Why Mother’s Day Means Nothing To Me

For some reason the idea of having one particular day to celebrate anyone, including birthdays, has always seemed bizarre to me. I won’t delve into any personal or religious beliefs because I came to hold onto them very later on in life. I will however share my sentiments on celebrating one person in one day because that is what’s on my mind as I look around.

Starting from February/Valentine’s, year round we are bomdarded with Siblings’ Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and so-and-so days; all around me I see billboards, tv ads, and even the internet, my primary mode of communication and news nowadays, full of ideas and suggestions for me to make the Day in fashion at the time special for my loved one. And all I am thinking is but I could do this any other day, when that person least expects it, and will probably feel much more special and happier than on the designated day for celebration.

I won’t even go into detail of the commercialization and profitability of these days and celebrations. The real reason I am sharing this is because Mom’s day is right around the corner, and like every year it means nothing to me. Here’s why:

My mom always tells me that from the moment I was born she could read my eyes and my facial expressions so no matter what I said, my face would tell her the real story and so I cannot hide anything that I am truly feeling from her. This is alarmingly and very accurately true. But as I grew up I realized that where she can read my facial expressions and know how I feel inside, so can I with her, simply because where I grew up in front of her very eyes, she also grew older in front of mine.

As a teen I used to swear to myself I will never do some things my mom does because at that time they used to annoy the bejeebies out of me. Telling me to call when I reached a destination whenever I headed out. Then not waiting for my call and instead calling me herself instead. Not once, nor twice, but ten times. Overhearing my conversations with friends. Not approving of some friends of mine. Repeatedly telling me to study when all I ever did was that. And so much more.

So I used to secretly promise myself I’ll never do that as a mom. While some of these things still seem overly protective to me and while I still think I won’t be as intrusive or over-caring like my mom, I now realize she was like that for my own good. The friends she didn’t approve of are no longer in my life for some reason or the other and its all for the better. The emphasis on studies was necessary for me to be a woman of my own. I may be an emotionally vulnerable person but thanks to my mom I do have the practical gear to depend on myself whenever calamity strikes.

And most of all, I am exactly like her in so many ways. She is part of me just like I am part of her. Yes I am part of her in flesh but she is also part of me in soul. Her story and her struggles, ones that I witnessed, and the ones I did not, are all part of me, her daughter. Every day I face some scenario, some person, or something being a mother myself now, that forces me to think how she would have or how did she handle the same circumstance. Sometimes her way and mine is similar. Sometimes I try it my way just to see if I could make it even better.

The point is that my mother lives in me and nothing can every take it away, not disease, distance, or even death. When someone is a part of you, just like the oxygen you breathe in, how can you sum their contribution in your life, and their eternal presence in just one day? For me even if I celebrate my mother or try to make her feel special every hour of every day of my life it won’t be enough because her efforts are immeasurable.

And when I, out of obligation, had to celebrate her day, or birthday, I always felt awkward because then I had to put on a mask of adoration and use things to express my gratitude. I had to not be myself in front of her for that one day when just the previous day she and I would have had an argument, or would have one the day after. With time I realized that the best way to show my gratitude was by just being me, the person she made, and she did not need me to be any other person on one particular day of the year to feel special.

As a mother, I feel special when my son smiles at me for approval or when he is proud he climbed the stairs himself, or eats by himself, or brushes his hair by himself-all the small stuff. I understand some mothers may feel immensely proud and grateful only when their children achieve some big goals like graduation, or their first job, or a promotion, or even marriage, and that’s fine. But speaking for myself I want to always feel proud, grateful, and special for all the small achievements my children get to because I don’t know how long will I be around and I always want them to remember that I am part of them everyday, not just for one big day that they would feel obliged to return the favor on.

My mother is me. I feel that everyday. Being the first born I did spend the most time with her too and that again has made me a different person than my siblings. She stood by me in all decisions I ever made, and keep making even today, even when she disagrees. The knowledge and personality she imparted me is an incredible thing to emulate. If I want to make her feel special then I have to make sure I live up to be a person others can look up to, trust, and respect. If someone prays for me in private, or deems my integrity worth, then this is her true achievement, and my honest celebration.

No matter what the day or hour, you know I love you Ami. You are worth so much more than just one day.

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Things I Absolutely Love About America

It will be 9 years since I stepped foot in this country this week and while it gave me a fair share of troubles (that I now deem as self-development phases), there are a number of things that I absolutely adore about it. Not that I forgot where I came from or I still don’t miss it, but one has to understand something about people who choose to start over and make homes in another country land-we fall in love with both places because both are home and somehow our souls are like nomads’. If nomads attach too much with one place they will never discover the life and bounties another beautiful place has to offer. So yes it is totally fine, according to me, to live in separate places and have your heart in all of them.

1. One can get married in ANY way possible, with ANY amount of money or no money at all, with ANY guests of their choice, and with ANY one. I wish this is one thing the whole world adopted as a culture. You could get married by the lake or by the zoo or in a five star hotel, wearing your grandmother’s 100 year old wedding dress or a designer gown, with just close family and friends, or 500 people, yet you would not be judged or talked about for the rest of your life at all!

2. Funerals are civil, organized, and a human/humane affair. A funeral procession quietly passing by without disrupting traffic or anyone else’s routine is quite consoling.

3. Despite media disinformation, normal people treat each other with the utmost respect and honor. I have met some of the most honest and truest people who are not Muslim or from an Asian country but are some of the best human beings I came across.

4. There is a service/good for every thing, and I mean everything.

5. You earn respect and get it instead of demanding it. If you are a douchebag you will most likely be treated like one.

6. Laws and regulations make life easier. Where I am not a proponent of a Big Brother level scrutiny, simple every day laws do make life easier.

7. People in service live up to their name and duty. Though there are some impolite and insincere servicemen who get the limelight, there are officers, etc. who remain true to their jobs and do put public interest before their own.

8. As a new inhabitant, this country will grill you and drill you so much that if you are normal, you will be forced to let go of any pretension, arrogance, and royal attitude you originally brought with you. Eventually you will learn the art of self-reliance and be proud of it.

9. Everyone does their own work without feeling embarrassed or ashamed including wiping toilets at home (being average people of course), doing the dishes, laundry, mow the lawn, clean snow, etc. You just cannot afford to be lazy.

So there you have it. These are some of the things I really like and enjoy about living here. If every culture adopted the good things of each other wouldn’t this world be a great place to coexist? Just some food for thought.

Why Moms Need To Be Strong Even When They Are Really Scared

I was recently at the doctor’s for just a routine check-up and had my 18 month old accompany me. All was going well until I had to lie down and the doctor did a complete physical as part of the routine. As soon as I lay down and she began checking me something happened that had never happened before. My baby’s eyes bulged in fear, his lips started quivering in anxiety, and eventually he shouted out in his “babblingo” pointing at the doctor to leave his mom alone as he stretched out his arms looking at me for comfort.

It was in that moment when I realized something so profound about being a mother. Even if I am writhing in pain literally or figuratively I have to pose strength for my baby’s sake. This was a very natural thing to happen that babies look for moms for comfort when they are scared but it made me realize that in my own life if God Forbid my own mother was in any pain I am naturally scared, even now when I am technically a grown-up. It scares me to even think if someone or something causes her enough pain that she might not be able to be there for me anymore. Death is a natural thing and it is a completely different phenomenon to deal with. But seeing your mom in discomfort? I am just like my 18 month old when it comes to that.

While my check up completed my baby gave me bewildered looks throughout so and I could not wait to be done and lift him up to comfort him. As soon as I did he started laughing and babbling that felt to me like he was saying, “Don’t ever do that to me again, Mom!”. It is amazing how brief moments with babies can teach us lifetime lessons. Most of these lessons involve appreciating our own parents and their strife as one at a whole new level. What my baby taught me that day was that I am still a baby inside when it comes to being comforted by my own mother, and that from that day onward I have to make a conscious effort to be strong, not for myself but for him.

No matter how much of a mess I am inside I have to show my child that I am sane and dependable enough for him to rely on me. That may be the hardest thing to do at some parts in life but I have to try at least. I can no longer afford to act immature and impractical when calamity strikes, or something drastic happens because I have a pair of eyes watching my every reaction. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever cry in front of him but I will let him know that after the tears are gone we have to let go of the bad and embrace all the good waiting for us; that after I regain strength I also have to show him how to muster up the courage to look adversity in the eye and smile instead of running away in fear.

Strength is not just a physical trait. It is a lifelong process and a life lesson I feel I need to give my babies so when they become parents they know for sure, even if I am not there, I am still being strong for them, and in turn they have to do the same. Meanwhile let me hold my baby a little longer to make him feel safe, and wish these moments last a little bit longer.

19 Weird Facts About An Average Muslim Girl

There is no use pretending that living in today’s world is easy especially being a Muslim. International media has taken it upon itself to spew disinformation about Islam and Muslims so much so that I’d be scared to live next to or encounter one in the supermarket myself. So I decided to share some things about an average Muslim girl as I know one very closely. She is a couple of years shy of turning thirty so she still likes to deem herself a girl and not a woman.

Although being Muslim is a central part of her everyday life, her personality and outlook towards life is hugely a product of the culture she grew up in, her upbringing, and personal experiences so I won’t be surprised if some of the facts I share below sound totally horrific or bizarre to some.

1. She LOVES to sleep. Now that she is a mom that is one of the biggest sacrifices she has had to make. For the most part she is used to it but some days when she lacks sleep she has the tendency to turn into a momster.

2. She loves to coordinate any accessories she wears with her clothes and headscarf but is also usually too lazy to do so, so mostly she just walks out accessoring with just a ring her husband gifted her on their first anniversary.

3. She has very weak eyesight because as a child she used to light an “electric” torch under her blanket to read her favorite novels that included the Harry Potter series, Enid Blyton stories, Archie comics, and when she grew up a bit, any English novel she could lay her hands on.

4. Her favorite color is pink. She has had to sacrifice not having an all pink wardrobe and room after marriage (a major sacrifice if you must ask!) but inside she is still a “pink” girl.

5. Growing up her favorite toy was a Barbie doll, any Barbie doll. She still loves them but now its more of a mature collectible hobby than playing (or so she tells herself that).

6. She never really liked the kitchen as a place to work in. She’d only go in there to eat. She learnt how to make a roti and knead dough 3 years after marriage when her baby started eating solids and insisted on eating it everyday. She also did not know how to cook when she was married because her father just wanted her to concentrate on studies and not worry about any chores.

7. When she did learn how to cook, she was amazed at her own self because for all she knew she could never even break an egg straight.

8. She met her husband online, not on a dating website, or any other website of the sort, but purely coincidentally while searching for colleges online. So much for living in a prehistoric era!

9. She is scared of lizards and mice, mostly because once she had a mouse sleeping on her face and woke up just in time before it could take a bite.

10. She loves to write and when she can’t she tends to get stressed and sometimes depressed.

11. Her best friends are from high school and college. Making new best friends is one of the hardest things for her to do.

12. She enjoys being a full time mom and usually she can do it for 14 hours straight without sleep. Then the momster starts waking up.

13. She has had crushes ever since she was nine or ten-including celebrities. Oh the horror!

14.  She has an MBA degree because that is all her father wished to see from her, a higher education degree, the fruit of his life’s efforts.

15. She worked in a corporate environment for several years. She was promoted too. Yet she hated corporatism. Free speech and education getting to the head much?

16. She is opinionated, strong willed, and can carry out an intellectual conversation if you will.

17. She likes to gossip with her girlfriends.

18. She does not judge you when you give her headscarf ugly glances like she has horns on her head or something. Or when you do the same to her husband’s beard.

19. She loves her parents to death.

So there you have it. If you are not appalled yet, I must congratulate you for not being brainwashed by whatever media feeds you, and having your own opinion in the world of puppets.

PS. this post is my first attempt at a sarcastic/humorous take on the otherwise hard time Muslims have to go through today. It is not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings, and is solely based on my personal experiences.

The A in Alzheimer’s

Anger and Angst

It was an early fall afternoon four years ago and I was alone in my car parked in a deserted parking lot after I had just gotten indicted with a speeding ticket that would cost me a lot of money to get rid of, several court visits, and exposure to being alone in court with a lawyer pleading my case. I had just gotten off the phone with my best friend who lived hundreds of miles away at that time and nothing she said could comfort me. I felt as deserted, lost, and alone as the parking lot I was parked in. I had taken an early leave that day to drive three hours away to see my fiance/now husband only to find out we wouldn’t be able to meet that day because he was too busy. I had not realized how disturbed my then mental state was until the cop had pulled me over and asked me how fast I was going and I just went blank. Words jammed in my mouth and then I burst crying in front of this stranger in the middle of the highway with a blank mind. He too got alarmed looking at me and asked me to calm down.

And yet all I could tell him was I don’t know how fast I was going because I was thinking about my dad who had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, how he had just been let go of his job of 15 years because he could no longer remember tasks he had been doing mechanically for the past 15 years, because being the eldest and only other earning person in my household at that time I was now the sole bread earner, and my fiance of three years lived so far away for work that I had to take off early from work once every month to see him otherwise I’d go insane, and in the middle of all these thoughts I had no idea when my foot pressed the accelerator so hard that I was now subjected to what could be a possible felony if I was charged with this speeding.

I did not get that ticket on my record, fyi. But the thoughts that bothered me that afternoon traveled with me steadily for the next four years. I cannot even begin to fathom what my dad has gone through since this disease got the best of him. All I know is that it got the best of all of us. My family has and will never be the same like it was before we had him all normal. As if we needed another reason to be “not normal” since we already had my brother with Down’s Syndrome. The way we lost family and friends when this happened. When “friends” of my dad who he had helped in dire, dire situations turned their backs on him so much so that they even refused to recognize me in public places. When “family” who only called or visited to check in if he was still alive or dead so they could start planning on how to go about receiving anything he left behind in his name, or just to simply give pity talks to us, especially my already distraught mother. When the grand wedding my father had envisioned for me, his eldest and only daughter, could now never materialize only because he himself was unable to even remember he had a daughter he had to get married. When everything in the future crumbled before my eyes because a father is the first and strongest pillar of the family, and what does one do when the strongest pillar just gets demolished in a matter of blinks?

I was angry. Very, very angry. How could this happen? To my family, my mother, me? Just…….how?! For years, even after I became a parent I could not bring myself at peace with the fact that he was gone yet he was still here. Like a ghost. A living ghost? I would cry like a little girl on the smallest of things that would remind me of him…sometimes the long coat of a guy similar to the one he wore in winters…sometimes looking at someone who resembled him…sometimes looking at other fathers and daughters…and then there was the time when I was getting married, saying I do in front of him, bidding him farewell as I left his home forever and started a new life, without him realizing that I was gone..without him making a memory of his little girl as a bride, without him giving me any prayers he’d remember afterwards, without him being there to advise me anymore or even give me a shoulder to cry on if in the future I felt scared or bewildered or just plain lonely in my new home.

If you ever hate someone, wish they have a loving family and then they get struck by Alzheimer’s You could not wish worse for someone. Trust me. What sucked the most about this whole ordeal was that he wasn’t even that old. Guys his age in the west marry 16 year old models or take their spouses on cruises. Guys his age just begin to live. It was so unfair. To him. To us.

Acceptance

Its not easy. It was just not easy. None of it made sense to me and I had nightmares for a very long time. I had lost him as a ten year old kid when he moved away to fend for us and did not see for eight years straight, and I had lost him again after just a reunion of five short years. In the five years we lived together he was busy working two jobs so that we could enjoy the life of luxury in America. And luxurious our life was indeed. Because once he was not there, and I had to take care of the bills I realized how ungrateful and spoilt I was. He would not let me do any chores in the house. He would not bother me if my cell phone bill went higher one month. He would not complain about giving me pocket money even though I was working and an adult. He would fight with my mom if she ever scolded me. He would always have the air conditioner on so his children would not catch a heat stroke. He would clean our cars before we had to. He would just be jolly and humorous about the gravest of situations and if I ever cried he would cry with me because he could just not see tears in my eyes.

So when I lost the biggest luxury of having a caring father I was shattered like never before. I thought I had my heart broken several times before but I was so wrong. This time it broke so that I could not even find the pieces to mend it. I lost the only guy who was my everything. I used to slip in so easily into his arms given that he is a good 6 feet and 4 inches tall. He taught me everything. From driving, to studying, to work ethics, to being honest, to choosing the right path no matter what, and most of all he taught me acceptance. He himself was not a strong person emotionally and it bothered me a lot but time has taught me that this trait of his and him being struck by this disease was nothing but a blessing in disguise. He taught me the biggest lesson of life after forgetting how to teach altogether and without making any conscious effort.

Admiration

It was necessary I got that ticket that afternoon because it was my first step towards accepting my life would never be the same and I had to be okay with this fact.

It was necessary I become responsible for all financial responsibilities in the household so I could grow up, mature, and realize the toil my father had gone through for 15 years without us just so we could live peacefully.

It was necessary for me to drive alone to get my henna done for my wedding two hours away, and drive alone decked up as a bride to the wedding venue so I could take pride in being the daughter of a man who had immense self respect.

It was necessary for me to spend every penny on my wedding so I knew the value of money and the fact that extravagance does not guarantee a good marriage.

It was necessary for me to look at him in my last days at home and say prayers from the deepest of my heart for him because the prayers from a daughter’s heart come next to nothing in the world.

It was necessary for me to take my time to come to terms with the fact that I am the daughter of an Alzheimer’s patient and I am no less proud of him than I was when he was okay.

Because if he was okay, he would not be able to see me cry whenever I cried as a wife or a mother.

Because if he was okay, he would not let me take on responsibilities. and protect me from the viciousness of the world thus inhibiting my personal growth.

Because if he was okay, I would not have been hurt or exposed to situations like facing a judge alone and gain confidence.

Because if he was okay, I would not have cried nights out and be grateful for him as one of the first and biggest blessings in my life.

Because if was okay, I would not have the ardor, the passion, the drive, to get up each morning and live for my baby.

Thank you, Alzheimer’s. You gave me my dad back in a way I never suspected, with an admiration I would otherwise never have. You gave me him in the most Amazing way possible.

 

Getting a C was the bravest thing I ever did…

I became a first time mommy at 27 years of age and it is indeed the best thing that happened to me after getting married to my best friend. My whole birthing experience however was exactly opposite to what I had carefully planned, printed, and prayed for 9 months of pregnancy. It was everything I was always scared of, and more.

I went to the hospital when my contractions were about 15-20 minutes apart. I had a surprisingly fast labor at least to what I was told, reaching 5 minutes apart two hours later. I was excited, nervous, and yes in pain but I could not wait to witness my miracle. That is till my midwife delivered the news that I have a breech baby and I do not have much time till they start their surgical procedure to ensure a healthy delivery. They did a quick ultrasound to confirm the breech and asked my husband and I how to proceed. My husband obviously wanted the best for both the baby and me so he said its all up to me what I wanted to do. I still remember crying tears of desperation as I half heartedly agreed to go ahead with the surgery. I kept asking the midwife and doctors if there was any other alternative and all they said was it was better not to have a natural delivery because 90% of vaginal births for breech babies may result in severe brain damage to the baby due to the risk of oxygen getting cut or the head getting stuck during delivery since the baby comes out feet first. In what I still consider the weakest moment of my faith, as a desperate mother who just wanted a normal and healthy baby after a long and stressful pregnancy (I had gone through a lot of personal loss that year) I just gave up and agreed to the surgery.

The whole process was a breeze after I was injected with the epidural and I did not feel a thing until hours later. My baby was healthy and cuddled with me as soon as his vitals were done. I stayed at the hospital for 4 days and returned on the 5th but ever since the birth I had an amazingly huge burden in my chest for not trusting myself and God enough to have a natural delivery. My husband still reassures me that I did the right thing, that it was indeed the best thing to do given our circumstances, that I am a strong mother also because I chose to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, and at 16 months am still going strong with it ( did introduce solids and organic food to my baby at 9 months but that’s a topic for another discussion), and that the way our baby was born did not matter, what mattered was he was fine.

I agree that our baby’s well being was the primary reason I decided to go ahead with the much dreaded C section. I call it dreaded because all the fears I had regarding it came true for me. I have not been the strongest of people since childhood, have never been much sporty or even the type that could roam about shopping for hours. I am not a big fan of walking or outdoor activities. I could sit and write forever but being up and about on my feet is not my thing. I never had any sort of surgery major or minor prior to this in my life, I never even got injured even a small bit to visit the hospital before this. So for me all this hurt, and talks about my incision, and my inside healing up was not only novel, it was beyond scary. and painful. So painful!

Where I had imagined recovering in about a month post partum, it took me 4. Where I had not imagined having any issues using the restroom or just simply climbing stairs post partum, these little things were excruciatingly hard for the next couple of months. My sides hurt like they were on fire all the time. I could not turn while sleeping. And while the specialists said I’d be fine in no time my body took its time to heal. The winter was just around the corner so pediatric visits, my  own check-ups, all of it was so hard. God Bless my husband for being an angel where he took extra care of me and the baby at all times otherwise I could not have survived a day without him. Physical pain really isn’t the best of pains to survive but now when I look back I realize somehow I made it and I did survive and I should be proud of myself for doing so.

My incision has left me a victory scar for life, more like the symbol of my first triumph as a mother, and a constant reminder that motherhood is not easy, it is the beginning of a selfless journey where I will always care for my baby first disregarding how much pain it will cause me. It is the symbol of love, something that my child might never understand, that in order for him to be well, his mother gave up everything she had, from her physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual self, for him. I always thought I knew what unconditional love was but it was only after my C section that I experienced it. I guess it kind of helps that it is called a “C” section, something I can rotate left and see a smiley face in so I can keep reminding myself that I may be a weak person but when it comes to being mom I showed my bravest side. It was the first and hopefully the last C I ever get in life but it has taught me things that nothing else ever could.

Through the Looking Glass…

In my religion, the country of my origin, and even in popular culture, marriage is deemed a sort of glorification of the self. From childhood we see marriage being a time to rejoice, party, get together, have fun, wear the best clothes, hold functions in the best venues with the best food where everyone is laughing, dancing, smiling, and acting like this is as best life can get. For this reason everyone, especially girls, start thinking that marriage indeed is a happy endeavor, something that will complete them no matter what.

As a child I used to have similar views about marriage-especially “love marriage”. I adored my parents’ before marriage story. My dad saw my mom at their university and sent his parents to her house to ask her hand in marriage. They went with a ring and finalized things at my mom’s house. Pretty romantic and smooth for a culture I come from, and that too thirty years ago. They had a grand wedding, my dad was beaming from ear to ear (his photographs and video are proof), and it was a dream royal affair that I idolized till teenage.

After that I started waking up to the real face of marriage. I think our parents’ relationship is the closest one we have as an example for us to learn from and base our feelings about this relationship, and these feelings are one of the strongest when it comes to exercising ourselves as spouses in the future. Consciously or unconsciously, as a partner, we are a direct product of what we have experienced so far in life with the only other husband and wife we see as soon as we open our eyes.

So the most “in-my-face” reality of my parents’ marriage was the fact that THEIR parents belonged to not only different ethnicities but also different religious sects. One may think but hey it was the twentieth century, my parents were both educated belonging to educated families, they would all have had the sense to sort this issue out before marriage in a civil and humane manner to enjoy a blissful married life right? So wrong. The biggest dilemma we STILL face in 2015 for most couples who dare marry out of choice and that too someone with such vast differences is that while they can enjoy their one day of wedding festivities but pay the price for saying “I do” for the rest of their lives. Like my parents did.

To make it worse, our religion preaches marriage to be the best relationship in this world, one that all other relations spring out of. A happy home yields happy generations. But no one is putting this into practice for real. Put in egos, pride, superiority complexes, materialism, and the satisfaction of not letting others live in peace, and there you have it, generation upon messed up generation who eventually grow up despising marriage and everything to do with it.

My mother was treated as an outcast by her in laws for as long as she was in front of them. Even today that hatred for her in their hearts is still alive. She is still the home wrecker who took away my father from his parents and his sisters, the one who brain washed him to go settle in a far away country just so he could be torn apart from his family. Why? Because hey she is not the first cousin my grandparents originally chose for my father to be his bride. So what if that girl wasn’t educated enough for my dad or would have had zero compatibility with him. Thirty years down when my own parents are grandparents, my mother is still being treated like an outcast and a villain because she was not family, she was not my grandparents’ choice, she belonged to a different sect and her parents spoke a different provincial language than my father’s. And to make matters worse there came a time when my father, the one who initiated this whole affair, sided blindly with his family, making her life a living hell for a lack of a better term.

Today because of this unwanted hatred attributed to reasons that my mother had no control over (mother tongue, religion, etc.) we are not too fond of my father’s family, and neither are they of us. They have blamed even this at my mom, that she, even though was the only one who lived with my dad’s family for fifteen years in his absence when he was abroad, trying to make a living for ALL of us, being the only son of the house, she did not want us to be close to his family so she planted our brains with resentment towards them. Way to make me feel retarded for not having an emotional quotient of my own!

My parents never forced either me or my siblings to choose one of their ways in any walk of life. I was always given a choice-to trust my instinct to choose what I felt right, and then they trusted my decision, whether it was studies, work, or when it was time to get married, and I plan to do the same. But in a world that is still breeding hatred and this black plague in people’s hearts firmed by pride and baseless superiority I fight a daily battle as to how, how do I go about knowing the environment I grew up in where both my parents’ families had to fake smiles in the once-in-a-blue-moon family gathering that we had where everyone would be present. Where “family gatherings” and celebrations were only for my dad’s family and extended family, while we had to wait to go celebrate with our mom’s side. And this isn’t just my story. People raised in the same time era can relate. Dad’s family first, mom’s family later, or even never in some cases.

Even today I yearn for a genuinely happy environment where I could have cherished both my mother and father’s families. Where I would have learned to love both grandparents equally and so much that when asked who is my favorite grandparent I could choose because I was so attached to all of them. Where all my uncles and aunts were the ones who treated me like royalty and pampered me. Where I felt true warmth at both ends and when all families were in one room there was the sound of heartfelt laughter or tears, genuine concern, and real connection. I miss not enjoying grandparental love. It is a necessary relation for any child and I was deprived of it because of my elders’ egos.

Its a bit too late for me but from the core of my existence I pray my children get to experience all these beautiful human emotions so that when they are grown up enough to understand relationships they know that family is the only most powerful relationship that makes you, not breaks you, even though it has the power to do so.

May I be able to pass on an unbroken, clean, and pure looking-glass to them. Amen.