For the 1st few years of my life, I had a limited interaction with the outside world. Let’s just say I was a shy child! My opinions were mainly my parents’ and I am glad most of those made me what I am today. There are things your parents tell you — to follow a few practices, behave a certain way (or not), indulge in some activities. But that’s all they can do.
The rest, and maybe most of it, is what you see and observe – their actions, beliefs, choice of words, including overheard conversations. Yes, we have had our own share of disagreements, they may have made mistakes, they’ve definitely been wrong but those stories are for another day.
Here are 5 things they never taught me and for that I’ll forever be thankful:
Women can’t/don’t do this
I am almost sure this is because I and my sister didn’t have a male sibling. Whatever the reason be, our parents never even once said that you can’t do something because it’s supposed to be a man’s job. They encouraged us to learn everything we could, from managing a bank account to changing a car’s tyre. Instead of telling to find a man who will take care of me, they taught me to take care of myself.
Cross your legs
From where I come, a lot of my female friends were taught to always sit by ‘crossing their legs’. I hadn’t even heard the term for what is still half of my life. One evening, while having dinner in college cafeteria, a friend asked me to “Watch my legs. Behave. Sit appropriately. Close them if not cross”, she said. FYI, I was wearing jeans, not a skirt. At home, we could sit freely, focus on comfort and not worry about who might want to peep between those legs.
The World is a dangerous place
India is not one of the safest countries for women. Nothing new about that. While some regions are comparatively safer than others, ‘Uttar Pradesh’ (where I grew up) is clearly not one of those secure areas. Yes, we weren’t allowed to roam alone after dark. They also asked us to be careful of our surroundings. But those were not strict rules or warnings against the big bad world. It was just a way of living. Something as simple as going to bed at night, or having sandwiches for breakfast. They never told us to not trust strangers, or to not visit an earthquake prone country. I still don’t know if they’re ignorant of all the crimes/incidents happening around or just don’t want to scare us.
Small town girls are strange (Read: Mediocre)
Come to think of it, the place where I spent the first ten years of my life shouldn’t even be called a town. It should fall somewhere between a village and an extremely tiny city. But that didn’t mean my parents missed out on doing things for us they would’ve done in a metropolitan. We were brought up to become independent and confident ladies, to hold our heads high and to believe in ourselves. In fact, I only realized I come from a small town once I moved out for college. Where people boasted about being from Delhi and looked down upon everyone else who wasn’t. Fools!
Money is everything
We always had enough, sometimes even more. But they never seem to be all arrogant and pretentious about it. They bought us all we wanted, but took care to not spoil us. I don’t know how, but I grew up believing that poverty only means lack of money. That happiness cannot be evaluated in terms of your bank balance, and you don’t need much to be rich.
What’s one thing your parents never taught you and you can’t thank them enough for it?
© 2016, Swati. All rights reserved.