Thursday, March 15, 2018

Euthanasia – An Emotional Turmoil

“We will have to remove his ventilator, he has to die, there is no other option!”

...whispered a relative in the dark corridors of the Municipal Hospital.

I was aghast and looked silently into the eyes of my husband. He silently echoed the acknowledgement of a statement just made so insensitively and in a matter-of-fact way by a person, who was related and had seen ways of the world.

There hung a deathly decision on the pale and gaunt face of my Uncle of 72, whose son’s life and death he was given to decide.

His son, 32 then, unmarried, unemployed, uneducated. He had met with an accident which left him paralyzed neck down. His vocal cords, too, were crushed. All he could move was his eyes and lips to smile feebly, cry silently, but eloquently.

Sameer! It meant whiff of air!

My cousin. I spent my entire childhood with him. He was a few years elder to me. I was his baby sister. I ate my 'Jamuns', only if he brought them from the trees. I learned to climb trees and draw water from wells through him. I threw my tantrums with him. My marriage brought a healthy distance but this sudden turn of Fate brought the family under one roof.

He was progressively declining. He had already spent more than a fortnight in the hospital. 

The verdict was grim. The questions unspoken...

“Who would take care of him in this vegetative state?”

“Who would fund his medicines and for how long?”

He had no wife or children! Parents being old and financially dependent, what can be done to keep him?

True, he had a father, mother, two brothers, their wives and children. Each a unit, each striving their own struggling existence. In that case, it befell on his Dad to take the right 'Decision'!

It is a the worst responsibility a father can shoulder. 

To decide, to let a Son Go!

A son you raised for hopes of him holding you in your Old age. A son you raised with your heart.

To face the cruel fact, that he is no more than 'a burden', suddenly. To him, to doctors, to family members. A person unable to speak, unable to move, unable to even say “Let me Go!

I pictured my Taoji standing in front of the bed, watching his third son, degenerating every minute. Expenses mounting, expectations dismounting!

How long could one hold on? How long should one hold on?

What should one hold onto?

A life, that would never be the same again.

To a father of meager means, who struggled to make ends meet for all his 70 years. His life would be heavier with every breath he would take now.

He decided, finally, to let him go.

The Doctors went in; came out a while later, pronounced him DEAD!

All over, was it really?

The Rituals done, life resumed but it weighs heavy in our hearts. In every living family member he left behind. No one spoke much about him. All were back into their lives.
His pleading eyes haunt me with the question “Was there nothing we could do? Could we have done anything else?

We ask for forgiveness and more.

Relatives assure “We freed him from suffering...”

I think, we only freed ourselves from suffering.

Time and again, I wonder if my Taoji ever recovered from the weight of the decision. Each moment he waited outside the hospital room where the ventilator was gently removed, must have carried in him numb pangs of self-loathing, hurt, betrayal and guilt. He was letting a part of him Go.

It is the deepest moment of letting Go!

A moment never should be revisited!

Yet, life is cruel. It reduces human existence to mere remarks of “the only thing to do”, “free them from suffering”, “God’s will!”.

Passive Euthanasia they say is approved now by the Law of our Land but does it absolve us of this human travesty of deep shame, loathing and Guilt?

It hangs more on them as a forever twang of the sharpest variety on the survivors and the decision-makers.

The Law of the Land absolves but the repercussions stay on, causing deep turmoil during and after the decision is made and executed.

I once again had to look deeply into my husband’s eyes to make another tough yet necessary decision. A decision that would be abiding and questioned too. 

My mom had a relapse of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. This time it was fatal. Chemotherapy at best would prolong her longevity to a few months but bring with it hordes of life hurting miseries to the body. 

She blissfully lived in denial that it was “The Disease!” and her days were limited. 

She lived in hope of cure. She hung on to her deteriorating body. Desperate to Stay on. Afraid to Let Go. 

Someone had to take decisions. 

Quality of Life Vs A Little Longer Life. 

A mobile and intact body (weak, yes) v/s a bedridden, sore, helpless existence.
To tell her the truth and assist her withdrawal or let her blissfully hope a cure is around the corner. 

Her body must have told her but she lived in Denial...

To face your death must not be easy! 

To Face your Mother’s death is equally uneasy! 

I felt, what my Taoji must have felt years ago. 

To sit by the bed of your ailing one. To see someone you saw strong, vibrant and lively, lie like that- helpless and vulnerable, looking for miracles from you. Expecting you to come through and change everything to Normal. 

The moment dawns to tell you, no miracle is happening. 

Death is slithering towards and you cannot hide your loved one anywhere. You must choose death for them who look to you for life. 

A decision of  no chemotherapy was arrived at.
I wanted my mother to be in command and control of her bodily functions till she could.
She was till she breathed her last. 

I wanted my mother to be in her senses and know who we are and not slip into oblivion. 

We lost connect only on her last day. 

She was mobile throughout. Met all her relatives, went to all her favourite places, ate her ice creams and drank her juices. 

Yet, as a daughter, a decision hung on my head. 

To treat her in the hospital or let her go, at home, surrounded by her people. 

Doctor left the choice in my hands. 

Passive Euthanasia, a deliberate decision to not use life-prolonging medical procedures! 

We took it. 

Another challenge awaited still on my already weakening will. My mother’s denial, and the clinging to life tendency, although her intake of food was reducing. 

I had to suck my breath in and give her the most chilling of verdicts. 

Your illness is progressing mom, there is no more cure, no religion, no medicine, nothing!
Once when she pleaded “I am unable to take it further, can’t swallow, can’t sleep well!” 

I numbed all that I had, to tell her courageously,“Mom, if you cannot, do not. Please let go. Your stay on this Earth is done. Go Mom. Don’t suffer more now!
In a week’s time after that, she passed away. 

Now I live with the unassailable sharp twang of having speeded up her departure. 

Did I participate in Active Euthanasia? Should I have let her live with her hope, a few days more? 

Should I have chosen chemotherapy and let myself believe, we did everything we could for her? 

Did I do the right thing by asking her to detach? 

Did I prolong my misery or hers? 

Would she in her death have cursed me for being a selfish daughter who did not want her to stay on? 

What does a Good Daughter do here? 

The Relatives once again say, "SHE IS FREE OF SUFFERING!"

But those who live? 

Are they free of suffering? 

Passive or Active Euthanasia looks at Right to Die with Dignity! 

Rightly so! 

No one wishes a loved one's

existence to shrivel to nothingness but in ensuring dignity to them, they earn their own wrath. 

They live with a load as huge as tons of weight on their heart. 

It is in the centre. An unheard cry that cannot escape, that cannot explain the courage that was so expensive. 

Debate of use and misuse of Euthanasia may go on, but when a person inches towards death, he or she does not do it alone. 

Someone else too joins the Dignity brigade and dies a hundred deaths- first, contemplating the decision; second, while executing the decision, and years and years later, that Decision
leaves an unhealed vacuum, never to be filled, never to be tilled, never to be killed. 

It leaves a question,Was there something else that I could have done?” 

The answer never echoes back...

-By Sonnal Pardiwala

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Women 2018: Acceptance and Change!

I am a Woman. I live several lives in one. A woman’s life is a course in survival. She strives, she triumphs, she survives and she thrives!

As a part of this species, resilient and remarkable, I declare, that,

I am the Acceptance and I am The Change!

Ever since I have been, I have learned to observe a situation and accept it for what it is. The only conclusion I reach is, A Woman is the Agent of Change. However dependent a woman is viewed, she has a choice always. A choice to cope, find unusual ways to deal with things, dig in the heels and create a new space, a new miracle.

The only story that rings true is the one lived. On this Women’s Day, may each story find its way out, share the wisdom gleaned and spread a shared joy! With pride, I share mine in each phase of my life.

  • Childhood Limitations

Born a Girl, where a boy was awaited! Some welcome you get in that case. I was side-lined to give birth to more off-springs, hoping for a male progeny that never arrived. Three girls, and another one- aborted to save mother’s life. A family of five, living in impoverished circumstances, shamed at family gatherings for being what one is- A Girl!

To top it, I develop myopia at the tender age of five! Now a real loser in the family, A burden. A reason for mother to not even look at her face for spectacles remind of her difficulties in marriage market later! More shame, more humiliation.

"In all this, I figured that if I had to matter, I had to do something. I had to Love myself if no one did. I had to wipe my own tears even if no one knew I was crying."

I accepted an unworthy state but worked on one aspect that I could master. My studies! I excelled at it. I read, read and read. I fought for my Masters Education and funded pretty much myself by giving tuitions. I met my life partner in the corridors of educational halls. So much doom and gloom attributed to the bespectacled girl, never transpired!

I got my first lesson in “I am the Acceptance and I am the Change!

  • Educational Limitations

As I grew up in an environment where food and shelter were existential questions to be met with first, there were no intellectual tools to stimulate oneself. Not a newspaper, not a book, not a pamphlet. My first readings came from textbooks and discarded newspapers, mostly in regional languages. Due to glasses, I was forbidden to read anything more than necessary. I had to hide and read, whenever.

I glanced at the situation and understood one thing. My reading is my aim. How, when and where I read, is not the issue. I must read. I began doing chores at a neighbour’s place. Making tea for her, helping her clean. When aunt slept, I picked up her Gujarati weekly paper and read everything. I learned writing and reading the language. I stood extra at the railway station stall of newspaper and read headlines. Slowly coaxed my uncle to bring me second hand books. Film magazines too, even medicine bottles.

College was a huge freedom. The most I loved was the Library. Books, books and books! I spent hours devouring them. As I got chance at earning money, I went to Mumbai streets to pick up the cheaper paperbacks that one got for 20 INR. What Joy! I still treasure all of them after 30+ years. Now life is cool. Online bookstores are a Boon. No one now stops me from Reading. Had I taken defeat, I would not be so rich in terms of reading and learning  so much, and knowing  at least five languages.

I accepted first my situation and poked my way around it. To accept and understand a situation gives you the freedom to set yourself free to find avenues to fulfill them.

I am The Acceptance and I am The Change!

  • Rituals and Outdated Customs

My tryst with outmoded customs began with the onset of my menstrual cycles. I was all of 9, and made to wear the recycled clothes. Yuckkkk! Same for all the four other women in the house. No other alternative I knew, so I submitted...until, I reached college to realise there indeed was one. But wait. To use a Sanitary pad was a sin. How can parents fund a sin? No no!

Well, I had to fund my own Sin and did so gleefully. I had to demonstrate, no hell will break loose. For my comfort's sake and for my sisters' sake. 

"Gradually, the sin became a part of our household. After of course few broom back breaking and much name calling. When I dig my heels, I do."

Similarly, during my first born, I refused Maalish (massage) on me or him. I took it up myself. How can anyone else nurture my child in that tender stage? To hand him over to an unkempt aayah? Thank you, but No.

When my husband was critically ill, a suggestion for making Brahmins sit for Chanting came. Though I was three months pregnant, I determinedly decided, I am the Brahmin here. It is my husband. If God has to listen, he will listen to me for sure. I did win the battle. God granted me with Grace.

Without a ceremony, without an elaborate show off. A private one on one with God. That has been my relationship to God. If I bring an idol, I do so with respect and as intuition so guides. No show off, no feeding so and so, no loud donations.

When I feel, I give to the needy. If a need is perceived, I share what I have.

Steadily, I have been in question mode for religious rituals. If a ritual is needed for me, won’t God listen if I put my heartfelt effort and desire in it?

I accept what needs to be done, then go about the change required to connect deeper.

So far, God has been a kind friend. He too accepts that,

I am The Acceptance and I am The Change!

  • Marital Impositions

Every situation along with it, brings a new set of Challenges. If you surmount them, you live to tell the tale, or you simply wilt.

"To have found a soulmate in an inter-faith system is kind of a course in Self-Development. You transform, or you totter."

I, a born Brahmin, had never seen non-vegetarian food. Till a certain time, even Bread was Taboo. He, a Parsee, ate everything under the sun except another human. Our food, our clothing, our festival, our religion, all vastly different than the other. The only common thread binding us- Our love for each other. From 1992 till now! 

That is an incredible journey!

His sister sends him an underlined article on how interfaith marriages don’t last. How food sensibilities will clash. My love expected no change from me, except that I love him deeply, which I did.

Then I thought deeply. What was in essence pointed out were superficial things for which he was held responsible. I decided to change. Eat poultry, fish, eggs, mutton. Wear Sleeveless, shorts, one-pieces (a welcome change for me)! Be in acceptance of all that they were. No longer was he ashamed to join parties and gatherings where Veg food had to be requested. I ate what they ate.

I removed myself from another big inter-faith Conflict. I learned a practical relationship with my God-in-law. In the Zoroastrian Agyari, a person from another faith is not allowed to enter. I could have played the “Poor me” or Rebellious me” card and create Disharmony. All I pondered was “Does it really matter, if I don’t get to go inside and pray to God? God after all is everywhere! In those few minutes, when my spouse and kids connect to God, will they forget me? Will I cease to be theirs?” To take the tension off the hook, I was happily stationed outside the Agyari, sipping the heavenly Raspberry which you get only in Udwada, or reading a book in the Car or simply taking Selfies now. There is so much to do in each moment that we overlook it in creating self-created tragedies.

Take the tension out of a situation instead of searching a tension in a situation.

The resultant peace allows us to enjoy both the religions and their lovely moments.

As a woman, it was my decision to accept and change the uncomfortable equations.

I am The Acceptance and I am The Change.

When the time to transmit faith comes, a mother is the primary agent. I passed on happy Gods in form of stories, anecdotes, self made sweet rituals that connect and bond. Instead of searching what is wrong in a religion, let us find the Right, and Transmit it.

That is the Acceptance, and thereon will begin a Change.

  • Medical Crises and Balance

As a child, since more or less I was not given much importance, I was in an advantageous position. Except for an occasional fever, cough or a small head injury I remember being solidly healthy. Myopia was a condition, not to be spoken about much. They took me to eye doctors from time to time, tried few things but gave up for other busier concerns. So when I met my love, I was super surprised to see him ill frequently enough. I burst out laughing when I saw him (18 year old!) in hand gloves and socks during fever. Like in Mumbai, who needs those to feel warm??? Of course, I realised slowly that he was forbidden to eat tomatoes, lady finger, brinjals, guava??!!?? He had a kidney stone! He passed blood in urine. He had piles too! Quite a list.

For a person who never paid attention to illness and took health for granted, this was an adjustment. Within two years of marriage, I realised he had unresolved anger issues with his immediate kin. His dad was a kind man but had an alcohol addiction. His mom, given to hysterical tantrums, two sisters filled with disdain for his choice of wife from outside faith. No one checked in to see if we were truly happy with each other. The anger cost me my first baby. I miscarried. He drove his bike madly jerking and riding mercilessly, hurting the tender growth inside. Demons took over the sweet guy when in anger. He even tried committing suicide! All of this culminated into severe bleeding post a surgery on piles. He was given 100 bottles of blood and no cure was in sight, nor the cause known. As a wife, I knew the deep anger and pain he was releasing. I was pregnant the second time around with bed rest dictated. At a time like this, his kin took him to a Government hospital. The reason cited was a Doctor relative. The Real Reason, was no one wished to spend money on him. We had nothing in the bank. 

I was called in.

He has only few minutes...

I froze! Then I did a soul talk. I do this each time someone is facing death. No training. Just a natural thing. I asked my husband’s soul “Do you wish to live? If not, I permit you to go, don’t suffer. I and our child will survive...!

In that intuitive moment, a woman communicates to a true soul mate, she found a feeble but firm answer “I wish to join you and our child and Live. I do not wish to go!

The bond accepted, and the change executed.

I came in his room, looked in his eye and told him.

You will live, now that I am here. I will be by your side in this hospital, till and as long as it takes...

He took a deep breath and absorbed my faith.

The faith of a Determined woman. I had the strength of two. My little one inside. I had surrendered to my God my child.

Then began a struggle of 27 days. I glimpsed cruel face of humanity, kind gestures of strangers, indifference of nursing staff, hunger. My dad did bring food, albeit once a day, for he lived far. The nursing staff as ruthless as not providing cotton to put underneath a bleeding man. Not providing any gauze to clean wounds. Nurse, helper, cleaner, supporter. We became one in this struggle and emerged the winner. Chants to Lord Shiva, my lifeline and faith in life, my only remedy.

In the moment he was declared healed, I know he was born anew. All the warnings of Doctor of subsequent maladies never came to the fore. I pledged to keep him healthy. Mentally and Spiritually. Yes, he had other struggles to face but health, he took in his hands. Transgressions were handled sternly.

"In that one moment of soul talk, I accepted death. In that another moment I invoked life. For Us."

We were blessed with a baby boy! The best that can be. He is special, for he was in every breath I took in that hospital, in every endeavour I went through later. Battling hunger and uncertainty, chanting the Mrutyunjaya mantra with me, within me. My pride and my inner support. To him I cried, to him I made thousands of promises, when things would be fine. He gave me no trouble. As if to tell me, “Mom, I am there. We will get through this...

We did.

A baby that has gone through much, will have its ramifications. He developed Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia. His platelets are destroyed by his own body. Doctors told “No intervention is best intervention.” Allopathy had no cure. A mom can never accept that! I had to find an answer. To keep him steady, growing and healthy, I turned to the path of spirituality- Reiki, Crystals, Essential oils! They became friends in  healing many a conditions as he grew up! He is a Healthy boy today of 17, and needs very little medication to bounce back from health issues. A miracle of my life, private and precious, just like him.

Our another miracle entered five years later. My water bag broke in middle of the night, a month prior to predicted arrival.

Doctor is worried. 

Mother is not. 

She is by now used to medical challenges. All it needs is a timely courageous decision. I tell my doc, “Operate, man!

He is hesitant. "Are you sure? You cannot be anesthetized! Epidural bloc, Can you cope?"

"Cope?! I can make a career out of it!"

To him, I simply said “Anyways, the bag is broken, the child has no sustenance. Get it out, we will nurture it soon enough.

We spent the next two hours chatting, getting my baby boy out, locking my Fallopian tubes up, after hilarious arguments!!!  After the fourth pregnancy and two boys, thank you!

Once the bub came out, it was a Vacation party, since it was April.

His Asthma healed through essential oils fully. His hand operation dealt with the faith of Chants and oodles of Mom love. No trace of anxiety while dealing with medical crises.

This is what Moms are made of.

Acceptance of a situation and then making bold and daring timely decisions. Sometimes, a prayer from the depth of a Heart of a Mom. God too cannot ignore it.

For I am The Acceptance and I am The Change.

  • Financial Consequences

All bold and daring decisions are followed by consequences. Once out of the Hospital, a decision had to be made to distance a little from hysterical figures. To risk them again, would be taking away chances of my weakened husband’s recovery system. There was a price. They took away our home. Just one room key left with me. That remained. No income, no bank balance, no money, a baby to raise, a family of three.

As a woman, with a ten day old baby and just recovering husband, life offered few avenues, besides myopia created severe vision issues.

One room! Then... took a decision that would have far reaching effects on our fortune. I joined hands with my husband and began tuition classes. A baby feeding underneath me while I checked papers, taught Grammar. A baby to change diapers while reading Geography. I learned time-management, finished lessons while the baby slept, and talked to students what mattered to them when the baby did not allow any teaching. As a result, work flourished for students loved our class. They saw a mother teaching, learning, caring for a baby. 

They saw a Mom and Dad, together, raising a baby. Yes, my husband shared every bit of baby chores. Cooing, cleaning, putting him to sleep, changing diapers, feeding, story telling! We learned to save money for important things. Learned to live tightly and save, buy a home and raise a happy family. Had I been a housewife like I had been earlier, this whole gamut of experiences would have eluded me. To run a house on as less as Rs. 3000, was our miracle.

Yes, demands of Gold and stuff were never made for we knew where money comes from, where it goes. Post the second pregnancy, I could rest, but I valued the money we earned together and how it gave more freedom to my kids. We raised them simply, but comfortably. We do live a comfortable existence now, but I learned, finances are not only a male's duty, just as home chores do not belong only to women. When a husband and wife work as a unit, Paradise manifests!

I could, for I grasped the situation. Instead of whining or going “Poor thing me and cruel them” I gave Universe a strong message, "I, along with my husband am the sole creator of our Destiny. I will work hard. Give me work!"

Universe sent me loads and loads of students. In each student, I see my son’s needs fulfilled. So each student becomes my best attempt. I devise methods so they get it done simply. They get it simply, they stay. Work flourishes.

"Fill hearts with Gratitude and your being with Fortitude!

For you have lessons to learn and lessons to teach.

If you cannot run, Walk!

If you cannot walk, Crawl!

But move you must. Find a way you must."

Keep finding ways through whichever means, to find a higher vibration. Get the best Version of you and those attached to you. Be the force that is wise with experience.

Learn and keep learning. Not only did I teach myself to teach students languages but also learned skills of self development as they came in my path.

In every moment, there is something to learn. A vast Universe lies in a moment. Still everything is momentary.

  • Mortality and Immortal plans

There is no Tomorrow. Live Today the best you can. Give to others, the best you can. Choose peace, yes, but forge blazing trails to walk when peace becomes frozen barren islands where nothing grows or thrives.

Accept when a detour is required and Change the path when guided.

Only a woman holds the key to unlock what no one has before.

As I move about in life, learning and teaching, I also accept an inevitable fact. Death. It happens to all. 

"It is not a pessimistic statement. It is a desire to live, to be immortal beyond my physical stay on Earth."

We can give, only what we have. The money, the possession, all are not mine to keep. My organs are. 

I wish to donate those parts of me that can give life to someone. I will live in someone’s Gratitude and add to their life. For each cell of me holds my whisper, my thunder, my love, my determination, my zeal, my valour, my wisdom. I offer the last useful part of me to someone who needs it, with the promise to carry it forward.

In my acceptance, is the inevitable change of Life.

A sustenance for a family who will receive part of me lovingly.

I express it, in complete acceptance of a life lived completely, meaningfully, joyfully. Fully is the emphasis here.

For I request God to keep me Healthy to pass on this Gift.

I declare, I shall take care of my inner being, visceral and spiritual, at its highest level. For we don’t give broken stuff for Gifts.

In being useful, the motto of life be fulfilled.
I ask Health and Happiness from above!

For even God whispers when a Woman thunders!

Be the soft dew that cools,
Be the mild breeze that inspires,
Be the raging inferno that rules,
Be the thunder that conspires,
With powers hitherto unknown,
To bring on land miracles unsown!

You are the maiden’s naive laughter,
You are the bridal sigh,
You are the mother’s lullaby,
You are the tinkle of a bangle, working over the sink...
You are the directive on the success brink!

You are the story that weaves dreamlands for the child to cherish,
You are the caress that make fevers perish!
You are the pride that glows as a warm embrace encircles the beloved,
You are the hug for young hearts to come back to.
You are all of it and more!

What you are, you still have to demonstrate
The humanity awaits to felicitate!
Unleash your aura and Vibrate to the fullest.
You are Me and
I am The Acceptance and I am The Change!

 by Sonnal Pardiwala

Monday, February 26, 2018

So Much For #StandByToughMoms

Years back, when I was five or six years, I stole five paise from my mom's drawer. When my mom came to know of it, she thrashed me. With whatever that came in her hands. Broom-stick, roti-pin, her own hands.
"How dare you take money without asking?"
"You dare ever open that drawer again!"
To drive the lesson home, she tied me to my cupboard using my skipping rope. We lived in a chawl back then. No one dared to enter the house and open me up. I, myself, did not dare. Afternoon turned to evening, evening to dinner. I was opened up only when my father came home. Silently, and without any arguments. Disciplining us was clearly my mom's prerogative and no one interfered. It was simply not tolerated. 
This event had a deep impact on me. I learned a few Do's and Don'ts.
Money that is earned by you is yours. If you cry, no one will come and dry your tears. You must do it yourself. You must not allow hunger to surface or plead to anyone. When mother disciplines, no one interferes.
For a long, long time, I dared not disobey my mother. I earned my money at 16. I learned to be self-sufficient. I found kinder ways to discipline when my progeny arrived.
Spanking, confinement, humiliation - are tools that are never used. 
Dialogues and Conversations are my general tools. A stare is what I fix when displeased. Withdrawing food has never been used. Time outs, not my method. 
Whatever has happened, it is resolved before meal times. Inclusion and not exclusion of all four is the rule.
So, when I see this hypocritical, patriarchal endorsement by #AllOut in the name of #StandByToughMoms my blood boils.
Let us take a tour and see what it contains. 
The dinner table is set, all members are sitting around. Two daughters-in-law are serving? (in 2018??? Yes for #Allout we are Sanskari only if served by women). 

The child (two and half foot) pushes the plate. Mother pushes it back wordlessly. He does it again. She picks up the plate and takes it away. Senior Ma in law starts, "Oh what has he done that you are depriving him of food?" ( To begin with, the child should be asked as to why is he insulting the food? Does it not fall into the 'Sanskari' format, or are boys exempted from that?) "For 10 rupees, you are doing so much!
Never mind, our daughter-in-law in question, (2018 version) wordlessly goes around serving food.
Next immediate Ma in law begins, "He had taken it from your purse, not the neighbour's..." What rationalising Sanskari Logic. It would be offensive only if it were taken from a neighbour, then the tune would be "As a mother what have you taught?"
Ah we detoured! Next is the Father himself... 
"He took my money!", “Tere Baap ke ghar se nahi aye the!"
Here I wanted to break my screen, but this money is my own, does not belong to any one's Dad, so on time, I controlled.
What is our #ToughWoman doing still? Demurely serving food, unruffled, unaffected, a paragon of virtue.
Then comes in"Chotte Gharki he... Tere maa baap ne kya kuch nahi seekhaya tujhe?"
My blood boiled and spilled out, but not this 2018 mom's with a cute little punk eyeing his elders. Everybody is in mute mode. Food she cooked must be delicious.
I had a question here. When cuss words are used we beep, because you do not want children to be wrongly influenced. Don't you think, this deserved a beep in the drawing room and advertorial then and there. Do we want our kids to learn "Tere baap ke ghar" sentences?
Oh wait! Now the big moment arrives. Dadaji opines, "He has not taken the money but stolen it, today he has stolen, tomorrow God knows what he will do! Theek kiya bahu tumne!
Ah the Validation! It becomes bonafide, only if a male Patriarch benevolently, magnanimously, grandiosly gives his verdict.
I have a question to this Almighty Dadaji. 
Can you say a word to your uncouth, uncourteous, ill-mannered male progeny? Why did you not feel the need to correct him then and there! What is "My money?" Is she supposed to get some money from her father's house to give her son the practice of stealing and allowing it? The Dadaji is so generous with his concern for future generations. I feel some course correction is needed to his present generation and his own attitudes. Why are his daughters-in-law waiting on the table? Are they not equal? Should he not ask his son to apologise?
Is this how #AllOut wishes to depict a Strong Mom. A mom who takes timidly the abuses hurled at her in front of dozen family members. Do tough action look like this? In her entire body there was resignation, yes! Firmness, I missed it. If you see it, do point it out to me.
I call out the #AllOut folks and tell them we do not need #StandByToughMom we need #StandUpToughWomen.
If I would be there, first thing, I would be sharing the dining space eating and discussing the crisis that transpired. For child stealing money for whatever reason is one. 
Next,  if abuses were hurled at my "Background or father... (I still cannot get over- Tere baap ke... Beep please!) I would fix the rationalising and interfering one with the coldest stare, pick up my punk and walk away to my room, corner, whatever is available in that joint family space. Alternatively, I would ask my husband to apologise right there, or the Dal, Sabji whatever, would be on his head, instead of the plate. By Jove, I would most definitely not serve food to such an ill-mannered product of patriarchy.
Validation I need of no one, not even Dadaji. If I feel my kid has transgressed, it would be a private business of the father and mother alone. 
I felt, my mom had more courage 35 or 37 years ago, to discipline me in whatever way it deemed fit. She did not need a Dadaji to give a "Theek kiya bahu" certificate, to smile. As if Dadaji spoke on her behalf so it was alright to put aside the berating of her background. Will the child then learn to respect her or her Nanaji for that matter? Is this a girl of 2018? Surely she would and should have a little more charisma... She looked more sleepy to me than tough! 
All good, till next time you hurl expletives at the demure daughter-in-law for another tough stand. 
All I want to tell #AllOut is "Theek nahi kiya..."
Maybe next time you want to depict toughness and concern for support, try showing a woman who stands for herself for she knows what matters to her and what matters for her children. She definitely would not allow a "Tere baap ke..."
The Dal and Sabji would have a better target. Better a child remember a thunderous woman than a wispy, dripped in frozen water, unable to speak for herself woman!
#StandUpWomen #OurChildrenNeedOurAttitudes!

-Sonnal Pardiwala

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