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"Have a voice of your own!" A mother writes a heartfelt letter to her baby daughter, telling her about her, and their hopes and dreams for her.
“Have a voice of your own!” A mother writes a heartfelt letter to her baby daughter, telling her about her, and their hopes and dreams for her.
Dear Baby Girl,
Every day, every single time that I hold you in my arms, be it for feeding you, playing with you, bathing you or putting you to bed, there is this one thought that constantly bothers me – Am I raising you right? Am I doing everything that I should be doing to bring you up? Am I teaching you enough to build a strong foundation of core values for you? Am I doing justice to my dream of raising a good human being above all?
I can never be sure. I am growing, learning and evolving everyday just the way you are. I am bound to make mistakes just like you. My parenting methods are not perfect, but I want you to know this when you are older. I know you are little as of now to understand it, but I want to say it all before my thoughts go stale.
I don’t know when you will read this, maybe a decade from now on or on one of your gloomiest day when you are a teenager, or on the day you take that huge plunge of independence, but that day I want you to know:
Daddy and I will always be there to guide you. We will ensure you that you get an exposure of all things good and bad (in a subtle and protective manner), so that when the time comes, you make smart and informed decisions.
Have the heart that acts kindly. Be gentle, to not just people but other living beings too. Make friends with plants, trees and animals that surround you. For when humans fail you, these friends will stand by you always.
Imagine that if your life were a movie, you would be the lead actress. Don’t be selfish, but do not let others take precedence in your life, especially in the concerns that affect you directly. Don’t break hearts, but don’t get bogged down too.
It is only when you dream that you will realise your true calling. So, don’t be afraid to dream big, but remember that you need to work hard to accomplish those dreams. And also, not all dreams come true but that shouldn’t stop you from dreaming. For it is only when you dream, you strive for it.
Work hard, be competitive. Strive for success, work towards your goals like there is no limit. But remember to be content with and grateful for what you have achieved. Don’t just succeed, but do win people on your way to success. Don’t push yourself too hard, for every new milestone achieved, there will always be a new one. So, remember to sit back, relax and smell the roses.
Physically, mentally and most importantly, emotionally. Don’t let anyone tell you anything else. At times, when you are all bottled up, it is absolutely okay to break down. But pick up from there and emerge stronger and wiser.
Be the person whose action and demeanour will let others know where to draw the line. Don’t be intimidating, but don’t be docile and naïve too. Let your dignity and your actions speak for themselves.
I want you to feel, like really feel for others. Be compassionate. Step in their shoes before you act on a certain thing or say a certain something. That, my baby, will make you loved and respected more.
Fear only your actions, for our actions have repercussions sooner or later. Fear nothing else. Mommy and Daddy will hold your hand as long as you get rid of any fear, will help you through the way. Just remember to talk to them about your fears, all of them, big and small, good and bad ones too.
You will reason, reason everything. The matter, its existence, its past, present and its future. Your curious mind will ensure to ask intelligent questions all the time.
We will make sure books become your best friends. The more you read, the more you will think. The more you think, the more eminent your existence will be. For the mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.
Don’t just learn, experience. Don’t just read, absorb. Don’t just change, transform. Don’t just relate, advocate. Don’t just promise, prove. Don’t just criticize, encourage. Don’t just think, ponder. Don’t just take, give. Don’t just see, feel. Don’t just dream, do. Don’t just hear, listen. Don’t just talk, act. Don’t just tell, show.
All those sweet nothings I whisper into your ears are our secrets I want us to keep from the world. When you are a big girl, I want to be friends with you – 1 AM friends, who are open to talking about anything and everything under the sun. I promise to be your safe space.
I am willing to face all the adversaries (God Forbid) that life throws at me with you in tow. I assure you, that I will keep you safe and happy at all times. Your presence will sail me through smoothly.
I look at you and start believing in miracles. For we have had you when we lost all hopes of becoming parents ever. So, you instill that faith in me, that miracles do happen. And at the end of every dark cloud is a silver lining.
I am truly blessed to have you. Your choices, your decisions will make me proud. Sometimes you will fail my expectations, I will be hurt for sure but proud of the fact that you gave it your best shot. I will make sure you don’t give up on yourself ever.
When God made you, he broke the mould. You are one of a kind. Gifted and talented in your own way. I will help you realize your interests, hone your skills and boost your talent. You are not the one who will follow stereotypes, but be your own benchmark.
We knew this the moment we laid our eyes on you. You are our prayer that was answered after a really long wait. We want to cherish every moment with you. Your mere presence makes our lives extraordinary.
Remember that Mommy and Daddy have taught you to be equal to everyone, irrespective of what the societal norms dictate. Treat everyone you meet with the same love, respect, and dignity. That will make you stand apart from the crowd, making you truly special and unique.
With those two eyes, two ears, one little nose and that smile that make even our gloomiest days bloom, you are PERFECT to the T. If you ever meet anyone who finds flaws with the way you look, remember that there is a flaw with the person’s mindset. We have brought you up to be perfect by improvising, by making existing things and thoughts better. Not just someone who is obsessed by looks
Dear Baby, don’t lose yourself in being someone else. Build your individuality, have a voice of your own, a personality of your own. Have ideas, but refrain from idolizing them. Think independently, act responsibly. The world will burden you with tonnes of expectations (Sadly your parents belong there too), but be bold enough to choose what is best for you. Don’t drown yourself in living a life that someone else has crafted out for you. Always remember, it’s your life and hence it has to be your terms.
Many times, life does call for compromises. Many times you do have to give in too, but my baby, Mommy promises to be with you at all these times and help you emerge wiser and stronger.
I love you.
Always with you till my last breath,
Author’s note: Let us empower our girls at the right age. Let us raise them with their realization of Self worth, Dignity and Self Love. More power to mommies and their baby girls.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: shutterstock
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Rajshri Deshpande, who played the fiery protagonist in Trial by Fire along with Abhay Deol speaks of her journey and her social work.
Rajshri Deshpande as the protagonist in ‘Trial by Fire’, the recent Netflix show has received raving reviews along with the show itself for its sensitive portrayal of the Uphaar Cinema Hall fire tragedy, 1997 and its aftermath.
The limited series is based on the book by the same name written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, who lost both their children in the tragedy. We got an opportunity to interview Rajshri Deshpande who played Neelam Krishnamoorthy, the woman who has been relentlessly crusading in the court for holding the owners responsible for the sheer negligence.
Rajshri Deshpande is more than an actor. She is also a social warrior, the rare celebrity from the film industry who has also gone back to her roots to give to poverty struck farming villages in her native Marathwada, with her NGO Nabhangan Foundation. Of course a chance to speak with her one on one was a must!
“What is a woman’s job, Ramesh? Taking care of parents-in-law, husband, children, home and things at work—all at the same time? She isn’t God or a superhuman."
The arrays of workstations were occupied by people peering into their computer screens. The clicks of keyboard keys were punctuated by the occasional footsteps moving around to brainstorm or collaborate with colleagues in their cubicles. Most employees went about their tasks without looking at the person seated on either side of their workstation. Meenakshi was one of them.
The thirty-one-year-old marketing manager in a leading eCommerce company in India sat straight in her seat, her eyes on the screen, her fingers punching furiously into the keys. She was in a flow and wanted to finish the report while the thoughts and words were coming effortlessly into her mind.
Natu-Natu. The mellifluous ringtone interrupted her thoughts. She frowned at her mobile phone with half a mind to keep it ringing until she noticed the caller’s name on the screen, making her pick up the phone immediately.
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