If I were to prepare a list of traits that have had a negative impact on my life, I am sure assumptions would rank in the top five if not the top three.

This trait of presuming things started early in my life because my parents (particularly my mother) are very selective about the information they share.

If you’d ask them a question seeking an essay type reply, you’re most likely to receive a one-liner, leaving plenty of room for the curious mind to guess, assume and basically depending on its own interpretation of the reply.

Assumptions can ruin relationships and even lives. Something similar happened to me. Read the full story on my blog!

Till date, I have never seen any good coming from assuming, though harm has been done more times that I’d like to recall.

The biggest pitfall of this arrangement was, my parents too assumed a lot of things based on their beliefs, conditioning and personal experiences. Sadly though, they’d never sit and encourage an open debate on any of those topics. This gaped the communication gap between us and led to many misunderstandings during the course of our lives.

One of the major incidents that impacted my life dramatically was the demise of my marriage. Around the time when troubles started hovering over my married life, my father once said: “Why you never told us about the difficulties in your married life?”

This question came as a  shock to me because that was not true in the least. I was pretty vocal about the many areas of conflict in my marital home and I believed my parents were well-aware of everything that had gone wrong from the day I had tied the knot. Then what made my father say that he wasn’t aware?

When I asked him the same, all he had to say was, “Yes, I remember you telling us all that, but I never assumed it to be so bad.”

Once again the communication gap had ditched us to lead to a disastrous outcome. It is in times like these that I wonder if being a chatterbox parent is better, than a parent who speaks counting every word he/she has spoken.

It is also a matter of taking interest in the other person and their story. If you are eager to know more you’ll ask about the missing parts. Curiosity can never be content in the dearth. Curiosity feeds on genuine interest.

I had once read a marketing rule that stated,

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” ~Dale Carnegie

It makes perfect sense in relationships too.

You ought to listen carefully, ask questions to know the whole story, and when one makes a genuine effort it always works to strengthen the bond.

Don’t assume.

“Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once and a while, or the light won’t come in.”  ~ Alan Alda

I do not deny the fact that I too have been on the assumption bandwagon too often for my liking. But after the many bitter experiences I have had, cause I chose to create a hypothesis based on second-hand information, I have given up on seeing life through someone else’s glasses.

The day I realized the importance of knowing the whole truth and of being courageous enough to ask many questions, my life has taken a steep yet beautiful turn.

What appears as common-sense is actually my new found approach of seeking proof before I believe anything. I distract my mind to keep it from filling in the blanks that I have no clue of. And this has changed my life for the better.

Starting from rather worthless or stupid questions, I have come a long way in asking the right ones. But most important part is the cultivation of patience till the whole story is shared with proofs to validate and you are aware of the facts and not just the buzz infected by everyone’s opinions.

This becomes all the more important when you are a parent. Learning from my setbacks, I take due care to let Pari speak till she is confident she has said it all. But our heart-to-heart sessions aren’t limited to that. It has my equal participation, explaining logically, leaving no room for assumptions.

We readily assume when we don’t have the courage to seek answers. We assume when it is the easiest thing to do. It is the convenience of believing the hearsay without stopping to verify the facts that lure assumptions to be an indispensable part of our lives. But it comes at a huge hidden cost. The trust & affection of our dear ones.

Let us today begin work to make room for open dialogue and freedom to question (often denied in our families) to keep our lives blooming with healthier, stronger and happier relations than we have today. After all, jumping to conclusions isn’t a sport in the Olympics yet.

Have you ever been a victim of assumptions? 

The song on my mind: Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jate hain jo maqam ~ Aap ki Kasam

Do Children Learn Better Closer to Nature?

Ever since Pari stepped into school, she was burdened with homework.

Even as a 3-year-old she had at least 2 pages to write every day. This workload has been growing with every class.

There is often a talk about how the heavy bags and home-work load are something our children are better off without.

However, there is no denying the existence of competitive parents who want their children to study hard right from the start and carve a niche, perhaps by making a place for themselves in Limca book of records if not the Guinness Book.

Continue reading “Do Children Learn Better Closer to Nature?”

When is it the right time to leave?

In the first episode of Satyamev Jayate, one of the participants pointed out that, “had she realised she had the strength to live life on her own earlier, she would have quit the abusive marriage long before.”

Be it the survivors of abuse or the advisers/counselors of the same, the suggestion of “you should have moved out earlier” seems to have become the patent advise or say stereotype dialogue. I say so, for I too am one of those people who has decided to end her marriage.

Though my case is a bit different, for nothing grave (in the eyes of the onlookers) has yet happened in my marriage for me to take such a big step. I am very often advised/told that I am over-reacting and things can definitely be given a second chance for the sake of my daughter’s future.

So the big question circling my mind is, when is it the right time to leave?

Does one react on the first occasion he/she gets a hint in the actions of the people in their life/ from their spouse that something isn’t just right? Or, should one wait for a while in hope maybe things will get better in due course of time, the dust shall settle and people (the spouse, in-laws and others) will change miraculously? Or, better still have faith in yourself and in your ability to change everyone around you to make them all start loving you sooner or later?

On one hand stands the rule, that the first slap in cases of domestic violence and the first lie in the marriage is never the last one and on other hand stands the constant pressure to give things a second chance and some more time. The choice is tough, much beyond what words can describe.

In most cases, people (the victims) are seen to act over-optimistic in their approach. They try to overlook the obvious signs and take the humongous task of changing people rather than indulging in changing their own lives, outlook and available options. The outcome is unfavorable to such extent, that no-one needs statistics to prove whether they were right or wrong.

As an ordinary human being of ordinary intellect, I have no super-natural powers to guess whether giving a second chance to my marriage would by any luck ensure a happy future for me and my daughter. Having said that, I still have countless hints lying strewn everywhere around me that are screaming loud and clear that smoke never rises without fire.

My husband has been constantly trying his level best to convince me that we (me and my daughter) mean a world to him and all he did till now, actually had hidden good intent. Such slimy, meant-to-appease good behavior for the few minutes while we were talking, used to cause immense self-doubt and panic in my already stressed system. I was not sure whether what I was doing was right or wrong.

It was then that I decided to think with a cool head and analyse everything right from the start. From the day I had first heard about my husband and his family and all the interactions that followed over the years. It was a painful analysis for it held many precious memories among the hurtful ones, but a necessary one.

It took me days to come up with concrete decisions. I am answerable to no-one for the actions I take, for I am deciding for my life. But, I also have the responsibility of my daughter, therefore I cannot afford to make any errors.

That was about my life. But, what about the people around us? I think the answer to this mind-boggling quest is, the day we get the first hint that something is wrong in the relationship/ marriage we are in or stepping in, we need to try to make ourselves self-reliant, develop a support system around ourselves.

It might sound impossible, our strength levels might appear failing and our social conditioning might block our clear thought. But every step counts. Be it in the positive direction or no action taken, everything has its consequences. Doing all this takes time as well as lot of courage, hence it’s obvious it’ll be a while before any concrete steps are taken.

The steps we might be forced to take in the midnight of a unfateful night if things actually go wrong, will definitely be lot easier to take if we have been gradually working towards it. Life isn’t easy in an abusive relationship, neither will it be outside it, so hardships outside it shouldn’t scare us.

Being prepared for the worst isn’t anything wrong, it’s just a safety measure. But, landing in hardships without preparation is indeed a disaster.

The next time you try to convince someone to give their failing relationship a second chance, help them see the whole scenario. Help them decide to work on a back-up plan. Before being judgmental, try to understand their point of view and help them see through their conditioning.

Afterall, it always helps to have a safety jacket on before plunging, irrespective of whether it is ever used or not.

The song on my mind: Kya Karein kya na karein ~ Rangeela