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8 LIFE LESSONS FROM AN 8-YEAR OLD!!!

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I met Babygirl Cupcake for the first time, briefly, in the month of August, 2019, during the last day of my NLP workshop in Cochin, Kerala. She was almost 8 years of age then, silently mischievous and adorably brilliant! I noticed that she had a spark in her eyes  the moment I saw her. Then it was a few months later at another workshop when I became her trusted friend. She had accompanied her mother, who is also my soul sister. The little one sat in a corner of the room and began coloring in her notebook, laughed and played around as though she owned that place!

When my hunger set in, she was the first one to share her big bag of banana chips, cookies and plenty of stories of her school with me, sitting on my lap. And as she did that, I realized my soul stirring within and a novel feeling of motherliness blossoming inside me like a desert flower – something I had never felt in all my life until then… That was the beginning of my special bond with Babygirl Cupcake.

I believe the Universe has a unique way of working its magic in our lives. One such magic was this little one. And this blogpost is entirely about how my Babygirl Cupcake danced her way into my heart, stayed there forever and helped me learn the most valuable 8 life lessons from an 8-year old!

I got to spend a whole week with the little marshmallow (Oh, I have a ton of food nicknames for her because she is the best, just like how food is the best and I love them both!), during my Beyond Mastery days in Munnar, later that year and I shall share some of my most memorable incidents with her as I also share with you the life lessons she taught me…

1. ENJOY EACH MOMENT YOU BREATHE IN LIFE – my Babygirl Cupcake is the classic example of a soul that has taken birth in this realm to live each and every moment of her life to the fullest!

Be it prancing around on the grass playing with butterflies or relishing her favorite food dish or jumping into a pool of water to splash happiness around. Never once does she miss an opportunity to commit herself to enjoying life, and that too every moment of it.

We once had a session at a cottage in the middle of a spice orchard in Munnar and she chose to spend her time exploring and collecting various exotic spices along with Joseph Sir (Indian Brucelee) and Babaji (Baul Badshah of India). Half an hour later, we heard her pristine voice slicing through the spice garden in the form of her singing a classical song, while Babaji jammed along on his musical instrument and Joseph Sir played the capturer of the moment.

Our intensive learning session was beautifully interrupted as we all took a moment and tuned into the distant singing. We did not realize that we had spent over many minutes sitting in silence and trancing out listening to the divine voice of the little one. As a contented smile spread across each of our lips, we realized that by merely taking a few minutes to appreciate this divine gift of the universe, our hearts overflowed with joy.  

Babygirl Cupcake made the best of where she was and lived each moment like that was the best moment of her life!!

2. RESPECT EVERYONE YOU MEET AS AN EQUAL – The little marshmallow had no airs about herself and was rather quite humble everytime she interacted with a fellow human being. She believed in respecting everyone and in being respected too, as an equal.

Age did not matter to her. Another human being was another human and they deserved to be treated with respect, irrespective of their social status or looks or disposition. Be it offering a glass of water to someone thirsty, without being told to do so or hugging someone who really needed it, she made sure she respected the feelings of everyone.

I remember vividly how she sat on the balcony and tried to focus on her homework, while we had an intensive learning session in Munnar. Not once did she try to seek attention from us to escape the boredom of her homework. She observed that we were all learning intently and she respected that.

Once when I started having a headache and was finding it difficult to focus, she quietly signalled for me to go wash my face and focus! She sat and watched us quietly and only after we had gotten up for a tea-break did she come to us to talk and play.

I still wonder how the Supreme Creator made her with such sensitivity to the feelings of others! And to nurture this goodness, she needed great parents and great parents they are, my soul sister and brother!

3. HELP THOSE IN NEED AND DON’T HESITATE TO ASK FOR IT TOO – I realized this darling candy bar was quite independent for her age, during our trek uphill in Munnar. She did not want anyone holding her hands while climbing up the tricky pathway of boulders. She managed to take care of herself quite well and not once did she fall.

While we were up on the hill, playing in a creek before heading up to the waterfall, she was finding it difficult to navigate to a non-slippery part of the waters. She immediately asked one of us to hold her hand and to help her get to a safe spot to play in the water. This was a huge surprise for me! The girl who wanted to tread uphill without any help, did not once hesitate to ask for it when she really needed it!

And when she noticed that I kept falling during our climb uphill, like a humpty dumpty on the wall, she made sure that she walked along with me when we had to climb downhill, all the while holding my hand and leading the way! She did not even think twice to help me climb down safely! She became my Superhero that day!

4. LAUGH & PLAY LIKE NO ONE’S WATCHING – I remember how she got our workshop’s lead photographer to play rock-paper-scissors with her and won every time while he stood in amazement at how he kept losing at such a simple game!

But she had won his heart and that was probably one of the reasons why he decided to make her the subject of most of his exceedingly stunning photographs! And she being quite the poser did not fail to impress us with her cuteness and mirth!

Oh, the time we were all in the swimming pool, Babygirl Cupcake was on full throttle! She kept bubbling with laughter as she joined us in splashing water on our chief mentor, Mohammad Rafi. She enjoyed herself and played in the waters. Once she got tired of that, she came up to me to teach me the game of rock-paper-scissors. Guess who won, every single time? By the way, this little one is a born genius!

5. DON’T LIE OR HURT SOMEONE OR ELSE GOD WILL PUNISH YOU!! – I am not kidding! Neither have I turned delusional. This is one of the strongest ideologies that Babygirl Cupcake lives by. And everytime I am tempted to lie to or hurt someone out of ignorance or rage, her voice plays inside my head where she vehemently says, “Don’t tell lies or else god will punish you! If you hurt someone, god will punish you.” (I wonder how many such accounts of lies and hurts does God maintain to tabulate his list of punishments! Oh, the mapping to each person! Wooh! God must surely be a skilled genius!!)

Anyway, this has surely shifted my thoughts and helped me keep my state and prevented me from acting out in a fit of rage. By the way, the story that details how I learnt this from her is rather interesting. The night that we got back to Cochin in Munnar, another friend of ours and I stayed at Babygirl Cupcake’s maternal home. It would have been around 12 am, way past her bedtime but she was up just to spend more time with us.

God knows from where she had gotten it into her mind that her older sister did not want to play with her. Babygirl Cupcake began picking a fight with her and when I tried to intervene by conjuring up a lie to put her to bed, she broke into tears and said to me those golden words – “Don’t tell lies okay? Or else god will punish you!”. My heart melted amidst my bewilderment and I scooped her up in my arms and cradled her to sleep.

But that was it! It has stuck onto me like an octopus on my butt. Those golden words have helped me live a life of causing minimal hurt to others as possible and has helped me value the feelings of others whilst preserving my integrity, which happens to be one of my top core values of life.

6. LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY & BELIEVE IN THE GOODNESS OF PEOPLE – it could be her young age but I have seen kids her age who have been real jerks to me for no fault of my own. But my little marshmallow has never once given up an opportunity to shower me with her unconditional love. Not just me but to everyone around her. She spoke the language of love. She breathed and lived love, I must say.

During one of those times when I had difficulty getting up and walking to the bathroom on my own, at our workshop in Munnar, her little hands took mine and led me forward. She ensured that I did not feel embarrassed and reassured me that she was there to help. The moment her little hands held mine, a tear of joy slipped from the confines of my eyes and fell to the floor, thanking Mother Earth for sending such a gift of love.

Once, when Rafi called her in front of everyone and asked her who she liked a lot amongst us apart from her parents, she did not think or hesitate. She immediately looked at me sitting in the distance and said with conviction, “Manisha aunty! I like her a lot!”. No one had bribed her to say that, definitely not me! But she had said it and it was the sweetest sentence I had ever heard in my entire life. I saw her strong sense of belief in me that day, that I was a good person, even though she knew me barely for a few days then.

On the last day of our workshop, this little one began collecting raw peppercorns and picking nutmegs and storing them for future use like a little squirrel ready to go into hibernation. When some of us asked her to share them, she immediately obliged and handed out her best picks to us. Not once did she think of being selfish and saying no or giving us the bad batch! In fact she helped us pluck more!

And when it was time for us to leave and say goodbye to each other, she did not stop hugging me and planting kisses on my cheeks. I remember when I told her to stay the same and be an awesome person always and that I loved her with all of my heart and soul, she asked me in return, “Do you think I don’t love you? I love you a lot, Manisha aunty. I will never forget you!”

For someone who hasn’t been blessed with the good fortune of becoming a mother, to hear that from a little child, with such purity and genuineness, was an immensely surreal feeling. My heart and soul felt complete at that moment and I realized how powerful love was when shared and expressed unconditionally, that too to everyone by just believing in the goodness they possess! One does not need to be related to someone or know them for a long time to love them! Learning to express such love made me a much better person capable of greatness. The biggest of the 8 life lessons I received from an 8-year old!!

7. BE PASSIONATE ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU DO – be it posing for pictures or singing in the middle of a spice garden or cycling around her expansive apartment complex or dancing with unmatched expressions, Babygirl Cupcake has always expressed passion in whatever she does! Being a determined fighter and champion, she never gives up what she is passionate about and she creates passion for those that she is not!

When I visited her recently in her Bangalore home, she and her older sister made sure that I was swept off my feet by demonstrating their dancing skills. The little one showed great passion while doing so and made sure she cheered her sister on during her solo!

8. BE WHO YOU ARE AND BE DAMN PROUD OF IT – this little one! She doesn’t care if she is color coordinated in her dressing on certain days! She does not care if her pigtails aren’t perfect. She doesn’t care if another kid has a more fancy outfit or a bicycle.

Babygirl Cupcake is proud of herself for spending time dancing, playing basketball outdoors and throwing a tantrum at night when she gets too sleepy. She is a drama queen too and she is down right proud of it! She is not affected  by what people might say or think as long as she doesn’t hurt anyone. She apologizes when she knows she needs to. She keeps her state and gets her dad to dance according to her tunes!

The little marshmallow doesn’t shy away from speaking her mind and from being the alpha in the group. She doesn’t try and pretend to be someone she is not. She admires herself and her individuality. She is someone who has embraced herself as a whole at such a very young age! And I learnt to do that for myself by watching her and I have never been happier!!.

I could go on and on about her greatness, giving you a sneak peak into the tantrums she throws sometimes as well. But I would leave that for your imagination and for you to experience it when you meet her in person. Babygirl Cupcake, a.k.a Charu, a.k.a Rohini Satish, the miracle daughter of Dhanya and Satish, younger sister of Paru a.k.a Rupali Satish, is one of the purest souls I have ever met in my life and one of my biggest inspirations!

And it has not just been her but the rest of her family too who have welcomed and embraced me as their own. Be it running into my arms like a bullet train or be it saying goodbye at the metro station with a heartfelt hug, this little one, my little one has shown me the true meaning of life and has taught me my most important life lessons.

I close this blog post by wishing from the depths of my heart that the universe may send more such beautiful souls into this planet and give them even more beautiful souls as parents… And my dear Babygirl Cupcake, I will forever be your favorite aunt!

Manisha Manoharan hails from Vellore in Tamil Nadu. She is an Internationally Certified Behavioral Trainer and NLP Master Practitioner who is passionate about transforming the lives of young-adults so that we can create better human beings. She enjoys good food, music and humour.
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