November 15, 2006
Dear Little One,
I talked about taking care of your physical being in my earlier post and thought of writing something about taking care of other aspects of your personality as well! J So here we talk about another part of your personal grooming that, if it can be groomed at all, would go a long way to make you a person fully developed in all the faculties!
When you all were small there was no such concept that I adopted to make you any different than the others. Though these days all parents seem to build upon the attributes of their kids. “Neighbours’ envy, owners’ Pride” kind of Onieda TV’s advertisements came much later. J So it was like giving the best of the homely environment to the kids and teach them by setting personal examples. As there were no distractions so family was the only insttution for early socializing. Another important reality was that we played what we were, no masked appearances that made you value peopl in their real totality where we accept thm with all their follies and thorns! The fact is that no deliberate attempt to display personal examples was ever made and you learnt as you saw us.
I remember that when the elder one was small and I carried you inside, I used to study for my exams and the elder one had seen me always with a book in my hands. Once when she saw me without a book in my hands, she crawled to a corner and brought a small book and asked me in her, yet unclear, voice, “Read it”! I really wonder at the present generation of kids who are being fed on the Ekta Kapoor’s serials that they have learnt to watch along with their mothers! Thank God there was neither TVs nor a person like Ekta Kapoor to play havoc with the mindset of the females and their ilk’s. I am sad to imagine the kind of impression these serials might be leaving on the psych of the young and not so young. I feel more concerned about the young ones as theyy are not yet ready to differentiate betwee the real and the reel world.
During your very early childhood I had so many stories to tell you. Stories from the English Literature, that was my compulsion and stories from epics that was my choice. I remember telling you the stories from Scott, Austen, Dickens etc. and even would read some passages from the poetry of Alexander Pope and Eliot! It humours me today to remember as to why would I do it. In fact as at that time I was appearing for my Masters in English Literature exams so reading to you about the plots and the characters from these works of literature served two purposes—on one hand it kept you busy listening to a story and on the other hand gave me a revision exercise about the various characters and the happenings. So it was purely by providence alone that you go the best education during your childhood, nothing was intentional though. Scott’s novel “The Heart of Midlothian” must have given you an idea to make sacrifices for your loved ones. I never knew, though, at that time. Sir Walter Scott had based this novel about a certain Helen Walker who had travelled all the way to London by foot, in order to receive a royal pardon for her sister, who was unjustly charged with infanticide. Scott put Jeanie Deans in the place of Walker. Jeanie walks to London hoping to achieve an audience with the Queen and seek pardon for her sister. Looking back I can see that you must have identified with the story in a way that your small innocent mind could feel comfortable with. You might have perceived it according to your own convenience of mind!
I don’t know whether you remember it or not but all three of you, during school days, were known for not even eating a single toffee that was given to you in your class by some child who distributed it on account of his B’day! You would save it to be shared with the other two during the recess. It was because you had learnt to share everything among all of you. Something that you practice even today. I don’t remember ever having taught you that but somehow you all learnt it.
It is the personal examples that the family members provide, albeit unknowingly, to their offspring that help in developing the value system. In fact, it has become trendy these days to talk of values and all, little knowing the real meaning of the term. There is nothing like having a subject like “Value education” in schools and colleges and making the students rote the dictums.
We don’t claim to have injected values in you, if they can be injected, at all. J But we have honestly tried to raise you all as well as we could keeping in view all that hampered us from giving you some more. My dear little one, I am happy that all three of you have come out the way which would make any parents proud but it is just the beginning. You have to build up more of the best of you!
Rememeber my Little one the wisdom of the man whose book you loved to read at one point of time. What Kahlil Gibran says about teachers goes true for mothers as well as they are the first teachers the child has. The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind. When I see somone who lacks some basic moral values, I pity that child as it must have been his parents at fault for not instilling some wisdom in him during formative years of his life.
But it doesn’t stop with the childhood experiences etc., it has to be a life long learning experience. So it would be foolish to think that no new addition can be made to what is already a fully developed being. There always is a scope for improvement.
So take up the cudgel and start now.