Being a huge fan of Shahrukh Khan, I remember asking my mother to buy the 'Sona Chandi' Chyawanprash instead of the Dabur one. I might have been about eight years old then. My mother just ignored my take and told me that the Dabur one was the best ever. I fought, I remember shedding a few tears too. Today when I look back I do not see what was the big deal. Its not like Shahrukh has a mind blowing body then that I wanted to become like him. Which would have been plain crazy, because I'm a girl. Still the flashy golden orange bottles of 'Sona Chandi' Chyawanprash did not leave my mind, even when the advertisements left TV. Ah, that innocence of childhood. As children you would want to do anything and everything that your super hero did. Buy the toys they endorsed, lick the chocolates they pretended to eat, harass your parents until they took you to watch their latest movies and what not. Some parents cave in, some restrict their children from getting sucked into the blingy reel life.
Like they say, parents always know what is right. Probably I would disagree on it now and only in some matters, but when we are young they were always right. 'Don't eat this beta, you will fall sick' they said. Yet no, we went and ate the raw tamarind like no tomorrow and woke up with a swollen belly and a worried mother. 'Don't jump from the stairs' they said. Yet we tried to slide down the rail in style and ended up with a twisted ankle or a sprained thigh. All this while the mother would have only one look on her face. The 'I told you so' expression. Our parents gave us the medicine, they gave us the tablets and syrups, they carried us to hospitals, they cried while we were getting injections, they stayed up all night to look after us. Aren't they awesome? Oh yes they are. Yet, there are quite a few of us out there who treat them like dirt once we are all grown up. Just remember, what you do today is what comes back to you, in the form of your kids.
Today you stand all tall and built, but would that have been possible if your mother hadn't fed you right while you were young? What if she had refused to breast feed you, worrying about the changes it would bring to her slim body? What if she had ignored all the vaccinations that your doctor had prescribed? What if she had forgotten to keep the timer and feed you that bitter syrup along with a heaped spoon of sugar? What if she had left you to dry by yourself after you had peed all over yourself? What if she had not given you her home remedies each time you came back with an ache from school? What if your father had not taken you along for his walks? What if he had not stood in line carrying you for hours to get you those precious two drops of life? What if he had ignored that first headache of yours? A lot of what ifs could be added to this list. Our parents made us immune to all the diseases and disasters around. But some of us have made ourselves immune to their cries and suffering today.
So you get married and have a baby. The baby is dutifully placed in the arms of your parents, while you go away on tours with your better half. Because you know for sure that your parents will take very good care of your child. Come on, they had you and you turned out perfect, so why worry right? Now just imagine if your parents refused to take care of your children, what would you do? Your ego would obviously not allow you to ask them for advice, so you go about caring for your kids the way you feel is right. Are you doing good or bad, you would never know. Let us see the difference here.
You: Kellogs chocos for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, burger for a evening snack, noodles and ice cream for dinner.
Your Parents: Milk and omelettes/paratha's for breakfast, pulao for lunch, fruit for an evening snack, chapati and dal for dinner.
You load your kids with instant food while all they are doing is increasing the waistline of your child. Childhood obesity is one of the scariest diseases these days. I mean children lose their self confidence and are the main subject of ridicule among the school mates. Immunity is far away, just imagine what this is doing to the self respect of your child. They grow aloof and stay depressed most of the time. Lack of friends will keep them in a corner and they add more fat to their body, as you try to erase your guilt by feeding them more chocolates. The result? The child appears more tired, dull and scores low in academics. Sports are out of question.
You: You remain glued to your laptop and give your precious iphone 5S to the child to play with.
Your Parents: They take your child for a walk around the park, and watch them go higher and higher on the swing.
While the tot is busy killing the birds with a phone inside an imaginative game, he/she is killing his immunity within too. Since they are not used to being outdoors, the minute the cold air hits them they fall sick. Sunlight then leads to migraines and any eatable from a push cart will cause diarrhoea. If the child is exposed to some sort of physical activity out in the open, then there will be no harsh surprises. Make your child strong, from inside and the outside. Let them be tough and in a position to adapt to any situation.
You: Too busy to notice the activities. As long as your child is doing well in school its fine. If not, then the severest of punishments will be served in a silver platter.
Your Parents: They notice the difference in behavior and try to set it right. They talk and make the child understand and they understand the child.
Most parents fail to notice the difference in behaviour of the child. A child, especially in the growing years constantly needs the support of at least one parent. Grandparents will remain, but they can never replace the parent. A child needs to feel comforted every now and then. Bad grades? No problem, next time. The worse thing you can do to a child is to hit him/her. This remains as a mental scar forever in them. A child should react to a parent with love. Not with anger or fear.
You: Let the child sleep in his/her own room, watching TV until the sun rises. Then drag him out of bed by 4am if there is an exam.
Your Parents: Sleep with the child, waking up every now and then to check on him/her.
Most of our growth happens while we are sleeping. It is then that the system slows down and gets rebooted. Imagine installing updates after updates on your computer and not restarting it? Probably now you get the drift. Letting a child be on his/her own is good. After a certain age maybe. But during their growing up years, you need to keep a constant watch on them, to make sure they are getting sufficient rest. Lack of sleep, causes more diseases than one and is one of the major culprit for diminished immunity.
You: Compare your child to your best friend's children. They have Complan so you forcefully pour it down your child's throat.
Your Parents: Stick to what they know and give your child Ragi malt or Barley water.
Everyone wants their child to be the best, that doesn't mean you compare him/her to everyone around. Your child is an individual and no two individuals have the same needs. Just like what is good for you, may be bad for me, what is good for your neighbor's son might be bad for your child. All it takes is an hour or two to understand the nutritional needs of your child. Try some home made remedy and stick on to it. Do not try everything under the sun in the anticipation of results in a fortnight. Everything in the world takes its own course of time.
You: Get your child to pop vitamin pills, energy tonics, memory boosters.
Your Parents: Soak almonds overnight in milk along with a handful of raisins and serve it along with breakfast.
A lot of "energy" products are doing the rounds these days. Some promise strength, some energy and some better immunity. You buy and stock up every fancy bottle the chemist offers and the next thing you know your child is suffering from its side effects. A handful or almonds or a single spoon of chyawanprash is enough to give the child enough energy to get through each day peacefully. But we are too deluded by the colorful posters the other fancy products come up with.
You: Try to live your ambitions through your children.
Your Parents: Let your child make their own ambitions.
Parents normally ignore the person inside their child and try to make him/her the person that they want to see. Imposing rules, restrictions, your ambitions on your children will make then mentally weak and stressed. Stress is known to kill immunity, one strand at a time. And before you know it, your child is depressed and falling sick very often. A child is very tender and is just learning with every second of his/her life. Let nature take its course, let nature transform the child. That was how it was intended to be.
Immunity is as important as breathing, we all know that. Vaccinations, cleanliness, nutrition etc is only the beginning. The most important thing in a child is mental health. If this is up to its mark, then nothing can stop him/her from becoming an achiever. Treat your parents and your child as a fragile part of you. Both of them need the love, the support and the immunity to survive. All it needs is a little understanding from you. Is that too much to ask?
This is my entry for the Immune India contest on Indiblogger in association with Dabur.