Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Angry "A"s!

What makes you angry? When your clients dodge paying up after extracting all the work from you? Or when you feel your entire weekend being devoured by your kids leaving absolutely no 'me-time'?  Or when your little sister is a ubiquitous presence at home, staking claim to all of your parents' attention? Or when you are not allowed to snack on your favourite junk food (which happens to be right before dinner time!)........ these are a few reasons that makes us go all red and hot! Off late, both our 'A's (as we fondly refer to our kids both whose names begin with the first alphabet) have been experiencing certain anger issues in their own way........if one is transitioning from tween years to teens.... the other is moving from thunderous threes to fussy fours!! While we dialed in  for "Toddler 911 techniques" for the latter, for the former we decided to introspect and look within and like most children's's no surprise that this too stems from the parents! While anger is a natural feeling when things don't go as expected, it's how we choose to react and express our anger that has a direct bearing on how our kids let their steam out! We yell and they yell, we abuse and they abuse, we curse and .........well.....they'll think cursing is cool!
Of course, avoiding all kinds of outbursts or shouting-matches is easier said than done, and it's convenient to let it slip a few times and blame it on children themselves or rationalize the same as parental authority! But seriously...who are we kidding? They are as we are and they will turn out as we have turned out. As the saying goes ....children are great give them something great to imitate!

As we all learn to deal with our own anger management issues, I discovered an insightful little children's book on the same subject by Pratham publications titled "Angry Akku" by Vinayak Verma. Recently awarded the Hindu Young-World Good Books award for the Best Picture book: Story category, this book is based on a theme that transcends all age groups and makes a delightful read for one and all.  Even the name of the little girl reminds me of Kannada author Vaidehi's story of a strong willed woman named "Akku" with her own anger management and mental health issues that was even adapted into theater and later a movie. I wonder if the author drew inspiration from the same....!

Anyway, as little Akku is picked up from school by her father, he notices that Akku is not her usual perky self but is upset over something. Nothing seem to cheer her up...if the sun flowers on the way are "too yellow", the monkeys on the roof of her house are "Chee!" Nothing that appa has to offer softens her mood..... and though she refuses to down a glass of buttermilk or crunch into the crispy vadas.... on second thoughts  she polishes off the plate in no time!  Despite being in an unenviable situation, I envy the father's ability to stay patient and adopt a therapeutic  approach to letting Akku's anger subside! Why is Akku angry or most importantly, does Akku finally cool down?  Read on to find Akku's  annoyance melting away as she turns from Angry Akku to Artist Akku!  Aided by vibrant and imaginative illustrations,  and endearingly relatable portrayal of its protagonists, this book is truly one of the best picture books in recent times! Even on a personal level Angry Akku is a big hit at home as I see my little one imitating Akku in one of her own angry avatars and my older one trying out the ten best things suggested when he feels angry like Akku and  our lives are all about juggling between them as we learn to deal with our own angry-Akku-moods!    

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