Tuesday, 31 March 2015

shocking and unnerving...

I know that life teaches you a lot by itself. I grew manifolds after I left home when I was 18 years and there was no looking back since. A few weeks back I had some interesting conversations with my mum-in-law. We both come from very different school of thoughts but we still have managed to agree, understand and respect each others thoughts. We spoke about first impressions, my upbringing, how important is freedom and space for kids as they grow and the role you play as a parent to make them independent (especially by letting go!).

A few days back, my elder girl and I had gone Indian grocery shopping. I refer to that store as our store for survival! It's doesn't give you the greatest shopping experience but it's one of those things that needs to be done! And that was the whole reason to drag the 7- year old. 

On landing there, I asked her to fetch a shopping cart. The poor girl landed at the wrong aisle and asked a sales guy for his empty trolley. Instead of directing her to the right trolley station, he snapped at her. There was a few seconds of pause between all of us. She froze and I stared. And that was it. The poor guy saw the bad side of me! Of course it then led to apologies and we were back to our shopping within minutes.

The next few minutes there was utter  silence between my girl and me. She was shaken. It's very rarely in Singapore you come across such situations. And for kids seeing us in this mode is very rare. I hesitatingly asked her "are you fine". And she blabbered, "I have never seen you like this before". Of course I wanted her to see the bigger picture- I told her right there that it's important to be strong and get yourself heard especially if someone does something wrong to you!! This was surely a reality of life that she had hardly seen before. I know it left her thinking and a bit shaken.

Monday- We all woke up to the shocking news of the death of the founding father of Singapore Mr Lee Kuan Yew (LKY). So much has been said and written in the last one week. I have also witnessed the deaths of the premiers of Dubai and the Ruler of UAE during my stay in Dubai. But this was different. It had shaken up the whole nation and everyone was united in his moment of grief. We had a lot of talk at home on this.

Friday: As a family we try and spend our Friday evening out by having dinner together. As we stepped out our cabbie informed us that there are major road blocks and a journey that normally takes 15 minutes may take more time. People had been queuing up for hours to pay their last respects to their bereaved leader. The Parliament House was close to the CBD area. We headed towards the CBD area, as we wanted the kids to witness those crowds. 

The cabbie who drove us had a slight vocal problem- he was stammering. My 7-year old immediately noticed and asked me in a whispering tone- is something wrong with him? I explained to her that there are people who have such speaking issues but yet they make it in life! It moved her. He tried to make a conversation with her (his daughter was also of the same age) and she patiently heard him out (sometimes not fully understanding what he said). By the end of the journey, they both landed up having a conversation on LKY!

The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore
On reaching the CBD area, our eyes first fell on some of the reflections that were so beautifully done up on the buildings to pay respect to their leader. And of course the queues were shocking. The 7-year old froze again! She couldn't believe that everyone was waiting so late into the night just to get a glimpse of their leader. She asked me if I respected any leader like that back in India- and my answer was NO! Maybe the closest would be Mahatma Gandhi (but my generation wouldn't relate as much to him as maybe my parents and grand parents).

The crowds waiting for the funeral procession
Two completely different incidents shook her over the week. The former maybe was less effective and soon forgotten. Her subsequent visits to the mall, library during the week made her notice a lot.  She and even we had never seen these kind of emotions. People crying while watching the funeral procession on large TV screens at malls, the crowds on the road on a rainy day to witness the funeral procession and the PM's eulogy that was very personal and emotional. This was a historic moment and we were here to witness it. From a 7-year old's perspective, this was unbelievable. She knew something big had happened! Hopefully it will stay on her mind, and when she grows up she will have a tale to tell her kids!!

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