Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Being CFC- A Man's Perspective - Abhishek Purohit

I never gave any thought to the matter of kids till my mid-twenties. As is usually the norm in India, it was understood somewhere at the back of my mind that they would come along at some point. Because they had to, and that was what you were supposed to do. Like you were supposed to go to school, to college, to work. Producing children is made out to be one of the principal reasons for our own existence.
Then I happened to go through a turbulent phase, triggered by the breakup of a long relationship, which threw up lots of actual existential questions for me. Questions that should have ideally come up much earlier surfaced now. What was my calling? What was the purpose of life? What gave me happiness? It was a period when I grew immensely as an individual.
I had not rebelled against it till then, but I had also never felt a pressing desire to have kids, even though most of my friends were marrying and becoming parents. As I discovered myself more and more, I realised this was also a question I needed to ask myself. Did I really want children?
From whatever angle I approached the issue, and kept revisiting over a couple of years, the answer was the same. Would I feel incomplete if I did not become a father? No. Did I feel something missing from my life? No. Would having a child or two hinder my independence, the thing I probably value the most? Yes.
I had seen my friends plan their entire schedules, actually their entire lives, around their children. The moment their children were born, they stopped living for themselves, assuming they had been doing that till then. They gave up the hope of doing what they had never tried, but had always wanted to. A different career. A long sabbatical. Travelling around the world. Living in a different city.
In nearly everything, the central determinant was the child, and that, for me, was the biggest issue. To give up control over several life-altering decisions for something I did not even want badly? That settled it for me.
I was prepared for the fallout. My mother warns me of the consequences of a childless (and helpless) old age. A friend even called me ‘anti-existence’. ‘What will you do with your savings?’ another asked. Some are convinced I have suffered some horrible trauma to have reached such an abnormal decision. Will I succumb to family and societal pressure? Not a chance.
There is no girl who will not want to become a mother, say many. Will I not find a partner because I do not want children? Who knows?


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

For All The Perverts Out There...

I am going to keep this short.
I am the administrator of this blog- which means I get to choose the comments worth publishing. Why should I have to monitor the comments? Well that’s because it is more of a necessity than an ego trip.
For every comment published there are at least six that get deleted. Why? Because for some reason, most of the people seeking out blogs on child free couples happen to believe that we are a community of the ‘sex crazed’! The comments range from the more ‘tame’ queries on our ‘favorite’ contraception methods (grow up fellas!)  to the absolutely outrageously (and often incorrectly)worded, invitations to the ‘swingers’ clubs’.
There are others who suggest that CFC’s should be ‘castrated’ (there are graphic descriptions offered) and that their jobs should be given away to others more deserving (read non CFCs) . Many ridicule the IQ level of the authors with extremely unkind, obscene and bitter words.
Then there are the more persistent ones who target women- suggesting they are lazy, selfish and should buy certain vegetables  for their ‘needs’ instead of getting married. Some comments  start out with promise before quickly succumbing to the writer’s perversion. The content of the comments remains consistently  sexual and  hostile.
Gosh!We are normal folks, guys- it is YOU who are the perverts!
 Polite/impolite reasoning with you  is not going to work so instead- here is a short message- You can visit this blog all you want and dump as much garbage as you possibly can, but you will NEVER have the satisfaction of having your comments published. So why not save some time and not bother??!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Though I am all for childfree life, at times it scares me ....

 The below comment was posted here and I would like to know your experience in dealing with the same. This will be valuable to the commentator and others in similar situation. How should the couple communicate their decision?

Though I am all for childfree life, at times it scares me....I am really afraid of being an outcast from the society and not have anyone to share my joys and sorrows with. I just don't want to hurt my parents and in-laws, but i don't fancy having babies either....Confused but inclined to being childfree. I wish I find the strength.

This is a common dilemma that most of us face while communicating ours decisions to near and dear ones. And what to say about the fragile makeup of Indian families! We get hurt and offended very easily even for trivial issues.And this is huge! The first rule of Indian marriages is: If you are married you are supposed to produce children (and that too in a certain time frame)!

My response as posted on the same link:

I hear you. Going against societal norms is not easy. You and your spouse need to be 110% sure about a childfree life. Once you both are absolutely convinced that this lifestyle will bring you happiness - then it will be easier to talk to people who matter to you. They might still not understand but at the end of the day your family wants to see you happy. 

And, it is more important that you bring a child into this world for the right reasons.

Polka dog enjoys living on the fringe of society and is used to saying 'our life, our decisions' for a lot of situations. Being in a different country away from family helped. Basically polka dog had it quite easy and cannot add much value:( 

I will put this up as a separate blog post and let the readers give their stories/suggestions/perspectives

P.S Polka dog's  family and friends have not abandoned her despite her 'hurting' them.  She is able to spend a lot more time and energy with family as she doesn't need to plan her schedule around kids. In a way it has brought all of us closer.

Dear readers, look forward to your view points!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

To The Women Who Choose Not To Have Kids- Abby Rosmarin


Source: http://thoughtcatalog.com/abby-rosmarin/2013/12/to-the-women-who-choose-not-to-have-kids/

To the women who choose not to have kids, I have one thing to say: thank you.
You probably don’t hear it enough. In fact, you probably don’t hear it at all. What you do hear is an array of pro-childbearing responses, such as, “You’ll change your mind someday,” or, “Doesn’t your mother want grandkids?” or, “You’ll never find a husband if you never want to have kids.”
All things considered, “thank you” is probably on the opposite end of what you hear.
But seriously: thank you. Thank you for recognizing that childrearing isn’t for you and being true to who you are. It doesn’t mean you hate kids. It just means that raising one is not part of your path in life.
Thank you for not succumbing to the societal pressures. I’ve known far too many parents who had kids because that’s what was expected of them. Working in childcare, you see more of this type than you wish to see. The resentment is almost palpable. They love their children — at least, they have no choice but to love their children — but every single movement seems to scream, “I wasn’t meant for this.” I’ve known too many people who grew up with at least one parent who harbored that resentment, who let that resentment dictate how they parented. I’ve seen how that influenced the way these former children are now as adults, or even as parents themselves.
Thank you for not trying to compromise who you are in an effort to keep a partner around. Thank you for being honest and open and refusing to apologize for who you are. Everyone has different values. Everyone wants something different in life. It takes a lot of guts and confidence to say, “This is what I want in life. It’s not the orthodox way, but it’s my way.”
Thank you for not trying to silence that feeling in your gut as a means to validate your life. There are too many people in this world who cannot figure out their path — or have stumbled while walking down said path — and decided that maybe having a child could provide that meaning and definition instead. You understand that down this path lies vicarious living and hurt emotions and you recognize that there are so many other ways to find love and meaning and joy in your life.
Raising children is a difficult, onerous, frustrating, and disappointing gig. It’s tough enough for those who want it. It is a rewarding and loving gig as well, but it’s not something one should go into while focusing only on reward and love and societal acceptance. In this day and age, with a booming population in almost every country, it makes no sense to pressure every person to have a baby. But we’re sticklers to tradition, ritualistic to a fault.
So thank you. It’s not easy to stand firm with your belief. Honestly, truly, and genuinely: thank you. 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The Curious Case Of Vimalsha

If you've visited the Jain Delawada temples of Mount Abu you'd know what ‘poetry in marble’ means. The intricate and minute carvings of this 11th century AD temple are absolutely breathtaking. This is a story about the man who built it.
The actual Jain story has multiple layers and learnings but what fascinated me was this aside. So here it is with a bit of a preamble.

Vimalsha was the well-respected commander of King Bhimdev’s kingdom in Gujarat.  Due to a misunderstanding created by few of the king’s close aides, he decided to leave the capital city of Patan and move to Mount Abu (known as Chandravati at that time) as a governor. 

It was the best of times and he enjoyed the peace and bliss around him. One day Vimalsha’s guru, a Jain Acharya, asked him to construct a temple at Chandravati that would inspire people. Vimalsha agreed to build a grand temple and prayed to the Goddess, Ambika Devi, for her blessings. She was pleased with his sincerity and asked him what he wanted. Now Vimalsha had a beautiful, loving wife, Shridevi and they were enjoying their time in Chandravati.  But there was one issue, which was, that that they had no ‘issues’. Having no children made them feel incomplete. So he asked Ambika Devi for a son as well as the capability to construct the temple. But the Goddess, being a Goddess, could grant him only one wish so he opted for the temple.

It took 14 years to build the temple on top of the mountain. The workers were paid in gold for their efforts. The artisans would collect the marble dust that they had carved for the day. This stone powder would get weighed and an equal amount of gold would be given to them!  Vimalsha was indeed loved by all.

His life was perfect but for want of a child. The story goes that Ambika Devi was extremely happy with the couple and wanted to grant them one more wish. She came in Shridevi’s dream and the Goddess, being a Goddess, asked her to go to the temple at midnight along with her husband. They both were thrilled and went to the temple right away. 

It was a long wait for the clock to strike twelve and the couple felt thirsty. So Vimalsha went to a nearby step well to fetch water. The steps inside the well led to the water level. There were beautiful carving on the inner walls and he was mesmerised by its beauty as he walked down. Suddenly, a man stopped him and demanded a toll. Vimalsha was shocked. He said, ‘Why would you demand money for water?’  (Yes those were the days …)  The man replied, ‘This well was built by my grandfather and so now it belongs to me. I don’t have any other source of income and I feel I’m entitled to charge for it’ 

This made Vimalsha very uncomfortable. He thought, ‘What would happen if one day some of my own children or their children tried to collect a toll for the temple that I’ve built?’  He shuddered at this and wondered if it was better to remain without a child. He asked his wife for her views. She was in agreement. (Yes those were the days …) So, at midnight when the Goddess asked them what they wanted, Shridevi replied, ‘We want to lead a childfree life. We don’t want any children.’ Ambika Devi was stunned! This was the first time she had received such a strange request. 

The Goddess, being a Goddess, granted them their wish to remain childfree. And, they lived happily ever after :) (Yes those were the days ...)

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Leading the 'Good' Life

Many of us occasionally ponder life’s deeper questions but quickly go back on cruise control and continue our quotidian existence. An unexpected death or sudden misfortune can prompt us to question the purpose of life and our role in it but rarely does it have a profound enough impact to completely change the way we live.  It’s usually after retirement, well into our 60s, that we have the time and inclination to focus on how to lead a good (read spiritual) life!

How does one stay focused inwards and maintain equanimity in face of all that life throws at us? How does one learn the art of dying, and in turn, the art of living fully? How does one consciously detach oneself from people and possessions alike?  How do we really live, not on autopilot, but deliberately? Every moment.

In my view, as a childfree person half the battle is already won.     
Choosing to be childfree requires conviction and courage. The choice might be clear but to stick by the decision isn’t easy.  And there is usually something deeper at play. Perhaps a desire to go against the grain and challenge societal norms.  Or an inner urge to confront the apparent meaninglessness of life head on instead of distracting oneself with the needs of one’s progeny for the next twenty years or more.    

Childfree couples deal with the big questions earlier on, often in their thirties and forties.

You think about death and in essence the purpose of your life. After all, what are you living for, whom are you earning for? Who will carry on your ‘legacy’? Who will you entrust all your valuable possessions to after your time on earth? 

You think about the question ‘No children? Then what next?’  What next?’ is a powerful question that begets more questions while proffering no answers.  

You think about feeling complete and confident within.  Without having to look outside of you. Without having to create anew.  You think beyond ‘My Family, my Kids’. Beyond ritualistic living. Beyond hypocrisies. Beyond conforming for the sake of it.

From a spiritual point of view, there’s certainly an element of self-selection in the desire to be child-free. Even otherwise, the absence of children – often the strongest attachments one can have – pushes people on the spiritual path at a younger age than usual. 

Whether from the perspective of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the Yogic way for salvation, or the Buddhist path to Nirvana – one seems a step closer to liberation. 

The path is already smooth and ready to be taken, but of course to walk on it is the real deal.