The little daughter

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The moment she is born, her smile, brighter than the sun, more beautiful than a flower, refreshes the senses of her parents and anyone who holds her. She brings in joy in the home every moment till the time she grows up and is given away so she could start her own family.

Here is a tale of how a daughter loved her father even at the cost of her life and yet she smiled till the end.

In those ignorant days of old, it was customary to bury female children for want of sustenance or just plain peer pressure. Fathers, when they saw that there were more daughters than sons, would quietly take their daughters and bury them alive: All this, without the slightest remorse. What an awfully evil tradition, indeed!

It is evening. The father gets up, holds the little hand of his four-year old daughter, carries a few ploughing tools and departs from home. They take the path which leads to the jungle.

His sole intention is to bury her and come back home.

Perhaps, he is short of sustenance and cannot keep up with the demand of food and clothing. He is too much under pressure. The debt has been rising consistently. He has received a counsel from his friends, which made sense to him. The justification is that he could save on some food if he gets rid of his daughter while his sons will bring him lots of provision once they attain their age. He is convinced, yet, hesitatingly. He is in two minds but the words of the counsel have made a deep impact on him.

As they walk, the only thing he could notice is the occasional queries from the little one whose hand he is holding.

She looks up to her father, smiles and asks, “Dear father, are you taking me to show those nice birds in the jungle? It is so nice of you. Can we bring in lots of flowers back home? I will play with them.”

“But isn’t it strange that we are going to watch birds in the night? But, I don’t mind!” she says with a smile on her face. While being oblivious to the fact that she will never see the return path of her home, let alone the home where she was born and the family that cuddled her as she grew up.

The father was silent as stone and never looked at her fearing that an element of compassion should enter into his mind and compel him to abandon his mission. He walks insolently, like a charging soldier would, with tools in one hand and a frail child in the other.

As she tries to shoo away the jungle mosquitoes while they walk, she occasionally would peek at him, anticipating a reply but would get none. She doesn’t mind the answer now because she is happy that her father is taking her to a place where she can have fun for a time. She starts to imagine all that she will do once they reach there. It is going to happen in just a short while from now. The blush on her face bears witness to it.

They stop by a huge tree where her father starts to dig a hole in the land. The kid doesn’t say a word. She trusts that her father is doing something that will benefit her and make her happy.

Her father used to bring her sweets and used to feed her with his own hands. She would sit on his shoulders and they would take a walk or just play until they laughed out aloud. He even picked a thorn which had entered her foot while she played outside. Since, her father picked the thorn, it didn’t hurt. Later, she had slept by his side peacefully and rested her little head on his strong arm.

As he dug the ground some soil flung over his sleeves. Before he could react, he saw that his daughter, with her little hands, started cleaning up the soil. He looked at her and found a smile on her face. She cleaned up the entire soil from her father’s clothes and signalled him to continue without a hint of an idea as to what he was up to. If she were strong and old enough, she would have helped her father in digging the hole.

For the first time, a drop of tear formed in the stone-hearted man’s eyes who ploughed like a soldier, except that the enemy this time was his own little daughter who was standing besides him.

Daughters usually stand by their fathers in everything that they do. They look at them as role-models, heroes; and are very proud of them. If the world were to turn against her father, the daughter will be the first to stand in defiance in order to protect him even at the cost of her life.

He dug the land while his daughter cleaned up his clothes continuously. She couldn’t tolerate even one speck of soil on her father’s clothes.

Finally, the hole in the ground was big enough for the frail little child. Her built was such that it didn’t give her father a huge task of digging up a bigger hole. A small hole in the ground was enough for her to go in and play.

“Go and lie down there”, her father commanded, albeit with a tremble in his voice.

“Father! What are we playing?”

“Just keep quite and lie down there.”, her father barked.

“Do I have to close my eyes?” said her as she closed her eyes and smiled again like all the kids do.

There she lay in the hole with her eyes closed and her little fists working hard to keep itself in a closed position while occasionally she would cheat by opening up her right eye and shutting it immediately for fear of being caught.

Her father looked away for a while and took a heavy breadth. He was here on a mission and he must accomplish what he came here for.

“Father! Hurry up. Let’s play. Let me know when to open the eyes.”

The four-year old thought her father was playing a new game, may be something like hide and seek and she was looking forward to it. She trusted her father. What’s the matter? Today, he appeared different.

Fathers are looked upon by their kids as a source of trust and security. Something like a fort with an army that can keep them safe. When they are in the arms of fathers they feel a serene sensation of peace and of being protected.

He started pulling the soil over her little one as she lay in the hole. She had a naughty smile on her lips and every time a particle of soil would hit her face she would contract her eyes shyly and smile.

‘Seems like the game had started. My father will hide me in the soil and then teach me the game’, she thought.

The game had indeed started. The ‘Game of Death’, but she was oblivious of the plot her father had in his mind.

He kept pulling the soil over with frenzy. Looking away; while his eyes would continue shedding tears and moisten the soil below. He couldn’t see the tremble in the hole as the child suffocated. Her muted call for help lay lost in the wilderness of the dark jungle. He waited till there was no shaking of the earth.

Silence!

Except the occasional echo of the wolves howling behind the mountains or the sounds of the bats taking their flight as they flap their wings or the groaning of the owls. Without giving a second glance he walked away towards his home. The path was barely visible on account of a crescent moon.  He walked like a looser, who has just been defeated in the battle, laying low his arsenal. He felt the tools he was carrying were heavier than ever.

For the child who was returned to the soil, there was no butterfly, no colourful bird, no flower, no game. She lay there silent in the very soil she cleaned up her father’s sleeves. Without complaint of any kind. Just a smile, even as she laid herself in the trap of her father.

The last hope of her life gave her the last breadth of life.

Now, the game was over. An evil game indeed!

That was the last time a girl child was buried alive in that village.

His soul made him restless. His guilt started consuming him vehemently. He repented to God day and night. The Almighty did forgive him seeing how he repented and gave the man a change of heart.

He went far and wide preaching against this senseless violence of burying girl child alive and would himself stand guard to protect these little angels from meeting the devastating fate at the very hands that are supposed to take care of her.

His message was simple for the world to hear, “Protect and love that which brings joy to you. That which is a source of coolness for your eyes. That which loves you for what you are and stands by you even when the world were to desert you. The first one to run for help if you are to get hurt. The first to wipe your tears if you are abandoned by fate. The one who stands by you at all times and believes in you even if the world were to reject you. The one who will still continue to love you even when you do not deserve to be loved. All this for the return of a simple price: ‘A smile on my father’s face!’”

Why are we angry?

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sxc.hu > Pic credit twasa > Image: 'broken'

Anger unleashed (picture credit twasa@www.sxc.hu )

Curled lips with a frown on face,
A vivid jerk of neck in impatience,
While pulling an imprudent gaze.
Slams the door behind in insolence.

Never to look into the eyes,
But, with a heavy breadth,
As one of their own before sigh,
Turns total stranger of late.

With a bond that has turned cold,
Perhaps the hopes seemed never fulfilled,
Once a rapport so tough that could endure till old
Now, a link so frail that couldn’t be sealed.

In the world where expectations rule,
While faking many things is a norm,
Anger on you till you loose your cool,
If you happen to dig out the truth worm.

Now, arguments and debates of who is right,
Replacing words of affection and care,
Proving the point until logic leaves sight,
Leaving relations hanging totally bare.

                    – Uruj Kohari

Why do we feel angry? What brings about anger in us? Towards whom is our anger really targeted? But, the biggest question is: What is anger?

Definitions vary. It’s different for different people. Very subjective at it’s very best.

However, as with everything, people are prone to offering generalisations of the theories close to their heart. Like, “I feel angry when I don’t get what I want!” is one such suggestion. “I feel angry when I ‘am let down by others.” “I get angry sometimes and I am not sure of its cause. I just feel angry on myself and others. Maybe it’s just my mood.”

Contributors to Wikipedia puts it like, “Anger is an emotion related to one’s psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged or denied and a tendency to undo that by retaliation.” Others define it as, “…a normal emotion that involves a strong, uncomfortable and emotional response to a perceived provocation.”

However, the most interesting of all the definitions observed so far: “Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviourally, cognitively, and physiologically when a person makes the conscious choice to take action to immediately stop the threatening behaviour of another outside force.”

The most important observations noticed so far makes me believe that the trigger to anger, in most of the cases, happens to be based on ‘perception’, which may or may not be real. Another observation points to the fact that an angry person, in most cases, resorts to justification of even the most erroneous acts performed by self by modifying the most logical arguments and pushing it towards fallacy. Fallacies make connections between facts and present an idea, which seemingly looks factual. For e.g. A book is on the table. The table is on the floor. Hence, the book is on the floor.

Anger, certainly is about feelings and emotions. It is an emotion present in every individual living and breathing on this planet. However, the intensity of the same varies. We inherit this emotion as an infant. Some cry and vent out their anger while others pent it up and blow it over on a person or a thing which can absorb it. If anger is pent up, then it may turn dangerous inhibiting our capacity to think objectively. A person with anger may even seem to think logically and present logical arguments but the ability to make wise decisions gets impaired drastically.

Medical science informs us that there is an increased activity in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex of the brain experiencing anger. This area is a part of prefrontal cortex in the frontal lobes of the brain, which is involved in the cognitive processing of decision-making, generation of logical arguments, planning, strategy and the most important part; lying and alteration of facts.

As we can observe, anger could be viewed as impulsive; acting on a sudden stimuli, deliberate; targeted towards a person or a thing (with or without the presence of a sudden stimuli), or based on one’s character trait; a person can have an angry persona characterised by the way they behave in public or private but may not be targeted specifically on what we can call as a ‘stimuli’.

For many, anger is destructive in nature while for others it is a mature emotion: meaningful and perhaps, even creative. It can provide an individual the much needed power to do big things and to shed inhibitions. With the correct venting of anger nations and businesses were and are being conquered.

Anger can be found to be selectively targeted at a person or it can take up the form of one’s mood and feelings while being blown over at people or things around that person. People feel angry when they think they are not understood, appreciated by the person who they believe must understand them. There is a strong expectation of being understood and if that is not met then that could start an instance of anger.

Anger is an emotion which springs up memories of infanthood when an infant has just seen the world and slowly starts separating itself from its carers and then begins life on its own. It is still unable to communicate its needs and feelings and expects the mother to continue taking care of it. It feels hungry. It needs to sleep. It is scared of disturbances and events happening around.

But, the status quo of being in the womb shatters after labour, which brings about overwhelming trauma on the little one and the infant is unable to cope up with it. The world outside dawns over like a black scary shadow as it leaves the safe, cosy confines of the mother’s womb. This trauma is excruciatingly painful. But, this jolt of an incident is the nature’s way of forcing the infant to the next level where it will start accessing its cognitive abilities. This slowly pushes the little one towards processing the meaning of events happening outside its neurological domain.

Meanwhile, since not all of the needs and wants of the infants are addressed, it starts to slowly pent up the anger within, while occasionally, venting it out in the form of a cry or moving of the arms and legs in frustration while the adults think it is normal for an infant to do so.

We sometimes have a general feeling of anger and attribute it to our moods. While at other times, just the sight of a person on whom we are angry brings about feeling of rage within us.

While anger is a general feeling of emotion, rage takes over as the most active part of it. Broken plates and broken hearts could well be attributed to the unleashing of rage from a person. It is usually directed at objects, which are delicate while also being vented out through rough words and actions at people who will absorb them. People who are close or those who are subordinates usually bear the brunt of the fury, not withstanding whether the action is justifiable or not.

If anger is held for a long time, the pent up emotion may push the person towards aggression or stonewalling depending upon the intrinsic character and temperament of the one experiencing it. Anger must be released; it must be vented out or better still; channelised to obtain creative results.

The actions from rage usually bring about remorse when the emotional fury subsides. The intellectual capability of our neural system processes this complex scenario later and then offer suggestions for corrective action such as offering apologies. At times the fallout is so intense that the corrective action and the feeling of the same arrive very late while the damage is already done.

Though there is no way to curb the anger, there surely is a way to control it and direct it to obtain creative results. It is different for different people as we can see it and hence every individual must learn to identify the use of this great potential within them and use it to further their goals. It will surely give the much needed boost to their self esteem and propel them higher on their way to success.

Owning it up

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I did a blunder but stepped aside,
For fear of being branded a slipshod;
I was happy, as I would hide,
But, with a sense of guilt I would nod.

I sensed the world does the same,
What I did was not insane;
While on stake was my name,
With people I tried to play a game.

Then, I gathered the courage to clear my guilt,
Say sorry and own up the wrongs from my side,
To show that I care and be who I am,
And, raise my head in just pride.

Not a stale apology uncaring ones say,
But a sorry from the depth of the heart,
A promise to self of not doing it ever again,
And, a genuine vow of a good start!

–    Uruj Kohari


“We apologise for the inconvenience we may have caused you”. It is this pre-fabricated mantra given out by most of the agencies in the business of providing services to its customers. Interestingly, and quite predictably, this ubiquitous mantra could be found in use across the globe: A formal ‘device’ through which the agencies can get away guilt-free after a shoddy service, yet attempt to make a point. Through this they come across to us as caring and respecting agencies who take pride in attending to the concerns of their customers.

This mantra is usually delivered from a one-way system to the customer who is in pain and need immediate relief from his persisting condition. No interaction with the customer; no feedback accepted whatsoever! It is akin to a board put up on a road which reads, ‘Road closed ahead please take a ‘U’ turn’. Take it or leave it. Our apologies, of course!

This could well be the case of an individual who renders a ‘hearty’ apology to you if he/she hurts you in any way. A formal apology is like a valid visa to do it once again. It often is not an absolute reminder of what one has done to you. The length of the word could be longer and more formal than the humble ‘sorry’ we say all the time.

Yet, “I am very sorry!” sounds so personal, so touching. It sounds like they really mean it. Contrast that with the plastic, unapologetic apology tendered by them. Sounds so superficial; devoid of all emotions and depth!

Whenever the guilt sets in, and it will, if you are a person with character, it is better to go ahead and admit it all. Take the blame if you were the problem maker. It will make you feel lighter instantaneously. It will mean that you are indeed sorry for what you have done without any intentions of repeating the mistake ever again. It will mean that you truly mean it. It will mean that you respect and care. It will invariably make you look honest and respectful.