21/11/2015 8:46 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

The God Of Small Things: The Pleasures And Perils Of Parenting

Mother lifting child
Dynamic Graphics via Getty Images
Mother lifting child

The following has been excerpted with permission from 'The Modern Gurukul: My Experiments With Parenting'

It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself. -- Joyce Maynard

Being a first-time mother made me realize just how lost and directionless I could be. I always thought of myself as a fearless person but becoming a parent came with its own share of learning. While there are are plenty of books, researches and experiments accessible to people, at the end of the day it comes down to your your relationship with the child. The world is very different today and many of the tales told by our parents and grandparents might be valid but don't necessarily make sense when it comes down to applying them to your son.

Raising a child is a responsibility unlike any other. Having been a successful film actor I thought I could handle anything but having a child is like entering a drastically different world overnight. There are so many decisions and choices one has to make, which will eventually shape your child's life, so it's a responsibility unlike any other. While we all have support systems such as our family and friends, we as parents are the primary caregivers. Raising the child in an environment, which will help him grow, learn and become a compassionate person, is a duty we as parents have to fulfill.

In the haze of being a first-time mother, I completely lost perspective. Anything to do with my child had the potential to trigger obsessive-compulsive behavior from me. From being an intelligent, logical person, and a success at most things I attempted, I was suddenly overworked, overwrought and unsure of myself. I sought advice from all quarters.

It took me a while to realize that the miracle of life is not just about giving birth but really about nurturing a child while holding on to one's individuality, and learning, unlearning and relearning so much about oneself. This has been my journey of parenting - staying happy to raise a happy child!

Raising a child is a unique journey but it is reassuring to know that many other parents face the same situations and challenges. Parenting is a lot more than just understanding and following the guidelines in books. It is a more personal, intimate and unique relationship with one's child. It is imperative to understand and listen but it doesn't mean that one can blindly apply anything one reads or hears. There are plenty of books, researches and experiments accessible to people but at the end of the day it comes down to what works for you.

Is it without its share of failures? Definitely not... It's essential to understand that. I used to wonder: Am I doing the right thing? Will I end up regretting this decision? Gradually I've learned to let go and follow my instincts more and more.

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