It is one thing when the fruit ripens and drops by itself. That is outgrowing. It had lived its lifespan as a vegetable, outgrown into a fruit, ripened and now it has fallen to become a seed once again. This is the natural process of growing and outgrowing.
It is totally another thing when you pluck the fruit from the tree. Haven’t you seen that the tree then bleeds milk? This bleeding is not just the bleeding of the tree, but the bleeding of life expressed through the tree.
Every facet has its own lifespan and any premature truncation of that phase causes this bleeding. Aren’t we familiar with the terms premature delivery and premature death? This isn’t just related to the birth of a child or the death of a person who died while still young! Any forced truncation of ‘hood’ – infanthood, childhood, teenhood… – is both, the premature death of the earlier ‘hood’ and the premature delivery of the next ‘hood’, and it causes bleeding in some form.
The tears of every human being are the external manifestation of an internal emotional bleeding.
A child wants to be like his dad and so he wants to wear full-length trousers and walk in papa’s shoes to appear like an adult. Parents fight with children, insisting that they should only wear the clothes that they think are right for the children.
Parents take children for shopping and override the choices of their children in terms of what they think is right, not just the type of clothes but also the colours. From hairband to earring to belt to footwear, everything is interfered with.
Why can’t we allow our children to choose what they want to wear? No, I am not speaking about westernisation!! Even if you call it westernisation, why not? After all, saris and dhotis expose the human body more than most western outfits. Neither does modern wear make a person vulgar nor does traditional attire guarantee a pious person. Dressing is just an expression of growing years. Nothing more than that!
In one house, a seventeen-year-old boy wants to talk about sex. In another house, another seventeen-year-old boy wants to know if God exists. In the third house, another seventeen-year-old boy wants to build his muscles and look macho.
The intellect is flowering in these young-grown-ups and their intellectual curiosity is just an expression of their growing years; of course, their curiosity is in different fields. If these expressions are not recognised at home, then they are going to meet at the roadside bunk shop.
One is not willing to speak on sex, the other finds the subject of ‘God’ boring and the third cares a damn about muscles. But, now they have one another for each other. As the subjects they want to discuss are not on common grounds, they need some other common interest to stand together and be able to discuss. They either pick up a cigarette or meet at a bar; not because they want to smoke or drink but they want someone, who can recognise the expression of their growing years.
The girl has just attained puberty. She is going through enormous changes physically and emotionally. She wants to perpetually stand in front of the mirror and observe the changes in her body from all angles. She is concerned about her looks. She wants to speak about her emotions. She is experiencing new cravings and wants to talk about it.
She is using new accessories that she is curious about. These are expressions of her growing years. If these expressions are not recognised at home, then she will befriend someone from the outside world, who is able to empathise with the expressions of her growing years. And beware; she may even get exploited by that someone.
In one house, she had owned her son all her life and now the daughter-in-law has come to share her most treasured asset. She is insecure. In another house, where her daughter has got married and gone, life isn’t all that comfortable; but the daughter-in-law who has come to her house is enjoying all that her daughter used to enjoy. She is envious.
Mothers, when they become mothers-in-law, need that bit of pampering and that extra dosage of acknowledgement that they are still at the helm. If not, they go into all sorts of attention seeking tantrums.
He had an identity of his own as long as he was in the prime of his career. The world looked up to him and he was proud of being a giver and not a receiver. He is now in the evening of his life and he assumes that he won’t be respected anymore.
Independence to dependence, not necessarily financial but even physical and emotional, disturbs him a lot. He needs a lot of reassurance and renewal of bondage. If he does not get it, he goes into all that attention seeking crabbiness.
The crankiness we see in every child is an expression of their growing years. You can resort to tough measures to regiment the child with admonishments to take control over the child. The child may even sober down. But remember, you will then have to face the carry-over of this crankiness into the youth-hood of that child, and be sure, you will find it even more difficult to handle it at that phase.
Any premature truncation of ‘hood’ continues to crave from within and they find expression in a later phase of life. Premature weaning from breast-feeding finds expression in the child sucking her thumb. Premature disciplining of a child finds expression in a very adamant boyhood.
Premature truncation of boyhood finds expression in a very indifferent teen. Premature truncation of adolescence finds expression in a highly apathetic manhood. Premature end to manhood finds expression in an attention seeking, nagging, forever-interfering and lecturing old age…
Allow the bud to bloom into a flower through the natural process and the flower looks so beautiful. Instead, forcefully open the petals of the bud and create a forced flowering; now, you see, an artificial-looking flower looks, which not only looks ugly but even that poetic fragrance of the flower is missing. The expression of every ‘hood’ during the ‘hood’ is so beautiful, natural and lively.
However, the expressions of one facet of life in a different facet of life become intolerable, unbearable and ugly. If you cannot accept a crying child, how will you handle an apathetic man? If you cannot accept the preferences of a girl, how are you going to handle the adamant woman? Seed to plant, plant to tree, tree into flowering, flowering into a vegetable, vegetable into a fruit, from the fruit again the seeds… this is life. Any intrusion turns it ugly.
Science has of course evolved a lot of short cuts and these short cuts may produce the successes we want, but they can only be bleeding successes and not blissful successes. When you cross all the facades and masks of those celebrities and successful people, who had to relinquish these natural processes of growing, you find in all of them, oceans of tears concealed behind the shield of their achievements.
Their trade-offs have been very expensive. They have traded themselves to become the labels they are known by. In all, we have successfully created a successful but unhappy world. The collective misery that we see in this world is nothing but the collective suppression of the expressions of the growing years.
The collective happiness that we see in this world, if any, is nothing but the collective expressions of the growing years of the fortunate few, who could go through the natural process of growing and outgrowing.
At every stage, we are standing on one pedestal of life and judging those on the other pedestals, and this has led to disharmony in relationships at a personal level and a disharmonious world at a global level. At every age, we seem to suffer from amnesia about the phases we have passed through, and we aren’t matured enough to know about the expressions of those ahead of us.
Already having our life and its expressions to deal with, being lawyers yet, we act as immature and undeserving judges of others.
No, we do not have to be reckless or uncaring and just let others go through their own game. Let us first confirm to them that we will always be there for them before we tell them where to go. Let us first bathe them with our love before we begin to educate them.
Let us first satisfy the hunger of the heart before we choose to feed the mind. Remember, the need to feel respected outweighs the need for growth; the need to be appreciated takes precedence over the need for advice; the need to be ‘what I want to be’ is a primary need, while the need to be ‘what you want me to be’ is only a secondary need.