Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Help children grow!

I made a dramatic entry into this world.Or so I was led to believe. My father was a doctor in the army. He was transferred to Madras from Bangalore and was asked to report immediately. My mom was either over confident about my father’s capabilities or she lacked confidence to protest so she accompanied him bag and baggage plus an older son and a mother in law even though she was eight and a half months pregnant. After all it was an overnight’s journey and all she had to do was to sleep through the night. But God willed otherwise. She had to disembark at Jolarpet and I was born at the Railway hospital around the time she expected to reach Madras. My grandmother arrived in Madras bag and baggage minus her son and daughter in law with a four year old grandson accompanying her. My dad was a good narrator and he made me feel like a heroine of Hindi films, right from the time I could understand his words. He repeated the story of my birth to anyone who was willing (or unwilling) to listen. However, others in the extended family were less charitable. I was a darkling born to fair skinned parents and both sides of the family were quick to disown me. My father’s sisters said that I looked like my mother’s brother and sister and my mother’s family swore that I was an exact replica of my dad’s sisters. Had it not been for my dad I might have been traumatised. He made me feel that I was God’s special gift to him. There were times when I’d wonder if I actually belonged to another family and if there had been an exchange of babies in the railway hospital. I would invariably end up deciding that even if my ‘real’ parents came asking for me I’d never ever agree to go with them! I remember asking my father why I was dark when he was fair. He would reply that all children were born dark but became fair when they drank a lot of milk. I really believed him and after drinking a glass of milk I’d invariably check out if I had indeed become fairer.

My mother was, by nature, a quiet person but I remember her being a very caring person from my earliest memories of her. I had never seen her openly agitated or aggressive. She neither defended nor offended me.But in her own way she left a lasting impression on me. As a child she would tell me not to waste food.
“ Goddess Annapoorna will cry if you waste food.”she would say “ She’ll say ‘with so many children going without food, this little girl wastes so much of it’.” Being my dad’s daughter, I’d visualise a Goddess with crown and jewels sitting by a well and crying on account of me.


I owe it to my fifth grade teacher who made me realise that it is the ‘mind’ that matters in the long run. She was Miss Claire who was perhaps the best teacher I’ve ever had. She was our class teacher and for the first time in my life I was selected to play an important role in a play. According to her, my pronounciation was good and with a little effort I’d be fine. I was so grateful to her that I decided to give the role my best shot. After all I could not afford to let her down! The play was a success with not only me but each of those who had a role in it feeling proud to have been part of the group. She instilled a confidence that continues to remain with me till this day. The good thing about her was that she made each one of us feel special. Even the weakest student could approach her without fear. She would give us responsibilities and trust us to live up to her expectations and for our part we’d take them rather seriously.Today I realise the value of having her for a teacher during my formative years.God bless you Miss Claire wherever you may be!


Each child should be made to feel special and wanted. They too nurse a good amount of self respect.Unfortunately, due to our busy schedule, we are not able pay much attention to their feelings. Let us atleast refrain from making insensitive remarks. Children today face so much competition and this is perhaps the least we can do for them.

40 comments:

starry nights said...

Preeta..WOW! such a beautiful story about your birth. you have beautiful childhood memories. It is so true that it is the mind that matters and each child should be made to feel special.I have tried to do that with my kids.And also some teachers do leave a lasting impression on a child and give them the self confidence they need.thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

The Kid said...

very beautiful set of stories indeed.

passerby55 said...

oh my fair and lovely Preeta!

you concluded paragraph makes me feel grounded...need to learn a little more to handle children...

children teach us many things, when i look behind on several occasions i guess my son scores well than me.

well, i was nearly born in a tonga.... cart drawn by horses...we were on the way to the hospital with her MIL( my grandmom)

My mom told me she didn't think i was in so much hurry ... and i keep telling her mom why do u keep things to the last moment!! lol

Srijith Unni said...

Awesome post, Hip Grandma..
So your birth was again in difficult circumstances, but people born so turn out to become great human beings i`ve heard. so there you are... :)

Yes children need to be instilled a feeling of self-respect and the feeling that they are looked upto. Such a valid point that was. That did remind me of many of my own teachers at school.

Have Fun,

With Best Regards,
Srijith Unni.

Has to be me said...

That's a super post! It must have been s dramatic to ur mom to deliver u in the railway station. Thank God that ur dad was a doctor!

So true that we need to be kind & loving to kids & not be insensitive to kids.

Sad but true that even now the skin colour matters so much to our ppl...esp when a girl child is born. Isnt tht crazy?!

V N said...

Thats an awesome lot conveyed in a few lines. I love all this Hip Hopping with words!

:)

The Kid said...

Hi,

I am looking to get some attention to my blog, especially the post titled " Take some responsibility: You ruined you kid!".

It is about the pervasive conservative attitude in Chennai and the whole of Tamil Nadu. I believe all people who have ever visited Tamil Nadu will have something to say about it.

Please leave your comments and suggestions.
-Pratap

PS: sorry for the advertisement!

itchingtowrite said...

that was sweet. sweet of your parents and sweet of Ms Claire. How I dislike people who hurt the innocent kids by comparing such trivial thing as skin colour.

Hip Grandma said...

lalitha:This is something each of us should realise.

pratap:thanx.

passerby55:you were almost born in a tonga and me in a train.May be that's why we bond so well.

Srijith:If my birth was difficult for me it wasn't easy for my parents either.Imagine this happening 55 yrs.back when India was celebrating her first republic day!

has to be me:I think the fact that was a doctor must have helped.Yes being a darkling in a family of darkies may not have been difficult but the same in a family of fair people is difficult. everyone including servants end up making comparisons.


velu:thanx a lot for your encouraging words.where have you been?was missing your comments.have you had enough of me?

the kid:Hi pratap!i've already posted my opinion in the matter.Your children may be the ones to revolt!happy parenting to you whenever it happens.and lots of goodluck too.

ITW:for every 10 unkind persons I've come across I've come across atleast one kind soul and to me they're the ones who matter.Miss Claire was one such person.

The Visitor said...

Gran'ma - A beautiful idea conveyed in such a beautiful way!

Saumya said...

Oh.....that brings such memories of my childhood. When I was born, and my father came to see me, apparently an old lady clutched his arm and cried - Oh Balu, the second one is also a girl, and a darker one at that - what will you do?!

My father always proudly proclaims that he wishes that Paati were around to see how his daughters turned out, and he was not a "poor" man after all :)

The Visitor said...

G'ma: A funny post about kids if you're interested :)

Balaji said...

I loved this story of yours. I agree everychild should be given the opportunity to grow himselves, given the opportunity to express themselves, given the various directions to move ahead, given the freedom to express themselves, given the trust to handle responsibility and the guidance in case they fall on wrong ways.

Hip Grandma said...

the visitor:thanks a lot.BTW I looked up the link recommended by you and found it good.Thanks for that too.

saumya:good that your father was not disturbed by such people.I'm sure there were more such people.A person's nature does the trick doesn't it?

balaji:i'm glad many could relate favorably to this narrative.kids are our responsibility and in these trying times it is important to see that they don't lose out.

Usha said...

How easily adults pass on their insecurities to the kids scarring them for most of their childhood. And by the time we grow up and realise that what we inherited was not our fault, it is all too late to go back and enjoy childhood again. Thank god for wise souls like your father who could balance and offset.

Pallavi said...

Its a very interesting story and makes me agree to the concluding part!

artnavy said...

You remind me so much of a friend's mom in Jamshedpur- are you her? ( Upali's mom?) Keep writing- i enjoy reading your work

Hip Grandma said...

usha:yes you are right.I feel like laughing when people give credit for things that are not in one's hands at all. Like producing a beautiful or fair skinned child.But that is the world.In much the same way people discredit a DIL for not giving birth to a boy.What to do?That is life.

pallavi:First time here?Welcome and thanks.

artnavy:Do you mean Upali Nag?No I am not her but I know her as an aquaintance.She stays in the same block as me.yes I agree. If you mean her I must say that she's a fine lady.Upali was my daughter's friend and class mate too.

Archana Bahuguna said...

:-) I admire your mom's courage. I dont know if I can ever do that. :-) And yes, some teachers just leave a mark on our lives. :-) Nice post.

Hip Grandma said...

Archana:my mom had a doctor husband who was also a dashing daredevil!you can only take the risk if yours is the same!If I write abt other incidents involving them it will sound like thriller movies.

The Visitor said...

Grandma - you left a comment on the water conservation post on itching to write's blog! :)

Hip Grandma said...

the visitor:thanx for pointing out.I'm really getting on in age.seem to confuse.

mizfit said...

ur entry into the world was an amazing story.

i was catching up on ur previous posts too. lovely eachone of them!

take care!

RandomThoughts said...

A really wonderful story! As parents & teachers,it is with us to mould a confident adult.
The formative years have a great impact in shaping the child & preparing him for the future.

Lovely post.

Rashmi

Hip Grandma said...

mizfit:we all have some drama to report.Mine started early.That's all.

randomthoughts:welcome here.Yes no one seems to think that a small kid needs to be carefully nurtured or that he/she has feelings too.Formative years should be memorable and the hurt is more if it it comes from one's own people.

The Visitor said...

Hello grandma - I seem to be troubling you often. There was a post (in tamil) on knowledge (lack of) regarding regarding childbirth and reproduction during adolescent age. If you read that post and give your comments on how things were during your time it would be really useful. Incidently Boo has 3 great blogs.

Hip Grandma said...

the visitor:I tried accessing the tamil blog without sucess.i tried the usual method ie clicking on view then encoding etc.can you help.i found Boo's baby talk interesting.thanx

indianangel said...

Wonderful! Leaving my first comments here, I'm happy that I got to read a very sensible post that everybody needs to realize at some point in time their life. Extending your thoughts, respect and attention is something that not only children deserve, but the entire humanity. If you need be respected, then stretch your hand affectionately to the other. Thanks for sharing this lovely story and I hope you continue to write more!

Hip Grandma said...

Indianange:welcome and thanks.I sometimes feel guilty of blowing my own trumpet.Readers like you seem to take it well.Pull me up when I overdo it.I tend to get carried away.

The Visitor said...

Grand ma - Use Internet Explorer browser for viewing tamil sites; Mozilla sometimes has font rendering problems.
Are you able to see Madura's tamil blog? If yes then you should be able to see boo's tamil blog, too.

artnavy said...

Yes I mean upali nag....small world.
I often wonder as a working mom- am i doing the right thing.
We rely on care givers for most of the day and the care givers's in turn to their version of care givers( neighbours)- I hope I never regret this.....

ammani said...

Such wonderful stories you tell. And I love your style. Deceptively effortless. Here's to more stories!

Hip Grandma said...

the visitor:sorry I could not read madyra's tamil blog too.

artnavy:yeah1tis a small world.

ammani:Do warn me when i start boring you.

Mahadevan said...

Unfortunately, we have a fair skin fixation. While seeking a bride, to a lesser extent even while seeking a bridegroom and also in our children, we are obssessed with 'fair' complexion. Perhaps, it has something to do with the people who ruled us for three hundred years. But there are parents like your father, who are matured enough to bring up their chidren, without allowing their children to develop complexes.

Hip Grandma said...

mahadevan:you are right.Everyone wants to have fair skinned DILs/daughters.Unfotunately it is not in one's hands.

The Visitor said...

G'ma - If you are having problems reading/writing tamil scripts visit
readwrite-in-tamil

visithra said...

What a dramatic story ;) i can understand the dark in a fair family

my mom is fair n im my dads colour a darkling ;) u prob have an idea of the number of ppl who have tsh tshed my situation - when i absolutely love my colour ;)

loved the post

Hip Grandma said...

visithra:Me too visithra.Being dark was never a problem for me.It was the others who made it an important part of my life.

Anonymous said...

Here from BlogHer: Lovely post. I'm the aunt of a much-loved little boy now turned young man, adopted at birth by my sister, his birth mother white, his biological father black, our family white. My mother always called him her "little brown berry" as she covered him with kisses and giggles. I couldn't help but wonder if it were the right thing to say, emphasizing the difference in skin color. Reading this, I think so, for it acknowledged the color difference in a loving way that made him special for his color (yes, a gorgeous brown) as well as his self.

Hip Grandma said...

anon:I almost missed your comments.god bless your family for showering all your affection on the boy adopted by your sister.With families being insensitive to the feelings of their biological children let me say that you stand out.It may be long since you posted this msg.Hope you get to read my response.