Monday, July 8, 2013

Expressive silence

This post is published at and can also be read here.

Summer was approaching and it was time for holidays. It is the best break of the year for any student. Like every one, I was too excited to go home, meet my friends, family, have mangoes and bathe in pools for long times. I used to share what I would do in holidays, with my roommate.He just  nods his head in agreement to whatever I say. He was unlike my other friends, who used to give a long list of things to do done in holidays. One day, my roomie and me were going for dinner, it is were I asked him, '' dont you like going home? what's the problem?'' he just said, '' there is nothing like that.'' I cajoled him for long time, assured him my full support to his problems and promised not to share it with anyone. I got tired pursuing him for long time.

Finally after a silence of 10 times, he broke the ice, '' I don't feel like going to my home, I am not close to them. They don't understand me.I try to understand them but I loose my individuality if I have to listen to them. They always think I am good for nothing,everyone in this world is much better than me. I don't take life seriously and I am chilling all the time.'' he was continuing his problems. I understood his problem.It was really difficult for me to suggest any solutions to this but for the sake of formality I told him that, he should talk to their parents more. He just phewed the thought. That night, I talked to him for about 4 hours and learnt his family atmosphere at home, his family culture and in and out of him. it was hard for me to still suggest him a pragmatic solution to his problem.

He was from a middle class family. His father worked for the Indian Navy and his mother was a  housewife. His father had worked very hard to earn bread and butter for his family and the family of his uncles. His uncles were more or less not earning much to have a self sufficient life. His father was strict and followed defense rules and regulations at home. He was a very mischievous child, since his childhood. He enjoyed playing outdoors, doing mischief. Uncle just followed the principle, ''spare the rod and spoil the child.'' My friend never stopped doing mischief and his dad never stopped using the stick. He was very afraid of his father since his childhood. That was the terror his father created in him. He was so afraid to talk to his father directly looking into his eyes. They never stayed in the same room. When uncle calls him, he used to run leaving all his works to attend to his call. If he wants something, he had to talk to his mother, and aunt passes the bill to his dad and after plenty of scoldings most of the times  the bill  gets rejected. My dejected friend had no other choice.In academics, he was not too bad either, he was good at studies, and was always in top 5 of his class. He liked reading comic books, playing cricket,talking and laughing a lot. But he was not denied all this but  had restrictions. So, when his parents especially uncle was not at home, he used to read the borrowed comics and carry forward his hobbies. His father forced him to study always and if he doesn't get rank one in class, he was beaten badly. His father used, almost all types of instruments like wooden sticks, bamboo sticks, chains etc. The chains lasted longer. And when uncle used to go to work, my friend used to throw those chains or hide them. Once he brought a half meter iron rod . Looking at the rod, he wet his pants. He tasted few shots and the very next day, he threw it. In all these years his mother had not much of a say infront of his dad. So he had his mother just as a consoling partner but could not restrict his beatings. Most of the times, he used to be with books, and hence talked less with aunt. 

In his 6th grade, uncle joined merchant navy and was out of the country for almost 6 months in a year. This was the time, he thought of it as ''freedom''. Freedom to flutter his wings in any direction. He became more mischievous. He never studied sincerely after that. His friends circle was a group of bad friends. He bunked classes and did all crazy things. But when uncle returned, he used to act all good. He cleared his 10th grade, and went out for 11th and 12th + IIT coaching in a different place. There was no family and all freedom. He just exploited the freedom. But some how he managed to enter IIT with his self realization. And while studying in IIT, his father always forced him for good job and studying and scoring very high percentage. He was completely frustrated in life. His father always told him to study well and lectured him for hours. He qualified with a decent percentage but could not get a good and '' high'' paying job like others, as his parents quote due to recession. And after that, he struggled a lot to get into a good job but his orientation of stars was a wrong position I suppose. He expected them to be like friends. Whenever he spoke of a movie with his mother, she used to tell, you should concentrate on exams rather on movies. He never dared to talk to his father about movies. He started to  feel jealously of other students who talk so well and openly with their parents. They used to share everything with them, their daily routines. My friend used to leave when his friends get a call from their family. He tried talking the same way to them, but he expressed everything with his silence.His father used to call, and sometimes the call used to last for an hour, where he only spoke ''hmmm'' and gave one word answers. He hardly talked to his parents about his personal things. He was more close to friends and was more attached to them. Spending time with them going for movies, outings etc. In all this time, he had become a good liar, he lied very easily to his parents, and it became a habit. 
He once told me,'' when I go home, they ask and I answer, then there is silence, each one waiting for the other to speak, or sometimes, some one comes, or we get a call and then all disperses. My home always has a very serious atmosphere. That's the reason I dont want to go there.''

After listening to all this, I have nothing to say. No one to blame. Father had a philosophy and he followed that. The child wanted attention and some one to talk to but had bad luck.For him, his parents are just some people whom he has to call them, mother and father. He doesn't want to go home or talk much to them. The worst part is, his parents are unknown of his true talents and nature.He is more interested in travelling, music, poetry, movies, reading, cooking.He is completely different from what he is with us and them. The biggest reason I think is  because they talk less about all this and may be he was away from home since 12 years. Its not that his parents are dead against him or don't like him, but there is friction between the relation. And the friction is enough to disrupt it.These days we see a lot of lectures and videos on parenting. There are people lecturing on parents to take care of the child, and not bother about money and fame. But people hardly do. People mix their professional problems with personal problems. What remains incomplete and  unresolved in a parent's past becomes a part of his irrational parenting. It is the worst part a child can expect. Everyone needs attention and the exceptions raise high from near and dear ones.  Whenever a parent is too friendly with the child or whenever they are too strict, the kid spoils. It is too difficult to strike the balance. It has become one of the biggest social problems. I always feel, its the onus of the parent to talk to the children when they are young and give them lot of their time. Parents should take children into their confidence and make the child feel, that parents are the best friends. Those type of children will never neglect their parents anytime in their life. well to my friend, i just told him, try talking, that's the only thing you can do, sometimes, people need to struggle to make themselves understandable. 


  1. Great Post..And the advice you gave is also appreciable and what I feel is in todays world pressure on everything and every matters are taking us away from Relations...

    1. Thank you, its true that we force our dreams on disrupt the actual tendencies of the child.

  2. So good... I wish could re blog on my blog ( wordpress).... I see no way to that. Loved this post.

  3. This is so touching and i really feel sorry for the way things have been for some people. Wish i could help in comforting and wiping out the lurking in the mind terror of the halcyon days for ur roomie. i guess that's because i'm a mother and ny heart goes out for him.
    Being a parent too and i do realise the pressures that we dump upon our kids unwittingly. For them to do well in be able to emerge in this dog eat dog world where it is the survival of the fittest.
    Have also been a teacher to higher secondary students in an elite school were i saw brats making a mess of their lives because of the amount of freedom they were sanctioned just because both parents were too busy. Father making money and the mother busy in her socializing parties.
    Your story has one extreme parenting which can scar one for life.It is not surprising then that ur roomie never wants to go home. i saw this movie called Udaan and it has a similar story.
    What is done cannot be re-done. i hope in time the story is not repeated. The wounds that are etched in the heart should be reminders of the kind that when one becomes the parent he or she doesn't go overboard in giving freedom to his or her own child in a manner that only spoils instead of grooming to be a responsible citizen of the world.
    Parents should monitor and groom the child allowing freedom that also teaches to be responsible. Values should be instilled but not with the rod but by setting examples.In time by also being an understanding friend.
    Sincerely hope and wish well for ur roomie and hope one day he can let go off his wounds and move on with his life. My prayers for his parents are that they realise how difficult they were to their own child. Yeah they ought to realise, they should realise...
    Thanks for stopping by at my post and hope i get to see more of you.

    1. Thank you Shivani for the reply. I am not a parent, but since you are one, you could understand his pain much better. You said it right, in this dog eat dog world,parents pressurize so much and it disrupts our tranquility. It is worse, when parents compare their kid to their relative or anyone. It is the most humiliating. Parents most of the time, need social fame,they want their son to be the best and most talked about in their colony, or society or caste. That's the reason, I hate the Indian system. More than the advantages, its disadvantages are gigantic.

      I am sure, my roomie, would be very responsible when he becomes a parent. he would surely maintain the balance of freedom, responsibility and teaching his child many things in a loving way. I have few friends, who have never been beaten,are close to their parents,and are still successful in life. By successful I mean, happy in life!!

  4. This would earn the child being taken away in some other countries!