Parenting and “grandparenting” differ greatly as the generation gap between the guardian and the child differs in each of the cases. Parenting may involve (relatively) more contemporary ideas with increasing awareness of child psychology and exposure to updated information, while grandparenting is parenting that is dated, but NOT outdated!
The credits (or discredits) of my upbringing go to my grandparents, in greatest part, my grandmother. With my mother being largely away and travelling extensively due to work, she was responsible for many aspects of my upbringing including (but not limited to) my beliefs, general demeanour and aptitude in non-academic aspects.
(My grandfather departed in early 2010 when I was 6 years old, taking part of me with him. Yet, allow me to use the present tense when I say “grandparents”) A letter to heaven was one of my first posts on WordPress, a tribute to my grandfather.
As a product of affectionate “grandparenting”, I am going to share with you the many privileges I had, that many of my counterparts under parenting did not enjoy.
Geoff Stamper often writes about his little adventures with his grandchildren and they often become his inspiration for reflective, good-humoured posts. That has made me wonder if I would have provided good content for my grandparents, if they had been bloggers…(🤔)
1. Growing up close to culture
It is no secret that children who grow up under their grandparents’ wings tend to be more culturally rooted. It held true in my case. In my formative years, they instilled in me faith in god, traditional and cultural values, spiritual knowledge, all of which became a part of me. They put me through classes that made me appreciate our culture- Shloka classes, Bhagavad Githa classes, Carnatic Music (South Indian classical music) classes, etc.. When I was 5, I won a state level Bhagavad Gita Chanting competition and over the years, have won a lot of prizes in music. It’s not about the accolades, but the learnings. They’ve helped me learn a lot and shall continue to enhance my life.
2. High EQ and maturity
I shall not claim to have any of the above stated. But I have no doubt that effective grandparenting instills maturity in abundance. Children raised by their grandparents, in most cases, grow up to be matured, empathetic and understanding. They are almost always precocious and are much ahead of their peers in terms of wisdom.
3. Empathy for the old and older
It’s much easier for me to find kindred spirits in the 70+ or 7- age group than among people my own age! Ofcourse, age is just a number, but being an old soul makes it easier for me to connect with older people, take from them what they have to offer and share with them my childish joys. I am a misfit among teens! I spend a lot of time thinking about the ageing, the ailing and the senile, which is because I saw my grandfather in his last days, knowing what was coming. He’d often tell me “his time was coming” and that prepared me for it when it came- yet, it was (and still is) painful. Experiences lead to empathy.
4. Closeness to family
Grandparenting involves a great deal of love and affection, a big part of which is having a good relationship with relatives- great-uncles, great-aunts, aunts, uncles (Different permutations of which cannot be translated to English). I spent a good deal of my childhood with my grandmothers’ siblings. Even now, they’ll be the first to know of any updates in my life and we visit them whenever we can. I miss living close to them, as we used to in my childhood. As a child, I always secretly wished (and prayed) that we lived in a joint family!
5. A balance of perspectives
In this global era, modernisation is inevitable. Grandparents provide children a break from the changing world and give them glimpses from the past and the best of the world that used to be. Hence, healthy grandparenting provides children with a healthy balance of perspectives from the bygone days and the days to come, for some values remain unchanged and timeless.
They taught me so much, yet they forgot to teach me how to live without their affection…
To all grandparents (or to-be grandparents) reading this, you’re the reason the Earth still belongs to the Milky Way! ❤️ (Who knows, decades from now, they may begin protests and get it to relocate!).
Disclaimer: All characters in Ekta Talk Show are modelled after REAL characters (with names changed) and their experiences are entirely based on true stories. Ekta is the manifestation of an imaginary conversation between these characters, in a hypothetical scenario of their meeting
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome or welcome back to a fresh episode of our monthly talk show, Ekta- Talk your way to unity. If you’re no stranger to Ekta and have visited Ep-1 and Ep-2, you’ll notice that today’s topic is wildly different from our usual. I’m Shubhang Mishra, your host for today! Our translator at hand is Bahija Begum.
Ekta is a space for us to talk, to listen and to be heard. There are struggles and stories in both the sides of the coin. We acknowledge and appreciate them as we interact with those living in opposite ends of the spectrum.
Our topic today is a fashionable and popular one, especially among the younger generations. A healthy discussion, a debate, there’s roomfor both!
We have with us today, 4 very special guests. Let’s welcome Anthony Alexander, Nidhi Chopra, Sonam Singh and Bharath Kumar Hegde with a round of applause.
The topic today is “Marriages in Indian society.” There are two types for the same, one being the traditional arranged marriage, wherein the familiesfind alliances for their children with lots of involvement from the extended family in choosing prospective spouses for their children within their own caste/community in compliance with astrology, and the other being marrying someone of one’s own choice.
Please describe the nature of your marriages, your experiences therein and whether or not the said mode worked for you, starting with Nidhi.
Nidhi: Mine was an arranged marriage. I’ve been married for 10 years now and it has definitely worked for me. We did fall in love after our marriage. It is my belief that it would not have been the same way had I married someone of my choice. All my high school and college relationships failed and I went into this marriage, not expecting anything spectacular. There are ups and downs ofcourse, but the rewarding part of it has made it worth it. The union has remained sacred.
Anthony: I married a partner of my choice. I’m a Christian, she’s a Hindu. She comes from a rural area and had moved to the city to work. Her parents disapproved of our marriage very strongly. They tried to kill us for their honour! Yes, honour killing still happens and few are lucky to escape. We were lucky enough to escape. We moved to Mumbai, far away from home and have been living there happily for 11 years now.
Bharath: I’m divorced. I had an arranged marriage, a terrible one. She was in love with another man and her family forced her to marry me, as she was already 30 years old and there weren’t many well-settled single men left in our caste. Her parents wouldn’t let her disgrace the family by eloping with the man of her choice. Hence, a worse disaster took the form of our marriage. She was depressed and suicidal. She blamed me for everything that went wrong in her life.
Sonam: I jumped into a love marriage, the biggest mistake I made in my life. I thought he was the one. I put my relationship with my family at stake for him. It all seemed flowery and glamorous in the beginning. A few months in and then began all the domestic violence, physical and verbal abuse. It was toxic and unbearable. Thankfully, we are divorced now.
According to statistics, 90% of marriages in India are arranged. Only 1% of all marriages end in divorce. Does that mean arranged marriage is the gateway to a successful marriage? Does it always work?
Anthony: Well, we’re the second most populated country in the world, so I think it worked. *Audience laughing*
Bharath: Well, it need not always work, as in my case. Low divorce rates may also be a reflection of the societal pressure to stay married. Divorce is largely a taboo in India. Arranged marriage can be a gamble. In most cases, one learns to adjust themselves to the setting. I can assure that arranged marriage teaches you to compromise. You don’t go in considering divorce as an option. It is a union of families, rather than just the bride and the groom. One is careful about not disappointing their birth family after all the wedding expenses and extravaganza. Sometimes, one continues to live in toxic marriages. Divorce rate is not sufficiently indicative of all unhappy marriages.
Nidhi: In my opinion, most unhappy marriages are capable of being fixed. Due to support from the birth family in arranged marriages, it is easier. The families work a way to mend their children’s marriage. Not all love marriages are family-approved and families do not put much effort into fixing their children’s marriage as they did not have much role in it to begin with. In such cases they’d have a “We said so” attitude about it.
What is thedifference between the social perception of an arranged marriage and a love marriage.
Anthony: My wife and I were in a local park, when a middle aged woman started talking to her. I shared a small joke with my wife during her conversation with the woman. She noticed the holy cross on my neck and asked my wife “Is that your husband?” to which my wife nodded. “Christian?” She asked, pointing at me to which she said “yes.” “Then he is not your husband.” She told my wife. “You said your name is Radha and I see the Bindhi on your forehead. You are a Hindu. Any marriage outside one’s religion is invalid.” Saying this, she moved away. So, yes, the social perception is not always good in non-traditional marriages.
Sonam: As someone who was in such a non-traditional marriage, I can attest that you are harshly judged. By most people. There are many who are supportive too. The more urban the setting, the more support you get.
Bharath: My friends mocked me and called me “ancient” for doing as my family said. Some urban youth consider arranged marriages outdated.
Nidhi: Usually the first question posed by yester generation folks when they see a couple would be “Arranged or love?”. If the answer is the former, the more you are respected, as in my case.
From this discussion, what do you think should be the norm for marriages?
Bharath: Choosing a spouse for yourself is like an MCQ (multiple choice question). You choose the best option from the many options you have. Arranged marriage is like “True or false”. You’re given a question and you need to answer with a “yes” or “no”. Both of them equally have the potential to be right or wrong, I.e, to work or fall apart. It is more about the couple themselves than the nature of their marriage.
Sonam: Marriage and romantic relationships aren’t for everyone. They are only a supplement to life, not a necessity. Life is big and there’s more to it. No one should be pressurised into doing something they can very well live without when a certain age is reached. The society will talk, but talking is all they can do!
Anthony: Everyone should have the privilege to choose between tradition, choice and must also be empowered to choose neither, if that’s their calling.
We are at the end of this segment. Hearty thanks to the guests and the audience for making this segment a grand success! Signing off, Shubhang Mishra.
PS: Check out paeansunplugged’s masterpiece satirical poem on this topic! Beyond brilliant. 👌
For the longest time, I’ve been meaning to extend my thanks to all of you for all the love, support and encouragement you shower upon me. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to pour out my immense gratitude and the time has finally come! What better opportunity than a milestone to do so?
You know what excites me when I click that publish button? The thought of the many comments that’ll appear subsequently- appreciative, corrective, informative, enlightening, interesting, etc.. YOU are the reason I no longer stick to my personal notebook. Yes, YOU! THANK YOU!
I appreciate all the support I receive from all of you. Some, however, deserve special thanks, for they’ve been here since I began 4 months ago (with the cringiest site name possible), have patiently read all my posts and have given me feedbacks one would feel blessed to receive.
Thank you tonnes for trusting this newbie! I hope I haven’t disappointed you and never will. You were among my first 10 or 20 followers and have been supporting me every step of the way for which I’m highly obliged and extremely grateful. Thank you all so much! 🙏
Happy Panda– Who under the sky doesn’t love you? If soul sister were a real thing, you are mine!
Thanks to everyone, all 200 (odd) of you! You are the reason I want to continue blogging. It’s a blessing to have you all in my life.
In view of this memorable milestone, I want to make some revelations about myself. Being uninteresting isn’t my biggest weakness, so I’m going to ask myself questions and answer them myself like I didn’t know any of it before. The girl on the other side of the screen shouldn’t be a complete stranger to you.
1. What is your actual name?
My official name is Samrakshni M (where M is the initial letter of my mother’s first name).
In my family, it is a tradition to give 3 names to a child. My other 2 names are Sahana and Ranjini. Sahana is most commonly used. To my school friends and teachers, I’m Sam. (Not Samrakshni, as that’s quite long and also, due to personal reasons, my mother and I don’t like that name very much). To all others in the world, I’m Sahana (or Ranjini).
2. Is it confusing to have multiple names?
Very! I usually introduce myself as Sahana. I have reservations about sharing my official name because people can make HELL out of pronouncing that complicated Sanskrit word. Sometimes I forget where I introduced myself with which name. Can get especially awkward during phone calls.
“Hello this is Sahana.”
“Sahana who? I know of no such person.”
“Sorry, I meant to say Ranjini.”
“Oh, Hi Sam!”
This has happened more often than I like to admit.
3. What are you like in real life?
Quite different from how I come across online. “A bundle of contradictions” is a phrase tailor-made for me. Too much to write here, so maybe I’ll dedicate a brief post to that sometime.
(Raises more questions than it answers, I know).
On a concluding note, thanks once more to all amazing fellow writers. You are all amazing and I love you all dearly, eventhough I haven’t met any of you before. I dream of meeting you all sometime by means of providence, in an island far away. Thank you all very very much!
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by my dear friend Jola. It was an amazing experience and I’m delighted it has panned out the way it has.
Do check out Jola’s blog Jay’s Chronicles . Her reflections, thoughts and imagination are extremely vivid. She’s a teen blogger with strong opinions, an open mind and a good sense of humour. You never know what she’s going to write about next! Her blog’s contents range from everything under the Sun and more!
“That’s your mother and I” I recalled with a smile, running my fingers over the old photograph.
“Those tall things you see, the long brown pillar-like structures with leaves on them, they are called trees.” I explained passionately, to which my little grandson felt provoked to ask me a question, “What are leaves?” The children always made such enthusiastic audience.
I took a breath, crafting an answer to that tricky question in my head. Leaves are leaves. How does one explain it to someone who’s never seen one before?
“Leaves are found in trees, they’re green in colour and look like this pattern on my cushion.” I said shallowly holding out my cushion, providing vague, ambiguous information that failed to quench the curiosity of the little mind.
“Do you miss the Earth?” Asked my granddaughter.
“Ofcourse I do. I don’t think your mother recalls her time there, but to me, it is wildly different living here in this airplane.” I answered, to which the toddlers felt a necessity to giggle.
“Granny, for the zillionth time, it’s NOT an airplane. Those are ancient vehicles. This is Zenith, our space colony.” Corrected my grandson.
I took off my spectacles and began reminiscing over the days in my native planet, when my daughter entered the room. “You’ve been yearning to go back, haven’t you?” She asked sympathetically, having overheard the conversation.
“Do you want to visit?” She asked, with a serious face.
I sprang to my feet with difficulty, pupils dilated. “What do you mean? We’ll be killed in seconds. The nitrogen levels are too much and the ozone layer is completely depleted. Carbon levels would be higher than oxygen and you would choke to a horrible death.” I said quickly, secretly wishing it was viable to pay a visit nevertheless.
“The N-2000 mask” she said. “Shields you from the most harmful of gases. As for the temperature, it would be too high indeed, but we’re not going to stay there very long. It will be a short visit.” She promised earnestly. “Just don’t tell anyone. None of the neighbours, none of your friends, no one.” She asserted.
Moved, with tears of ecstasy, I awaited this adventure with open heart, open spirit, the flower of youth revived from its wilted state. “I’m coming with you, granny.” Said my granddaughter, Latvia, named after our motherland in the Earth. “And me!” Yelled my grandson.
We set off in our private spacecraft, the one we use for unofficial space tours and casual space walks. In no time, we got close to the blue ball of magnificence, ruling the surroundings with her aura of glory, yet teeming with diseases her former inhabitants had inflicted upon her.
“In we go!” Cried my grandson in an adventurous spirit as we plunged right into the surface of the ailing planet.
“Don’t land in water!” I yelled and there, we landed in smooth, safe land near strategically near our ancestral home! A sight to the sore eye!
“That was fun!” Cried my granddaughter.
My eyes were filled to the brim, no matter how hard I tried against it. “A long way home.” I said, removing my mask.
“Mom, no!!” Cried my daughter in distress. I paid no heed. If my life should end, at home it would, I thought. Yet I noticed, the air was not pungent. My wristwatch indicated my O2 levels as normal. The temperature was as it had been in my youth. This all meant one thing.
“Mom!” Said my daughter exuberantly. “The Earth has healed!”
When I was in the 8th grade, I was part of a NASA space colonisation project, where we had to provide models for the design of space colonies and life in them. The competition involved students from across the globe. My 4 friends and I named our Project “Zenith.” We may not have won that contest, but the experience was highly enriching. This Colony is named Zenith in memory of our dear NASA project.
Disclaimer: I chose to write about The US particularly in this post because: The influential prowess of the eagle is undeniable. They are masters of social media and hence, trendsetters to the world. We must learn and adopt from them whatever is right and be indifferent to the rest. (Or crib about it).
Now, now, I come from a (rapidly) developing middle-income country, so would it be hypocrisy if I commented on the Global superpower? It may be but I’m going to do it anyways as I have formed my own sweet opinion about this country I haven’t even visited, from my kin and kith living there, my virtual friends and from this great nation’s citizens that I’ve met in my country and elsewhere. Even in decades, my country may not be able to reach the pedestal that they are in at the moment, but there are things I want the world, particularly my country to learn from the majestic eagle.
To learn: Enabling Innovation through capitalism
The federal government has no control over privately owned businesses and properties and does not own corporations. Freedom, choice and free enterprise are constitutionally protected, which means that the government takes privacy seriously in privately owned entities. In many other countries, the government has the right and power to inspect, intervene in or take down private buildings and businesses for various reasons. Capitalism can lead to encouragement of innovation, a way forward in terms of wealth-generating and economic growth. No wonder most MNCs, social media sites, streaming sites and other innovative services trace their origins to the land of the free.
To unlearn: Intervening unnecessarily in Foreign affairs
And it never ends well for them. The Vietnam war, Afghan war (not a single one but a series of wars in which the Global superpower has intervened since times immemorial, which in my opinion “invited” the terrorist attacks), World War-II attacks in Japan (although this did end well for them, The Hiroshima Nagasaki attacks were a terrible display of violence that affected innocent common men), etc.. Undeniably, they have quite a notorious penchant for brutal wars.
To learn: Respect, Recognition and Validationfor all occupations
In Asia, you’re either an engineering graduate or a doctor or a disappointment. There ARE people in other occupations ofcourse, but they are regarded with much less respect unless they occupy a very senior, pivotal role in their job. It is almost always a norm to study science or commerce. Arts are seen as a disgrace. This is singlehandedly responsible for most of the mass-migration to the US, where a teacher is as respected as an IT expert, and an IT expert as much as a scientist. Oh, don’t get me started about scientists! Most people who want to work in a field relevant to their field of study head to the US because it is almost impractical to do so in Asian countries. Neither government nor private institutions fund or encourage research. You will remain underpaid and unrecognised for sending a Satellite to Mars but you will be supported (and worshiped) for grasping a high-paying IT job. Atleast so in India.
To unlearn: Healthcare “business”
Health and education are fundamental requirements to all living beings. It is unlawful (not from political laws, but from moral laws) to turn service into business as seems to be the case in the US. For a country where most people go from rags to riches, that is quite… inconsiderate. Forget healthcare, everything is overpriced in the US. But this tops the cake. Insurance does not cover enough in serious cases. I recently saw a YouTube video of British people (who receive free public health care by the way) reacting to the price of healthcare facilities in the US. They were flabbergasted, needless to say. So was I, a viewer. Based on actual math, for the price it takes to get a simple X-ray scan in the US, you can buy a ticket to India, take an X-ray and even buy a return ticket! People actually do this by the way. My school is right next to a famous hospital and I see a lot of exotic faces- white, black, Arab, etc.. Ofcourse, your medical tourism is great, but only affordable to billionaires.
To learn: Acceptance of diversity
This has to be my favourite. Tolerance is different from acceptance. Many nations are tolerant, but not necessarily accepting. I’m always amazed at how the US is an amalgamation of people from different parts of the world and varied cultures, who migrated in hopes of better future and together, created a strong economy and an accepting, accommodative society. Nobody has to be silent and you are accepted with open arms for what you are. It’s heartwarming to see people of different races, sexualities, religions, political views and education levels support and love each other all the same. That is the whole essence of being human. The face of secularism. Now, before you correct me on this by emphasising on how many racist, colourist, homophobic folks there are, I should like to ask you: Where are they not?
To unlearn: Too much racial consciousness and sugar coating
“This is wonderful, but you really shouldn’t have…” is American for the German, Chinese or Indian “This is awful!”. I’ve never heard of or come across Americans who call a spade a spade. They are always very conscious of offending the listener, specifically the whites when in conversation with “people of colour”. They put so much effort into trying not to appear racist and it’s always very visible that they’re TRYING HARD. I understand that it’s mostly because we have this certain judgement regarding the whites, that they may still possess their ancestors’ white superiority complex, which in many cases is true. Trying hard and being all conscious prove exactly that.
There is another point I wish to add about this: Is the land of the free REALLY the land of the free? In quite a few cases, I think not.
Now, here’s a fun question: Who even thought of the term “people of colour”? It’s a ludicrous term with a bizarre definition! (Now, it’s NOT offensive, I just find it illogical) Given that we “people of colour” (Non-Europeans like us Asians, Africans, native Americans, etc..) form the largest population of the world and occupy the largest continents in the planet, shouldn’t whites be called “people of no colour”?
Disclaimer: I hate writing about personal experiences in my blog. So, hopefully this is the last rant you hear from me!
What a strange visitor I have! This certain miss Varicella visits everyone when they’re children, so she’s decided to visit me exactly two days before my legal childhood ends! It’s the law though, my childhood only ends when I decide it ends. So in reality, not yet. However, I’m not very pleased about this visit of Miss Varicella Zoster, aka, Chicken pox!
In my dreamland, I would have had many ideas to celebrate my last day as a child under the eyes of the law. But here I am, quarantined, not even for the disease that made the word ”quarantine” popular, but for a disease 9 out of 10 people have had by the age of 15! It all started with a little red itchy something on my collar bone which I’d assumed was an insect bite. The next day, that one little itchy something had become many little itchy somethings!
By then, I knew clearly what the red somethings where. I can’t afford to fall sick now as I have a pilgrimage ahead of my ”coming of age” (by law) year. Today, the pink polka dots have only multiplied! *Fever in the background*
Miss V, in two days, has taught me that I’ve been taking too much for granted. (Strongly advice you not to read this while eating). I didn’t realise what a smooth skin I had until this outrageous infestation caused blisters everywhere. I’d always complained of pimples, acne scars, etc.. But now, with the end not in sight, I wonder if this will ever go or if there will be permanent scars. I really hope not. Oh, how I’ve taken my ability to eat for granted! With blisters on the lips and sores one side of the tongue, you have to eat without the food touching your lips and that part of the tongue, and even if you do, it will hurt anyway because it’s incredibly painful to swallow. There are probably blisters down there in the throat too! Somehow, always, as a rule of thumb, there has to be tasty food when you’re sick or can’t enjoy it!
For the first time in my life, I’m going to sleep alone. I’ve been on solo travels and even outside the country without my family (twas a school trip to Europe, maties) but never in my 17 years and 363 days have I slept alone! I hope some ghost does not take me away. Hey, besties from the West (Westies!), before you judge me for this, let me tell you, it’s easier when you’ve had practice since infancy! I’ve instructed (well, threatened) my grandmother to come for me if I suddenly call out to her in the middle of the night. After all, I did stick with them when they all had covid (But I did not catch it).
I surprised myself by not waking up in the middle of the night. Every time I performed this dangerous experiment before (which was just twice), there was always a large gap between the bottom of the bed and the floor, leaving more scope for the under-the-bed-ghost to come and take me away. So I ended up discontinuing the experiment on both the occasions. This bed is more close to the ground and the ghost is probably squashed.
I’m going to rant about the pink polka dots. They’re everywhere! Scalp, belly button, MY POOR FACE! Arghh! They better go away! Such fancy destinations they choose!
I feel very oily. Can’t wait for a regular soap bath! (For the inexperienced amongst you, you can’t use soap until the scabs dry).
I usually try to remain professional in the blogosphere and never write posts like this. Hopefully this is the last. I’d like to end on a grumpy note: The world, what an itchy place to be! LIFE ITCHES!
On the brighter side, it’s better to have chicken pox at a matured age like mine because, YOU KNOW NOT TO ITCH.You also know that you need to stay hydrated. On the darker side, it tends to be more severe at an older age (13+, in this case). I’m having medications and also distracting myself with some literary goodies by the side. I can’t leave bed argh! The horror of not exercising! I feel… Grumpy.(In case that’s not clear). Never writing another rant post!
PS: Have you ever suffered from a disease other than common cold and fever? Let’s talk about it! This is my first time and truth to be told, I kind of wanted to ”experience” something. I never tend to fall sick as I’m already vaccinated against most diseases under the Sun. Our government does well there.