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It is a strongly held belief among our people that anyone who suffers at the hands of children do so because they failed to treat their own parents well. This *suffering* could be anything from browbeaten children gathering enough courage to finally say a few words in their defence to oppressive parents, to wayward ones willfully beating up parents for selfish reason. Such are the extremes we are dealing with, with various degrees of *misdemeanors* in between these two.

Indian mothers (yes, it is mostly mothers) have at least once in their lifetime bitterly cursed, sorry *blessed*, their daughters [and it is daughters at the receiving end, sons can MOSTLY do no wrong and even if they do, they are magnanimously forgiven, the insults meant for them swallowed and later dumped on the easier targets, daughters. Anyways…] with a, “Wait till your own daughter makes you cry in the future, the same way you are making me do now!” Pssst. If you are one of them who hasn’t ever been *blessed* so *beautifully*, fall on to your knees right away, raise hands heavenward and chant a sincere prayer of thanks for being one among a lucky few.

You only have to see the soppy stories shared on social media to see how deeply this belief in ‘as-you-sow-so-shall-you-reap’ is entrenched in brains. Take the story of the old woman sent to an old age home by the son, who on her death bed requests that he install fans in the same home. The son is puzzled. “Why mom?” he asks, “Why now, when you no longer need it?” His mother’s reply takes his breath away as it does that of the readers, just as it is intended to, turning probably the son, but definitely the readers, into a sniffling mass of mush. The mother replies it is for him, his comfort, for the time when his son (her grandson) would drop him off at the same place. Who can miss the, you-will-get-the-same-fate-that-you-gave-your-parents moral of the story?

Well, I am not discounting the selfless nature of a mother that even in her death bed makes her think of her children. It could definitely be the case, of course. But one usually sees such stories being used to *preach* and control offspring, to pass judgement on parents whose children may not be conforming to accepted norms, and also to emotionally blackmail people. I just finished a novel by Mira Jacob in which the words uttered by his brother, (“You wait. Your own children will leave you and never come back!”) returns to haunt the protagonist’s father during his own period of trial later in life. Books, movies, real life, everywhere it is the same, your children will *punish* you suitably, just you wait.

Not all are dazzled or intimidated by such tales, or else who would be left to ask inconvenient questions? Who will tell what is needed to be told, the obvious that is begging, screaming, to be noticed in all such tales real and imaginary, but remains unseen, unspoken of. At this point you frown and ask me, Pray, what is it that is unseen and yet so goddamn obvious? Never mind if you haven’t, I am going to tell you all the same, which by the way, is the beauty of blogging, pretending questions have been asked and going on an answering spree. So here it is, the very obvious, missed or willfully ignored, your guess is as good as mine.

A parent standing in a future similar to the one predicted for the erring child and yet not realizing the simple truth that what she is facing could be the result of *blessings* previously *earned* from her own parents. What are you looking shocked for? Isn’t that a possibility? Why look only at the forward thread, what about the ones behind, that probably tell a different story of parents who were little terrors in their own right to their parents? Come to think of it, isn’t this a classic case of chicken or the egg?

That brings us to the question, how are you so sure that children are the wrongdoers and not mere instruments for bringing about the fate that parents deserve? Shouldn’t the script (for parents) in such cases read, “Gorblimey, I bet I am getting what I justly deserve!” instead of, “Remember you will suffer too!” to a child who could possibly be nothing other than Just Desserts Suitably Disguised As Offspring? Well, that is if you believe that sort of thing, of course. In case you were wondering, I DO NOT. Period. No one is here on Earth to mete out punishment to the other the tit for tat way. I wrote this post only because I wanted to say there are two sides (more actually) to everything.


Disclaimer: I am not against old age homes and downright pooh-pooh the bad press it gets everywhere from everyone. On that, another day.

©Shail Mohan 2015

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