A clutch of immoral letters

Ratnesh Mathur and Aditi Mathur

Dear Mummy and Papa

Trust is such a big problem. I don’t like it. Please do not trust me. When you say you trust me, this puts pressure on me. I don’t like trust.

You say you trust that I will keep my word. But many times I am not able to. Sometimes because I gave that promise only because you wanted me to (and I didn’t really want to) – like the promise of not eating that chocolate before dinner. Then you said that I had broken your trust. I don’t like trust.

You say you trust that I will not tell lies. But many times, when I’m simply scared of being scolded, I tell lies. I was scared when I did not complete the project so I told you that my teacher liked my work. Then you saw my diary and the teacher’s note and you said that I had broken your trust. I don’t like trust.

You say you trust that I will live up to your expectations. But the other day when I was teasing my friend badly, you said I had broken your trust because I did not behave properly while you expected me to behave like a good boy. I don’t like trust.

Can you leave this trust and honesty and all these words and things and all that?

Can I not just be myself and explore, how I want to live and make sense of this world and learn and grow?

I don’t like trust.

Yours “truly”

Dear Honest People

I am struggling to understand honesty, so I need your help.

Sometimes people tell me that I am being dishonest. But I think that I am being honest. I am being honest to my needs and wants. I, according to what I need, share whatever will fulfill my needs/wants. Maybe what I am saying is not honest to your needs, but it is honest to my needs/wants.

The other day I called an aunt of mine and I asked, “How are you?” and she replied, “Fine”. But she was not actually fine. Her migraines have been active recently,her washing machine was not working properly,her son was having some problems in his college, etc. Obviously she did not share her list of problems with me. She said, “Fine”. In a way she was being honest to her desire of not burdening me with her problems.

Few years ago, in my school, the teacher talked about the sun rising in the east. But then recently I figured out that the sun does not rise anywhere, it is our earth that keeps going round and round the sun. I guess my earlier teacher was just being honest in fulfilling her need to create a convention of directions and give vocabulary to what we see (and not necessarily the reality).

Yesterday my mom asked, “Have you done your homework?” and I said “Yes”.

I think I was being honest. One, I was honest to my assessment that this much homework was enough. Two, I was honest to my ‘want’ of not doing more homework. I know I had not done all that the teacher had told us to do, but then is honesty about meeting other people’s requirements or my own needs?

I think I am never perfectly honest nor perfectly dishonest. I also think I need not be so. I think I will always be moving somewhere between these two extremes, on the continuum of honesty. I think when I am aware of where I am on this honesty continuum and why I am there and how it is affecting me and others and the consequences of my being there, it’s alright. I think when I am not aware, I will learn something or other by being unaware too, so that is also okay.

Also, the other day when I asked my friend for his basketball he informed me that it was deflated. Just five minutes later, I saw his sister playing with the ball. First, I was hurt that he was being dishonest to me. Later, I thought that he was honest to his need of not having to follow up with me to get his ball back. When I thought of his intentions, I felt some peace within me, as I understood his needs (though I still wanted the ball).

So please help me to understand this whole business of honesty and dishonesty when we are neither actually honest nor dishonest at any time. We are just genuine people with genuine needs and wants and have different ways of fulfilling them.

Dear Responsibility
I love you. Not for what you are but for what you give me.

People talk about me being a responsible child. In most cases, they mean I should be responsible for various tasks given to me – like a clean room, belongings, chores, school work, etc. They want me to show responsible behaviour. But by doing all this, will I become responsible? Or do these form only one small part of responsibility?

When I go out with my parents, they seem to be responsible for my safety. Then when I leave their hand and run around, they chide me for being irresponsible. But then, if I was never really given the responsibility of my safety, how can I be expected to be responsible? It’s the same with studies and education. Teacher and parents, all seem to take this responsibility so seriously, then I am hardly left being responsible for myself and my learning.

But surprisingly, when I play with the salt shaker on the dining table, my parents get irritated and they blame my behaviour for their irritation – as if I am responsible for them. Am I responsible for them or are they responsible for their emotions? And in the same way, are others or situations responsible for my emotions or am I responsible for my emotions?

The other day when I kicked my friend because he was shying away from doing the project work, I was called irresponsible. But was I not (like adults) being responsible for the work and by kicking my friend, ensuring that it is done? So is responsibility important or how I express that responsibility that is important? Am I responsible for my actions or intentions?

Am I responsible for achieving the result or am I also responsible for the means I choose to achieve it?

The other day my momma gave me the responsibility of cleaning the courtyard. But sis was feeling unwell so I thought of taking care of her which was actually not my responsibility. But by doing so, I couldn’t tidy up the courtyard. Fulfilling one responsibility affected fulfilling some other responsibility. So where do I stand?

In a similar way I take, eat and finish all my meals myself but I pick out all the vegetables. But then is responsibility fulfilling my needs or is it fulfilling my parent’s needs?

And on top of that who is responsible to decide which one to follow?

The way I see all of the above is that responsibility gives me choices. When I do not have any responsibility (e.g., The teacher is telling me to finish the full page), I do not have any choice. But when I get responsibility, ‘Do what interests you on Sunday’, then I have so many choices and I need to think really hard. And even if I made a terrible choice, I am still responsible for that choice – isn’t that amazing learning?

You see in some ways when I do not have a responsibility, I am a mere follower of others’ expectations or requirements. However, when given the responsibility, I automatically become the leader (of myself).

Now you know why I like you, Responsibility.

A leader

Aarohi is an Open Learning Community for learners of all ages,open to all kinds of interests, abilities, styles and content areas. Learning by doing what one wants, how one wants, and self reflection. It is a Community to co-live, co-learn and co-support each other. Aarohi’s Campus is in a village near Hosur in Tamil Nadu (55km from Bangalore). More about Aarohi https://aarohilife.org.

Leave a Reply