Posted: February 24, 2018 in Life as I see it...
Tags: , , , ,

If we try and hold on to everything at the same time, we lose everything in the process..

How many times have we read and heard it spoken, yet it hurts when it actually goes down.. There is no perfect world out there. Every moment in our lives comes with choices. Sometimes they are simple and easy to make and give us a freedom to go with what suits us best but there are times when we don’t want to take the fork. We want the paths to merge so that we can have it all.

Every writer, worth his or her salt, has a Muse. Whether they know it or not, something or someone always acts like an inspiration or a cornerstone of their writings. They lay the foundations of their pieces around it and weave their magical yarn.

Our words flow when our Muse is somewhere in our minds.

To me, writer’s block comes when I lose that vision or thought on whose foundation my words stand. It’s true that I wrote earlier too but my writings started making sense to me with that presence in my mind. I realized quite late where the word flow came from. There was an extremely dry spell when I couldn’t put my thoughts into any coherent sequence and I quit trying to write for those few months because even if I did try, it came out as a forced effort. Not honest, not sincere!

What that sabbatical from writing did, was another blessing. I found my Voice in the mean time! I found that writing was not the only thing that could be cathartic if you had a willing ear to hear you voice your opinions.

But life happens when you start settling down to change. When you start to get comfortable in the little haven that you have created, BAM! life hits you with a test. And it is cruel at times. It gives you the choice of Either Or.. It’s more of a conundrum than a choice, actually. Either Or exists only when both the choices are hard to give up on. That’s the whole idea behind it.

By some turn of fate, if I get back my Words, why should I be posed with the threat of losing my Voice?

Why can’t both stay?

In a perfect world, they would!


Years back when I had just joined the teaching profession and was brimming with fresh ideas and ideals, I remember feeling indignant when a cousin of mine spoke to me about the caste card he would play to, in the upcoming elections. My cousin had some years on me and had pretty clear ideas how democracy worked at the grassroot level. I was shocked and indignant because his ideas did not match the ones given in the text book.

Some years on, when I had gained some worldly experience and knew of rage, oppression and fate dealing a lame card, I was still shocked when an extremely mild- mannered colleague of mine belonging to a marginal community, spoke harshly with an almost wolfish snarl what he thought of being secular. His venomous hate for an entire community, though coming from personal experience, did not feel justified to me.

Quite recently, the brouhaha about the release of a movie on a long dead queen also felt unnecessary and roguish to me.

But isn’t this where we make mistakes? What may be clear as crystal to me, may not even ring a bell with someone else. It’s the perceptions that we form that make us the people we are. And even if it has taken me years to get this simple fact straight, I now realise that respecting other people’s way of looking at things makes life uncomplicated and hassle free. We cannot expect even our closest ones to feel exactly as we do on issues, both ideological and otherwise.

The more we read or expose ourselves to unfamiliar notions in any form, through any medium, the more we grow as a person.

While going through Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf, I got to know why he hated the Jews so much. I may not agree with his beliefs, ideas & deductions but he wasn’t wrong in his own eyes. His perception gave way to the Holocaust, the biggest genocide the world has ever experienced, and yet he was convinced that he was right all along.

Our beliefs are rooted in our own experiences. However bad a person may seem to the multitude, he is worth praising if he sticks to his beliefs. The ideas and notions of some may be repugnant to us or many others but they are there because they stand on the firm ground of experiences of that individual. That doesn’t make it wrong. They may not be justified but are true for them.

What I don’t get is being so impressionable that you can be swayed from what you truly believe, by dint of great oratory, fine language or the personality of a person.

Some of us have it easy. We haven’t had bitter experiences to shape our thinking but for that very purpose we have been endowed with the faculty of brains, cognition, comprehension, logic, deductions and free will.. If only, we could use them instead of being blind followers to anyone that can wield and plant a thought in our minds, the world would be a more peaceful place and our relationships more transparent.

There are chants and wishes for a Happy New year today wherever we go..

There are celebrations galore..

There are hopes, dreams, aspirations & resolutions even for those who don’t or won’t party the night out to ring in the New Year..

And why not!! Do these changing dates on the calendar not fill us with hopes for a happier, healthier, brighter & better tomorrow? They do.. It’s hope that make the world go round.

Amidst all this hullabaloo, let’s not forget the less fortunate ones.

A compassionate friend of mine always says- “नानक दुखिया सब संसार” We think that our pain and our troubles are all that there is to this world.. But it isn’t so…… The world is full of all kinds of suffering and misery.

Let’s not overlook the ones whose life is a graver struggle in the absence of resources that we take for granted. Let’s clear some space in our hearts and minds for those whose suffering never relents. Let’s wish for a better tomorrow for them too. Let’s be grateful for whatever little or plenty that the Almighty has bestowed on us. Let’s resolve not to complain about our circumstances when there are others who would gladly swap lives with us. Let’s try and look beyond ourselves and do something worthwhile this year for the ones who really need it…

Let us make this year count for us & for others..

I wish you and your family a very HAPPY NEW YEAR..

May this year see you through your trials, may it grant you courage to face adversities & overcome them, may there be triumphs and reasons to rejoice. Have a good one..

A cold winter morning.. The Sun peeking through the mist, trying to bring some warmth to the wet & moist earth along with my jittering limbs & the deepest cockles of my heart. I sit in my balcony, soaking up the pink sunlight, with a hot cuppa tea. This has become a steady course to counter cold mornings for me. The isolation imposed by silence, of being surrounded by people yet remaining just with my thoughts, listening to nothing but the white noise of my indefatigable & unrelenting mind and observing the world go by, have become therapeutic. I have the guilty pleasure of snooping into people’s lives and imagining their stories just by noticing a tiny miniscule part of their days from my tenth floor balcony.

What remarkable lessons can be taken from seemingly ordinary existences!

I saw a child, barely five or six, rush to the terrace of his house, directly beneath my balcony, hence the movement caught my eye. He seemed to be carrying something. On closer inspection I saw a couple of rabbits, white & fluffy, snuggled up in his arms. He deposited his cuddly load in a deserted corner of the cold, bare terrace where the two lagomorphs, confused & scared by the intense attention, quickly found warmth in each other. The child stood up and for a while observed the inactive rabbits seeking warmth in each other. He mustn’t have liked the fact that he, the one who owned them, was being ignored. He tried to raise them from their cold & fear- induced torpor by stomping his feet hard on the floor, the sound made the pets snuggle even closer to each other.

The child tried again, this time with huge green leaves, to lure them to activity. And finally, when he couldn’t get any movement out of them, he lifted one and placed it away from its mate. Finding himself alone, the rabbit responded to the child’s stomping by running helter-skelter, this was not only fun for the child but also must have pleased him to see, something he was so fascinated by, respond to him. He began chasing the poor pet from one corner of the terrace to another. After about ten minutes, he got bored of this and chased the other rabbit around. Then, he called on his family members, his grandfather & father, to come have a look at his possessions, the pets. There must have been a child- like innocence and eagerness in this show of ownership. I saw him trying to force feed the animals, scaring them with all his foot stomping and repeatedly pulling & pinching them to show his tenderness and love. As his attention wavered, the rabbits, yet again, found a quiet corner to escape this ordeal. But the child wasn’t done with them. Weren’t they his pets? Wasn’t it their duty to acknowledge and reciprocate his love?

He chased them, played with them, cuddled them, fed them, showed them off to others and yet could not get a puppy like tail-wagging appreciation of his attention and love so he CAGED them.

I sat there thinking. We don’t change much as grown ups. Human love is possessive, protective and limiting, sometimes resembling a cage. We don’t let go of the objects of our affection easily. We don’t set them free & let them come back to us, of their own accord, instead, in order not to lose them, we chain and cage them to keep them safe and with us all the time. Our latent sense of protection and ownership smother the very people we love. Be it as parents, friends, spouses, or well- wishers, we always look out for the ones we love and there is nothing wrong in it. But too much of everything is bad. While ‘looking out for’ is a welcome emotion, setting boundaries and limiting someone’s range out of love, reeks of negativity.

Not everyone is the same. Every species put on this planet understands love and God has given each a different way to express that love. While puppies and dogs have a special way of making us feel loved, adored and wanted, not all of the others can express it in the same way. Same applies to humans too. All of us love but our expression and needs are different. We have been endowed with something that other species don’t have. It is the combination of speech and perception. Why can’t we, then, use it to our benefit and make our relationships happier and more content?

After all, however gilded, a cage is a CAGE..

A seagull was flying over a beach, when it saw a mouse. It flew down and asked the mouse:

“Where are your wings?”

Each animal speaks its own language, and so the mouse didn’t understand the question, but stared at the two strange, large things attached to the other creature’s body.

“It must have some illness,” thought the mouse.

The seagull noticed the mouse staring at its wings and thought:

“Poor thing. It must have been attacked by monsters that left it deaf and took away its wings.”

Feeling sorry for the mouse, the seagull picked it up in its beak and took it for a ride in the skies. “It’s probably homesick,” the seagull thought while they were flying. Then, very carefully, it deposited the mouse once more on the ground.

For some months afterward, the mouse was sunk in gloom; it had known the heights and seen a vast and beautiful world. However, in time, it grew accustomed to being just a mouse again and came to believe that the miracle that had occurred in its life was nothing but a dream.

I was reading ‘The winner stands alone’ by Paulo Coelho today & I happened to come across this excerpt. I realised that the same thing happens with us humans every single day. We don’t even have the excuse of different languages, most of the time, it’s just our perspectives that differ so much. We fail to understand the point of view of anyone other than ourselves. Even if we are shown the other side for a while by a well- meaning friend or acquaintance, we conform to our originality sooner or later.

No matter how happy or content we may be with someone or something, we get back to our comfort zones as soon as circumstances permit. We cherish the memories. We think that all that happiness was an unattainable dream. Sometimes we pine for those lost times and opportunities too but we eventually move on. We get back to our bland, mundane lifestyles because that’s what we are, that’s who we have always been. In the process we lose our real chance at a blissful, different life.

All we had to do was to grow some wings. Believe in the vision of another. Give up the safety of our self – imposed confines, our perspectives, for once and take that leap into the unknown that could have landed us some place idyllic.

Alas! Our human stubbornness has been the doom of many a friendships & relationships. It has been the downfall of many a promising careers & success stories.

Two men looked through the same bars

One saw the mud , the other saw the stars..

True, we are each allowed to have and nurture our own sets of beliefs, our deductions, our logic. There is no harm in seeing things differently. But, differences in opinions are healthy only till they help us grow and evolve. When they start to deter our lives irrevocably, we need to sit up and take notice. We need to shun our prides, apologise and reclaim that little bit of heaven that we had found by some miracle.

Thankfully, there is a parallel reality for all of us. We just have to go through the looking glass and discover our own personal Magic ✨

Just a thought!

Just this morning, while surfing the internet in my customary fashion, I came across the definition of the word Nostalgia.

Having used the word to great effect over the years, it didn’t seem quite extraordinary, specially when I read it for the first time. But as they say, some things are better understood when felt, words just can’t do justice to them.

At 37, I have been lucky to experience various facets of life- its triumphs, its joys, the memories of togetherness, friendships, relations, and simultaneously and very obviously-the trials, the tough times, the breakups, the leaving behind of places and people.

Every ‘rich’ life has its ups and downs. The mind, invariably, misses and remembers moments of glee and grief alike. There are triggers that set off the flow of memories and emotional people, like me, love to delve into them, relive them, sometimes to my own chagrin.

I am not a methodical writer, never have been. If I deliberately try to pen down something, it comes through as an invested effort, which is fake, at worst and dishonest, at best. My words flow only when they are inspired by something or someone. I am a handicap that way. That’s the reason I am so irregular in my posts. The daily nitty-gritty of life, the mundane blandness of living, hardly give us reasons to invest into words. It’s only when a memory strikes and I long to go back into time to experience, once again, the joy of that moment or to freeze it so that it can be a physical part of me, that I write.

For days now, I had been lamenting the fact that I wasn’t able to create anything. Granted, I have been busy but isn’t writing or creation something that we do to feed our Souls not to fill our pockets? Time or lack of it should, then, not be an impediment.

My current move to the city fills me with so many new experiences every single day. Be it the presence of people around or the cacophony of traffic, the blaring loudspeakers belting out song after song celebrating weddings or religious ceremonies. The lights, the sounds, the sights – every little thing fills me with wonder. Try as I might, I can’t write about them. Or atleast I can’t start with writing about them. It’s only things that I long for, things that have come to pass for better or for worse, that stir up my imagination.

I saw a familiar face today. Someone I had had to leave behind, not on very good terms too. Miraculously, I couldn’t remember anything bad about our association even when I happened to glance at him. True, there was a longing to shout out for attention but good sense prevailed and there & then the realisation of moving on struck me. I have already accepted the turn of events. I am aware that self respect and happiness are the most important ingredients of a fulfilling life and that some people are meant to meet us only to give us this lesson, they are there merely to make us understand what we don’t need in our lives.

We are life long learners, the human race. Too much information, too many words, too large an exposure to recorded and written life- lessons make us immune to them. After a while we stop sorting & sifting through them, a perfunctory read is all we accord them. Doesn’t it happen with too many text messages or motivational quotes that we come across on social networking sites? We read them, if we have to, but reading is far from assimilation. It’s only when we endure a certain situation or come face to face with reality, that we learn. And as I said, we learn everyday, even without books, without quotes, without religious, inspirational or motivational communes. Life is a hard task master. It has its exclusive way of getting through to us.

All I have learnt in recent years is that Self – love is important. Self-respect is an integral part of it. Someone who cannot respect us, isn’t fit to be loved by us. If we don’t love ourselves, we cannot channel that love outside, towards someone else. It isn’t selfish to put ourselves first. It is a prerequisite for sound mental health and eventually, one’s physical, social & psychological well being too.

I am grateful today that I got this life and that I have lived it the way I have. There are so many things to be thankful for, so many people that form the crux of my being, myriad events that shaped me into the person I am today. There is no place for Regrets. What and whoever is present, is the best that has happened to me. Whatever existed fleetingly, enriched me with experiences.

So, while the event that sparked off this train of thoughts might be intense nostalgia or a very strong memory, it surely isn’t Regret and what it definitely is, is Grace.

And, Grace changes Everything..

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to move back to the city. It wasn’t that I loved my home any less but to live away from society is a challenge in its entirety. There are daily struggles that one has to go through even to maintain the home and hearth. After quite a lot of deliberation and cajoling we succeeded in convincing our parents to give up their recluse- like lifestyle and return to the city. For twenty- two long years, they had been dwelling at the farm. It was home, it still is.

After looking for it high and low, we finally settled for this new place – a penthouse apartment that accorded my parents their much- needed space in addition to being a lot more convenient to us. We gradually started visualizing the home that it would turn into. All efforts went into making it the space that all of us dreamt of.

Moving in, though demanding & stressful, was the easy part. What we feared, were apprehensive about, but at the same time looked forward to, was getting used to the people, the newness of being around a lot of people, of dealing with them on a daily basis. I was wary of my social skills, for one. Having stayed away for such a long time might have rusted whatever people skills I had, to start with.

The people in our building all looked happy and welcoming yet there was a sort of breaking (back) – in required. We got the perfect opportunity to meet and greet and test our social skills outside our immediate community when we were invited by new flat owners moving into the building, just a fortnight after us.

It was a pleasant experience and everybody seemed to genuinely like and respect each other. I had heard my mother speak about neighbours being more family than families ever are but it was the first experience of the sort. Ours being a new apartment building, we were all trying to get to know each other but there was an openness, a comfort, a will to establish and build up new acquaintances.

There are so many aspects to moving in and settling down. Not only does one need to get used to the novelty of the new abode and its surroundings but one also has to adjust to the unbeaten and untrodden schedules and paths that lie waiting.
It is a happy coincidence then, that our move is working well for nearly all of us. The freshness of the routine, the zest to face each day that brings with it disparate experiences, recommencing the activeness that life was just a couple of decades ago, recapturing the beauty and essence of city life once again, are all things that we hoped for.

What the Move has made me realise is that deep down, under the veneer that we had on for twenty odd years, we are all people’s persons. There is a profound and unfeigned affection for people that runs right beneath the parched stratum of our personalities.

I hope the move does us good. Looking forward to many happy and content years here. May these be the verdant grounds where new and everlasting memories take root..

Turning the final pages of Freedom at Midnight, I couldn’t help but marvel at the skill, sorcery & verve of these two master story tellers- Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins.

I had read ‘Is Paris burning?‘ by the same authors some years back and that still remains one of my favorite books on the Holocaust. But I always maintained that writing about one’s own country or region, researching the history, events and facts about it is a lot easier, less stringent, hence the flow of writing. Dominique Lapierre is a Frenchman himself, so probably that’s the reason the book turned out the way it did.

But “Freedom at Midnight” opened my eyes to the magic of their words. Right from the first page, one is absorbed in the narrative. The exhaustive research is evident in the minor details of the events that shaped History.

Partition of India and the communal tension that resulted is a hugely sensitive topic and yet they have told the story as History needs to be told. Their non~partisan attitude brings a crispness to the narrative which is so many times missing from Historical commentaries.

Finishing the book, a reader is free to choose his or her own hero. The writers have not been partial to any one character. They have been honest and sincere. They have written things and drawn out characters as they understood them.

If one is a Gandhian by principle,they will find that Gandhi is, infact, the hero here. If one has rightist inclinations, they will have Veer Savarkar, Narayan Apte, Nathuram Godse and their ilk to fawn upon. And if one believes in the contributions and impact of the British then they will have the Mountbattens to look up to after going through this book.

The authors have not colored their text with their own judgement on Indian history and its major players. It is for each of us to read and make out which YugPurush to idolize.

They have steered clear of any controversy by avoiding a major pitfall that all history authors face~ they haven’t caricaturised any of the political leaders of the time. They have been equally indifferent to Jinnah, Nehru or Patel. While they make it a point to mention them wherever necessary, these leaders are not the core around which their book spins.

These two are men on a mission. Their mission being~ to relate the story of the Indian Independence, Partition & the biggest exodus that the world has ever witnessed. The events leading up to 15th August 1947, the common people who faced the brunt of partition, the senseless killings, the loss of men & property, the challenges of these newly formed nations, the role of the parting British, the steadfastness of the Mahatma, his ultimate sacrifice for his people, the masses, the teeming millions of India, thus divided, are the real protagonists of their narrative. Riveting!! All 750 plus pages of it!!! Please get your copies now!!

I, myself, have been a history student for years now and I have always avoided being labeled a secular or a Gandhian or leftist or rightist. But one cannot remain unmoved & undecided after reading this book and I have come out strongly in favor of the Mahatma after going through the text. It, so often, happens in the history of civilizations that we crucify our Gods & Messiahs while they are living and build temples in their names once they are gone.

Nearly 70 years since his death, Gandhi and his principles have seen every reaction that is possible for a multitude to give. He was revered in his lifetime and equally hated in the aftermath of partition. He realised in the last years of his life, the futility of his methods in a newly independent nation. He saw his friends and protégé moving away from the ideals that had won them this precious Freedom. There was a surge in his popularity once more when he passed away. Years have passed since then. We have limited him to text books, postal stamps or currency notes. His principles, once the guiding beacons of hope to millions, have now been rendered obsolete. There comes a time in the history of every nation when they pay lip service to their greats. We have done that to the Mahatma. It is disheartening to see students and even older people criticise him for what he never was or never did. It breaks my heart to see people shrugging his contributions off or comparing his role in Indian independence with militant leaders or revolutionaries, to ultimately find him wanting.

Gandhi knew that history won’t be kind to him. He knew how the minds of his people worked. He had one thumb firmly planted on the nerve of India. He realised that the next generation might not accord him a position of respect when talking of the Indian Independence struggle. He knew but he didn’t care. He was perseverant right till his last breath. When told by a refugee to leave the Indian people alone and go to the Himalayas for his remaining days, Gandhi said, “This is my Himalaya”, referring to the post independence communal turmoil. He lived for the nation and he died for it. He knew no other way to live.

The light truly went out of our lives when he was assassinated but his light shines through, even now, for those who are willing to open their eyes and minds to see, learn & understand.

We, as a nation, should be grateful that he was born here and lived amongst us.

There will come a day when you will realise what you actually want. Your search will end, it will reach its culmination and that would be the day you probably would stop reading and writing. Whatever you write thereafter will be a complete thought. Your words will want for nothing. You will have achieved what your soul is so desperately looking for in the written word,” so saying, he smiled enigmatically.

But, I don’t think I am looking for anything in particular. I read because I love to and I write only when I have things to say. Yes, sometimes, I have incomplete thoughts that might need processing. Sometimes, I write things that are raw. I write of emotions, of people, of love, of loss. I write of things that are human. I read things that I find fun or that stir me. I have never thought of reading as a channel to get somewhere, it has never been purpose oriented, merely a means of getting to know stuff,” I riposted.

Ah! But you are young still, you will get there, eventually,” he reiterated.

What is it about thinking individuals that ruffles our set opinions so? It isn’t as if I change my thought process on every word of a book or a firmly stated opinion but both mediums compel me to re-analyse my approach. Sometimes I defer to the books or educated opinions thrown at me, at others I stick with whatever wisdom I have acquired over the years.

I maintain that I don’t read with a purpose in mind. I am neither spiritual nor religious enough to seek answers in mythological text, I am not condemning them or denying their significance, it’s just that they don’t work for me as well as a fictional work with deep rooted meaning does. I would rather read a Shantaram or To kill a mockingbird or Rumi, even for that matter a Brida, to get perspective on life, than to look for solutions in the Bhagwad Gita. I have read that too but probably I did not get it much.

I started writing as a catharsis for my broken spirit. I never felt that my pieces had or have any literary merit. I write because, there comes a time in each of our lives when we have things to say that we can’t express freely, even to the closest of our friends or family. Some keep it all bottled up or lock it all up in the deepest recesses of their minds, some choose art, music, cooking, travelling, gardening, keeping pets, chatting or even socialising to keep that inner voice down. To each his or her own.

I Choose to Write. I can’t, at times, express what I am going through even with my writings, for fear of being judged. I still haven’t learnt how to fictionalize my accounts so that I am finally able to pour my heart out without anyone finding out the trials I am going through. I, forever, dread the query, who is it you have written about in this piece?

Still, I choose to write to attain temporary relief, a sense of calm from my ever accumulating thoughts. I may stop writing if by some miracle I can stop thinking of mundane, everyday things. I am an ordinary being, a human with trappings like love, desires, wishes, hopes, friendships & relationships. I don’t see myself graduating to the bigger questions of life and existence any time soon.

May be, I am missing an essential ingredient. It is probable that I am lost. I may not conform to many things that this world lays down but I am ME. I will own up to my mistakes, I am the one who would take lessons from them. I might repeat some of them but I am content. My energy is my own. I regret nothing. Even bad decisions and failures were necessary. They probably were the most important things in my life when they happened.

I am here to lead a simple, uncomplicated, knowledge – centric life and I feel that I am on my way pretty much the way I wanted to be. I love to wear my heart on my sleeve and won’t apologise for being the way I am.

There is this advertisement doing the rounds on television these days. It’s about home loans being offered by a bank. What I like about the ad is its story and concept.

It shows a well educated mother – son duo, in all probability living in a metropolis, discussing the concept of having separate living solutions once the son gets married. She tells him to listen to her and get a place of his own, somewhere nearby, to avoid unpleasantness & tough choices, between mother and wife, in future. The son is bewildered at the thought of living away from his mother but out of confusion dawns comprehension of what she is trying to explain to him in such a matter of fact way.

The emotional ebb & flow giving way to relief and a solid decision, is evident on his face. What appeals to me is – first, the mother in the driving seat, both literally and figuratively. Second, her profound wisdom & deep rooted understanding of the way things are in families these days and the ease with which she imparts that to her son. Third, and most important, we see a parent, a mom, relinquishing control over the offspring, in an effort to keep him close.

Not very long ago, the Indian family system was unique in the world. We were the benchmark with which the world compared & learnt of filial duty & responsibility. I am sure all of us in the late thirties or forties have heard our parents go on and on about living in a joint family. How the patriarch, or in some cases the matriarch, of the family presided over the lives and decisions of all the members. How elders were free to correct the conduct of any child in the family.

How meals were always a time to come together & rejoice. How similar opportunities of education and jobs were open to every child in the family. Family picnics and outings did not need to be arranged over the phone. Any one of the elders could take all the kids out to a movie or picnic. They stayed together, ate together, travelled together.. In essence, their lives were intertwined with each other so much, that the concept of cousins or half siblings was lost on them. They were all brothers and sisters. Their parentage, their identity was not confined to their sets of parents, it encompassed the entire family.

Where on the one hand, parents or the elders, came to expect a certain conduct and attitude from the children of their family, on the other, children too relied heavily on the decisions of their elders. Married or not, every young person had to conform to the ways of the family. Even new brides got to learn anew and adjust their upbringing and disposition according to the family they were married into. The basic principles of being respectful towards all, remained unchanged.

Sadly, what we see around us these days is something completely different. What we see are ruins of the old family system. Gone are the joint families and the way they nurtured lives within, the way they passed on the legacy. No longer are elders free to point out misconduct or mistakes of the young who are not their sons or daughters by the privilege of birth, in some cases even that is not possible. Brides these days prefer to stay nuclear. They prefer to look after their husbands and kids and don’t want to be burdened with the complications of an extended family. Parents-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters -in-law, remain just that- in laws.. They don’t become a part of their families.

We take it in our stride and move on, accepting it as the need of the hour or something that is happening with everyone these days. Not all families or elders are as eager as the mother in the ad, to let go of their children to make a family or a life of their own. Most parents tend to stay on even in adverse circumstances. I have witnessed sons and their wives throwing abuse after abuse at these aging parents. Nothing they do, seem to the young as coming from good intentions or a sense of love and responsibility towards their children and grand children. The same son who was lovingly and so painstakingly brought up by them, turns on them as soon as he gets a wife.The children of the family suffer the most. Their childhood is scarred and their lives shape up witnessing the strifes between their parents and grandparents.

Resultantly, there are either sob stories to tell if the parents decide to stay home & deal with insult after insult hurled at them or old age homes filled to the seams.

Neither case resembles the old glory of the family system that we were so proud of.

We talk of western influence in such derogatory terms most of the time but I feel their family system is much more sorted than ours. They have accepted that once a child starts earning or going out in society, his/her identity as their child alone, ceases to exist. They become their own people, capable of taking important decisions of their lives and dealing with the repercussions. They know that parents can guide them but can’t protect them forever. They understand the need of letting their children be. They may not turn out exactly as their parents want them to but they are happy and satisfied because they become what they are, on their own steam. Staying separate does not come after marriage. It comes as soon as the child starts to earn a living. The love and affection that they have for their elders is not feigned because the constant bickering and nagging is absent from their daily lives.

I am a complete sucker for joint family systems but with the way things are these days it is infinitely better to follow the west and live with respect than to stick with what is expected as a societal obligation and stay unhappy. This holds true & goes both for parents and kids..

Just a random thought.. Would love to have your views.