Scissors are dangerous in the hands of kids, but not in the way you think

fabindia

A few years ago, I was enjoying some lighthearted conversations with a women acquaintances over dinner.  When we first sat down at the table, conversation was limited to business, musical events, and latest shopping sales. As we twirled the wine glasses and picked on soft, juicy kebabs, conversation shifted to children. One of the women was a blogger, like me, so I hung on to each word that she said ( For some reason,  I have this perception that people who blog are always more clear in their heads.)

She had two daughters, one of whom had just entered her teens. Her pain was, therefore, the strongest and just waiting to flow in front of the right audience. I guess, she found that audience in me. She said with an exasperated sigh,”Shilpa, no matter what I tell you, nothing will prepare you for these years! They are simply terrible!” In my mind, I discounted her exasperation! I had just celebrated the first birthday of my son. I was pretty sure nothing could be more stressful than bringing up an infant. Nonetheless, I decided, there was no harm in hearing her out. If nothing else, she would feel a little better after shedding part of her stress.

She went on narrating stories about rebellion, dropping grades, tantrums and mood swings. At one point, during the discourse, she paused, took a deep breath and said, “Shilpa, if there is one tip that I can share with you, it will be, “Till you have children at home, never ever buy a scissor for your house,! Scissors are your worst enemy!” I nodded my head, as if in complete agreement. But internally, I again wondered how could that be. Each day, I encouraged Yog (one year old at that time) to cut a variety of things using a scissor. It was one way of building his fine motor skills.

Sigh! If only I knew!

I spent the last weekend cleaning up my cupboard. Thanks to the extra long time I took to get to it, it was extremely cluttered. I had even forgotten about some clothes that I had purchased in the past. Some of them had moved into dark corners of the white shelves. I literally had to dump out everything on to the bed; sort, organize and then put it back into the right shelf. In this process, I came across a nice black dupatta my mother had gifted me some time back. Ummmm! Nice! I found it again! Even though I had not worn it even once till now, it was special, because my Mom had given it to me. I opened and draped it over me to soak in the feel. It was then I noticed, a big circular hole, somewhere in the lower side. I was shocked. I was pretty sure, we did not have rats in the house. Then who could it be, to have done such damage?

I quickly checked a few other dupattas to see if the rest of them were fine. My worst fears were confirmed. Someone had been systematically running through my fine collection of dupattas and taking out pieces of fabric. Hang on! Didn’t I see this pink piece of missing fabric as a cape for the barbie? Oh!  And this is where the fine lace originated from, for creating the Rakhi for my nephew based in Delhi.

Argh! I was furious at myself to have ignored the signs for so long! I should have thrown out all the scissors when my daughter had first chopped her front hair, on her own, months ago. I had then laughed it out and fooled myself into believing that scissors could do no more harm. I had thought, the worst was over. What more could possibly go wrong?

For all those naive parents reading this today, please learn from my experience. Please do not fool yourself, like I did. Scissors are an extremely  dangerous tool. Please keep them under strict supervision at all time.

P.S. An ulterior motive of writing this blog is to communicate to my Mom the fate of the beautiful black dupatta. God knows, I don’t have the heart to tell this to her in person.

I will miss you!

Mama Toyna Yog

Yog: Mama, please don’t go to office

Mama: I have to go to office today. I have a meeting in office.

Yog: I will also come to office with you. I will also sit in meeting.

Mama: Yes Yog! When you grow big, you will go to office and meetings. Then, Mama will not go to office. I will stay at home.

As soon as these words are out of my mouth, I feel a sharp pull at my heart. I realize that as Yog and Toyna grow big, our roles will be reversed. I will be at home, waiting for both of them to call me or come and meet me. But I know that they will not have time for me then. They will be busy in their lives, like we are busy in our lives right now. Just like Yog reminds me to come home soon, I will remind Yog and Toyna to come home on time. Like they keep themselves busy during the day, I will also keep myself busy during the day with jobs, hobbies and activities. However, as soon as the evening shadows will return, just like Yog waits for me to return and envelop him in my arms, my eyes will wait for both of them to return and give me a hug. I know most days, they will not return home on time. Even when they return, they will not have time to hug me.

As these thoughts cross my mind, my heart shudders. I am modern, independent woman, but I still cannot take out the mother from inside of me. I cannot accept that life will be like this in the future. While I have the courage to leave a crying Yog behind when I go to work, I cannot gather the courage to think that Yog will do the same to me, when I am sixty five years old.

While I worry about my state 25 years from now, I chance upon our parents, tapping their wrinkled fingers on the iPad screen, trying to restore the internet connection. I realize that in our passion for building a resilient business, we had already gifted the future I am dreading, to our parents, as their reality of today.

Since we have made our choice to focus on work leaving both children and parents behind, it is only natural that we should be prepared to face the same future when our children make the same choices. But sadly, I am not ready for this future. At least, not yet.

As I step out to wear my shoes, Yog gives me a hug.

Yog: Mama, promise me you will miss me.

Mama (with a heavy heart): I promise I will miss you.

Yog: Ok Mama! I will miss you too! Be Careful!

Be Careful

queen

I wave Goodbye to three year old Yog and tell him I am going to office. He comes running towards me, hugs my knees and says, “Be Careful Mama!”

I reassure him that I will be careful, after all I have to come back home to him and his sister. As I walk down the street to my office, I muse to myself, how a simple “Good Bye” has been replaced with “Be Careful” in our minds. Not only adults, who read and digest news everyday, but young children like Yog can also sense that the world is not a safe place anymore. It doesn’t matter whether I am walking down 50 meters to my office in broad daylight, or my husband is travelling 7000 miles in the middle of the night, our hearts and mind are always prepared for the worst.

I would not call ourselves “pessimist” to assume that danger is real and that it could be lurking in our very neighborhood. I think it is a reality. Given this reality, we have not stopped enjoying our lives. We still lead a happy, adventurous life, which is protected to some extent with phone battery backups and pepper spray tubes.

I wish there was more we could do to protect ourselves. More importantly, I wish, there was something that we could do to reduce this implicit danger that surrounds us all the time. Both our Organizations, KINDUZ and LASSIB are taking baby steps in this direction. However, every time Yog wishes me to be careful, I am reminded that the speed of change needs to be much faster. Until such time that small steps create a big movement, it is indeed each individuals responsibility to “Be Careful”.

Do you Own your Spouse?

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” Do you own your spouse?”

Rather, “Did you buy your spouse in the open market through bidding, betting or negotiating?”

Well, in case you did buy your spouse, then you have every right in the world to own them. You have every right to dictate what they wear; what they eat; how much they sleep and how much they are supposed to earn. No questions asked! You sure must’ve paid a hefty price to own them, so you have every right, now, to control their lives. Needless to say, I pity those spouses who sold their pride, dreams and individual entity to be, from this day forward, called the spouse of  XXX.

Fortunately or unfortunately, my family never had enough money to buy a husband for me. I, therefore, did not marry for money. For those like me, who did not pay dowry to buy their spouse, can we still claim single ownership rights to our Man/Wife? Do we think we have the right to dictate terms on how they lead their lives, right from the food they eat to the career choices they make?

Somehow even without paying the money, most spouses come with a certain right of entitlement on their better halves. I often see husbands negotiating with their wives in order to spend a week off with their friends (male or female friends – that is another dimension all together, which we cannot discuss right now). On the other side, I see wives begging for a day off from children and house chores to spend quality time on a hobby they have been nurturing since long. Why do spouses need permission to lead their own dreams? Just because, the Registrar stamped our marriage certificate, does it mean that we gave up our individual right to freedom?

Is the marriage certificate really a certificate to tie us down within the constraints of this world? Is it a certificate that should restrict and controls our dreams, our needs and the very purpose of our life. Conversations like these are all too common, ” Oh, so you wanted to be a Rockstar! Too bad, that you got married to me! How will you support me, and kids and your parents on the erratic nature of a Rockstar income! ” Such conversations force us to make the difficult choice between maintaining a spouse or maintaining our dream! Most of us, choose our spouse even when we see our dreams fading away into oblivion.

Unless we paid money to buy our spouse, my recommendation is that spouses should support each other as best friends/partners in their journey of life. For those who sold their soul in the process of getting married, I am sorry to say that you have already written off your life. Maybe you will stand a chance to win a Best Friend/Partner for life in your next life! Till such time, may God give you courage to lead a purposeless life of slavery. Amen!