The Language of the Heart

Dedicated to a generation of moms whose babies know the letter ‘ i ‘ before they understand the alphabet.

 

Every heart speaks a language and the heart of every mother understands and speaks the language of every heart in the family. The needs of the heart- its language change in every stage in life yet a woman quickly adapts and becomes adept at what her loved ones seek. Her heart knows and provides. That is why a woman’s  heart feels joy and  pain even before her loved ones do. It beats in sync with theirs.Yet a woman’s journey is always lonely. None can understand the beautiful amalgamation of turmoil her heart carries.

 

The  Language of the Heart

A solitary tear glistened on the screen of the iPad Rumi held in her hands. She gently put the iPad away on her night stand for she knew the swollen clouds of sadness that swept her heart would not be easily quelled. It was a good thing she did for pretty soon, the torrent of tears that streamed down her cheek matched the heavy downpour of rain outside the window of her bedroom.

Rumi was tough, not one to be disheartened or ruffled easily. She was seasoned to handle stormy times. After all, she lived in a house where teenage, middle age and old age co existed.

‘Why do you weep, my heart?’, she searched for answers within. The response she received was muffled under a thick blanket of gloomy silence. Her mind embarrassed at this display of weakness went back to the proceedings of the evening. It was after dinner that she had begun to feel her spirit sag. Yet, she could not recall anything that anyone in her family- her children, husband or in-laws had said to hurt her.

In fact she had been quite pleased that every member of the family had been present for dinner that day, for a change.  All activities and games for the kids had been cancelled due to the storm, the cable TV service was disrupted and the internet was down. They even sat down for dinner at the dining table today instead of in front of the television. As Rumi eagerly chatted about the interesting facts she had learned on the online courses she was taking, she soon realized that neither her teenage children, nor the adults were interested. They seemed distant. They would much rather listen to iTunes, Cam Newton, Anderson Cooper or Penny she thought begrudgingly. Well, at least no one’s arguing she consoled herself. Though her heart knew this was not the way it was supposed to be. There was no connect, the togetherness seemed awkward, forced.

Rumi reflected on the times, not too long ago, when smart phones, Netflix and wireless technology had not yet made its way into their house. Dinner times were much more noisy and also much more work. She had to feed the kids, cut their rotis into little pieces, distract them into eating their veggies as she sung for them, clean up their spills and wipe down the little munchkins as sometimes they ate with all their limbs. It was then- when their questions never ended and with wide eyes and curious minds as they learnt their numbers while counting their peas or learnt the sounds that animals make as she mooed and bleated her way into making them eat their carrots – that her heart felt alive. Simply because they were present in the moment with her.

Rumi had always known these delightful baby days would not last, that their growing up years were bound to be a frenzy with school, sports, activities, homework and social commitments, that the teenage years were bound to be turbulent with the raging hormones. That she was prepared for. What she did not realize was how soon technology would consume their lives. She had always thought that dinner time would continue, maybe they would argue more and listen less yet they would always gather around the table where she would learn about their lives,their newfound dreams and their zest to make a mark in the world. Hopefully the children would clean up after themselves and in fact help clean up with her. What she didn’t realize was dinner time as she had imagined it to be, would be non existent. Between their homework schedule, prime time television, Pokemon, texting and Netflix members would eat as and when it suited them or even if they did eat together, their minds would be elsewhere. What they heard would be sounds of the television, not the voices of each other’s hearts.

These days her kids would rather ask google than ask her. Her husband  would probably be more aware of a friend’s emotions than hers because the friend chose to announce it on social media. Sadly though, that this was the state in every house. Wherever she went, restaurants, malls or airports people spent all the spare time checking their messages and emails. They were more in tune with people 5000 miles away rather than with the person next to them. How could there ever be togetherness when everyone was so distant and lost in their own smart phone worlds. Every one with a smart phone knew it the minute Hillary stumbled at the 9/11 ceremony that she had. What value did that mundane fact add to the quality of one’s life? Yet people continued to fill up their lives with these such frivolous details. How often did people these days notice their neighbors in the community stumble or take time out to find out how they were doing?  Why, her kids didn’t even know many of the neighbors around.  We have reached a time when free wi-fi is one of the most endearing features of a place. When dinner for two also includes the 572 friends on your Facebook profile. The only time one stepped out of this world of internet ‘Maya’ was when on a day like today the technology was totally down. And then when they did, they didn’t know how to enjoy it. For unfortunately, the human heart can connect and speak another’s language only when it is in the present moment. The language of technology has muted the language of the human heart.That is why in an ever so populous world people feel lonely, anxious and depressed.

That night  Rumi cried as the clouds of loneliness engulfed her heart. She realized her heart yearned to hear the familiar voice of a loved one’s heart yet in a house full of people, all it heard was deafening silence.

-Vidya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Mr. Bachchan

Dear Mr.Bachchan,

On behalf of all the daughters in India- Thank you for your beautiful and inspirational message. Though I do deeply feel, Sir, our ability to empower our daughters would be incomplete unless we address the other side of the issue our society faces. Are we doing enough to raise our sons so that we can extend the privileges of following their heart to our daughter-in-laws’ too?

You see we have reached a delicate state of affairs at present. Most parents now do raise their daughters to be the powerful forces they were meant to be. That is why we find successful women in all walks of life even in arenas that until recently were dominated only by men. Yet do we teach our sons to accept these forces as equal partners in their life?

While we dream with our daughters and teach them to reach for the stars why is it that as soon as they are wives and mothers we tweak the rules. We then expect them to expertly balance the home with their careers single handed. We have great pride in our daughters who have broken barriers and reached great heights yet the image of a good daughter-in-law deeply ingrained in our mindsets is of one who serves her family. Do we teach our sons that they need to share the burden on the domestic front, that it is not right to drop their bags and lounge on the couch when they come home from work? That their children’s success also depends on their own involvement in the kids’ lives? It does not matter if she has made excruciatingly difficult decisions at work, as soon she’s home, a woman is usually the one who has to deal with the decision of what is for dinner. The heart of every single woman who works outside her home throbs with pangs of guilt because she wonders if she is doing enough to nurture her family and kids. At the same time stay at home mothers, do question themselves as to whether they contribute enough to the family. Either way they beat themselves up because though we have taught our daughters to walk in a world of men, we haven’t done enough to relieve the enormous pressure on our daughter-in-laws’ to be the perfect caregivers.

It’s time we also teach our sons to be nurturers, to be women. It’s time we teach them that if dinner is not ready on time they are responsible too. That a pile of dirty laundry lying around the house does not reflect on the woman’s incapability but on the incapability of every one at home who does not share the burden with her.

If our daughters have learnt that they need to make choices in the light of their own wisdom, then our sons need to learn to accept and respect these choices. Every woman has the innate wisdom to know what works best for her family, her situation so she deserves to be respected for her choice whether she chooses to work outside the home or stay home to be with her children.

Our sons need to know that to exert control over the people you love is not what makes a man but to loosen those reins of control and create a space where the family can express itself without fear is what makes a truly great man. If we teach our daughters to marry for love, then we need to teach our sons and daughters what is love. It is a shared space where each person can be who they truly want to be.

You are right Mr. Bachchan when you say that the length of the skirt does not define a person’s character. After all, clothes are just a covering for the beautiful temples that house our spirit. But as a mother I do worry that if the clothes my children wore had necklines that plunged too low, hems that rode up high or were low waisted rather no waisted pants that revealed a crack, then what society would see when they looked them would probably be just a size, a figure, a body type not the budding talents or gentle souls that they are. It would take away from the magnificence they hold within. Jab tak puri duniya apni soch nahi badalti ,“log kya kahenge” is easier said than done.

And lastly whether they are sons or daughters we need to teach them to each take responsibility of their own health, well-being and happiness. They need to know that their life is a creation of their own thoughts, that unless they are happy with themselves they will never be happy with another.

Maybe,Sir,  you could in your beautiful words write a letter to all the grand sons too.

Thank you,

Vidya.

 

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