Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I went through what i had written earlier and then some pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fell into place. had a chat with A in the morning and some more pieces fell into place. rather than talking about me, let me write about the phenomena that i saw as a process.

just like the picture, compassion is possibly held in most of our mind as something that always flows downwards. for example, i never really felt compassionate towards my father or any adults for that matter in my young days as i believed (and realised that i still do), that as an adult, you must always be responsible for your acts of omission and commission and therefore if you make a mistake or be "weak", you must pay a price for it. however, when it comes to compassion flowing downwards, it is often showered on younger people, juniors in status, people in lower social strata compared to us, to the "under dog" and of course to our children.

in fact, i have written exactly that in last blog. i have very "righteously" how we as parents (and of course as adults) must be resposible for our acts of omission and commissions, etc, etc.

it is perhaps a phenomena for a lot of people out there, for who, compassion flowing upwards would be experinced as "sucking upto the powers that be" or at best, it would be sympathy tinged with hidden contempt or criticism. whereas for the "under dogs" (and children are often so to us), compassion is quite free flowing and is experienced as a virtue.

this brings me to the "critical self" that is continuously demanding more from us and practically offering nothing. And when we are the grips of the "critical self" we offer our children the same that we offer ourselves, i.e. criticality (which inevitably turns into lack of faith in them) or we offer solutions. Perhaps, in the relationship between parents and children, what is most important is compassion, from them to us and from us to them without any strings attached.

Yet it is such a difficult task to be compassionate without being helpful or advisory or patronising towards them. Similarly it is so difficult to accept our follies and our slip ups as parents as though we are God!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


have you ever noticed that when conversations become staccato or has an underlying sharp edge to it, it may have some unspoken criticisms or disappointments or anxieties holding fort in the back ground for the conversationalists.

it often happens between me and my daughter ... many times memories of my conversations with my father gets brought back when i converse with her. i have not yet figured out what the edgy ness on my part is all about. i only remember i held my father in deep criticism most of the time and took it for granted that he never really understood me. and do i dare to think the same about me and my daughter? i am not sure!

perhaps it is the burden of being a parent - and perhaps with children we find it difficult to be "me" or to be an individual on our own right and often get reduced to being a "parent" and a "parent" alone.

and when you are only a "parent" , who are talking to? your "child" and that is when, my friend, you are doomed for ever.

that day i was talking to a feminist and she was quoting another, and the quote was :"once you become pregnant, you remain pregnant for ever". i.e. you never really feel free to be yourself in your role as a parent.

the ones who dare to be, are usually condemned. i am not sure i am ready to be condemned. in any case there are enough condemnations of varying degrees doing their rounds for me and for every other parents all over the place.

well, i sound crabby and whinny. i am not feeling like that. I am simply facing up to reality and accepting it as it comes.

If we wish to be ourselves, we will have to hold us accountable for our actions, acts of omission and commissions and we have to accept our off springs as individuals who just happened to have come to this world through us. we have to accept that they may not like us, may not want to be with us, that their sense of 'home' may not lie with us any more, and, they may love or like other people more than "us".

and the toughest thing to do, is to accept that in order to be ourselves, we can not longer hide behind "all my actions are in their best interests" as this creates bitterness and criticisms towards our off springs which we find (I certainly do) difficult to express.

therefore, what do we do when parenting seems to be a lifelong tag being permanently attached? well, i guess, to just grow up (or grow old!) and accept that every individual has to find an agent in order to descend to this world just as we did through our parents.

And, live our own lives.

and that is one of the problems of being a "Parent". you take it for granted that you are not supposed to have a separate life apart from your offspring. At best, your life should weave around them, be accommodating, infrastructural, accepting and space providing, but never, never, without them.

how do you live YOUR life without having to choose being a parent or not being one?