The Scrutiny of Restricted Worldliness

Leo Tolstoy wrote in his beautiful work War and Peace,
“Everything depends on upbringing.”

A child’s personal identity, biological and physiological, unique and gentle – the years that create long and inevitable passages of perspective – are found and lost right from the start. It is a part of a metaphorical maze, that a child shouldn’t meander alone. The discipline of unraveling diverse and visceral cultures – that which also includes threads of languages and chronicle of events – is more important to be felt by a child rather than learned. This sparks the imagination as much as it does temperament. But how soon is “the right time” to impact a child’s inner nature with stimulus resistive and nullifying, while also being realistic?

This question is deeply exemplified and astutely apparent in Black Mirror’s Arkangel, which is the second episode of the latest fourth season. The ability to blur out graphics that might elevate Sara’s cortisol levels, like in the episode it was the neighbor dog who barked incessantly whenever Sara walked past, sheds light on the general idea of parenting in this world. Anything that is considered, by society, of course, a potential danger or stress-inducing experience to the community increases a sense of fear, anxiety, and mental and bodily distraction in children.

A few examples pointed out in this episode were the suffering and finally death of a grandparent, porn, blood, or violence. Anything that stunts emotional growth, or at least is believed to, leads to the disorientation of the thing that constituted that kind of restrictive technology itself.

This begs you to answer a question – what you do the same for your child if you had the resources to? Such kind of restrictive worldliness has its own consequences. The upbringing based on exposing a child to only good things and avoiding and unwaveringly pushing away the bad stuff disrupts the wholeness of a child’s identity.

This reminds me of a powerful passage that extracts the importance of negativity and teaching the perspective of it in Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment,
“If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within; secondary reality without.”

But just as negativity impacts a child’s emotional and mental cognitive capacity, the complex intricacies of the mind and the core human tendency are deeply impacted, and not in a positive way, without the very things that arouse negative feelings such as guilt, regret, tension, worry, and all forms of psychological distresses. In experiencing the present moment, as real and unrestricted as it may be, in either speech, thought, or observation builds a sense of present-moment awareness.

This is significant, I strongly believe, in the acceptance and non-acceptance of what is. As it habitually alters a child’s inwardness toward all aspects of life, it also contributes to the child’s narrative which, unconsciously, constructs what makes each human unique.

Even though experiences, when analyzed, hold together a set of emotions in each of us, the reasoning, sense, and readiness are still left unhindered. The ease with which a child navigates the unmitigated realities of existing between choices and people is what matters. And the kind of environment parents, siblings, and relatives bring into existence for a young soul remains the serious and most important quest for parenthood.

Be Her Shadow

It’s not easy to raise a girl. She’s fierce. She’s perceptive. She’ll learn the ways of life by how you treat her and how you do not. So let it all go and be her shadow. That’s the only thing you can do.

. . .

Be her shadow.
Raise her mind.
You won’t know until you do
because she’s little known
to her ways of life.

Don’t mistake your anger for love
that’s not the dress up she knows.
Down the road,
she’ll say yes from your no
she’ll be from your all that you weren’t
that’s just how she grows.

Don’t give her playthings dressed up and fair
that’ll make her believe
she’s not as good as for such flair.
Encourage her a talent
whatever it may be.

Don’t tell her what isn’t hers
rather teach her to dream.

You don’t make her a believer,
you make her wise-
wise enough to say what is,
strong to not string along lies

Perhaps, she’ll never be like you
and why would she?
She’s a part of nature-
like a leaf that falls from a tree.

It’s who they are in their eyes, that counts

They were playing with heated stones right under the sun’s nose, without a hint of discomfort or irritation caused by the thwarting heat, around afternoon. There was no one around the area to discourage them from playing with each other and their elders also seemed extremely calm about it. They were silent, excited and convinced about their game and they didn’t bother anyone around as well. When I went up to them to ask their names and request pictures, it felt as if they didn’t understand me speaking to them but they loved my attention. It was comforting to witness them trying hard to pose and smile to the camera when they didn’t even know who I was and the purpose of my attention towards them, but they did what I told them to do, nevertheless.

Children playing near the Sea- this week mumbai featured image

Children playing near the Sea- this week mumbai (1)

Children playing near the Sea- this week mumbai (2)

They looked at me as though I was the one they were waiting for to click their pictures and make them laugh. I tried to request them that they keep playing their games, which was what they called ‘stick and stones’, but they didn’t understand me well and stopped playing for some picture time. I wanted some shots of them running on stones while smiling and laughing, awkwardly, around one another, enjoying some time before they were to attend to some chores as they resided in slums but I got these candid shots instead. These are the best ones as well!

Children playing near the Sea- this week mumbai (3)

Children playing near the Sea- this week mumbai (6)

These remind me of the way one chooses to live life: while there are problems faced due to poverty, hunger, unemployment, etc. in their homes, there is that place where you stick a smile and share a laugh around those who you feel comfortable with. Because then, you’re not only sharing your joy, you’re sharing your struggle without having to say it out loud.

Children playing near the Sea- this week mumbai (7)

Children playing near the Sea- this week mumbai (5)