Friday, June 27, 2008

A Scar for life

-By Swetha Amit
He looked at the bright red streak across his hand which was injured in a nail biting basketball match. It would be a while before he could resume his passion again. “It will heal in just a week’s time” said the doctor as the young lad winced in pain. The wound would soon subside into a mild scar only to fade away with time.

“You are good for nothing”. A statement that kept lingering in her mind like an annoying alarm clock that would shake her up from her beauty sleep. It was a haunting reminder, echoing inside her whenever she would attempt to take a step forward. It seemed like something was holding her back from reaching where she aspired to be. A scathing remark that left a perennial psychological scar that even 20 years couldn’t heal.

A visible contrast is exhibited between a superficial blemish which would be concealed effortlessly and an internal one that would inflict pain like a fresh wound. All it takes an insensitive remark to bring about an ugly effect while a burning object seems to get scot free with only a matter of time. Millions are found to be victims of the latter case.

An offhand remark from a family member, friend or neighbor tends to cause severe repercussions to a healthy growth in one's personality. This is especially prominent in the childhood and adolescent stage where the transition is at its peak with high strung emotions. It almost equals a flower being crushed before it opens out its soft and blooming petals. Flurries of comments are hurled out knowingly or unknowingly which often affects the person’s self esteem to a large extent. Remarks about one's physical appearance range from ones dusky complexion, obesity, clothing, under performance, slow learning, and failure to meet high expectations and constant comparisons with other peers.

Repeated reminders from role models, whom the youngsters look up to, can prove to be a source of discouragement and dismay. The gradual feeling of ‘being worthless’ will grow only to multiply like cancer cells and result in self destruction. Such beings are the ones who would refuse to recognize their inherent potential or talent due to one stinging statement. They tend to withdraw into a shell, refusing to face the world with the expected supreme confidence. The reverse effect could also occur where such youngsters display a condescending attitude towards others as a defense mechanism of covering up their inner insecurities or complexes. A repertoire of rude retorts even to adults is a common trait found amongst those still recovering from their early tryst with insults.

It may be surprising and even shocking for those who have unintentionally contributed to this dire circumstance. Words uttered by us even in a pang of frustration can lead to an instance where one loses their faces to forgive themselves on realizing their impertinent folly later.

It is essential to measure our words and indulge in encouragement rather than the opposite, to children and even others. While it may not be an easy task to control our agitations and vexations at times, a momentary thought of its consequences can act as a controlling factor. Motivational words can work like a magic wand in instances of low bouts. Unconditional acceptance of our near and dear ones proves to be a key factor. One certainly cannot discount the fact of flaws being present in us to a large extent. And constant reminders by others about our shortcomings deteriorate our pride and lead to resentment of those guilty. Indulging in the same behaviour towards others would probably reap in similar attitudes towards us. Keeping in mind of our acceptance by others in the society despite our minor drawbacks should propel us to extend the same genre of open mindedness towards them. A dose of sensitivity and tact is all that it requires on our part to appreciate our fellow humans, especially our kith and kin.

While cosmetology is what heals physical scars ultimately, nothing can surpass the humane compassion which is the finishing touch to the architecture of personality structuring. A smooth balm that can minimize the deep scars, even worse than those created by acne.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

A sea of change




-By Swetha Amit
The tinkering droplets of water along with the drop in temperature are a welcome change from the scorching heat of May. The ‘downpour of events’ seem to have brought a startling contrast in the lifestyles.

The delay in the trains, sluggish traffic, cautious treading on the pavements are what the folks of the maximum city experiencing. Even the birds seem to huddle across window panes waiting patiently for one heavy spell to subside, to continue their flights. Cats are cushioned against walls, bored and tired of this wet syndrome.

The sudden stance of the rains adds charm as one observes the effect of this sparkling spell enhancing the mystic charm of the ocean. One certainly cannot help but stare in awe at the raging seas despite their busy schedules.

Adorned with raincoats and umbrellas they stand in an array, intrigued by the replacement of the placid sea into a tumultuous mass of waves. The turbulence and the fury of the ocean against the heavy spells is a mesmerizing sight. This inevitable capriciousness of the sea can make one draw a striking resemblance to coping up with life’s transitional phases and its turmoil element.
The sunny days depict the smooth sailing of the ships on the gentle ripples of the pale blue mass.
This is similar to ones' upswing stage where things run smooth that it makes one feel like a dolphin swimming effortlessly within the accommodating waves. However an ugly turn of events could cause a dark cloud over one's bright patch leading to a storm. One can see a ship trying its best to maneuver over the rough and unfriendly waves against all odds. Lashing out at the shores and rock, it indeed proves a rocky encounter for any voyage. This can be drawn parallels to the oscillations that issues bring about to the human minds during a crisis.

A state of discomposure hits the surface with ferocity. Despite our several attempts to hold the sails high, it’s the violent waves of trouble that daunt us from every corner. Giving up ultimately portrays one succumbing to defeat under the ferment sea of problems. At times it might be unwise of one to resort to such risky ventures due to impatience in waiting for the storm to subside. A strong will power and patience are what is needed to endure the rough patch.

Post a couple of months, one is likely to see sunshine yet again with the seas in a calmer state with the breezy sails. Watching this soothing sight, it is indeed hard for many to imagine the marine violence and jeopardy prior to this. A similar approach to our ups and downs is the key to sailing through our days of turmoil. As we hold on to our psychological anchor with grit and determination, weathering storms will appear to us just as a dark stage which is to soon be enlightened. Just like the grey and hazy shades of the water are replaced by a pleasant blue, the ambiguity of our issues will soon drain out into a crystal clear solution.

The adaptability to change is a realization that one must attain especially during troubled times. There are some lessons that are taught to us in a structured manner. And others are gathered from various sources and forces of nature.

The monsoons are a coolant for some and an amusing phase for others yet it’s strange to see that its recurring stance fails to make a deep impact on ones cognitive factor. It makes one wonder about the actual ‘sea of change’ that the rains will bring. And it’s not just resolving the water problem or a evoking a temperature transition.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Slaughter over water?

-By Swetha Amit
Disputes and differences are inevitable especially in a country like India with its unmistakable diversity. However it’s a shocking plight to see such issues take a fatal turn.

The recent incident of a woman in Bhopal being burnt alive by villagers over a water brawl is indeed a terrifying jolt to the ears. The sight of which her family members especially her daughter would have been even more traumatized.

According to the reports a heated argument prevailed while filling water at the village tap. However little did they realize that the sparks of the almost forgotten fiery bicker would go up in flames literally? It portrays the atrocity of such petty grudges and the barbaric stance of the villagers to indulge in such sanguineous tactics.

It is no mystery to millions about Madhya Pradesh facing a water shortage especially to the government bodies in particular. It is a shame to see these issues remaining one on an eternal basis with no provisions to overcome pitiable conditions. In spite of the occurrence of five such instances before this, no measures have been undertaken to put a halt to frustrated souls. Annoyance is certainly bound to seep in especially when priority is given to other areas in the ‘progression’ department.

Millions and billions are spent on glamour, glitz and auctioning sports person and spokespersons. If only half of such massive amounts are used for rural development, the country will be devoid of cases like the suicidal farmers and homicidal villagers. One cannot help noticing the stark contrast in the twin facet stance of the subcontinent. While one side denotes the affluence to heights of extremity, the other side depicts poverty to a large extent. Malls and pubs adorn one corner while the other corner consists of drought stricken and impoverished lands. Higher degrees are obtained by one sector in terms of education and refinement and on the other the manifestation of the lowest degree of uncivilized barbarism.

Prioritizing finances and streaming it in the right direction will certainly minimize the extent of rueful conditions and problematic areas. It’s ironical to note the occurrence of this slaughter over water in one state just when neighboring states are beginning to welcome the monsoons with open arms. One can only pray in sincerity to prevent such gruesome mishaps in the future.

An immediate intervention by the concerned authorities requires a stance of pouring oil over troubled waters. Before one gets to hear of another instance of one pouring kerosene over water trouble.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

The latchkey child

-By Swetha Amit
She turned the lock of the door with the key held firmly in her hand. In she walked with her school satchel weighing on her delicate shoulders. There was no one except the door mat that boldly spelt the word ‘Welcome’. As she stepped inside her cozy home, the cold walls with a picture or two stared back at her. Just when about to call out to her mother, does she realize the latter is engrossed in the drilling corporate drone.

There was none to pour out her hard day’s woes to. None to vent her feelings oscillating between joy and sorrow. The lonely afternoon is often spent in completion of her home work or sometimes playing with the neighborhood kids. Yet again she walks back home, hopeful of seeing a smiling parent opening the door. Or sometimes it’s a return of the empty syndrome again. Engrossed in a book, logging on to the virtual world or hooking on to the television are the activities inserted during the few hours of anticipated wait for her parents.

Hearing the sound of the impatient keys to open the door, her droopy face is replaced with a vibrant smile enough to give the sparklers a stiff competition. One cannot help noticing the great game of lock and key playing in the minds of the young ones physically and psychologically.
Such is the increasing instance of what is termed as the ‘latchkey child’.

The nuclear family lifestyles of the current scenario have alienated children from growing up amidst elders. Not to mention the time and distance factor posing a threat to reaching out to one another on a frequent basis. The career mindedness propels many couples to delay in starting their families and restricting it to only one child in most cases. The concept of dual couple working has grown on a large sale with the ever increasing inflation and coping up with the high maintenance and demands.

Despite all this is a huge ‘price’ that many parents have to pay ironically as one gains insight into the negative impacts on such children’s personality development over the years.

The childhood factor is enticed away as they are forcibly led into adulthood with many responsibilities at a tender age. A flurry of instructions of not opening the door to strangers and handling them in a shrewd manner can prove to be taxing on the tender minds which ideally should be focusing on nothing other than academics and extra curricular activities.

The adolescent stage especially is the worst affected. Dealing with mood swings similar to a pendulum, the inexplicable changes, and the anxieties relating to peers, physical appearances and studies can prove to be an arduous task when dealt with in solitude.

Longing for a listening ear drives such youth either in a wrong direction or to a mode of insecurity.

Used to their privacy over the years instigates many to give up sharing their space to occasional visitors. Lack of social interaction at times can lead to a peculiar aloofness and being reticent. Frustration builds in gradually like creeper growing on walls of pretty houses that ultimately snatches the beauty of the domesticated abode.

Sometimes such pent up annoyance towards parents for not having been there manifests itself into neglecting the former during their old age. A rebellious stance is established slowly which is exhibited in refusing to comply with their instructions over a period of time and displeasing them at every given opportunity. Or it drives one to withdraw into a shell on an eternal basis. The latter portray a lack of self confidence and uncertainty in every step of their life. Sometimes a streak of immaturity is depicted as they resort to childish means in order to seek attention. Self centeredness is another trait found amongst such youth.

It is true that many young individuals turn out to be fiercely independent which at times is a blessing. However it results in an alarming situation where the parents are not approached for even a vital decision.

The guilt feeling and the desperate attempts to make up for those years go in vain as the realization of ‘being too late’ dawns in. However one cannot ignore the factor of trying to make ends meet or planning for the future. The lack of such communication towards their children is what creates a vacuum in the relationship.

Attempts to spend quality time with children on weekends and after work on week days is bound to assure the child that he/she is wanted and cared for. Taking keen interest in the youngster’s activities and achievements can work wonders in building a strong bond instead of brooding over office politics and bringing work home. Addressing every issue with sensitivity is indeed essential to develop a strong minded individual of the next generation. Sometimes inviting grandparents can prove to be a joyful expedition for both the young and the aged and killing the loneliness element to a large extent. Or even adopting a pet can drive the blue spells away.

Certain things in life compel one to drive their kith and kin into unavoidable circumstances. Yet the ‘key’ to a successful balance between family and work life lies in ‘latching’ on to the right note that will ‘unlock’ the unfounded fears within.
Written for www.msn.co.in
Appeared as Editors' choice and story of the day

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