A mother's love is unconditional. Usually.
Parents put their children ahead of themselves. Usually.
A father is a shelter, a port in a storm. Usually
But this blog is not about the parents. It's about the kids. Not those who are kids today, but those who were kids once. Who suffered...yes, suffered in the hands of their parents when they were growing up, not because their parents were evil people, but because they didn't know any better. If it happens outside, people call it assault. If it happens at home, people call it tough love.
Many of my friends have horror stories. One is about how his fathers whipped him with a belt for scoring less than 80 in maths. In his class 7 exams. There is a tinge of pride in my friend's voice when he recounts how the welts didn't disappear for weeks. Machismo. 'Cos that's what dads do.
Another friend once told me why she kept skipping classes every month. Her mother didn't allow her to get out of the bed when she had her periods. She was "unclean" after all. Mind it, we were both in college. The girl was effectively under house arrest for a week every month. Only allowed to go to the toilet, the rest of the time she was confined not even to her room, but in her bed. Month after month. Year after year. It was normal to her. A tinge of sadness, a bit of irritation, but normal.
These are not isolated stories. Many people I know have similar dark patches they try to blot out. I have mine. When the abuse isn't physical, its mental. Screams. Being locked away in dark rooms. Being treated like nobody. Humiliated because they cannot fight back. The only word for it is bullying. But it's not when the parents are doing it.
So many grow up to have terrible relationship with their parents. Those that don't have terrible relationships with their children, because they think bad parenting is the only way of parenting. Few have the courage to accept the truth - that their parents frequently screwed up. That parenting was the biggest test of their parents lives, and nobody really checked whether they were ready for it or not. A person isn't even allowed to be a security guard at an ATM without going through an interview and a background check. Yet he can be a parent, no questions asked. Creating a human being and nurturing him or her into a person somehow requires less skill and knowledge than sitting on a stool and blowing a whistle really hard.
The worst part is the expectations. Expectations that the parents know best. The unspoken rules that children don't have self-respect to bruise and parents don't have to say sorry. People who are barely 23,24,25 years old are somehow EXPECTED to know how to bring up a child. And because no one really corrects them, because no one really tells them "You're doing it wrong", few parents actually grow as parents. Even at 40, even with a teenage son, they still have the parenting skills of a 25-year-old. And the 15-year-old son rebels, like all teenagers do, but doesn't really LEARN any better. And when the time comes for him to become a parent, the vicious cycle continues. Even when the child knows what he is doing is wrong, he cannot change, because that would mean his parents were wrong. That is not something the Indian society allows us to believe.
So kids, even if you are a kid of 40 with parents in their 70's, accept that your parents made mistakes. Talk to them about your pain, your suffering, and how much it hurt that they never said sorry. Tell them that you can understand that they never meant to hurt you, but they made mistakes like every other human being does. It will be difficult. It will be difficult to say these words, and even more difficult to accept them yourself. But unless you do, you will be doing the same hurtful things to your children. You will make them suffer as you have suffered. And in the end, they will alienate you like you have alienated your own parents, in your own mind. I realize I am not talking to everyone out there. I don't care. I know you are out there. I know you cannot forget. You never will. Learn to forgive first, and then only can you forget.