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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Giving Yourself A Second Chance

Some of my best memories from childhood are from my primary school. My teachers were loving and affectionate towards me, though I was a bit of rebellious and naughty girl. I think I made up for that part by being extremely studious, up to date with my work and also the teacher’s chamcha. I always wanted to study and become a professional, which was a scary thought for my mom, who never stepped in school. She always worried about me losing my head by reading too much. I was seldom seen without a book in my hand, which was not appreciated by my mother.

Finally, when she got a chance, she cajoled me into quitting my studies and settling down to lead a married life. It was not as simple as that though. There were too many fights, drama and scenes involved. She thought that was perfect life I would ever want, and in future I would thank her for saving me from becoming a professional who would miss out on being a loving wife, mother etc. This happened 25 years ago. After 2 and a half decade, I am not sure what to say about her prediction for me.
After being married and giving up my studies, I started resenting it. I was bitter and unhappy whenever I thought how I topped the class but was not ambitious enough to pursue my dream. Somewhere in my heart I blamed my mother for killing my dream and along with her I blamed myself as well. Usually, I led a happy life, but in some corner of my heart a bitterness existed. Years passed by, life threw challenges at me and I got busy standing up to those challenges. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, a monster I had faced earlier and survived. Unfortunately, she could not survive and cancer snatched her away from all of us.
How terrible it is that we carry the bitterness even when the person is no more. I did that as well. Mom had gone away forever, but the bitterness still lived on in the little corner of my heart.
When Rayyan was in SSLC, he had tough time learning Urdu, which was compulsory for him. He was in a school where Urdu was a part of his syllabus. None of us had been exposed to the language during our school days. Rayyan is mildly dyslexic and has trouble with languages in general. Urdu and Kannada turned out to be tormentors. When everyone threw up their hands and said that there is no way Rayyan could clear Urdu exams, I decided to learn the language and teach him in my own way. One month to learn the language, one month of coaching for Rayyan and he did it. He passed his 10th with good grades, including Urdu.
A person who had tough time learning the language, Rayyan was highly impressed with what I did. He mentioned that I should have done something with my skill. That is when the bitterness spilled out. I told him, I could have if not for my mother who stopped me pursuing my dreams. This is when he asked me a life changing question, “Who is stopping you now Maa?” I was surprised by the question. I had no answer for that. He continued in his inimitable calm manner, “Naani is no more. She did what she thought was right for you because she loved you. But you do have your own choices. Do you want to continue to blame her and live the life she choose for you or do you prefer to make your own choices and make peace with her?”
I did not answer him, but I could not stop thinking over what he asked me. Here was a sixteen year old teenager who had the wisdom that I could never ever have in my life. I slowly began the change. I completed my graduation, post-graduation and took up serious work. I wanted to become financially independent, a dream which took form when I was 44. People said it was too late to change, but I knew it was not. Today I live my dream. With my graduation, I had enough courage to move away from a coastal village where I spent 10 years, to Bangalore.

It is never late to dream, it is never late to change, and it is never late to move forward on the path you choose for your life. We always give others a second chance, but how often do we give ourselves a second chance? Thanks to the amazing boy who I am so proud to call my son, I could give myself a second chance and #StartANewLife. This meant a lot to me, because for the first time in 25 years I did not feel the bitterness in my heart. It was completely gone. I had made peace with my mom and with myself as well. My happiness has become whole after that. 
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