Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I Have a Dream...... But so do you!!

I love music. To the extent that it can completely change my frame of mind, my attitude to life and maybe even the decisions that I make. That said, one of the biggest regrets in my life is that I never quite learnt music in any of its varied forms. So I have spent half my life envying, and in due course, being infatuated with anyone who sings well or is particularly dexterous with a musical instrument.

Needless to say, my kids are aware of the immense effect music has on me – for quite often they can assess my mood by the musical notes sung in the shower :-) ...

In almost all my conversations with other parents, I was aware of how kids were living dreams of their parents. Somehow, the knowledge that I did not force my dreams down my children’s throats, had made me feel rather superior to the other members of my species.

My ten-year old daughter is a trained Kathak dancer. She has been training under a highly knowledgeable guru for the last five years. Today, she is appreciated for her grace, her poise and her ability to emote on stage. The story however, was not so rosy a few years back.

A few years ago, I would listen to classical music with a six-year-old, while explaining to her all the little things that my sensitised-to-classical-music ear could hear. Initially, she would get bored. Later, she showed a distinct love for the changing beats and the crescendos that accompany the Carnatic or Hindustani styles of music.

I was overjoyed! I asked my daughter a closed question that went something like this : “You are just like me!! I loved music when I was growing up, and I always wanted to learn…… I think you have a beautiful voice. Do you want to join music classes?”

She looked at my twinkling eyes and my quivering hands and nodded with a smile. I enrolled my daughter (who was already learning Kathak for a year by then) into music classes. While the Kathak classes had started entirely due to her enthusiasm, music classes were my dreams surfacing through. But I went through the whole process with the visuals of my daughter enjoying music with me – assuming she wanted to learn it – just like I did.

A few weeks of classes later, my daughter started showing signs of exhaustion, and began to avoid talking about either the dance or the music classes. She also asked me once if she could quit both. I would ask her why, and she would say, “Just joking Mom!!”

One day, G (the other half of me) walked up to me and said, “Listen, I think you should take up music. You sing real well in the shower.”

I looked at him as though I had been hit by a passing meteor. G, incidentally, is trained in Hindustani music, and has a discerning ear. Which means he has never, ever, in so many years together, told me I sing well (hint: because I DON’T)…… I knew he was lying.

I asked him why, in ten years, he didn’t tell me I sang well, and now he wanted me to take classes! He said, “Because that’s your dream…. you want to sing. And you just may be able to sing well if you take classes……” And then he stopped talking.

I prodded him on. “And……?” I asked him.

He was fidgety and uncomfortable, but he said what he had to. “Well, it’s your dream Meena. Not little G’s. She loves to dance; every inch of her mind and body loves dance. This is why she has never complained of aching feet or tired arms – even when she has to sacrifice her weekends. It’s not the same with music. She’s doing it for you!”

I was aghast. My mind screamed that it was not true.

“What absolute rubbish!” I nearly threw the hair brush at him. “You should see her tapping her feet at the beats and the way she closes her eyes when she hears a nice piece! I never forced her to join classes…. She told me she wants to learn music!” But I knew G was right. My conscience was shaking her head sadly while I said this.

Because you wanted her to say it. And she didn’t want to disappoint you.” G was in mortal fear of being hit by a flying hair-brush (but he is a courageous man :-) )

Everything fit into place now. Little G’s exhaustion, her ‘joking’ questions on wanting to quit both dance and music, because she couldn’t tell me she chose her dream over mine. I was no less criminal than all the parents who force kids to become doctors or engineers to live their dream!

Little G and I had a talk in the evening over an ice-cream (as I’ve mentioned in other posts, little G’s innermost thoughts are most accessible with vanilla ice cream) and I told her that I had many dreams in my life and almost all of them got fulfilled. I also told her that music was only a little thing that really did not matter anymore to me. And that she was a wonderful dancer, and that she could quit music if she wanted.

Of course, she was only too happy to quit music classes, once she was sure she wouldn’t ‘hurt’ me by doing so. Finally, I made her promise me that she will never do things ‘for’ me. She would live her dreams not mine – and I assured her, that would make me the happiest Mom, ever.

She and I, we had reached a new level of love and respect for each other after that little ice-cream talk.


Yup!! She's the one stuck in the middle :-)















Published originally at Parentous - a parenting site.

26 comments:

  1. Lovely post, Meena. It made me emotional! Your daughter is really very sweet.

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    1. Awww.... thanks Nisha! Yes, I do realize little G is a bundle of joy.

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  2. I always wanted to learn dance as a kid. But my parents never let me, because I was a chronic asthma patient. My dad was terrified I will not be able to take the strain. For that same reason, I was never allowed to go out and play, ride a bicycle, fall down and get hurt, or do any of the stuff that kids get to do. Of course, I later on did learn to cycle, and I'm going for dance classes now (western). But every time I watch a classical dance performance, the kid in me looks on with dreamy eyes. And involuntarily, the thought "I'll teach my daughter classical dance, soon as she learns how to walk" comes to mind. Now, after reading this, I'm not so sure.. Maybe I'll let her choose. What if I don't have a daughter at all? What if I have only sons?

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    1. Exactly Spiff! I know the feeling. I think it would be a good idea to explore what they truly like, and then let them pursue it.

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    2. @Spiff:What!! Asthma?? We share too much..My dad wouldn't let me cycle or dance or do anything that would "exert" me.I never went to a dance class ever but I did learn to cycle along the way.

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  3. Your daughter is so lucky to have you as a parent. How many children have such understanding parents?

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    1. Well, it goes both ways, Amit. I have had very understanding parents, and now my daughter sees my viewpoint too .... so I guess I am just giving back what I got...

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  4. The duo of this mother daughter are made for each other! <3

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    1. Awww.... thank you so much Dhara!!

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  5. That is so very sweet of her!! What a touching story, Meena!

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    1. Thank you so much Roshni ..... but parenting is a little scary don't you think ;-) ?

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  6. You are such an understanding parent and you have a lovely daughter :) loved the story.

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  7. awwwwwwwwwwwwwww...You are blessed with a beautiful family...an adorable daughter and a supportive husband...

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  8. Err.... yeah - the supportive bit we may have to rethink ;-) .... but yeah I am thnakful for the crazy inmates in my life :-)... thanks Red.

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  9. Thank God for people like G otherwise we mothers always tend to think that we know best. And children always tell us what they feel but not necessarily in a language that we understand. E's golden words of wisdom definitely needs to be shared here:
    Always hold your child's hand, but never stand in front of them and pull them to where your sights lead thinking that they see the same things that you do. But instead, stand behind them and let them take you to where their sights lead and try to see through their eyes.

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    1. That was so beautiful Shadia!! And yes, Mums are sometimes blinded by the thought that the kids are an extension of them!!

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  10. And she has the best posture in the group! She is a natural :-)
    Nice post!

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    1. Thank you so much Reema!! I am sure she would jump in glee if she saw your comment :-) !!

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  11. I have to share here something I read/heard somewhere else. When a child is born, a parent is also born. As the child grows up and learns from the parent, the parent also grows up and learns from the child.
    It fits so well for this post. Blessed be Little G..:-)

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    1. Yes, thats so true - parents too, are born only then! Thank you so much Kanthu!

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  12. That's a post I could relate to.I am happy you let little G choose what she wants to do.The bottom line being she has to enjoy what she does.Some parents sadly don't understand this.

    P:S:Pass a hug for me to Little G

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    1. Thank you so much Blue Lotus ..... will deifinitely pass on that hug :-)

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  13. i had read this earlier but only came back now to reply.. its an important lesson but its good that you learned it early.. as kids, they will look not to disappoint their parents and in doing so, may end up compromising too much... Just because the parent wants things doesnt necessarily mean its the best thing for the kid always, isnt it ?
    speaking from experience here...

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    1. Actually, Roshan.... I was not aware that I was pushing my dream down her throat - it took a third person to see what was happening! Thats the scary part!

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  14. Ma'am, you've been nominated for an award. Please bear with me :P

    http://sushmit-rivendell.blogspot.in/2013/03/awards-and-rewards.html

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