When You care alone..
One hand on your head and the other clutching your palm, never letting you fall, never wavering from your side, always steady and ever patient when it comes to you, hands that toil everyday just to give you all the happiness you deserve, hands that catch you when you are about to fall and let go when it is time for you to learn your lessons, and in your downfall, come to your solace. They give you your favourite touch. They are our parents. The most wonderful gifts of God, because they have the heart to give away everything, asking for none in return. But when one of their touches suddenly withdraws from the child’s head, you don’t even realize, but the next moment another one replaces it. That hand is of the same person who was clutching their palm. The child becomes the life and soul of the single parent.
Rohit (name changed to maintain anonymity) was in his 5th grade when I first met him. He was like the other boys of his age. Computer games, football, comics and absolutely no books were his schedule; he hardly ever feared or heeded anyone. He was so naughty that he once locked the bolt of his house from inside when his family members were busy saying adieus to some guests and opened it after three long hours of making him understand and threatening that they would take away his computer. None of that worked though and so they finally had to agree buying an X box for him that summer. He was a head ache. But, the truth was that no one reprimanded his activities because his mother has passed away when he was only two years old.
But talking to his Dad one day, made me wonder if Uncle really needed the sympathy that others bestowed on him for pulling off his family so smoothly. He was a happy man, a satisfied one and most important, an elated father. He never used a rough hand on his son, but there were times, when patience and two sweet words, did not help the situation. One of the most disturbing parts was when I once saw uncle slapping him hard across his both cheeks because he had stolen money from his aunt’s purse when he wasn’t around to buy his game CDs. It hurt him to put a raging hand on Rohit, but he knew that it was indispensable. Words do not always teach the right lesson. Moreover there was difference between a pampered and an unmannerly child.
Rohit did throw tantrums but he was a sweet kid. He knew his father was lonely, he knew how important he was to him. And hurting his feelings was the last thing he ever wanted to do. No matter, how much he detested his dad’s wrath on him; he would keep his anger aside for a moment and would apologize sweetly, promising never to err again. Such was their bond. I never saw them hugging, not even when uncle got him his X box from Singapore as a reward for finally passing his Hindi papers at school.
All this has never been easy. There are times when Rohit is extremely upset about some incident at school and those are the times when he needs his mother to talk to him, to tell him that it doesn’t matter if his favourite crush liked someone else. The girl just does not deserve him. On other days when he is too afraid to sleep, needing someone to hold him tight and keep talking to him till he finally dozes off. Uncle never works overtime because he knows that more than money, Rohit needed his presence. And these are the times when he is confused as to how to raise his kid, who was no more a littler now. But they managed, they both did. At such times, he would speak to his neighbours like me and we comprehended Rohit, held his hand and told him that he was the best. No matter how much annoyed they are with each other, they knew what was best for them.
Single parents have always been different from others. No two situations in a man’s life can be alike, just like no leaves in woods. When there are people who raise their children alone after being abandoned somehow by their other half, there are other times when having a child to oneself is a choice, rather than compulsion. Either way, life is not the easy, but neither is it a plight too difficult to handle. When children need a mother’s loving touch that comforts every cell of the body, they also require a father’s ineluctable presence which says ‘I will always be there for you’. A single parent tries the hardest to provide them all.
Aamahelps my mother in her household chores and has been working as a maid for past two decades. Now that wouldn’t sound obvious if you knew she was a graduate in sociology, would it? At the age of 19, her family married her off to a man who deserted her when she was not even 20. After a few months of grief stricken and the spectre of suicide looming in her head, she one day suddenly went ill, only to know half an hour later that she was with child. And that was when her world took a flip flop and this was not because she was with his child, but this time, she had a reason to live. She took up a job and saved every penny for a safe child birth. 7 months later, Rakesh was born, a perfect little baby boy. Five years later he was marked mentally challenged when
diagnosed for showing weird demeanour. There was no office in the city that would agree to keep Rakesh during office hours. And so she decided to do what her mother did for years. Rakesh lived in the outhouse of her employers and from time to time she taught him manual work as he had difficulty in reading. This way she gets to spend maximum time with him and now after 20 years, our outhouse is empty because she made him capable of working and earning for himself in a cement factory.
No parent can ever bear the fact that their children are any less than others.
And true to that, no child is useless. My aama proved that. After years of toil, she started liking her work and today says that she has no regrets in her life. She is proud of her son and we all are proud of people with such perseverance as aama.
Love is a unique entity which can never be divided. It can only be shared. People always raise their eyebrows on single parents. They ask questions like why don’t you want to get married? How do you think you can raise the child alone? I think it is a sole decision and every woman or man has the right to be decisive about their child’s future and what is best for both of them. For all we know, time and again they have proved themselves.
Let it be Sushmita Sen’s choice to adopt Renee in 2000 and Alisah in 2010
ever since she won the Miss Universe title but was too young to be allowed taking this big step, or let it be, Sandra Bullock. She decided to adopt her son Louis despite the fact that she was getting divorced. In 2008, Grammy award winner pop singer Ricky Martin gave birth to twins, Matteo and Valentino via a surrogate mother following the proud annunciation of his homosexuality.
Angelina Jolie was a single mother to adopted son Maddox and daughter Zahara before she dated actor Brad Pitt, who too adopted them as his children in 2006. Singer Minnie driver refuses to reveal the identity of her birth son, Henry and has been a happy single mother since 2004.
Despite all the responsibilities, this cannot be ignored that the society does not condemn the elite; the social predicaments are faced when it comes to bourgeois household. And this is one of the many reasons why they usually tend to so much more reserved than the rest. But, ignoring the world is too facile a solution for a plight so deep rooted in our country.
People must be respected for the choices they make and when it comes to raising a new life, they must be given the chance to live without the interference of Puritans and Zealots. Being a parent is a beautiful feeling – an entirely new life, all so dependent on you, each step they take is the reflection of your words. A child you care for, a child who cares for you.