On the first week of August 2021, a cool evening, I was out on a walk with my elder daughter (short by few days to complete 14 years).
Let me give a little background. Phew! Getting my elder daughter out of her room is a big job in itself. She is confined to her room and studies that sometimes, I go nuts. But then, I do whatever is in my hands and whatever I think is best at the given moment of my understanding. I keep telling her that running after marks can at the most get her an entry to a college that people define to be good. Nothing beyond. That the efforts are important but then enjoying what is being done is even more important. Her standard reply would be "Amma, you don't care about marks. I do." I smile and she gets irritated.
As we walked, she poped a question, "Amma, what if I say I do not want to do my graduation?"
She exclaimed, "Amma, I am serious."
I responded, "It is fine if you do not want to graduate, as long as you are confident of facing life in any situation. We are in an era where if one wishes to graduate at 50, it is possible. So it's ok with me if you do not want to graduate now. Be confident of leading your life independently. And know that confidence comes with knowledge.”
Silence prevailed. I broke it, “We will always be there for you, but a lot of things in life are to be dealt with by us all alone. One such is our mind. As long as we are confident there, we are free to choose what we want. It's your life. Others can show you the paths, You are the one to walk over them, so you have to make your decisions. ”
Silence prevailed. I interrupted again, “I can show you a lot of undergrads who are doing way beyond rank holders. I can show you people with hundreds of awards and rewards, yet very unhappy. I can show you people who lead a simple life yet are very happy."
We smiled. We further discussed. I knew, she would need her sweet time to come out of the superficialities of the world we live in, but I was happy that few values were slowly seeping in.
"Vi, we don't need things/degrees/approvals from others to make us happy. They don't last long. To be happy we need understanding. And that comes by knowing our true self. Sometimes we do things because people around us want us to do, other times to get into good books of others, sometimes to feel appreciated, or at times we are driven by the fear of being judged as a donkey by the mad world we live in. Nothing wrong, that’s the basic nature of humans and is common. You see, we need to figure out what we truly enjoy doing, then there is no looking back. Not that we won't face problems there or we won't get bored there. But there is a sense of satisfaction in that path. Now tell me what is that you want to do?" I made my statements and left her to ponder.
"I don't know yet." came a sincere reply after few minutes.