“They attempt to train and mend your genes and brain so that you are self-sufficient to face the world, the real world. And by ‘They’, I refer to parents, friends, teachers, the place and the person himself.”
Thank you for your feedback on my last post. I really appreciate it. In this blog, I would like to share about my upbringing and how it helped me in the course of time.
I was born in the early 90’s. I spent my childhood in a small house on the outskirts of Nagpur city. My family consists of my Mother, Father, and 3 sisters. I was regarded as the blessed child during that time as my parents and my relatives were of the thinking that girls are a burden to the family. But a lot of this has changed over the period. The orthodox thinking has found its way out of our family. So, we were already a big Indian middle-class family at the time I was born. As far as I remember, we used to live in a 1 room tenement which had the kitchen and washroom in the same room. But later we managed to buy the neighbors tenement and expanded to ‘comfortable’ 2 room ‘home’.
I am sure my childhood was great with my sisters and parents around me. I have vague memories of that house, and it feels good to visit that place. I was admitted to the local nursery school so that I could get the primary education. My mother had always supported and preached the importance of education. My father on the other side was not so motivated about educating us. So there had been many altercations between my parents when it came to such decisions. I and my sisters used to sit in a corner, frightened when this use to happen. My father, possibly, used to look at it from a financial standpoint as he was the only earning person in the house. My sisters and I are well aware of the sacrifices our parents have made for us. My mother attempted to support him but she also had to look after four kids and the house. Mother is the best teacher you can have in your life. I remember her teaching me how to spell different words in English and punish me, correct me when I was wrong. I wish she could still slap me every time I use wrong English; trust me she will do it if needed. But the roots of that type of learning still exists in me. I have always wanted to be correct to the point. This has helped me throughout my life. There is no ‘it was close to correct’ for me. This applies in personal and professional life too. It has helped me be a better person today.
The 2 room home helped our family bond together by sharing problems and living closely with each other. It taught us to live with nothing. The fundamental lesson of my upbringing is not to hurt others while we attempt to do something for ourselves or for others. I was then admitted to a convent school. It was mother’s dream to give her children the best education they could. At that time, it was difficult for my parents to pay a sum of 5000 rupees as a donation to the school. My parents had conflicting views about this. But somehow they agreed and made that money available. I regard those 12 years from kindergarten to 10th grade as the best time of my life. I made good friends and shared every single thing right from punishments to homework. And we all had a healthy competition too. That helped me keep myself feel challenged all the time. And in today’s world being competitive is regarded one of the most important traits. I used to do pretty well in my academics but had an inclination towards extra-curricular activities. I used to represent the school in Kho-Kho tournaments. I also used to represent the school in drawing competitions and have won over a hundred competitions overall. So as a kid and a son I surprisingly turned out to be good for my parents. Not excellent, though!
Our schools were far away from our 2 room house. So for our convenience, my father bought a new 2bhk flat near our schools. He took loans from the bank to pay 2 lac rupees. That was a huge amount for him. But still, he managed somehow. Growing up in 90’s I had the same wish of having a video game as every other child. Once I asked for it. The demand was rejected like girls reject me, without even a little consideration. As a child, I was not adamant at all. Actually, I and my sisters were not allowed to be stubborn. The main reason being, it is not a good habit. I thank my parents for giving it to me. I sometimes used to get a beating from my mother because of my misbehavior. But now, when I see my nephews I get jealous of them as their parents are so easy on them. If they ask for mobile phones they get it with ease. I got my first cellphone during my undergrad. The new generation has started from a very modernized era. I understand that. But I am still against the ease of getting things for them. Make it little difficult for them to get things. The more the ease the more the abuse of it. I urge to the new parents or soon to be, to make sure that you start instilling these small but very important values in your child. Preach them the joy of sharing, the evils of selfishness and the kindness of forgiving. And also a little beating for wrong things and strictness would never hurt. Not every child will be disobeying. But just from what I have felt about me, I think that those beating and scolding for stubbornness and acts of indiscipline were worth it.
I was always taught to be forgiving. But at the same time never absorb any wrong thing done to you. Always fight and ask for it. I was taught to be expressive and never to leave any gray areas or any unknowns for people to decode. Because: different people, different logic, and different results. During my 9th grade, I lost 0.5 marks for incorrect fill in the blank answer. My mom took me to the concerned teacher and asked her why the question was asked from digest and not from the book. My mom never encouraged me to read digest or any sort of studying aide out of the preferred book. She always wanted me to be thorough with my books. The teacher had to give that 0.5 marks to me. My mom always wins such debates. As uncaring as I was for my marks, she proved the point to fight for the right things. But I never chased numbers on my exam papers. I never complained about the totaling mistake on answer papers. I always had one thing in my mind that I have learned something and that was the reward for me.
My parents still live in the 2 BHK flat, where everyone in the neighborhood knows who visits and leave everyone’s house. They could have even bought a bigger house but they didn’t, just for their children. And this is something very important to me. The smile on their faces defines success to me. Whenever I visit India, the house reminds me to be grounded and aim high. And all these values, these teachings from parents, teachers, bits of advice from friends play a major role in your life. They help you to guide your thinking process. They help make your decisions. They help you take the risk and believe in yourselves. I believe everyone has their own exciting stories about their upbringing, so please cherish those moments and pass on the torch of your learnings through it to the next generation.