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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

An Account True To The Indian Soul

We became very good friends from the day she joined our school. We would sit together in class, talk a lot, play pranks on everyone, bunk classes together- in short we had lot of fun together. Everything was going perfectly until...

Something changed. I started seeing a change in her after about a month. We were still good friends but, she would be unhappy all the time. She could not enjoy to the fullest. One fine day, I discovered cut marks on her left wrist! On inquiring about it, she turned her face away and changed the subject. But I am not a fool, am I? I asked her if she got hurt- and she remained silent... I asked if she cut herself and she nodded. Although I was shocked(It really puzzled me as to why such a jolly girl like her would do such a thing), I did not show it. I did ask her if she wanted to tell me anything. She did not want to. I left it at that. However, after talking for sometime, she opened up to me. She said she felt like taking her own life. She went on to say that her parents did not understand her at all; they were always trying to stop her from things she wanted to do...

Slowly, she told me everything- her parents would not allow her to have a personal mobile phone (a kind of a "survival kit" for the teenagers today- who wouldn't agree?) They would not allow her to go out with her friends, not even for birthday parties. They would stop her from attending school on days with any school functions, which were apparently distractions, according to them. They would also interfere when she talked to guys, let alone meet them! (This fact really got me thinking! I was wondering why her parents would put her in a co-educational school if they had a problem like that?)

She finally asked me if I would talk to her parents and tell them they are wrong. I explained that she should not fight back the way she was doing it. I made her understand their mentality. She realized that the main reason they acted so insecure was because they were afraid that she might fall into wrong company, which would perhaps spoil her life. Also, her parents were very conservative; they were against the western influence, and naturally talking freely to their daughter was not something they were ready to do! However, they never backed out from buying western outfits for her or making her study in an English-medium school!(A great irony)

I went about talking to her parents also... I explained that in the present day world, they should change their attitude to some things with time. I explained what their daughter needed was their faith and understanding along with their love and care. They realized they should talk to her freely about all things, especially problems that all teenagers face nowadays; also agreeing to let her enjoy birthday parties and school fests... I made them believe that their daughter was a young adult, and they should treat her like a grown-up. Finally, they realized the most important thing- for their daughter to love and trust them, they should trust her back; and they should understand her and handle every situation with moderate strictness to make her happy... And if she is happy, so are they!

I would like to send out a message to every parent reading this:

Your child loves you unconditionally and takes not to hurt your feelings no matter how deeply they end up hurting themselves. So do not practice an "iron rule" over them to turn them against you. In that process, you end up hurting yourselves and your child alike, as your child always craves for your support and approval in whatever they do. Most importantly, they want you to understand them and be their friends. I know it is difficult to let go of the way people look at things, especially being Indians (considering our culture and tradition). But you have to realize that even our culture has flaws in it. A person should not be put in such a suffocating situation if he/she follows all the rules! Parents should look at it in a positive way. It helps a lot in the personality development of the child too. I am sure none of the parents out there would like to see their child fall into depression like as many 7 out 10 Indian children!

N.B.: Personally as a very amateur counsellor, it felt akward to talk to someone's parents that way. I have no idea how I ended convincing them and making everyone understand one another better but, I did it! I am glad I helped. Isn't it a win-win situation?
5 The Amateur Counsellor: An Account True To The Indian Soul We became very good friends from the day she joined our school. We would sit together in class, talk a lot, play pranks on everyone, bun...
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