A message for young parents
*An extract from writer Sujatha’s biography.*
*For all parents who force their children to study. Is life just dangling in future alone??*
*I recently got an E-mail. It’s from a worried father of two sons. He is a successful central government employee. Starting his career as a fresher and completed his whole career as a senior officer before retiring. He has two sons. Both of them well settled with their family. One is living in America, and the another one living in Australia*. He is living along with his wife, in his native city, Trichy. *His only problem is severe depression from loneliness. His wife is suffering from arthritis, and he has Asthma and they can’t settle in colder countries with their sons.* Their sons rarely visit them. Even for two years, they wouldn't visit once. Even if they do, they would stay hardly for 5 days and that too, would hardly spend 5 hours with them.
My second son likes to read a lot of your books. He buys them when he visits India. If you could write an email to him, explaining our state, he might understand us. He requested. *I generally don’t get into other's family problem*. But when he insisted, I just forwarded his mail to his son.
After a week's delay, there was response from his son. A lengthy email that made me think a lot about present education and its psychological effects. His son's mail read as, "I lived in Trichy for 22 whole years. But I don’t have any bonding with my native town. *For 22 years, I have been with my parents. But I don’t have any sweet memories of them. My father, has always planned to make me an Engineer. He even planned it right before my LKG*.
*Every day, he would sit along and teach lessons. After that my mother would. Studying in the school, then studying at home, it’s all the only memories of my childhood that I carry around*. Even during leaves, even on summer holidays, its English Grammar and Maths Algebra. Even for festivals like Pongal, and Diwali, there's nothing for me to celebrate, just studying.
*Sometimes, I would lie down and think if I have anything to remember from my childhood. Anywhere, any happy occasion. Nothing. Atleast If I got any bad occasion, to remember. Nothing. Its just plain studying, studying, studying*.
*My school was worse than that. It’s a private school. It is ranked best for squeezing my childhood into marks. People would stand in queues even to get admission.* There were teachers to assist us the moment we enter the school and would stay with us till we leave the campus. There's no way, they would let me laugh or play. It’s just study, study, study.
Even in that, study, I have nothing to amuse myself. I didn’t learn anything out of the box from that education. None introduced me to novels or art. Only thing they taught me is to xerox the whole text with just my memory and write on the exam papers.
*After finishing my graduation in the same way, and getting employed in America, I just figured out on my own, how happy life can be. Travelling, meeting friends, reading novels, hearing music, were all making me very happy. Our mind, just remembers the place, where it is very happy*. It assumes that, that place is our native. That’s, how I love the cities in America more than Trichy. Now Trichy is like a strange city to me. I can’t stay for more than a day in it.
*I have respect for my parents. I am grateful to them. But I can’t talk for more than half an hour with them*. For 22 years, they hid this world from me and made me study. *They stole 22 prime years of my childhood*. Nothing more I can think about them. If I have to love them, I should have understood them. I just see them as strangers.
*For the 22 years, I have been with them, we never had any general discussions. They only frightened me with their fears of studies, and my future. Even If I force myself to speak with them, I have nothing to talk. Even now, they frighten me with questions like, how much I earn and what are my savings plan*. They ask me not to travel, and not to buy books. They are asking me to live their life.
Now tell me, How do you expect me to talk with them, when we don’t even have common interests to discuss even for 1/2 an hour. Even if I try artificially, I can’t. How do you expect me to stay in a city that has long become strange for me. I can force myself for 5 days, for the gratitude and respect. What can I do after that."
I forwarded that mail as such to his father. *His father just read that mail and didn’t understand a bit. Out of his own frustration, he replied, that his son is disrespectful and irresponsible*. After a month, he just mailed me saying, If I could call his son for Diwali.
*Diwali is a celebration for children. Children like it a lot. When we grow up, we celebrate less and just carry the happy memories of the childhood celebrations.* Your son says, he doesn’t have any such memories. You have taken away all his enjoyment and colorfulness from his life. I replied.
He never wrote back any mail. *Life is not a struggle for securing the future. is to make every minute memorable with colors. It is for that same reason, we have festivals and celebrations. It is what our ancestors framed for us*.
*Tomorrow is important. But today is more important.*
*A must read for young parents*