to carefully answer every single question of mine.

I asked Dad almost everything that I had in my mind. With him I never had to think twice before opening my mouth. You might not believe me if I tell you that it was my Dad who cleared most of my doubts about puberty and adolescence, even though Mom was the one physically available with me at all times. Mom did answer some of my queries. But I didn’t find any logic in many of them. Because she would tell me exactly what she had heard as a child. But Dad gave me logical answers. Many a times he asked me counter questions to help me find the answers myself.

So, why I sat up early in the morning and scribbled this post is because I read this piece of news the first thing in the morning.

Who is Shreya Singhal?

And in this article, the one major thing that caught my attention was this.

“We have always been very vocal in our family and encouraged our kids to do things they believe in,” said Shreya’s mother.

If this 21-year-old wasn’t allowed to discuss openly about her opinion with her family, if she wasn’t given complete support to try what she wanted to, Section 66A of the IT Act which vaguely prohibited us from freedom of speech, would not have been struck down.

It is very important to let our children be vocal. It helps them develop into responsible human beings. It helps them differentiate between right and wrong, what is justified and what is not justified. So while we try to educate them to be polite, mannered and disciplined, we should also let them speak their mind.

Remember, inventions wouldn’t have been possible without minds that questioned.

Travel Diaries – Rajaji National Park

We visited Rajaji National Park in January this year. After the adventurous trip to the jungle described in Jungle Diaries – Elephant Trail, we checked into this beautifully done V Resorts property in village Ganga Bhogpur in Gauhari Range. We met their Head of Quality Service Assurance/Operations, Mr. Siddhartha Banerjee, who was there for the weekend.

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And this is what we woke up to the very next morning. Bliss!

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We fell in love with the property the moment we entered it. There was more to come. Two cute little elephants (stuffed toys) welcomed us in our smartly done room and the girls did not leave them for a single minute till we left the resort on day two. There were enough swings in the play area to keep the kids engaged. And if you didn’t want to do anything, you could just lie down on the grass basking in the sun. Peace!

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There are sixteen rooms: eight on the ground floor with a private balcony and an inviting splash pool to revitalize your senses and eight on the first floor with a balcony opening to an awesome view of the Gauhari range. There’s also a swimming pool and a convention center with enough facilities to accommodate a corporate conference or a small family or friends get-together. Added attractions are a snooker table and a table tennis court.

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Once it starts getting dark, you need not worry about having to cuddle down in your rooms. The lawns are lighted up beautifully and preparations are on for a bonfire. While you enjoy the warmth around the bonfire, the little ones can play on the swings to their heart’s content. If you still feel like resigning to the room, there’s an LCD with access to satellite channels.

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Apart from the jungle safari on the elephant trail, there is more to this place that we loved. The proximity to our base town Delhi, being closer to temple towns Haridwar and Rishikesh and most of all, a perfect peaceful weekend getaway spot on the map.

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After the hundreds of elephants and about sixteen tigers refused to meet us even from behind the thick bushes, we were a bit gloomy. But the morning sight elevated our spirits again and we were ready for the day. We decided to set out on a trek through the village just outside the resort. In the evening, as Siddhartha joined the husband on a short biking trip to the river bank, we decided to once again go for a walk around the village.

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The animal lover all set with sticks to protect us from elephants that might have attacked us. Li’l Love walking behind for fear of being attacked.

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The lush green wheat and paddy fields were welcoming us with their vastness. In between were the beautiful yellow flowers of mustard contrasting with the greenery around.

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These trips are also a way to educate our children about the difference in rural and urban lifestyle. While for many things they must be thankful for the kind of lives they have, we do pick and highlight the other things that we lack as city-dwellers.

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We made lots of friends and Suman, Swati and Manoj even posed with us. They also offered to click a pic of me with the girls. Even toddlers aged around five were warning us to avoid going further. Almost all the gates of the village houses are broken. Thanks to the elephants we didn’t meet.

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This man would have been in his eighties. We saw him walk down to Ganga canal, which is a few minutes from the resort, and take an express bath. Of course, it was pretty cold early in the morning.

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And even this did not excite the wild animals to come out and meet us.

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And we saw this young boy helping his grandma take the bundle of leaves to their home for their cattle.

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Villages are incomplete without a deity to worship. And that too in Devbhoomi Uttarakhand. I couldn’t find anyone to ask why this idol was a beheaded one.

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The peaceful atmosphere, the lazily ruminating cows, cozily cuddled cats, spot-me-now kingfishers, sunbirds, magpie-robins, owls and much more…

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And then we were stopped by him. He asked us not to go beyond his shop as there are no more houses and it was an open jungle. Dusk was falling. He mentioned how the elephants in hundreds attacked the fields just the previous evening. He was courteous enough to offer us some tea. Sensing the curiosity in the girls, he explained to them the functioning of the manual machine that removes husk from the grain.

We were to leave the place the very next morning. And that’s when Siddhartha informed us of their newly acquired property in Pauri which was just 120 kilometers from Rajaji. We made a promise to visit as soon as possible. And true to our words, we visited V Resorts, Pauri in the first week of March. Details of our visit to Pauri in my next post.

A special mention about the extremely courteous and helpful staff at V Resorts. The food was awesome and we got to enjoy a special tricolor menu on Republic Day.

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Are you planning a short distance weekend trip?

Don’t miss checking out on this destination.

What do you think the wife should do?

Boy (a senior software developer) and Girl (a senior advocate) meet through a matrimonial portal. Girl says she needs at least a year to know and understand each other. They go on dates for one and a half-year. And finally got married in the presence of all loved ones showering blessings upon them.

Honeymoon, life after, buying an SUV and constructing a house together. Life goes on. The girl got pregnant after two years. He makes her abort citing he isn’t ready for a child yet.

It’s now three and a half years of their marriage and the girl is in her first trimester of pregnancy. This time he wants her to continue.

And one fine day he announces to her that in one and a half years of courtship period and three and a half years of marriage, he couldn’t develop any feelings for her. But he has found his ‘divine love’ in a girl (say B) from another city whom he met just two weeks ago through a messaging app.

The usual drama of blame game goes on between them while his mother continues to take the wife’s side. And one fine day, she calls up the transporters and vacates his house with all her belongings (read dowry).

The mother requests the neighbours (read us) to talk to him. Two hours of talking to him, I assess that he is a nut of the highest order. Three and a half hours by the husband who claims him to be a stupid of the premium quality.

His complaints:

She talks to my mother more than me. She loves my mother more than me. She just hugs me when I am back from office and then gets into the kitchen. If I am talking to her and my mother calls out for her, she goes to her. She is always finding some work to do in the house instead of being with me. With her I was never able to develop any feelings of love. 

When queried about B, the new girl in his life, he tells a story that even my six-year old will know is not real. He says B is herself an adopted daughter and a surrogate mother of a six-year old girl. He says B is under house arrest and is helpless. He says B’s daughter wants him to be her father. He also says B (who is twenty three years old and is under house arrest for last six years) is in contact with influential people like MLAs, MPs and DIGs. The pics of B he showed us was of a girl who was in complete make up and in no way seemed to be under any kind of stress.

He has quit his current job and taken up a new job in B’s City. The best part was when his wife informed us that he has booked a hotel room with B in his current city for a night and the next day both of them are leaving for her city in a first class coupe.

The wife who accidentally gets access to his emails and conversations with B about the hotel reservation and train bookings, comes and tries to communicate with him and sort things. And this is when the mother-in-law shows her true colours and blames her with, “If you weren’t able to satisfy him,  it is not wrong if he sought ‘LOVE’ elsewhere.

The wife now calls the police and registers a case of adultery.

But the mother-son duo are not in favour of a divorce. They say, ‘let him live in with B and judge if his feelings for her are true‘. The wife told us she is the one paying for the car and is also paying half of the EMI of the house under construction. And that according to her is the reason they do not want a divorce. The best part is that they do not want her to abort the child too.

What are your observations in the above scenario?

What do you think the wife should do?

Your response might help her take the right decision.