Do whatever you like

Off late I have been growing my hair. It has actually been 14 months since I last had a haircut. I looked up in the mirror recently and saw my hairs parting from the middle all by themselves. That brought up a conversation in my head that I had had with my Mom when I was around 13 years old and had expressed my desire to have long locks. She was of the opinion that if I intended to be perceived a “good” boy by my teachers I should cut my hair short because that shows discipline and that’s what makes “good” boys. At that age I did not have the argument powers with my mom, and was always afraid of one of her brutal statements: “Do whatever you like”. So I matched my mom’s liking with mine and moved on. As expected I completed school, went through engineering college and got a job all in short hairs. Now that I finally do get to do what I want with full support from her, no strings attached, I questioned myself whether I am a different me in these long hairs or it’s still the same guy but with a different look.

I still feel and react the same way as I had done before. Nothing in me has changed that wasn’t there when the locks were short. I still stand by my words, backup all my promises with action and effort and don’t do things just because I can do them. I am inch by inch the same person that was there 14 months ago. Nothing has changed and I am pretty sure nothing ever will change. Then was my Mom wrong? Was it just her own preference that she wanted her only kid to look a particular way, which had prompted her to make up that story about people and their perceptions? Was I wrong in blindly following what she said, did it speak bad about my character and will power? Should I have just grown my hairs long to see what happens and just don’t care what my mom had to say? After all facing consequences of his actions is what a Man is known for.

I gave it a thought and no matter how much effort I put, I could not justify that I was wrong in following my mom’s advice. Well in hind sight its advice but during those days, they were orders. I now realize that the mere fact that I understand the value of inner character and strength was instilled in those years and that it was the direct result of my upbringing. In fact the whole value system in me was formed because of how I grew up. It was a point in my life where I could not have afforded being wrong. Naïve as I was, that age wasn’t for making statements, it was about making yourself.  I had a lot of growing up to do, not just for me but also for my family. Their life was more at stake than mine.

Humans, no matter how open minded they think they are; they do follow set stereotypes more often than not. A fact, that I now understand much better than I did a decade back. So when she said that I would be perceived in a different way, she was actually making this point that I would be type casted and might not get the desired recognition. For a kid being good, is just a matter of how people around him think him to be. This fact, as simple as it sounds, did not make much sense back then. So to buckle down and do as told was not a bad decision on my part.

I always knew “Do whatever you like” means do as told! And once again this conversation brings the same feelings that had I gone my way it would have been a mistake. May be not too big on my part,  as I had the energy of the youth to take me through. But on their part as they would have had a challenging twilight to their lives.

I am glad I followed!!

Vikash

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7 Comments »

  1. You are such a wise young man. I’ll be honest. I use the dreaded, “Do whatever you want,” on my kids. But often, it’s because I recognize that I’m choosing the wrong battle. They, of course, don’t believe me on that point, and it’s a sure way to get them to do what I want. I never say it for that reason, though. 🙂 Basically, when they are doing something that is the equivalent of going on stage with a large stalk of broccoli in their teeth, I’m telling them, “You have brocolli in your teeth. Just sayin. If you WANT brocolli in your teeth, go for it.” As a general rule, people don’t want to go on stage with brocolli in their teeth. I’ll bet your parents are so very proud of you.

  2. Vikash said

    Thank you So much for your comment Piper. Means a world indeed!! As far as parents are concerned I try my best to keep them HAPPY 🙂

  3. Great post! It reminded me of my own dear late mom, a loving yet strong-willed woman who was a great believer in changing the system from within. Mom grew up in a troubled household with a physically and emotionally abusive mother, and when she discovered that her beauty (she was a model and makeup consultant for many years before she began working at the Bronx Supreme Court) combined with her intelligence could open doors to her as far as getting high-powered jobs, it turned her life around. (The trick is to make sure one’s advice isn’t given in ways that sound like nagging!)

    • Vikash said

      Yes Dorian, the last sentence sums it all up. Its the way to put the ideology across thats important! Thats why i will be forever grateful to my Mom .. wouldn’t have been the way I am if it was not for her!

  4. […] Do Whatever You Like. What do we do because it’s who we are? What do we do in reaction to our parents? Wise words from a classy young man and deep thinker, Vikash Pandey. […]

  5. cath said

    Vikash: Your mother is a wise woman. And you “got” the message, first by blind faith, then by reasoning. It is what we mothers do. I have always been open minded about things my children wanted to do. The one thing I would stop them from doing was “following the crowd”. Tattoos, or anything that would permanently affect them, had to wait until they were old enough to make a decision without the influence of ANYONE. I guess I was trying to teach them to think for themselves. And it worked. They all do. One daughter now sports a very modest tattoo of a butterfly, and the oldest is still waiting as I write this, for me to design the tattoo that will include the name of her twins.

    I am glad you understand why parents, and especially moms, do what we do. We want the world for our children. And sometimes it takes us being harsh or strict.

    Thanks for sharing such wonderful words. And BRAVO to your mother!
    ~cath

  6. Vikash said

    My Mom’s a wise lady indeed. I will pass on your compliments to her.. and am pretty sure the reply will be…”See! I told you” 🙂

    Thanks for the comment!

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