“Thank God, they succeeded”-20 July 2011

At 50, Yogita was a picture of success personified. She looked as if she was in her late twenties. She dressed well. She spoke well. She took care of her professional responsibilities like no one did. Sumit, her husband, a handsome man in his mid fifties doted on her. They had two very good-looking kids – Namita aged 21, and Manas aged 18. Everything appeared picture-perfect, with the family basking in a bliss that was are to come across elsewhere – until that fateful night!

Manas came home at 2.30 a.m., looking haggard, tired to the bone, very irritable. Yogita, wide awake until Manas came home, tried to ask him where he had been. The boy flew in a rage, shouted at his mother, pushed his worrying sister away, and slumped into bed with his shoes on.
The next morning, he was okay, and apologetic, though not repentant. All eager to go to work at her business of interior designing, Yogita was not willing to ask him any question, perhaps afraid of an angry retort.
Over the next few weeks, Manas continued coming home very late in the night. Yogita and Sumit suspected that he was drinking and smoking some stuff. They were afraid that the boy was going astray. Their effort to talk to him only produced angry responses which they did not know how to control.
Frankly, Yogita did not have much time to mend her son’s straying ways. She had got a contract to design a new hotel, and that kept her busy at least 12-15 hours a day. Sumit was almost always on tours trying to get more business for the architectural firm which he ran in association with Yogita’s firm. The couple did not have time for the kids. With no check, Manas started going adrift while Namita, a student of architecture, stayed on course, trying to follow in the footsteps of her parents. Often, she would urge her mother to care for her teenage brother, but was dismayed by Yogita’s terribly busy schedule.
However, from that fateful night when Manas came home ion a terrible shape, Yogita felt a real alarm and tried to discipline the boy, though to no avail.
At that stage, Namita took over. She did a couple of smart things. First, she started sending as much time as possible with Manas. She started going out with him to movies, to young hangouts, to bookstores, on jungle trails…! In her, Manas found a decent company. Certainly, he loved his sister. Now, in her, he found a friend. And what a friend did Namita prove! She did not mind going with him and his friends for late night movies too.
And second, Namita contacted a counselor to seek guidance on how to handle her brother. With the counsellor’s help, she started handling Manas with greater maturity. A few months later, Manas was no longer in bad company. Of course, he is still to recover fully from the bad patch. But with Namita with him almost all the time, he is doing better – in his personal habits and behavior as well as in studies. There is every reason now to believe that Manas will be a reformed person.
Such cases of parental neglect, though out of genuine reasons, are on the rise. Teenage kids do not need much money or much pampering. They need, on the contrary, a lot of time, a lot of attention, a lot of trust, but not a blind faith. As mother, Yogita, an epitome of professional success, did not give Manas only that. Neither did Sumit, as a father. Both were head-on in their professions. That need was fulfilled by Namita. The girl understood what was messing up things. She took control. She behaved with much responsibility, and brought her brother back on the track.
Things sound rather easy as I write about it. . But they were difficult when the family first knew that the son had strayed into a wrong lane of life. We find many young people like Manas because we also have among us many mothers like Yogita and many fathers like Sumit. Let me say with a sense of sadness that in most homes, there are no Namitas who could take control, who could take the correctional initiative.
This is one case I would never forget. For, all the persons involved in the real-life story are very good human beings. They faced a genuine problem and fought hard to emerge from it. Thank God, they succeeded!

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