This morning, I was brushing my daughter’s hair to tie them up into the pig tails she loves so much before walking her to school.
It’s our morning ritual, we do it everyday, she comes and sit in front of me, and wait for me to give her her beloved pigtails. this morning however I found myself thinking about her innocence and sweetness for no particular reason other than realising that I was in power of denying her the pigtails and making her unhappy and had even the power and authority to get away with it.
As a loving and caring parent, I oblige and do them for her, as a responsible adult, I know that my duty is to raise her to be an independent caring girl who one day will learn to tie her own if she still likes them, my job is to eventually turn her into a grown up who will be caring, responsible, and in power to choose for herself and affect changes..
A task that sounds so simple and yet is so only in words, easier said than done, but one not to shy away from. Just look at the world we live in today, no not the world, let’s focus just on India since this is where me and my daughter live. As I see it there are two options, or prepare a child to survive in the monster that has been created and be a passive spectator, or equip her with knowledge that things can be changed, and that anybody can affect these?
I choose option B
I am Swiss, but I live in India, and what’s more, I gave birth to an Indian citizen. As a foreigner, I can’t vote, I can’t go into politics, but my daughter will have these options should she wish to pursue them.
Yes I gave birth to an Indian who years after years will be taught in school to be proud to be an Indian and carry the badge every Republic Days and every Independence day.
And guess what? I love the idea, but I want her to really and truly be proud, mean it, and know what it means as well. Today while there might be some reason to be proud of what freedom fighters achieved, there isn’t much more to be genuinely proud of. No pride to take in a corrupt government that do not care about the basic needs of those who elected it, certainly no pride for favouring sons over daughter to the extent of ending up with such a screwed gender ratio. No accolade deserved for still having child labour, high illiteracy rates and recently being pronounced the most polluted country in the world.
But most important than all, no pride to take and playing the blame game and only producing excuses instead of changes.
“Be the change you want to see” Mahatma Gandhi himself said these words. Ironically I don’t see a lot of that happening around me, it seems the citizens of the nation we owe to the man I just quoted are more apt at coming with quotes on their own: “We are developing nation, this can’t work for us”, “We are too populated a country to implement this new idea”, “it’s the government's fault”, “We are a poor country, bear with it”
In 8.5 years I have heard these from neighbours, politicians, and everybody in between. I even got invited to a discussion panel organized the the Times of India in Bangalore in 2008 topic of which was the traffic conditions in the city and how to find solution. Let me assured that in 3 hours of discussion and speeches between all eminent powers, authorities and politicians, no constructive solution was found, because no one was willing to take the blame, in 3 hours I got to witness an elaborate came of ping pong during which the problem simply got thrown at the next party only to be tossed to a third, and a forth until it did the round and it started all over again…4 years later, the traffic in Bangalore just still plain sucks.
Do I want my daughter to be part of this and be proud? Hell no!
The irony is that changes at a personal level don’t cost a thing, a state of mind won’t break the bank and they can move the world.
You neighbourhood or city is dirty? Stop blaming the government, start by not throwing garbage in your street, then grab your broom and clean up, swallow whatever ill-acquired idea that you are above getting down and dirty, because the truth is that if you can smell the crap you are in it anyway.
Keeping that snack wrapper or empty water bottle in your hand, purse or pocket until you can dispose of it in a proper way rather than throw it on the beach, now this is being the bigger person, and it is called being responsible and caring, and doing it won’t have even cost any extra paisa.
Not too long ago I wrote about shared responsibilities to make a city safe, and pointed out that we are all held responsible, it applies to everything just not safety.
As mother, it is my duty to be an example to my daughter, so that she can use me as a role model to be who she will choose to become.
First she has to be proud to be a woman. That means she should never have to be held responsible for a man’s sick action against her based on trivial things such as her attire or what time she was out. Trust me to teach how to kick a man in the nut before I forbid her to step out in a pair of jeans or t-shirt or telling her going out to have a drink isn’t safe. She should never shrink her posture and lower her head in front of a group of mean either, she is a human being in all right and is worth as much as the type that was born with a penis.
As parent I also pledge to not push her to blame her personal failure on anybody but herself, she has to learn that every action comes with consequences and that for every screw ups she is the one to pick up the pieces, not me, the teacher, the government or her boss. And take the opportunity that failures aren’t bad, they just make one stronger if they know how to learn from them. Placing the blame on other however isn’t fair, not until you’ve been the first to swallow your share of the humility pie.
This should lead to not making excuses as well, excuses are a luxury nobody should be able to afford…ever! I had maids who thought it was smart to blame broken tea cups on the dish soap, or blamed not showing up for 3 days in a row without warning on cracks in their heels. All that while my current maid, has been pretty much living alone raising two kids on her own, sending them to school while her husband is in rehab, and never used any of that to be late, slack at work, and the days she has to take a day off to go see her husband on the rare visits days she always tells us all in advance…this lady is a doer, she is above making excuses and mopping around, she doesn’t want sympathy, she wants respect.
Speaking of respect, I want my daughter to respect all regardless of social status or caste, there is no place for this BS in today’s world…no ifs no buts.
Saying hello, bye and thanks to those who are thought to be “bellow” you is free, sweet and doesn’t take time. It can make a person smile, and a smile can lighten their day a little and maybe even extend their lifespan by a few seconds…do it!
I’m a Swiss citizen who even if she ever got the Indian citizenship would face questioning as to regard to the validity of said citizenship solely based on her skin colour.
But I gave birth to an Indian citizen, who has the power to see that shadeism dies once and for all. An Indian that will be able to stand tall and say “I am proud to be Indian” and truly means it while she says it.
that is one of the change I can affect. What’s your?