It’s okay to fail!

Patience, perseverance, and empathy!

An MBA friend of mine, who I treat as my own sister, raised this very good question on, “how to teach children to deal with disappointments and failures”! Firstly, let’s remind ourselves that failure is also an option. An unavoidable option in everyone’s life; if not now, a little later. But it better be now than later. Let that ‘now’ lay a strong foundation for a successful, happy tomorrow.

This takes me back to late 2000’s when I was referred this book on parenting, ” Super Powers to Parents ” (by Stephen Briers), by my very good friend in England. Take home point from that book was addressing on how to use praise words for our children that makes them stay focussed by registering on what actually the praise is meant for. What could imply to them their exact value we carry in our hearts and minds.

Sharing an article that’s very relevant here:

“I’m proud of your ‘achievement’ ” is a better suggested method of parenting than, ” I’m proud of you” as a token of appreciation. If you are using the latter, does that imply you are NOT proud of your children when they fail at achieving a medal in a competition? Are you trying to plant seeds of success is what will make you feel proud of them? But celebrating success or an achievement is important too. In this deadly competitive world, we need to train kids to give their best. But how they fare shouldn’t set a basis of them perceiving our love!

It’s our primary responsibility to teach our children to be empathetic and responsible. If we are upset with them, it’s not with them but with their behaviour or acts that might land them in trouble. We will always love and be proud of them. It’s the deeds we are aiming at, not them as individuals.

Let’s not make them victims of instant gratification that makes it hard for them to accept a failure. I have met kids who are champions at what all they do, find a way to blame others for them not faring well. High parental push, heavy expectations, and an urge to top absolutely at everything and anything make kids look for loop holes in the system, and start either a blame game or demean others who’re vulnerable. We need to coach them to accept the fact that life is only fair if it has little ups and downs. I also come across children who are scared to accept a defeat. They are only worth their constant successes, a deep rooted emotion installed by parents. These parents assume making winning as a habit will help them in long run. On the contrary, we are raising fed-up or anxious adults, who cannot be part of any team work.

Our children should never be coerced into fulfilling our unfulfilled dreams; the worst, training them into making another mini-us because we have been successful on our chosen paths! It’s ok for them to not be praised at every instance as said by Dr Taylor in this article:

We expect our children to top absolutely in everything that’s available around! We want their glasses to be replaced by contacts, their uneven teeth to be bound by their braces, their failures to appear as life failures, and more over, teach them that failure is ‘never’ an option! Let’s do what our children need, not what pleases others about them. Let’s not make them people pleasers for nothing. Happiness is the paramount feature at any stage of life. Life need not be impeccable. It’s only natural to be imperfect and learn from our mistakes.

Let’s not deliver and train kids as a show-off to the society! Let’s teach our children to take steps that may fail them at times, and that we are there to hold them. We are pleased, upset or proud of their deeds, but we always love them; no matter what! Let them trust us, let them know failing is a part of life. Every failure has a lesson to teach which successful may not have a chance to learn!   It’s okay to fail.

People like myself…

Eeshwar Chandra Vidyasagar smiled, “It is clear, the invitation to dinner is to the clothes I am wearing and not to me. Therefore, I’m feeding them.”  – from a story I learnt as a kid where importance is given to the appearances, not to the people or the values they hold!

In this modern, global world keeping any future requirements in mind, some maintain a cordial relation on the name of friendship. But do those friends value me or like me? (May be neither!) But this has been the most intriguing question of my life at this juncture more than ever! This doesn’t mean I have free time to create ripples in my own life, but people around, who I assume as close, push me to my limits. I accept every challenge thrown at me, and use that to build a stronger myself. But I need to remember that I’m also a mere human being. I truly believe in amicable parting than holding onto bitter relations for ‘courtesy’ sake. This thought is a task for me, as I truly value every relation and value every person I meet. I value them for being themselves. I don’t pigeonhole people. So, how do I get to the bottom of any relation? I only analyse to see if we have something in common to have a hearty chat. I don’t understand why people make it tough for me to be myself?

What is myself? Just like any other emotional fool (if you’re one yourself, you’ll know what I mean), I try beyond my ability to keep everyone around me happy; my utmost priority is to make sure no one is hurt- not only by me, but by anyone, and to maintain a happy, positive front. But it’s hard to keep up with the folly of others, whose aim is to draw their own unwanted conclusions, judging me with their little narrow minds, and taking a stab at my pleasing personality.

For many, value is money; success is having a hefty bank balance! I have both but at a limited level; just about enough to spend my time contently, sitting in my lounge with my family. That precious time educating my children about ‘good manners, and the real values of life’. I have both the time and patience to do that. That’s my primary duty as a mother. But when my principles are labelled dated, and I still believe in them, I feel the ruffle. But I know there are some people who are champions of my thoughts. Hence, my fight gains momentum. I ain’t giving up!

Women with similar principles will go through this inherent struggle at some point in their lives. For women who are able to carve their careers, there are many factors that have been in their support. For a woman, also a wife and a mother, those factors must fall in place. Else, priorities change. It’s all about priorities, not necessarily the worth of a person that alone builds a career.

For those who take my silence as an easy target to their uncontrolled klazomania, it’s my modest upbringing that’s giving people another chance to be in my life. When I respect people, I expect that back; but modern times and arrogant life styles is making them take a stab at my principles in a way that speaks volumes of their lack of the same.

Let’s not even talk about those who talk when they want to for their own benefits, leaving people like me, baffled. With these encounters, most of the times, I’m a reactive specimen! I’m their friend when they include me as one. But, I supply the agony aunt in me based on the demand. My goal is to make them happy not necessarily my involvement in later stages of their happy lives.

I consider my life invaluable and highly respectable; the same way I see everyone’s. Hope people realise this before it’s too late. It’s hard to find people like myself.

Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you -read this some where. Very interesting, and also the need of the hour.

 I do come across people like me, myself, and it’s to that gain, I ‘m still being me, myself, though the day to day life is challenging. 

From Deepawali to Christmas!

Deepawali (row of diyas/clay lamps) or Diwali, marks Lord Rama entering his kingdom, Ayodhya, after killing Ravana in Treta yuga (one epoch), and also, Satyabhama (yes, woman power), wife of Lord Krishna, killing the demon Narakasura in Dwapara yuga ( another epoch).
In this modern epoch, Kali yuga, this celebration is to remind us to conquer the evil thoughts with in us, and to walk from darkness towards the light; from ignorance towards seeking the knowledge.

Taking a trip down the memory lane strolling around the catholic church in our school which was part of my every day life once, brings beautiful memories of my childhood Christmas. Queuing up to watch Jesus’ grotto in our Headmistress’ room, that eagerness to taste those delicious cookies (minus oven then in my town) by close friends who celebrated this festival is still crisp in my mind. Not to forget that one television channel the whole nation watched with variations to regional languages; but still, we all watched those famous movies of Jesus -Karuna mayudu and Daya mayudu around this time filling us with empathy and sympathy.
Unity in diversity has been our mantra.

Moving to UK, novel to me are the joyful concepts of Santa Claus and having our own Christmas tree.

Golden rule for a happy global village lies in embracing our differences whilst advocating ‘unity in diversity’!

Saga of an NRI (-Non-resident Indian)

“Be the change you want to see”- Mahatma Gandhi.

At times, change is only possible when you throw yourself  ‘out of the box’, both physically and mentally. We don’t want to be a frog in the well, instead the frame of reference must be as wide as a birds’ -eye view. With my own experience, I can say, an NRI has such perspective. NRI, here can be anyone who has travelled out of India even on a holiday. The first thing that strikes us when visiting developed countries, obviously, is their lane discipline, cleanliness, and the value of life. The ultimate wonder is the  transparency in the developed world makes Indian immigrants clench our fists with guilt and desperation. That one major difference that hits us all on face is the wide spread corruption back home. But, mind you all, there are Indian politicians who visit in groups of families and friends to see how these developed countries operate! Living in five star hotels, gives them a better view, who cares about the perspective!

One has to read ‘Marco Polo’s India’ to understand what India was before getting exploited by the world around. India was once called the Ratnagarbha- holds jewels in it’s core. This attracted many, to be followed by invasions from the Mughals, the East Indian Company, the Turks, the Dutch, and many more. Divided as we can be for the power, wealth, name and fame, the then, huge India got into bits and pieces, became a colony, lost its riches, and was abused in every possible, unimaginable, undesired ways. Then slowly emerged were the independent leaders. The most dynamic, patient, determined leader was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The desire to make India independent, the thoughts of equality, unity, freedom, and the leadership qualities emerged whilst he was ill-treated in South Africa. The discrimination he’d faced, made him concentrate his strengths, and abilities to set India free. Subhash Chandra Bose, a radical freedom fighter had travelled abroad, and that set him a vision same as Gandhi but a different modus operandi. Same with another leader Sardar Vallabbhbhai Patel (whose 182 meter world’s tallest statue was recently unveiled). He went to England to earn a degree. Jawaharlal Nehru, Rabindranath Tagore, Sarojini Naidu are no different. Infact, the Maharaja institutes, in my home town, Vizianagaram, where I have earned my college degrees, were  believed to be built, inspired by the Cambridge, UK. There  was another league of freedom fighters who lived all their lives in the villages they were born in, till they were assassinated or hanged. But my points of reference for now are the former, who gained a different perspective because they had a different vision of the world around India. That triggered patriotism as a passion, as a need, as an immediate desire.

India became independent from the British, but not from its own quagmire of greed, selfishness, social inequalities and the fear of being suppressed by the strong. All these led to the rich becoming richer, and the poor becoming poorer; with the percentage of the latter growing exponentially. Pakistan, Bangladesh getting separated from India at the time of gaining Independence, also added religious factor to the many existing disparities.

India has a history of a few thousand years! It has a vast culture ranging from vedas to marriage system to a hierarchical structure, that attracted civilizations across. Education, once a privilege to only the rich, became a need for everyone after the Independence. With the inception of internet and globalisation, pursuing higher education in the west and being part of the western R&D has become affordable by many. Indian companies welcomed these graduates with greater respect. People who struggled fighting corruption and  inequality whilst in India, started loving the fair and justice system in the West. This led to the nomenclature NRI, Non Resident Indian.

NRI is a very fascinating term for many in India. Being an NRI, has not been as easy as it sounds today. The concept is nothing different, in 2018, either. The acceptance levels have increased across; Indians became part of the western society. But the first experience of leaving India behind, the family & friends, the soil, the emotions are highly difficult to tackle, let alone the culture shock in the foreign place.

NRIs carry a different sense of responsibility with them. NRIs carry India tag with them through out, unknowingly.  I, as an NRI, every minute, adorn patriotism to my very own brain and heart. From a distance, India appears very different now. I can see the potential India has.  India, once again is being curbed, this time, by its own citizens majority of who lack a vision for future; who are powerful, and selfish. I can see the struggle of a common man who strives to lead a simple life in spite of the factors pulling him/her towards corruption and dishonesty. Placed on the top of my list, are those, who, by choice prefer to live in their homeland with all its deficiencies, perhaps seeking an opportunity to set things right.

I have not met many Indians while in UK; neither regret that, nor had that thought cross my mind in nearly fifteen years of my living there. But in US, I see them on par with the locals and the other immigrants. Everyone I meet talk about India, the festivals, the culture, the language, the failing system, the hopes, every time. Yet, we NRIs are openly discouraged from talking about Indian politics, Indian corruption, Indian policies,  if that goes against expectations of people currently living in India . Every NRI, by default is assumed to be highly rich, leading a very comfortable, easy life abroad. NRI struggles, life’s ups and downs, EMIs are all the same, and more importantly, the initial struggles for the authentic, fresh, easy food is inexplicable. Where we live, outside of India, we are ‘immigrants’, legal or illegal only matters to our self-consciousness. We add to the economic welfare of  both the residing and the birth countries. We share our heart equally to all the countries. But an NRI is an NRI, a wanderer, a struggler, a hard worker, an immigrant. And, that’s not easy. NRI is an NRI either by choice or by circumstances. But, NRIs have emotions, love, and warmth that may be misconstrued, many a times.

I, along with my family, put our efforts into understanding the local communities, get into the groove, and we have warm acceptance levels.  We enjoy the smiles that greet us every day. NRIs (most of us) act very responsibly in their foreign land. In this process, I have developed an invisible, affectionate bond with my foreign lands. Simultaneously, I have realised the admiration I have for my India. We are part of a global community aspiring peace and harmony across.

NRIs cannot be separated from their motherland. It’s their birthright!