The School Bus: #BarAThon Day 5

The initial excitement and enthusiasm shown by Mehul during his first few days in school has faded away completely. He doesn’t want to go to school anymore he says. It’s a tough task to get him ready for school every morning. He has become cranky unlike his cheerful self. And he screams at the top of his voice shaking the entire neighbourhood. Thankfully Rahul, Mehul’s older brother, was a sport. He happily hops into the school bus every single day. But then all kids are not the same. After all, he is just three. Aditi thought to herself.

Tring…tring…tring!!!

That must be the milkman.” said Aditi as she buckled up Mehul’s shoes.

“Hurry up! Finish your milk. The bus must be here anytime now.”

While Aditi put the milk pouches into the refrigerator, she heard the school bus honking.

Rahul, Mehul, pick up your bags and water bottles. I’m coming. The school bus is here.”

As she marched out of the kitchen, she saw Rahul getting out of the front door. Mehul must have already gotten into the bus she thought. As Rahul climbed into the bus, Dinesh bhaiya, the cleaner asked, “Mehul is on leave today?

Aditi was taken aback. That boy must be up to one of his pranks as usual, she thought. She ran into the house and started looking for him.

“Mehul, come back here right now or else you will have it from me. The bus is waiting.”

The bus honked for a while and then left.

“Mehul, Mehul…”

She searched the length and breadth of the house but couldn’t find Mehul.

Beads of sweat ran down her forehead. She was now gasping for breath. Abhay is out-of-town and is expected to reach only by tomorrow night. Aditi decided to call him up as she finally realized that Mehul is nowhere to be seen. Tears rolled down her cheek. She ran into the bedroom, picked up her mobile phone and started dialing Abhay.

That’s when she saw his tiny shoes hanging from the loft of the bedroom.

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Mehul”, she heaved a sigh of relief as she disconnected the call.

Has he left?

Who?

Dinesh bhaiya. He is trying to steal my peepee every day. It hurts.

Aditi stood shocked and motionless before she came to terms with what she just heard.

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A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.

It’s not your child’s fault or crankiness. Look beyond what is visible to the eyes.  

Here’s the scope of the child abuse issue on ChildHelp.org.

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Stop the Abuse Now: Here’s How You Identify Child Abuse and Report it: The Better India
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I am with Team #CrimsonRush for the #BarAThon from 1st to 7th August 2016.

This post if written for the prompt ‘tiny shoes‘ for August 5, 2016.

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Mothers must share their experiences. We all must.

Why should we share our thoughts and experiences? 

We must share because we tend to learn better from another person’s life lessons. And we also get to see a particular situation from different perspectives.

One hot June afternoon, as I lay on the tile floor cuddled with my girls telling them stories from their childhood and mine, my phoned beeped. A message in my chat box. Nothing special about it…right?

It was special. It was from someone I had been friends with through Facebook for over two years. But we had never interacted previously. A few likes here and there on photos and status updates.

What was common between us? We were both mothers. 

She told me that one of my old posts on our life with Dad working in a different country stayed with her. And then she asked if I could help her in understanding her older child’s psyche as they were in a similar situation. We chatted for a few minutes. But as I shared my childhood experience, why I was not close to my mother and what troubled me, she immediately related it with her recent experiences. She said she’ll take corrective measures immediately to help her older child. And I was happy that sharing my experiences might have helped her take control at the right time.
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Children are innocent. Soft like clay. You can mould them the way you want in the first few years. But everything depends on the way they perceive your actions. So give logical explanations to support your actions. Understand they will.

When Dad left for the Mid-East, I was five and my sister was just over a year-old. Mom was working as a teacher in the same school that I attended.  We had three of our relatives staying with us to “help her” take care of us. Mom was the best. But she had lots of responsibilities as a mother of two, a teacher, a single parent and the additional burden of having people at home. And this left her with not much time to express her love. 
I was the older child but not old enough to understand her situation. I had suddenly been deprived of my Hero. My Dad. And like every child, I wanted to take refuge in Mom and her cuddles. I would go up to her every now and then to smother her with kisses and if she was in the midst of cooking, washing or nursing, she would either scold, ignore, postpone or show irritation. I would feel hurt. At night I seldom got to sleep with Mom because of my aunt who wouldn’t let me sleep next to her. They thought I might kick the little baby. I would lean over to kiss Mom a good night and she would push me away. Not because she loved me any less, but because she was worried that I might hurt my little sis.

I was staying physically with my mom but in my mind I had wandered away from her. Far far away. To me she was someone who gave me instructions and I had to follow. Almost like a hostel warden. She did cuddle with me occasionally but by then I was least interested. The bridge was already built. And I was at the far end of it. Poor Mom didn’t even know that her child wasn’t the same anymore. Imagine how all those years could have been saved had I told her about my feelings right then or if she had spoken to me at length. Now when I share it with her she feels bad, so I don’t. 

These were small instances for big people, but for that five-year old, it meant a lot. I wanted to write it all to Dad, but I was scared of hurting Mom when she reads the letters. So I didn’t. Now I think I should have. I should have shared it all with someone, so my mother could get a hint of what I was going through. I regret this and so I share every possible thing that I learn from my parenting experience or others with as many as possible. Sharing is caring. And you never know who finds help in your experiences. So share you must. 

I try and express my love for the girls as much as possible. But I am sure they will have their own set of complaints against me. Every generation has its own book of complaints and regrets. All we can do is to do our best. 

So read, share and act, I will. Will you?

Let Them Speak Their Mind.

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Picture Credit: Let’s Get Searchical

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.