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As India celebrates Children’s Day, as all great men get their pictures clicked with someone’s kid, my question is whose kid is it anyway? When I was but a child, my father had ten German Shepard dogs.

He had meticulously trained each one. They in no way had consciousness of dogs, as my father would communicate with them through gestures. These canines had developed emphatic and altruistic emotions towards humanity. Inspired by my father’s love for dogs, one day I too picked up a puppy from the road and got him home. He was extremely cute yet the first thing my father told me was “son he will not always remain a puppy”. I did not know what my father meant then or maybe I just didn’t care. I wanted what he had – a legion of faithful companions and it would start with the puppy. Each day I would come from school and play a few minutes with Sando, a name I had chosen for the Mutt and then I would get busy with my work and hobbies. Sando each day remained with Thapa, a man who worked as our house help. Then came a day when many of my friends came to visit my house.

Sando sat at Thapa’s feet. I gloated to all pointing my fingers to the dog that “That’s my pet”. I called his name yet Sando did not respond.

I shouted his name and Sando did not respond. He was happy at Thapa’s feet. Then I became angry and pulled his collar. Sando needed to be taught a lesson in obedience. The poor dog started to Yelp loudly. I let him go and whimpering, he went to Thapa’s feet. I was extremely angry as I felt the dumb dog does not realize it was I, ISHAN SHIVANAND, WHO SAVED HIS LIFE he should bow before me. Yet he didn’t.

I felt cheated and humiliated in front of my friends and society. I felt more humiliated when I saw Sando doing tricks for Thapa. I sat sulking on the porch thinking what sort of punishment I must dish out so the mongrel might learn his lesson and just then the car stopped. Out came my father with his two prized canine companions. They were elegant and beautiful and I asked my father why Sando did not obey me.

My father’s reply hurt my already wounded ego. He said, “Son, by law Sando is yours but by love he belongs to Thapa. It’s a simple rule of LOVE VS LAW. Law needs enforcement whereas love none. Law is a one time incorporation whereas love is a continuous development. Just like the gestation a fetus cannot be rushed, similarly love takes it own sweet time.Thapa gave Sando one thing which I did not and that was time. Hence,love overpowered law as always. For, a soul knows heart more intimately then it knows the mind.

Changing the subject, in Delhi a father came to me with his child seeking blessings, for the child did not listen to him. My sister used to show me many pictures of the father-son duo on Instagram. Soon It was evident that apparently that was the only interaction which he had with his son. As he worked, each day he would leave early before the son was awake. The mother too was busy in her social life. The child was left to maids. Each day the maids woke the child, fed him, got him ready, dropped him to school. Then the child came back, was again fed by maids, then he would go to tuition, then he came and went to hobby class, after that would be the TV time and finally in the evening he would see the glimpse of his parents or maybe even not. In the night the parents were generally so exhausted themselves that rather than taking care of the child they would indulge in their own recreational activities like TV, alcohol or party. Weekends would be no different. Now let me give you a mathematical problem. So each day the child spends seven hours at school, then two hours in tuition, then an hour  with friends, then unaccounted hours with his gadgets and he is nurtured by his maids and the child sleeps for 8 hours. My question is how much time is left for a child with his parents in a 24-hour window?

Is it not amazing that a child spends more time at school then at home yet whenever the child does something wrong, the school calls the parents. A child studies at tuition yet when he fails, the blame goes to the parents, yet the parents in return wash their hands off the child’s fate with hefty fees paid to institution as they outsource his upbringing to others.Whose child is it anyway? Why do we treat a child like a football in an Arsenal vs Man United match, passed from one player to another. Best part is we have the audacity to complain when the child does something wrong saying, how could my son do this? Again, my question how is he yours? By love or by law? Did you spend time to give the child your morals? If not, then the child is lost to a system like fishes to sea.

Many years back, when Baba ji gave me the mantle of Shivanand, some people complained as they felt Baba ji was favoring me, I never hated them, just pitied them as they never knew how it was to be loved by a father, they never knew how carefully an honest father trains and builds his child. For a baby sitter the child is a job. This child will grow up to understand only profit and loss. What does this destitute soul know about passion inherited from father to son? They were somebody’s child by law yet orphans by love. I sat with the father and son from Delhi. The son was still sitting in the lap of his maid, his father was alien to him. The father called his son to come and take his blessings. The son was busy with the maid, the father shouted and the son still did not come. The father became angry and holding the child’s hand, pulled the infant towards me. As the child cried, the father said why does this boy not understand ‘I, HIS FATHER GAVE HIM LIFE, I WANT HIS BEST’.

As I looked at the anger in the father’s eyes and the fear in the child’s, all I could remember was Sando and Thapa.

All I can say is please adopt your child, do not let him be an orphan, whoever your God, whichever rock you bow down to or whichever book you repeat, you are the only God your child knows. Give him time, give him your morals, don’t let the system create another soulless, faceless sheep. Your child deserves to know your stories, switch off the TV and the phones. No one cares how many selfies you have with your child, INSTEAD OF TAKING SELFIES WITH YOUR KID , GIFT THE SELF TO HIM.

Today tell your child a bed time story
Today cook for your child
Today tell your child about your own parents
Today tell your child about your God and guru
Today see the super moon with your child
Today hold his cheeks and kiss his forehead
Today look at his face and see how big he has grown
Today ask your child to tell you his stories
Today accept your child
Today do not enforce law but spread love

You have given them birth now give them a life.Adopt your child and let his heart not thirst as he is orphaned while his parents live.

Let your voice be the first thing when he wakes. your voice the last thing before he sleeps so that one day when you finally sleep for an eternity, your voice still lingers in his heart as a companion to help him differentiate between right and wrong.

Love you
Bless you

Ishan Shivanand