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What’s Your Happiness Quotient Today? #AtoZChallenge

What’s Your Happiness Quotient Today? #AtoZChallenge

So what’s the most beautiful thing you have with you today? What’s your happiness quotient?

I sat at my desk this morning trying to write, when I was constantly distracted by my four year old daughter. The little one was doing some craft work as part of her school curriculum. I saw her hands move swiftly as she sat sticking tiny sequins and beads on a white sheet in front of her. She wanted to do it her way, yet every few minutes she would look up to me for small approvals. I soon realized that all that my daughter sought from me was not my expertise on craft making, but just my time. I just gave in and shut down my laptop. It was all for those innocent smiles, which made my world, feel complete. I was happy that there is someone around me indeed to add to my happiness.

We are together in this…

And that brings me to the concept of happiness quotient

We humans are constantly in search of happiness. The internet is loaded with infinite wisdom on how to seek it and, things one could do to bring in happiness in their lives. But the actual fact is, which we very often fail to acknowledge, that we humans are nothing but social animals. We need another person in our life to bring in that happiness quotient. Happiness is a feeling that is to be shared, and it isn’t something you could enjoy in isolation.

Look around you

It could be from something as simple as giving someone a compliment. Or it could be going for long walks with your loved one. Exchange those few words of kindness with your domestic help, and surely you would be doing your bit to make someone happy, in turn receiving your share of it. In our hectic lives today, we often get stuck cribbing about our mundane routines. Caught in this nitty-gritty of life, we stop to notice the happiness quotient that lies strewn all across us.

I found mine today, as I saw that smile curve on my four year olds face.

So what’s your happiness quotient today?

Image Source: Pixabay
Pictures Online? Exercise Caution #AtoZChallenge

Pictures Online? Exercise Caution #AtoZChallenge

More than a year back, child rights activists in Chennai came across and demanded to shut down two Facebook pages that were in Tamil. The pages were created to attract pedophiles with photographs of young girls with comments full of sexual connotation.

Social media giant Facebook has a policy that does not allow nude pictures, but these pages used pictures of children in full clothes. There was nothing sleazy or objectionable about the images – the photos were the kind you and I would post of our children. So technically it doesn’t fall under the obscenity category and hence the website’s algorithm was probably unable to decipher. Also, Facebook was unable to pick up on these pages because both the page and the comments were largely in Tamil and it is difficult to identify regional language words.

Online predators lift pictures from innocent posts uploaded by young children or their parents. Similar pages surfaced in Kerala too. After several complaints, the pages were pulled down. There were pictures of children from the age of 5 to 15 with sexually explicit comments. The cyber police had forwarded the complaint to Facebook and the page was taken down.

In today’s world of Social Media interactions, how much should parents share and how much should they refrain? Most parents embrace social networks as a way of keeping in touch with family and friends scattered across the globe, uploading pictures of their young children. While we shouldn’t let paranoia take over our lives, we have to be very careful when doing so. Bear in mind:

  • Know how much to share. Never give away exact locations, school names and other such details.
  • Understand the importance of not tagging locations
  • Refrain from posting updates and pictures on a daily basis. It could entice someone within your circle.
  • Use stricter privacy settings

With the perversion and pedophilic individuals all across the web, great caution should be exercised.

Image Source: Pixabay
What exactly do aging parents want from their children?

What exactly do aging parents want from their children?

met him at a social gathering. Hunched upon his walking stick, his eyes followed nothing but his son’s footsteps. An aging parent he was, and at the age of eighty, all that he cared about was having his son around him.

I have often found myself in conversations with people, where the discussion reels around, what exactly children need from their parents. As a young parent, my answer always boils down to the most critical thing – every good parent must build on a framework of providing, nurturing and guiding their young children. But here is something else I have noticed. Very rarely, have I been drawn into a discussion on what exactly my parents need from me. Apart from being a parent to young children, I also happen to be an “adult child” of aging parents. As much as I love having them around me, there have been moments when their antics drive me up the wall. I have never really given this much thought, until recently.

At a social gathering, I met the octogenarian. A retired Botany professor he was, and lived with his son and grandchildren. I, in fact, consider him lucky to have them all around him, unlike many other elderly people who live on their own. Yet, I noticed that tinge of loneliness in his eyes. As I walked up to him that evening, he held my hand. The grip was tight, yet warm. He spoke. And when he did, it was like as though the floodgates had been opened. His reminiscence, of his good old days- the life he led, the work he did and the love in his heart for his children. I realized, all that this man wanted was to be heard, to be held and to feel a warm touch. He probably did get them all from his family. But, his age demanded them more frequently.

So, what exactly do aging parents want from their children?

As parents get older, there is a certain element of assurance that they seek very frequently from their children. It is often demanded, and I would blame it on a degree of insecurity, that seeps through most people due to the natural process of growing old. The problem lies in the fact that, though they want to be cared about, there is a fear of being cared for.

Confusing indeed!

Where on one hand they enjoy the company of their children, they also find themselves looking for excuses to see them less often. They may be annoyed by their children’s over-protectiveness, but at the same time do appreciate the concern expressed. It’s a confusing stage for them too.

So if you tell your dad not to dig up the garden, you assume that he’ll listen. It’s the sensible thing to do. But his response would be to go out and shovel away. It’s a way of holding on to a life that seems to be slipping back. It’s a complex situation where there is a strong desire for both autonomy and connection in relations with their adult children, leading to ambivalence about receiving assistance from them.

It is this parental stubbornness that acts as a complicating factor in inter-generational relationships. As adult children, we are more likely to say parents were acting stubborn. But the fact is, it is the scariest thing of old age, where the elderly, don’t feel in control anymore. And that’s when the conflict arises. We, as the middle-aged adult, are worried about the aging parent. However, the parent is both annoyed by that and feels more loved too.

The issue may be complex, however, the solution is fairly simple. By understanding why parents may be insisting, resisting, or persisting in their ways or opinions, could lead to better communication. As I live my life, with a myriad of complexities of growing old, I realize, it’s better to not pick arguments. I prefer to not make a parent feel defensive. It is best to plant an idea, step back, and bring it up later. The key is to be patient.

Joys of Monsoon Robbed?

Joys of Monsoon Robbed?

“Hey it’s raining”, I announced to my kiddo.

“It’s time to splash and have some fun, because monsoons are joyous times and makes childhood memorable. We love the smell of wet mud, and sail paper boats in water puddles. Or maybe we could play football in the rain. How about sharing that single umbrella and taking a walk down the lane, jumping into every puddle we comes across? Let’s spot a rainbow as the sun peeps through the clouds or step outside to open our arms and dance with glee. Its monsoon time and let’s be silly and do childish things.”

Alas, this is all nothing but wishful thinking!!!!

Come monsoons, and every year, hundreds of cases of dengue are reported across India. The most notorious numbers were reported in Delhi last year. The National Capital saw over 15,000 cases in 2015, by far the capital’s worst outbreak in recent years.  The year also saw a high mortality rate for dengue with 38 deaths. And among those inflicted with this deadly virus last year, were my two little girls. Luckily, they fought the virus back and turned out recovered pretty soon. Yet, that fear lurks in me that things could have got worse. 

rainy-season-umbrella-small

I sometimes feel sorry for the children of today. Not only are they heavily burdened with activities and academics, the outdoor activities also seem to have reduced due to the fear of falling ill. We today live in cities that are populated, and the environment may not entirely be healthy for an active mind and growing body. Children today are bereft of these simple pleasures of monsoon showers.

As a young girl, years back, I would love the monsoons. I would listen to their sound, watch the water lashing on the pavement and smell the wet mud. I would run out with my friends once the rain stopped, armed with paper boats. We would jump on puddles splashing water on each other. No longer would I be able to give my daughter a childhood such as this. I would think a hundred times before I could let my little one, float that paper boat in the tiny muddy stream by the roadside. I would hesitate to let her jump in puddles…

Small joys of monsoon robbed?

barathon