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Obligations and Gratitude of Parenthood





Courtsey: Freedigitalohotos.net

Courtsey: Freedigitalphotos.net
As I set about with a precarious task of writing this blog post, I get a call from back home. It is a usual call, which comes with a unfailing interval of couple of days, notwithstanding, the frequency of my calls in between. When an arm outstretches to you with love, you do feel a sense of inner peace and calm in surrendering your soul to the warm embrace; when the Courtsey: Freedigitalohotos.netarm is outstretched out of desperation, simply because there is no better option available, because the person reaching out is so uneasy about his phone in the larger scheme of social set up, it becomes difficult. And then when the calls more and more turn out to be being made to me as a necesary evil, me being the mere mean to an end, it becomes even more wearisome, for on it makes me feel non-living entity without a soul like a sorry letter-box across the road, which reflect no love, braving the Sun and rain through the year, merely carrying communication between two parties. Secondly, what further makes it so very difficult for me to bear is to see the poor child being pulled across in a wicked tug of war. Notwithstanding that my parents were given the first right to chose the name for Nonu, in a sudden show of generosity, my mother left the decision to me, only to change her mind by the time she took the lift to the hospital room where the little, bald creature with one feet over another, as a tourist, relaxing on a beach, unknownst of the bone of contention even her name is going to be, slept. The pinky toes which were yet to step into the world had little idea of the murky power play of relationships that she was stepping into.So the call will come, and they will have no or little intent of speaking to me or even trying to find out what I might be feeling, only would want to speak to my daughter, and then she will be most of the time be forced to acknowledge that she is not Nonu, the name which I had given and with which she identifies herself,but Sumi, the name they, my parents wanted to bestow her, once the initial moment of generosity fled off. Seems something like naming the cattle they would do in those old days with a painful stamp of ownership pasted on their unsuspecting back.
It has been such a long time since Khalil Gibran walked on this earth, spreading the flowers of wisdom among the commen populace, who even till this day has been largely ignored by over-zealous parents around the world, sporadically marked with blemishes like the most dishonourable "honour killings", when he says about children," Give them your love, but never your thoughts for Life goes forward and never backward."
To look at the innocent toothless, pink face and eyes which looks at you as if you are the elusive fortune of a poor, wretched soul, it would be impossible not to be moved to want to provide the best for the offspring. But it is very important from the perspective of the child and your own self to understand the driver to your intention. What you do has nothing to do with your generosity or kindlness or magnanimity of soul, you do the best, you want the best for your child because you want to do it, because nature has made you want to do it.
There could be some darwinistic angle to it, given that Human child is the one which takes most time to come to stage of independence and standing up on its feet. This very nature of feebleness of our offspring makes it absolutely imperative for human parents to want to provide the best for their kids, and there is not reason for us to want to expect a slavistic gratitude from our child on that account. We do it because, on this generosity the continuance of human species hinges and for no other reason. Though I do sheepishly concede that there is some selfish tinge in my personality, just as it is there in everyone elses which makes me speak in pretended, conspiratorial tone with my little one and ask her, as I comb her hairs after the shower,"Will you take care of baba when you grow up?" and she dutifully responds "Yes, I will take care of you, shower you, cook food for you and even send you to the school" a la "Will you still need me, when I am six and four, sixty-four." It is absolutely human to keep falling into the trap of  wanting a selfish return to what we do, but all logic and pragmatism wants me not to want any of it, at least nothing more than an acknowledgement of the love which I could not help but provide helplessly. I hope I could offer the same freedom of love, rising above and beyond the basic human expectation, which I have come across in immortal words of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, when he says,"
                              Saans roke hain Nigaahen, ki na jaane kis dam
                              Tum chali aao, palat jao, ya mud kar dekho
                              Tumne mud kar bhi naa dekha to koi baat nahin
                ( I stay behind watching with bated breath, as I do not know which moment;
                 You will come back, turn around or just glance this way;
              If you decide, however, to do none of these, I will not mind)


In the meantime, I soak in the warmth of a cozy saturday evening in a comfortable blanket as my daughter blissfully watch RaOne, for the nth time, remembering some of the dialogs in the process, and as she has discovered an imaginary friend, Jeevan, who is there with her in all her imaginations, and who keeps walking in and out of her life plans including those of getting married. Amid all the curse that has gone to SRK for making as some say non-sensical movie, he must have something innocently beautiful in the movies, which makes my daughter love the movie and G-One so much. She loves repeating "Appa, Hero", "Tum haar gaye, G-One" and other such dialogues from the movie, and the enormisity of this happiness which her words bring, is itself sufficient to render the cup of my life to such fullness that anything beyond seems to spill out.
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