A daughter expresses her gratitude to her parents for giving her an upbringing that made her realize the importance of equality and gave her the freedom of choice.
I strongly believe that life is the best teacher anyone could ever have. It teaches you things in your way, exactly how you would understand it and it tests you like the way you would be able to just about scrape through.
In the learning process, it helps if in the beginning, a platform is provided for an individual to develop the capabilities to develop into a rational being.
I had a very unique childhood and the credit for it goes to my parents and their value system. I grew up in an environment where there was no place for any disrespect shown based on hierarchy. I grew up asking a billion questions about everything.
I grew up questioning the existence of God and was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to think for myself without anyone having to tell me what is and isn’t. I was given the realization of possessing wings and the freedom to choose to fly as and when I wanted.
All these things help me make my own value system and principles in life which I feel are a bit different from the mainstream flow of ideas that I come across in different walks of life.
The definition of success, the idea of love, the place of religion and God in life, the concept of respect, my dissent for the so called gender based roles in the family accepted by the society and the meaning of my existence, have all shaped the way they are due to the nature of exposure that I got.
I saw my father making chapatis while growing up and washing utensils after meals was also his work. When guests came, I saw them both get up to make and serve tea. I saw my mother and father both making decisions in the house and I saw them agreeing to disagree when they both felt differently. I never saw them mince any words or emotions.
Most importantly, I saw them as equals.
I never knew, till the time I was a teenager, that men doing the household chores, women making decisions and both men and women being equals was not a common sight to be found in the society.
I had friends who came from religious households and were surprised that we do not pray at home and that we don’t believe in God. They were surprized to see that I had two surnames, that my father washed utensils and made chapatis and that my family members including my mother were social drinkers!
There were instances when I came back from school and asked my parents whether or not God was present, or were not men and women equal? Good grief, I even asked my parents in detail as to what sex meant and even made jokes about it once I got to know.
It is only now, after growing up, that I understand that they preferred to urge and ask me to think and reach to my own conclusions. They gave me the chance to discover my own beliefs and also encouraged me in the process to question theirs’, for no learning is complete in isolation, without the interaction with the opposites and without having to fight the way through reasoning and understanding and finally reaching a conclusion.
The necessity for equality, the freedom to make choices and the capability to stand by them is what I have learned from my parents. What I have learnt from my experiences based on the interactions I have had with people is, that none of the above is a naturally occurring phenomenon.
I have been extremely lucky to have the people closest to me believing in the basic principles that form my life and govern my decisions.
The way my parents have set an example of freedom, equality, respect, responsibility and thinking, I hope to do the same with my kid. In today’s world, we have too many Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, rich, poor, men, women. It’s time we had just good humans. I hope I am able to help someone become one.
Image Source: Movie Promo Stills / Piku
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