“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Raghav said to Vinny Sir, his school teacher and now his mentor for seven years.
Vinny Sir, in his warm knowledgeable voice, replied, “So today you again His Majesty had a Mahabharat with your family?”
“I didn’t,” Raghav retorted, “they find flaws in everything that I do.”
Vinny Sir remained quiet and listened.
Raghav continued, “Ever since the lockdown has happened and the entire family is locked up at home, all of a sudden they hate everything of mine. My father says I don’t sit with him – where was he when I was a kid and I wanted to forgo my pocket money just to spend one day with him? My mom also says I don’t give time to them. I do fulfill all the needs of the household – buying groceries, contributing to the family expenses, yet they want more of my time.
Sometimes I feel they are right. I do not give time to them. Very very true. But, I myself never had the time with them. So spending time with family seems like an alien concept. We don’t know each other for years. We have a relationship, my elder sister and I are a bit close, but other than that, no one dares to talk deeply with another human. If we scored good grades, we were praised. If we made a mistake, we were scolded. Beyond that, no one really knows another.”
Vinny Sir smiled, “Don’t you think that what they are asking for is nothing wrong?”
“But all of a sudden during the lockdown! What about my childhood where I kept asking them for their time – and they were busy earning or running the household?”
“So now is the time for you to take revenge.”
Raghav was quiet for a moment. He took a deep breath, and said, “Sir, I do love them. They are my parents. But this method of shouting and screaming doesn’t work. Doesn’t work for the customers or the maid, then why with their kids?”
“Raghav, you all essentially want the same things,” Vinny Sir offered him a cup of coffee as he settled down on the sofa opposite Raghav, “but the way you want them is different.”
“Yeah, maybe” Raghav shrugged.
Vinny Sir didn’t blink an eye.
“Okay,” Raghav confessed keeping his mug on the table, “but Sir why can’t they be as warm and friendly to me as you are?”
“Okay tell me something,” Vinny Sir smiled, “what is your response when your parents compare you to Sharma Ji ka ladka?”
Raghav couldn’t stop giggling.
“No, c’mon, answer me,” Vinny Sir continued sipping his coffee.
“Yeah, I get that. Everyone is unique; everyone has their own special traits. Just because I am not like Sharma Ji ka ladka, everyone cannot be like you.”
“Nor they should be,” Vinny Sir finally kept his coffee mug down and offered, “what a boring place the world would be if everyone was a photocopy of each other?”
Raghav took a smile of ease.
“Be like this, young man! Always.” Vinny Sir added.
“Sir the energy of the home is scary. The moment I enter there I feel someone is about to blame me. I just want the lockdown to be over asap so that we all could finally go back to work.”
“Raghav,” Vinny Sir spoke deeply this time, “One incandescent stick has the power to light up an entire room full of foul smell. A tree of sandalwood is not affected even if it is wrapped around by a snake. And you are having issues living with your parents?”
Raghav listened intently as Vinny Sir was drawing the conclusion near.
“I understand you and your elder sister are having a dysfunctional family. But tell me someone who has a functional family? No one!
“If there is an energy of anger or lack, that is perhaps because in the lockdown all of us realized what is most important for us. Right now, you are in the prime of your youth and everything for you perhaps comes from a place of right and wrong. But for them, it comes from a place of regrets.”
Vinny Sir took a pause before he continued, “Remember your days of Class 9 when there was no electric bell in school and Kanta Bhai used to hit an iron bar to a copper plate?”
“O yes, the good old days,” Raghav reminisced, “how can I forget them? And remember how Karan used to steal the copper plate so that the games period didn’t get over! Such beautiful days they were!”
Vinny Sir smiled as he said, “You hit the nail right in the coffin young man. If there was no copper plate, the bell couldn’t ring. Just like that Raghav, if there is anger coming to you from the other side in the form of that iron bar, what would happen if there is no copper plate?”
“O man, I didn’t think about this!” Raghav said as he changed his stride from rested position to an alert one, because of this revelation.
“No matter what anyone else including your parents are doing, you always have the choice what you will allow to yourself. Yes, you do wish that your parents go back to Bhopal where your father is placed and yes that will be a respite for you. There will be a right time for that. But you know what Raghav, we cannot change any situation by resisting it. When we just stop that resistance, it loses all its force and has no option other than to be in flow.”
Raghav took a deep breath and said, “Sir, does that mean I should tolerate all the anger they are throwing at me?”
“What do you think my answer would be?”
“Maybe I should work on myself on letting go of that part of them.”
“Carry on,” Vinny Sir said as he got hold of his coffee again, “and how will you let go?”
“I didn’t think about it.”
“Think about it now. I want to hear.”
“By not going by their words and going by their love. Also, making sure I filled my mind with 10X positivity through books, videos, etc., so that this part of negativity starts losing its grip.”
Vinny Sir sat next to Raghav and placed his hand on his shoulder, “One more thing my kid.”
“When let go doesn’t happen, let it!”
Raghav was quiet. So was Vinny Sir, allowing Raghav to absorb what he had just said.
Raghav could feel himself feeling calmer, “Do you think I would be able to do it?”
“We cannot change the world Raghav. But we can change the world when we change ourselves. That is not sacrifice. A real gold is burnt before it shines. That is the law of nature. This small bit, dip by dip, changes the world.”