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Trishanku’s Paradise

Updated: Jan 1, 2023

Teenage is complex and complicated. You are neither fully grown up nor you are a child any longer. Parents still treat you as a child while adults refuse to accept you in their league.

Teenage can be aptly equated with Trishanku’s Paradise. You can neither go up nor come down. This is a time of physical, emotional, mental, and social changes. Hormones change as puberty begins. Physical appearance, both in boys and girls undergoes several changes.

Most boys grow facial hair, and their voice deepens. This also will be a time when teens might face peer pressure to use alcohol, tobacco products, and drugs, and to have sex.

Other challenges can be eating disorders, depression, and family problems. At this age, teens start to make more choices of their own about friends, sports, studying, and school.

They become more independent, with their own personality and interests, although parents are still very important. This is time when teens show more concern about their body, looks and clothes. Mood swings are common between high expectations and lack of confidence.

This is age when teens show less affection towards parents. Sometimes, they might seem rude or short-tempered. Teens may also go through a phase when they feel a lot of depression and

sadness which may lead to poor grades at school. Frankly speaking, teens is one of most difficult phases of life. Here parental guidance plays a major role.

Be honest and direct with your teen when talking about sensitive subjects such as drugs, drinking, smoking, and sex. Make it a point to meet and get to know your teen’s friends. Also show interest in his school life. Encourage your teen to make his own decisions but ensure he makes healthy choices. Respect his opinion, thoughts and feelings. It is important that teen knows you are listening.

We all know good grades are important and also showing respect to others is equally important. Try and reach a consensus with him on such issues. Also encourage him to keep his surroundings clean. Always involve him in taking important decisions.

We also have a teen in the Segon family. He is none other than my dear grandson, Rishabh Segon. He is 14 now. He lives in Saint Antonio, Texas, America. Both my son Ankur and daughter-in-law Yogita are doctors there. Rishabh is the elder brother to Rohan, who is younger to him by six years.

Recently, Rishabh took a major decision and we all welcomed it. Earlier, he wanted to be an engineer but now, he wants to be a doctor, like his father and mother. Rishabh is a multi-talented teen boy. He is black belt in Karate. He plays piano really well and has won several competitions. He is also a good trumpet player. May be, all these diverse activities help him to overcome teen age blues. Rishabh is a healthy lad and has a gymnasium of his own at home. He shall soon have a swimming pool of his own at home.

His real inspiration for healthy body is his mother, Yogita. She is regular at gymnasium and is ace swimmer. She is a regular at Chicago Marathon and covers 42 kilometre race every year. She has athletic body and is slim and trim. She is also a good dancer.

His younger brother, Rohan hero worships him and tries to follow him in life. Rishabh is fond of outdoor activities. Some time back, he attended Summer camp, a unique experience of its own kind. Our grandson volunteered and attended summer camp of his own. This was first time that Rishabh was on his own, away from home and parental control. He was in the camp without any contact with outside world. Mobiles were not allowed. Mostly teens were attending the camp. Motto of the camp was total self-help. Nobody could contact them. It was total isolation. Imagine children brought up in the lap of luxury, doing all their daily chores themselves. They even cooked their own meals. Camp was setup in area, surrounded by mountains and forests. Those attending the camp were taken for trekking and long route march.

This camp taught teens meaning of independence and self-help. Rishabh loved his summer camp. I think such exposure helps teens understand the true meaning of life. When Rishabh came back home and laid in his own bed, he thanked god for giving him a home, and all the comforts.

It was also a test of parents to stay away from their loved one. Both children and parents understood the value of each other.

Sometime back, my son, Ankur told me that Rishabh is not happy with his facial hair and wants to start shaving. I suggested that he should first use a trimmer. My son spoke to Rishabh and his mother about it. Both agreed and our grandson is happy with the result.

Therefore, consensus is necessary even on small matters. Kids of present generation are sharp, witty, intelligent and techno savvy. They are miles ahead of earlier generations. Rishabh is elder to Rohan by six years, but Rishabh feels there is generation gap between them. May be, generation gapes are just five years now. I was watching kaon Banega crorepati junior the other day. Trust me, each kid was sharper than the other. They had no stage fright. No complex that a personality like Amitabh Bachman shall be grilling them. I have no hesitation in admitting that I had no clue about some of the questions. But these children knew most of the answers. One of them, a little girl of eleven walked away with twenty-five lakh points.

Teens have their problems, but I am sure, with proper parental guidance and healthy environment, these can be overcome. But for god's sake do not blame yourself for your child's disabilities. This may look strange, but it is true that your child is born with 400 psychological traits which mature from time to time.

According to Doctor Russell Barkley, a renowned psychologist, your child is genetic mosaic of your extended family. He/She is not born as blank slate, on which you can write. The child has got nothing to do with your personality, and Intelligent quotient. He is unique combination of traits that run into your family.

Dr Barkley says parents come to him blaming themselves for shortcomings and disabilities in their child. You are not an engineer responsible for right or wrong in your product. You are more like a shepherd who takes sheep to a pasture where they feed, grow, and stay protected. Environment is important but it does not design sheep. Tell me which shepherd is going to turn a sheep into a dog. And if you look at theory of Karma, it clearly states that , ' As you sow, so shall you reap. Only you are responsible for your Karma.

To me, teenage is like living in a Trishanku’s paradise. Neither you can ascend towards heaven nor come down to good Mother Earth. All the time, you are hanging in the middle.

Let me narrate story of Trishanku to you; Trishanku born as Satyavrata, was a king who belonged to Ishvaku dynasty. Trishanku is commonly referred to through mention of "Trishanku's heaven" or "hanging like Trishanku". The word Trishanku has come to denote a middle ground or limbo between one's goals or desires and one's current state or possessions. He is mentioned in Balmiki Ramayana.

Noble King Trishanku was so in love with himself that he wanted to ascend to heaven in his physical body, hence he requested the family priest, Vashishta to perform Yagna for him. However, Vasiṣṭha explained that it is against the laws of nature for anyone to enter heaven in their physical form. Then Trishanku approached Vasiṣṭha's sons, but they too refused his request as to do otherwise would be a great insult to their father. Angered, Trishanku insulted the sons of Vasiṣṭha, who in turn cursed him to lose his beauty and become ugly.

At once his beauty was gone. No one recognised him as a king, and he was forced to leave his kingdom. Eventually, he met sage Vishwamitra ,who recognised the king, took pity on him and agreed to perform rites to send him to heaven. Vishwamitra performed the Yagna, but the gods did not approve of it. Then Vishwamitra used his own abilities to propel Trishanku towards heaven.

However, Indra, the king of the heavenly gods, would not permit this and hurled Trishanku back towards Earth. Trishanku called to Vishwamitra for help. Vishwamitra used his powers to keep Trishanku from falling all the way back to earth, but Indra would also not allow Trishanku from ascending any further.

The heavenly gods explained to Vishwamitra that no physical body is allowed to ascend to heaven and especially not a cursed one like Trishanku. Vishwamitra came to understand this, but he could not withdraw the promise he had made to Trishanku. Vishwamitra's powers kept pushing Trishanku towards heaven while Indra's powers kept Trishanku from ascending any further. Eventually Vishwamitra and Indra compromised that Trishanku would remain there in "Trishanku's heaven", stuck between heaven and earth. This then is the origin of the Hindi idioms, "Trishanku's heaven" and "hanging like Trishanku".

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