Thursday, April 11, 2013

Children: My Children

                                                                              Then 
                                                                        And now
                                           

Today I have chosen the letter 'C', and I immediately thought of
 writing about my children. It is not that bringing up children is easy, but we all learn in our own way how to do this difficult task. We kind of grew and learnt together, listening to each other, and understanding each other, and somewhere along the way, we became tuned to each other and could start thinking alike. It was not easy all the way, but parenting is a learning process, and we can succeed if we put  our mind to it.

I have two lovely children, a daughter who is 31 years old and a son who is 28 this month. 
They both grew up right in front of my eyes : I was there to hear their first word, watch their first step, record their first song/ poem, etc. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity of having been there right from their birth to the time they were old enough to leave home and fend for themselves. . They were never overly pampered, overly supervised, and none of them was ever sermonized about what was best for them. And when the time came each one of them chose the path that was dear to their heart. 
                                                             Then and now
OUR DAUGHTER 
           She travelled  to Europe, when her friends ditched  her in the last moment.                           
                                            Having planned it , she decided to do it alone.
                                      I loved her guts for she was barely 25 at that time.
Let me first tell you about our daughter. I named her Mathanki, even before she was born, and lovingly called her Puja at home. So officially she is known as , Mathanki, Matanki, ( that is the way some of her friends pronounce her name), Tanki, Math, Mathu, and so on. Among her close friends and relatives she was Poo, Pooj or Puja. Sometimes, I wonder how people with 2 names survive, and have the 2 names broken into so many short names. I always like to call people by their full name, no short forms for me . 

My daughter hated to study, do homework - she hated school (National Public School- Indiranagar, Bangalore). This school deservedly had a reputation for being authoritarian (some would say Hitlerian), Slave driver (several of the senior teachers strutted about, cane in hand), Taskmaster ( Heaps of homework to spoil the childrens’ weekends). Under such Gestapo rule, even the Weakest of the Weak student would easily make the grade and do reasonably well, which pleased many a parent, but certainly not my daughter. I have seen her watching MTV on the telly, with book in hand, studying for her exams. She did not want to change the school either, saying," known devil is better "etc., the saving grace also being the proximity of the school to our home in Indiranagar – a walkable distance. With gritted teeth she managed to finish tenth grade in that school, and said she wanted to do something different and interesting in life - no medicine, engineering, commerce, science etc., for her. She had decided she would join Chitra Kala Parishath, one of oldest Art universities in Bangalore, and do their 5 year degree course in Arts. She wasn't artistically inclined, although she was fairly proficient in sketching, painting etc. Her intention was to specialize in Commercial Art, ie., visual design, graphic design, collages, copywriting etc., which would open up a career for her in Advertising. So the first two years would be just like doing a PU, with more emphasis on free hand drawing sketching etc., with some subjects like Hindi and English thrown in. If one didn't like it, they could leave the course and join regular PU in some other college too. 
                              Here she is with Amitabh, when they did the ICICI bank Ad.(2 years back)
The Laissez-faire atmosphere in this artists den, full of wannabe artists in Khadi kurtas, short stubbles in front and long pony tails behind, dilettantes of various shades, suited our daughter to a T. So she enjoyed her college, where nobody was really bothered whether you were good or not, they left it to the students to complete their assignments at their own pace and that was it. If a student was interested he or she would do well or would fail otherwise. It was no big deal either way. There were no surprise tests, no draconian rules - They were free as birds to fly, to soar, to stimulate their imagination and hone their talents in their own fashion. 

Our friends used to ask us: " have you people gone mad, why have you put your daughter in some Arts college, what scope does she have? why don't you put pressure and make her choose engineering or medicine? Surely she has got enough marks to enter any of these streams ?” 
Well, we felt if a person is good and has the required talent they can do well in any field, and we felt children should be left to make their own choices in life, especially in matters of their studies, their careers and their life partners. But certainly in those rat race days, people thought we were crazy. 
Chitra Kala Parishath is such a venerable institution, you can choose any subject to specialize for 3 years, like Sculpture, Terracotta, Fine Arts, and Commercial Art (Adverting). Many brilliant people have graduated from this college and are doing exceedingly well in society. 
My daughter too passed out from this college with flying colors. While still in college, she had a part time job with Lintas, and was given a full time job with them as soon as she passed out. She didn't have to apply to various companies, attend interviews etc. 

After a few years, she quit Lintas and moved one to McCann Erickson and worked there till her marriage. She had her own 2 bedroom apartment, her own car and a good salary, and she had almost 9 years of working experience. 
Now she lives in Bombay with her husband Ram. She works as the Creative Director in O&M. She has won few awards for the good work done by her in this field. She is also an excellent self taught photographer, with a Nikon strapped around her neck and photoshop at her fingertips

                                                              Ram & Puja
I am really proud of my daughter and her achievements at such a young age. I don't think she could have achieved all this if she had been pigeonholed to do something in which her heart and soul was not there. 
   OUR SON 

                                                                           Then & now
Our son Janardhan, is totally different. His name too was chosen by me before his birth itself. ( I had decided if it was a girl she would be named Mathanki, and if it was a boy he would named Janardhan). He is known among his close friends and relative, as Jan, Jannu, Janardhan, and Jandu Balm. 
He was always focused on studies, and always wanted to come first in everything, he was totally fit for the torture the school was known to mete out to its students. He was the type who would easily say, "yeh dil mange more" ( this heart craves for more). He was also interested in other things besides studies, but he was smart enough to know that if had to be where he wanted to be, he had to concentrate and get there at any cost. He would work hard, go for coaching classes in his school for IIT - JEE, and while he was in college, he joined some Management coaching classes, some law coaching classes. It was unbearable even for us bystanders to watch him self flagellate in such single minded, obsessive determination He would say, that he must keep various options open in case he did not get into the field he wanted to. He was also equally interested in his sister's field and kept himself up to date on that line to, just to be on the safe side, in case he could not get admission anywhere else. ( strange and funny)



                                                      Cars : his one and only passion


His one ultimate objective in life was to get into the Univ. of Michigan in Ann Arbor and study Automobile Engineering. It was tough though : he could not get into IIT, competition being extremely stiff. His father could get into an IIT in the seventies, when life was much more laid back, but not him. However, he did get into NITK - Surathkal, which enjoyed a fairly good reputation among the Universities in India. 

After graduating from NITK, the next step was getting admission into one of the top 10 universities in the US of America for a Master’s course. He was keen on only Ann Arbor, and by sheer will and determination, he did gain admission in that prestigious institution, and has been there for the last 6 years. He has not only completed his MS in Automobile engineering, but got so much interested in Aerospace, that he got a second Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering too. 
He loves his University, the laid back university town, and  now Interns with Bosch and is also busy preparing to defend his PhD thesis for the ultimate degree in academia. 
He has become a mature and responsible young man. He loves driving and has gone on several road trips and has been to California, driving all alone from Michigan and back, during a stint of internship at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. 
He seems to know what he wants his life to be like, and all the pressures he faced during his developing years were all self imposed. Now that he has more or less achieved his goals he is relaxed and is enjoying his life. He loves exercising, he loves cycling, ice hockey and of course travelling too. In spite of studying hard and pushing himself, he has not turned out to be the serious nerd : he knows how and when to relax and enjoy life and has a great sense of humor too. 


Both my children have always been very supportive, encouraging, and helping, despite my constant nagging (being a mother, I do nag sometimes about little things, but not for long, for when I feel my nagging has no effect on them, I automatically stop). Many a times, instead of me giving them some sound advice, it would be me listening to their words of wisdom. Some times I am myself amazed at their sharp intellect, dissecting an issue in a methodical and logical manner, and many a time I have stood wondering : " are they really my children, my own flesh and blood.... " well, they are mine, yet they are so different from me, more mature than me in many ways, making me feel so proud. I don't want them to be like me, I want them to be different, be their own self, find fulfillment in carving their own identity. 

The lesson thus learnt, is to let every individual be themselves, instead of trying to impose our will, our aspirations, our goals on them. My advise to people going through various dilemmas in their lives with their children is to please step back, give your children the much needed space. Don't force your own unfulfilled dreams to come true through them; let them have their own dreams, let them do what they really like, and see them grow into stunning individuals, contributing something worthwhile to the society. 

There are no role models/ books / instruction manuals for parenting, we learn as we grow and experience, and try to change our own narrow mindsets. 

Rama Ananth 

38 comments:

  1. A Proud mom shines through this post.YEs, there are no right or wrong when it comes to parenting and each child is a master piece. ?Nice to read this post from an experienced mom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Asha, I am glad you liked.

      Delete
  2. You are so right, rama! You have two lovely, wonderful children, so you must be the happiest and proudest mother! Congratulations for being able to understand and sustain them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks TH, somehow we had the sense to go with the flow. It is better we change and think from our children's point of view, instead of getting stuck, and putting hurdles in their path.

      Delete
  3. So beautiful to hear about a proud mom and the kids who made her proud , nothing more can be satisfying than being a mom. Loved your pic with your child kissing on your cheek, excellent for a painting :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks padmaja. I am sure you are also a proud mom, as long as we are willing to learn and change nothing can go wrong, for our children would never let us down.

      Delete
  4. mathangi is an awesome name :) :) :) she has shown herself what she is upto to the every old people who said so :) :)ur son is no way lesser than his sister:) you have brought them up so well :) time to show your collar :) hi5 :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much. So you also like the name Mathanki. I knew there was a very good Cosmetic/plastic surgeon with the name Mathangi in Madras years ago. She is still there and is very good. I also knew a girl named Mathanki, and that name just stuck in my mind
      Welcome to my blog.

      Delete
  5. Excellent blog. I loved the introduction about not sermonizing and allowing your children space to grow. I have a 6 and 10 year old and am always wondering if I am doing the right things when it comes to rearing them. It is fulfilling to see your story of how well your family has turned out. I hope the same for my son and daughter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,
      It is nice to have you here and thanks for being able to relate to my blog. Yes, it is very easy to impose our will, our thoughts on our children, if we can grow out of this mentality, things can never go wrong. We must sometimes leave our children to learn in their own way, spoon feeding is never good.
      I am sure your children too would grow up to make you feel proud of them.

      Delete
  6. Lovely family thanks for sharing them. I have a little boy just 10 this last week. I'm very proud of his kind and caring nature. I hope he continues to grow so well. You said on your bio that you like reading, try this 'butterflies are free to fly', you can download it free from the author's website.
    butterfliesfree.com

    #atozchallenge
    maggie winter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surely Maggie, will do it. It is so good to hear that your son is already so good by nature, you have nothing to worry about. The older generation should start opening themselves up, and isn't it fun thinking like them, than thinking the way we are generally drummed to think.
      Thanks for link and the comment.

      Delete
  7. nice post with lovely pictures. Parenting is avery controversial and one can nevr do enough.I am reading Tiger mom, so lot of thoughts churning in my mind:),..once I finish it then will articulate them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks Renu, hearing from you after a long time. Enjoy your book.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "An ode to the children"!

    Well done. You certainly have a right to be filled with pride. Giving them the space they need and not ram down your aspirations and dreams on them, certainly is the catch that did the trick. Then as you also mentioned supervision and not pampering.

    Good luck to all of you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well to tell you the truth, we never had any aspirations, dreams for them, my husband didn't dream the one day his son would follow his foot steps, become a Chemical engineer like him and take over his business, nor did I have any specific dreams for my daughter and my son. Both of us as normal parents wanted whatever was best for them, that is all. I said they were never overly pampered or overly supervised.
    One should be very careful, for one may have lots of friends with a narrow mindset, which might easily rub into you, and turn you also to think and act like them, I sure you know how mob mentality can affect people. Can you tell me where is the catch?

    Thanks Anil.

    ReplyDelete
  11. There can be nothing more satisfying for parents than to see their children do well in life. The photographs are beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Kudos to you, for being such a wonderful parent and breaking all stereotypes associated with parents. I was not overly pampered by my parents either but at the same time they always knew what to give me and when to give me something that I required. They gave me the freedom I wanted, right from education to my choice of career and did not force their dreams on me. Blessed to have such parents and nice to see such parents :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad to hear, that your parents gave you the freedom to be what you wanted to be. It is really good to know that more and more people are understanding their children better.

      Delete
  13. beautiful photos
    AB photo wow
    thanks for shairng

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you SM. Why aren't you blogging these days?

      Delete
  14. Ur such a lovelyyyy mom,pooja carrer story has impressed me a lot n ur such a lucky mom to have such a wonderful children's :) In a line "What a lovely family"!!!This post remembered me my parents I guess even my parents would also be thinking n loving me all the time.Parents are the best gift given by god!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ur such a lovelyyyy mom :) I have become a fan of Pooja after reading her choice abt carrer,her guts etc etc n ur blessed to have such a lovely children too.Parents are the best gift given by god for every human!!!This is bestttttt post I have ever read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kala for your kind words.

      Delete
  16. Most of the parents want their children go into professional course, mostly because of the prestige issue. Your children are lucky, they have got parents who had supported them to do what they wanted in life!

    Great children and great Mom!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, many of friends and relatives forced their children to study courses in which they were never interested, although some of them managed to do well, still after some time( pretty late of course), they could not keep continuing the pretense and left their jobs and went back to what they were passionate about. So much waste of precious time for the children, but at least they are happy now.

      Delete
  17. A sample family simply marvellous.You can sure be proud of your seedlings. You have provided only the needed quantity of water and manure to your children.They have attained the required growth.Kudos to you.God bless.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Rudraprayaga: here is her comment which got deleted somehow,
    I have already commented on your post.As some guests intruded into my own time I couldn't complete it.You look very attractive as a youngster and now not less though.I have viewed all the 16 pic.Gorgeous. I two have two children who were shown some paths.But they ignored them and walked past through their own route but not failed at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks rudraprayaga, for your lovely comments. Oh, God, I didn't realize I have put so many pictures, thanks for liking them. Ultimately your children are happy and that is what matters. Thanks for making time for coming back and finishing your comment. That is really sweet of you.

      Delete
  19. Such a pleasure to read about your children. Of course, I know about them but this time it is comprehensive. The names especially Jandu balm is so funny :). And you must look back with so much pride at having such well-brought up children. Loved all the pictures especially their baby ones.You have a beautiful family, touch wood!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks Rachna. I know, Jandu Balm is funny but a cute name to call him, and he never minded. It was very popular in those days, and people think of such funny names to call a person. I think it was my father who used to call him that. I do look back and feel happy that somehow we were guided by the Universe, and everything worked out fine with the kids.
    Now things are changing a little bit, though the idea of engineering and medicine, still tops the list. I feel really bad for those boys and girls who want to somehow get into IIT, even it means getting some altu phaltu branch, or even if they have to waste 1 more year,preparing for it, and trying to get into it somehow, they would even go all the way to Kota in Rajasthan, from where, they were somehow led to believe that they would definitely get in to IIT, because of some excellent coaching classes there.

    ReplyDelete
  21. A heartwarming post where the love and pride of a mother for her kids shines throughout! Good to meet your kids here... a shoot with the Big B... super cool and super like! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shlipa. Yeah the Big B picture is really good.

      Delete
  22. What a beautiful post Rama with such a pride and joy...I just adore both then pics...so much love. Loved reading about their journey so far...god bless them. I feel like , I hv so much to learn from u as a mom :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Kudos to the kids and their Mom for choosing what they truly believed in!! Its not easy to not impose yourself on your children...

    ReplyDelete
  24. Rama, I am speechless, I can feel a huge lump in my throat & moisture in my eyes as read through this. If I can be half as good mother to my babies I would consider myself a great mom!

    Manasa
    http://fortheloveofsunshinecorners.blogspot.in/

    ReplyDelete
  25. Really happy to read this post, Rama. I envy your daughter's college. hahaha..I wish I had a chance to study there. You must be one proud mama. May god bless you and your kids. Now, it might look rosy that they are in good position. But they must have put in a lot of hard work to be there.

    ReplyDelete