Amrita is the newly born daughter of one of my (male) cousins. She was only a couple of hours old when I got to meet her at the hospital yesterday – possibly the youngest human I’ve ever met. The name is only provisional and the debate is currently on to decide what name would be better. The fact that she is insanely cute complicates things – there are no names worthy enough. 😀
My dear Amrita,
First off, welcome to the world!
We have all been waiting for you on tenterhooks for days now. I suppose you do not know it at this point of time, but by the act of coming into existence, you have already brought boundless joy to so many people around you, from your parents, to your relatives, to the sweet-shop owner who is now several thousand Rupees richer. 🙂
You arrive at a time when change is sweeping through the land.
In many ways, this is the best time in history to have been born. Today, you are almost certain to live longer, better and healthier than ever before. You are much less likely to be tortured or murdered. You will not be stoned for some silly offense. You will travel more comfortably, more quickly and more safely than ever. You will grow up in a world filled with technology to protect you, to cast a coocoon over you, to save you from harm.
And yet, little Amrita, these times are also challenging times.
Today, you are a child with two wonderful, loving parents who will want nothing but the best for you.
But in no time at all, you will grow up. And when you do, you will have your own choices to make.
Choices that will define your life.
Choices that will define who you are.
Choices that will make all the difference between a lifetime of bitterness and a life of contentment.
Choices that will define the choices for your next generation as well.
You will choose your career. You will choose your husband. You will choose whether you even WANT to have a husband. You will set your own pace in life.
You will choose between the road less travelled and the beaten path.
You will choose between being yourself and trying to fit in.
You will choose the identities you want to carry as your own.
You will choose what facet of humanity you’d want to represent.
Some choices will be easy.
Others will cause much heartbreak and tears. But it is at such times, that you must not forget that in the end, it is you who has to live your life. No one, absolutely no one, can know you better than your own self. No one has more information than you to come to a decision.
Information! Such a precious thing! Information is what you must have. See, hear, learn, feel, understand and analyze. Go on, and enjoy free flights of fancy! Try looking at the world from another lens! Listen to what others have to say! Sip from the brew of life! Let your mind soar free. Let the collective wisdom of humanity rain over you.
Soak in the various colors of your universe. Taste the diverse spices and mix them all together in the melting pot of your mind to create beauty for yourself. To make your world amazingly pretty.
But be careful!
Opinions are like chewing gum. You must chew them until you’ve sucked in their flavor, but you must not swallow them whole.
You have a mind for a reason. It is okay to make mistakes. It is okay to go wrong.
Life is not too easy for anyone and will not be easy for you.
You will have to be confident, for there will be people who would try to put you down for the choices you make. You will have to be humble, for there will be people who know better and genuinely want the best for you. You will have to be smart, for distinguishing between the two would be no easy task.
Above all, you must retain a sense of self. You are not a puppet or a commodity or a slave. It is shocking how easy it is to forget that.
You are unique and always will be.
Be brave, be strong, and catch up on your sleep now, for you have a long way to walk tomorrow.
Don’t forget to enjoy the journey and bask in the sunshine when you get your chance.