Had a bad day at work today and as a consequence I returned home visibly stressed.
Vedaant, my three year old opened the door for me and greeted me with his characteristic big smile and a glee in his eyes. I tried concealing my feelings and hugged him tight. Watching this from a distance, my wife enquired “why are you looking so stressed?” Now, my son has picked up this habit, where he sometimes repeats whatever we say. So, he repeated Tanu’s question to me, without looking curious for an answer though.
Even before I could answer, he muttered to me “chill papa, chill” of course without understanding what that meant. He probably picked this up from me or Tanu as we tend to say this to each other quite often.
On any other day, I would have shown my displeasure and asked him to be careful with the language. But today, it sounded to me as the best piece of advice I ever got. What was worrying me was completely out of my control and there was actually nothing I could do than just chill and let things take their own course.
Now I am distracted, I am no more thinking about the office stuff. What I am thinking now, is how in all their naivety- kids sometimes teach us some of the most valuable lessons of life. There have been times, when suddenly out of the blue, I have felt touched, inspired and surprised with something that Vedaant either said or did.
Sometimes, without any obvious reason he just hugs me tight, kisses me and announces that I am his best friend or the times he frowns to expresses his displeasure in an extremely cute manner when I do something he doesn’t like, say changing his favorite channel or polishing off his candy. These are the moments when I can feel my heart melt. It also makes me realize how much joy unbridled emotions can convey. Not saying that we adults should act like kids and express ourselves explicitly.
Most of us are not good at communicating to people, the things we don’t like about them. What is more concerning is that we are growing shyer even in communicating the things we like about them. A genuine compliment, a word of appreciation, heartfelt thanks, even a tight hug, telling someone the good things you genuinely feel about them is also becoming rare these days. This everyday business of shaking hands, customary hugs; high fives are all becoming so ritualistic, superficial and mechanical. Why can’t we adults just be open about our feelings, why do we like to complicate stuff? Why can’t things be simple like how it was when we were kids?
While I try to answer some of the most random questions posed by my son or when I am trying to gauge the flight of his imagination. I sometimes wonder- since when did growing up meant giving up? Giving up on our imagination, on inquisitiveness, on our ability to ask questions, on challenging the so called norms and most importantly on the belief that anything is possible
While we plan for our life on weekends and vacations, wait for those special moments to celebrate life, kids live in the moment. Be it at a doctor’s clinic or an ATM joint. Be it in a five star in Goa or a super market where you buy groceries from, if they have decided to have fun they will have fun. Simple! They can make friends, discoveries and memories anywhere. Not like us, waiting for the perfect occasion, perfect company or perfect place and eventually ending up being disappointed because there is actually nothing called perfect or at least that what we cynics think so.
My son is obsessed about cars. Toy cars, real cars, car show rooms, car movies, car ads, cars in any form. He is so passionate about them that he insists I buy car magazines for him. He snatches the newspaper from me every morning just as to see which car ads have appeared in the paper. I am worried that he is so much into them but I am also happy that he is so passionate about them. Passions make us, define us and makes our lives worth living. I am sure at some stage or the other all of us were passionate about something- food, movies, travel, fashion, whatever. But eventually we get into the rat race and mistake it for life. Our passions take a back seat. We make a compromise with self that once we arrive in life, we will have ample time and resources to pursue all our passions, without realizing that life’s never a destination. It’s actually a journey, and the only way to live it is to enjoy it.
In two weeks from now, I turn thirty two. It’s that time of the year when I wrote a note to self, reflecting upon the year that went by and thinking about things I should do next year. This post is my note to self this year. I only want to do two things this year. I want to live like my son and I want to chill. Rest will take care of itself.