Letter to My Daughters: Remeber Your Roots and Trust Your Wings
As a mother I wish you love, I wish you success, I wish you health and I wish you peace...but to achieve these I need to give you your roots and your wings.
I want to give you roots that will help you grow And wings that will enable you to soar...
By roots I mean a secure and safe home, a loving and nurturing family you can count on, knowledge of your own culture, heritage, faith as well as of others around the world. By wings I mean the ability to fly solo confidently to areas unknown and still feel like you belong. I wish to raise you to be a global citizen while at the same time being cognizant of the fact that global citizenship doesn't mean west worshiping... east and west both make up the globe.
Today French, Italian, Spanish, German etc. classes are very popular as a second language, with parents sending their kids to learn these languages, as they believe this will help kids if they wish to study abroad or migrate for work. But wouldn’t it be nice to first know meaning of the lines of Jana Gana Mana which is written in Sanskrit. Learning Indian languages is as important as knowing English or any other global language. You are learning Hindi in school, but it would be great for you to learn other languages that would enable you to know more about other cultures through the rich literature. In my opinion Urdu is a great language to learn as Urdu literature is a fine example of linguistic and cultural synthesis. Hence we have started your Urdu classes. English is your wing that will help you assimilate with the rest of the world. Will help you settle down in any part of the world without the fear of not being able to communicate. But Urdu is your root. Learning Urdu will help you gain access to your culture, history of your immediate surroundings, tales of your forefathers.
It's great that we are celebrating Halloween and Thanksgiving. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a Baisakhi party and know why Baisakhi is celebrated. Knowing about Halloween is your wing but knowing about Baisakhi is your root.
If you are inclined towards music I'd encourage you to learn the Sitar or the Veena over Guitar. In dance I'd encourage you to try Bharatnatyam over Salsa. Don’t get me wrong when I say this. Guitar is an amazing instrument and Salsa is a dance form as graceful and culturally rich as the Bharatnatyam. But these are not your roots. These could be your wings which are someone else's roots.
I see ladies my age who think that wearing a salwar on any day other than Chauki, Karwa chaut and Diwali is uncool... I'd like to raise you to carry of a kurta as well as you would any LBD. Let your fashion choices be guided by grace and comfort and not dictated by trends and peer pressure.
True knowledge is the wind beneath your winds.. In giving you stronger roots I aim to give you stronger wings. Only when you have knowledge of your own culture and history can you appreciate the culture and history of someone else living in another part of the world. Which is what we need in the world today the most; understanding and appreciation of various cultures, traditions and faiths.
One will think that the stronger the roots the more difficult it will be for you to take off. But I disagree. Take off you will, fly high you most definitely will. But you will always have your roots to come back to. So grow strong and don’t be afraid to fly high and far for your roots will always guide you back to peace and happiness.
Your loving mummy,
A bird that that flew and flew back.
PS: This is not just gyan..I say this to you from experience... I've lived in the west and also in south east. I had an opportunity to share accommodation and make friends with people from various nationalities. People from around the world want to know more about you, your country, your culture, your cuisine etc. like the way you would want to about theirs. I was asked about Hindu mythology, sharia law, history of Indus, Indian cricket, Ashoka, history of curries, partition what not... some of which I had no knowledge of.