“Its all in the upbringing...” I’d hear people say...all around me. And slowly, I started believing it as well... and I would find myself passing comments like “a well brought-up kid!”. Sheesh, wonder how old one can rightfully be to pass comments like that ;) Thank heavens there aren’t such restrictions! I can almost hear a number of people I know saying “molachu moonu yelai vidala, adhukula pesara pecha paaru!” But coming back to the point, or trying not to lose perspective (!), I think I did, and I still do believe that a large part of one’s personality is directly or indirectly related to how he/she has been brought up... in most cases, directly. In my case, definitely, directly.
Maybe I’m thinking about this because of the exponential rise in my watching TV shows (fiction, and true life stories) on how a child’s “growing-up” environment affects the mental state, and what sort conditions result in serial killers and psychopaths (sigh, this, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when you haven’t watched TV for over a year, and are suddenly re-introduced to it! The madness, I tell you, is very amusing!). Apart from realising how nice it is to have some form of entertainment, its made me feel...lucky. I think at some point, its important for us to reflect upon how smooth things have actually been, relative to so many other people’s lives... so maybe sometimes, we should stop thinking about our share of problems (which I should say, each person will always have!) and just be thankful...and say a little prayer.
So, I, for one, could now take a deep breath, and think about my “Rasna-kudumi” days, where I assume, I must have hopped, skipped and jumped around with a fountain-like ponytail emanating from the very centre of my skull, and a flowery frock, frilly and lacy, with a belt fastened in a bow at the back, in an attempt to give a neat appearance. Of course I am currently leaving out the opposite scenario where-in my frock would be gloriously soiled with the belt undone (as my shoe laces are these days!), and my fountain ponytail would be pushed to one side, my arms and feet would be as dirty as could get, and probably, the cherry on the cream would be a dripping nose from a cold...AND I’d run home to ammmmmaaaaaa, crying, with insect bites everywhere, knowing a tad too well that the ultimate question would come any moment – “Mannu la yaaru vilayada sonnadhu?” But the darlings that mothers are, they know what to ignore and what to take care of, and thusly, the crocodile tears shall be promptly ignored, as it could never be more evident that those rivers flowing down the little devil’s cheeks are but a facade to escape reprimands, but the insect bites shall be taken care of with ointment, and if severity persists – Avil! Such were the good old days ;). And such, is the judgement of mothers.
So today, I can think about it all on a day-to-day basis, and smile about it... I can think of all the hours my mom would have spent trying to shove rasam saadam down my throat when i now make rasam... I can think of how I abstained from lemon rice for years together, after the ‘good old days’ when a younger (perhaps, cuter!) me, used to call it ‘elipili saadam’... until Brisbane brought me back to it, in the name of convenience! I can think of the times I first started chopping vegetables to help in the kitchen, and how I still follow those techniques to the tiniest detail, and so many other small things that we don’t pay much attention to...and we hardly ever realise that we do them in that particular way because we were taught that way... and we were taught in such way, and at such a time in our lives, that it just got into our heads and never left... sort of like the person who taught you all that has left a permament imprint in your life, and you take it wherever you go, and it forever reminds you of them.
And then there’s the other side... the way you look at the world, the way you are with people... one’s priorities and things close to heart... one could argue that a large part of such things is determined by your peer group, your mentors, and the likes. Well... I believe it all starts at home... and everything is just a direct or an indirect result of it. Ultimately, wherever in the world you are, that’s where you go back to... family.
So... it IS all in the upbringing, isn’t it?
If you were conscious about the possibility that your actions and reactions reflect upon your upbringing, would you strive to be better? To give back to your parents what they’ve given you? To make them proud when they hear your praises from the world? To allow them to feel a warm glow about having done the right things for you? To give them peace of mind that they did good, and they can now sit back and watch what you do with your kids?
I would. Not because I think its some sort of obligation or duty I have to fulfil... but because I think they deserve the best. And, truly, its not very difficult to make people happy... So, why not do what you can?
So now... i’ll do what I said we should do... say a little prayer, and be thankful...
Happy Birthday amma ...
Yours “Uyirum neeye...Udalum neeye...Uravum neeye, thaaye” ly