Bringing Up My Daughter

(Written in the year 2002)

The day I first held you in my arms,
close to the my joyful heart.
My life changed for the better,
That I knew for sure and felt.

I want to bring you up the best I can.
That is not an easy job in today’s world.
I want you to know right from wrong,
and not worry about what your life would hold.

I want you to question when you believe something
to be wrong, and ask for an explanation why.
If you makes a mistake I want you,
to admit it and apologize promptly.

I will encourage you to become anything
that you may want to be.
You can be a nurse, but I shall ask why not be a doctor,
or be the engineer instead of being a secretary?

You can become anything you are pasionate about
a singer, actor, or an dancer.
To be the best in whichever field you choose
is all that matters.

I hope when you are of my age,
You is not judged by your looks or the shape of your legs,
but the goodness of you soul
and on the depth of your skills.

If you chooses to be a housewife,
it is a full time job—that you should know!
There is nothing wrong in being at home
It’s a wonderful decision to do so.

I want you to love music and art (as I do),
and to see the world through the eyes of another.
I want you to know that hatred
is an unacceptable behavior.

I want you to know, that it is a crime
to be assaulted by any one.
If it happens to you from the man whom you love,
pack your bags and leave.

I want you to enjoy and know
the differences in the people of the world.
Not to judge someone because
of their looks, caste, or creed.

You have to learn that though we are different,
we all feel the pain and bleed red.
Early in your life, is the time to lay
the foundation to all the above said.

Gifts for My Daughter

To my princess with Love (Originally written in Jan 2005, rewritten on January 2010)
My daughter turned 13 in December 2009. I was wondering what to gift her? Video games, VCDs, books, games, etc. These are the things we give the kids every now and then. As I wondered what to do, I remembered my mother (who is now in her heavenly abode). When my daughter was born, mom told me time and again that the best gifts a parent can give a daughter are unconditional love, self confidence, respect, and moral support. At that moment it did not make much meaning to me as I felt that every parent do that. But as years went by, I realized the wisdom in my mothers words. It is easy to make the statement but very difficult to put it into practice.

1. During a party, which was held in the office premises, I showed my daughter, Soumya around and finally we went to my office. She looked around and gave me a hug and gave a kiss saying, “Oh mom, you have pinned this here have you?’’ I wondered what made her so happy and looked where she was looking at—the drawing she made when she was about 4 years old (a fish) and a photograph of hers below that. I don’t think I saw that kind of happiness in her eyes even when I gave her any expensive gift that she longed for. She was extremely happy to know that she was in my thoughts even in the place of my work and that an old and discarded artwork of hers had a place of its own in my office.

As parents, we can show the little gestures to our kids that make them feel loved.

2. Soumya has always loved going to school. Infact the first day at school (LKG),  when we collected her after the school hours, she told us that she had seen the children cry—and she wondered why. So, when one day, a few years back, she said that she did not want to go to school, I was surprised. She said that if she had to go, she would not wear the specs to school.

On asking her the reason why, she said that two boys in her school van teased her chasmis (In Hindi it translates to a person wearing spectacles). I had a heart to heart conversation with her and told her not to be affected by what the boys said. She wanted me to “scold” the guys, but I asked her to handle the situation on her own and told her what she should do. She felt sad that I did not sympathize with her. She was also angry with me for not helping her out.

After a few days she came back saying that the boys have stopped teasing her. It seems she told the boys, ’’So what’s new? I wear specs, so I am a chasmis!’’ and smiled it off. After a few efforts, the boys stopped teasing her!

We parents should teach our daughters to be confident and about facing the world confidently.

3. One evening my daughter said, “Mom, I want you to write a poem for me.” She wanted to give one for her school magazine. I reasoned with her that a poem written by me would be mine, not hers….and she reasoned with me that her class mates brought jokes and articles that their parents downloaded from the Internet.

I knew it was difficult to make her understand. So finally we decided to have a brainstorming session where in she was supposed to give me ideas and I would decide if I could write a poem for her. She went on and on and finally said, “Mamma, I want to write something about what I did from the time I was one year old till now.” So saying she came up with the prose and I later helped her rhyme some of the lines. There, a poem was ready, without much fuss.

When she got her school magazine, she thanked me for not writing a poem for her. She is proud of the fact that the poem was her idea and that she has written the draft. Now she proudly shows it off saying, “I came up with the idea, I wrote, and then mummy helped in completing it.” It is such a treat to see ones child proud of his/her own work (however small it is) isn’t it?

We should spend some time with our children, allow them to express their ideas, and HELP them translate their ideas into reality.

4. One evening, I was in a state of frenzy, I had a deadline the next day and had to finish off some work. Soumya was not keeping very well and so I could not devote the time I planned to complete the work from home at night. In the morning, my husband offered to stay at home that day, but Soumya was persistent that she wanted mama to be at home. So I decided to stay back and work from home (if possible). What can be more important than my little one?

Just as I hugged her and said that I would stay back and be with her, Soumya asked me to go to the office. According to her, daddy would be with her and take care of her just as I would. She then hugged me and whispered in my ears that my decision to stay back ensured that she was more important to me than anything else.

We should let the kids know that we love them and are there for them whenever they want us. Other things are secondary.

5. During 2003-2204, there were many incidents of child abuse (reported) that made life a nightmare for me. Even now, open the newspaper and we get to read of child abuse. It is so difficult to explain to a child to take care of themselves. But due to these incidents, i decided to talk to my daughter about the good and bad touch. She did not understand why I was telling her all that….

…. but in this era, I think this kind of awareness is the best gift we can give our daughters.