My Story: My Daughter Taught Me To Chill – Aarti Kanal

Aarti Kanal with daughter Simran

Each of us has, at some point in time in our lives, received life advice from our personal life coaches – parents, siblings, teachers, mentors, kids, the vegetable vendor or the stranger sitting on the adjacent seat on the flight. Something that moved you, changed you or made a difference to your perspective forever. India Pages brings to you these slices of life, shared by people from all walks of life … Writers, Photographers, Artists, Television Producers, Hands-on mommies, Entrepreneurs, and Engineers …. Meet Aarti Kanal

No matter what your mistake… just admit it sweetly and honestly… and you are a winner!

 Being a teacher by profession, from the day my daughter, Simran was born, I thought I would be able to teach her whatever she needed to know about life! Looking back at her behavior, her responses to situations and her varied perspectives, I think I am the one who has learnt the most valuable lessons of life, from HER!

When Simran was barely two or two and a half years old, she loved singing nursery rhymes as well as Bollywood songs. Be it in the bathtub or at her doodling activity, she kept humming her favourite numbers! Very often, I observed that she sang in the same tune, but the lyrics at times were not as they were meant to be.

Once or twice, I tried correcting her, fearing that she would probably be embarrassed if someone else corrected her. After listening to my ‘sound advice’ a couple of times, she just blatantly said, ‘I am singing MY SONG and in MY SONG the words are like this!!!” She continued ‘composing’ her own lyrics…and I was left speechless!! But, I learned…Never curb your creativity!. You can always sing your own song…

Being an ardent fan of the Big B, Amitabh Bachchan, I remember having watched his super hit film, Dostana, at least 4 times during my college days!  When my daughter was about a little above 3 years, we sat and watched it together. We enjoyed the entire movie…and I was delighted to see Simran watching with rapt attention.

The last scene…the typical Bollywood fight between the heroes and the villains in which, ultimately, the hero is triumphant!  And then, the 2 heroes walked away gloriously!

Promptly Simran commented…. When there is a car, a bike and a helicopter available, why do they have to walk?  Amazingly, three vehicles shared screen space in that scene…and I had never noticed it!!

  • I learnt…don’t ignore the obvious comforts you have around you…make the most of them!! This will give you more reasons to smile and less to grumble!
  • Kids usually love to wear huge sunglasses…

Once, 3-year-old Simran wore my sunglasses with utmost style! However…she wore them upside-down!

Being a typical ‘ever ready to correct my daughter’  mom, I affectionately whispered, “Aapne chashma ulta pehna hai!” (“You have worn the sunglasses upside down!”)

Before I could blink, she replied with added confidence, “Lekin main ‘aapko seedha dekh sakti hoon!”  That left me speechless!

 I learned…It’s not important how you see but what you perceive. A situation that appears to be topsy-turvy to you could be perfectly straight to the other person. Stay focused and don’t lose your cool! Everything will ultimately appear straight!!

  • As parents, my husband and I have always tried to instill in her the importance of keeping one’s belongings safe. In her very 1st week of KG2, one day she insisted on wearing her brand new watch to school. As luck would have it, she lost it! Needless to say, she was extremely upset! Not just because she had lost something special, but more because she was afraid of the scolding she would receive from her dad for being careless. I don’t know why, but I took that incident as an opportunity to frighten her about the repercussions of being disobedient!! She was truly petrified and for some strange reason, it gave me sadistic pleasure in expressing to her, (quite dramatically), that she was in for ‘big trouble’! The sunset and the doorbell rang…she knew it was her dad. In a flash of lightning, she ran to wash her face, wipe away her tears and with the most cheerful smile, she opened the door to her most doting dad! With her billion-dollar smile, in the sweetest voice ever, she said in a singsong style, “Mera to…naya watch…gum ho gaya!” (I have lost my new watch!”)

Most promptly, in the same tone and tune her dad replied, “Koi baat nahin…papa naya watch leke denge!”  (“No problem, papa will get you a new one!”) The joyous smiles on both their faces and the “HAHA, I won” look which Simran gave me…is a moment I will cherish forever!!

  • I learnt…No matter what your mistake …just admit it sweetly and honestly… and you are a winner!

As  Simran grew older, she began getting more conscious of her appearance! I remember she was in Grade 2. She had long tresses, which I would oil traditionally every weekend. Once, I tried explaining to her that just a few hours of oil would not nourish her hair sufficiently; she must keep the oil on for at least 2-3 days. She refused…she would not be seen ‘oily’ by her friends until the day horses flew!

However, the persevering me, kept trying. One day, I convinced her that she would look really beautiful with long hair neatly plaited, even if oily. She reluctantly obeyed. She went to school feeling awkward, anticipating her peers to mock her for being ‘Oily Olly’! When she returned from school, the first sentence she uttered with a beaming smile was, “Ma, you were right! I was looking pretty with my oily hair!”  “That’s great! So, your friends and teachers said that to you, right?!!?” I asked enthusiastically!  She replied very matter-of-factly, “No, nobody said that; but then nobody said that I was looking ‘bad’ which means I was looking ‘good!”

  • That was the best lesson I learnt…NO NEGATIVE= POSITIVE! What a wonderful perspective!

Very consciously, I tried imbibing all these lessons into myself, until gradually, these values have become my persona!

And as she grew out of her teens, and out of her childish (valuable) prattle, an essential lesson I learnt from her, in 2 words: “MOM…CHILL!!!!” Just these 2 words are the mantra for a stress-free life! “Mom…Chill” teaches me so many things…

  • be calm…do not over-react;
  • relax…do not stress
  • enjoy…do not grumble
  • accept…do not find faults
  • forgive and forget…do not hold on to grudges and complaints!

All we have to do is…keep our hearts and minds open! The term ‘generation gap’ can then join the ‘old English’ dictionary!

About Aarti Kanal

 Aarti Sunil Kanal is an educationist since 1989, with a passion for training students for elocutions, debates, drama etc, and has worked as a teacher in Mumbai and in Dubai. Presently, she is an Educational Supervisor in a reputed school in Dubai.



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Suhana Bhatia
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