Tuesday, April 18, 2017

O : Oh Brother!

My younger brother is the only sibling I have. He has grown into a man who isn't game for an adventure. He likes to live a routine, steady life. Given my lifestyle, I also find it strange that his social circle is very limited and he doesn't drink at all. Nothing wrong with all this. To each his own. But what is surprising is, that he wasn't always like this. His childhood (about first 8 - 10 years of life) was much more adventurous than mine. He was naughtier than me. My mother tells me, that people in the neighborhood knew him very well, while I was a shy child, always at home, around my mother.

I think education, schooling and all the conditioning by adults changed him over the years. The same stimuli had an opposite effect on me. Does that mean, we both were conformists or rebels? I can't really conclude. But what I can surely say is that education in India curbs natural instincts of the kids. So when I thought of writing this post about my brother, I wanted to talk about two incidents that could have turned tragic, but now seem hilarious to all of us in the family.

He was always outside home, as a child, and he used to trust strangers. One afternoon, he was sitting right outside the street-facing door of our old house. A man came to him and asked him for directions to some place. My enthusiastic brother actually took him along to show the place. As soon as they reached little further from home, the man tried to put my brother in a sack. A neighborhood aunt, saw him, recognized my brother and at right moment appeared as his savior and shouted at the man. The novice kidnapper ran away. 

My mother says, that had I been in the place of my brother, the neighbor wouldn't have recognized me or saved me. Do you see the contradiction here? Because my brother trusted everyone, the aunt helped. But it was his trust in a stranger that actually put him in trouble. I think these kind of incidents kills the spirit of a child.

Once my brother was on the roof. My uncle (chacha) saw him throwing buckets of water from behind a pedestal fan. When my uncle saw him doing this silly thing, he scolded my brother. He scolded, because he didn't want my brother to get an electric shock. When he asked my brother the reason for doing this, he innocently replied that he was trying to make a cooler out of the fan. It sounds funny, but as a kid this was his path to discover something related to the science behind it. The elders in their aim to protect the child curbed his instincts.

These are just two examples, how children are expected to behave in certain way. As if there is only one right way to raise a child. As a new parent, I will keep these thoughts in mind, and figure out ways to protect my child and yet let him dream, discover and fly.

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