mAtA pitA guru deivam
We have been familiar with this verse since the time we were ready for preschool, isn’t it? The emphasis of taking care of our parents and the importance they have in our lives , if not apparent to each one of us, have been etched in our minds since childhood. We have always been asked to view them with a larger-than-life image. We have been told through tearful and painfully slow soap operas and boring talk shows, how much they have sacrificed in their lives only to see us through. As if we kids have a Ghajini-like memory. Yet the Indian society finds it a necessity to establish taking care of them as a responsibility. Wouldn’t filial love be enough for us to take care of them when they are old? Why do we need to mandate this?
Our society has always been in the forefront of establishing things that are closer to heart as responsibilities. Getting one’s kids married is a responsibility. Them copulating to populate and producing off-springs is another responsibility. Being a son and having his parents stay with him and being taken care of is a responsibility. Having a married daughter forgo all her love for her parents and submit herself to taking care of her in laws is a responsibility. And this cycle continues into the next generation and so forth, and we as a society take pride in continuing this in the name of tradition. Is it the insecurity when we get old that we find it a necessity to quote scriptures, or tell tales of Rama to prove a point that we need to be taken care of and establish that there is no other path to life than what has been described, practiced and written with a golden hand?
I don’t know how I would be when I am old. I completely empathise with them and understand that our parents are waging a war against mortality. I understand that with every day they find themselves closer by an inch to the eventuality. I shed tears thinking about that day, more so because I cannot dread imagining the day when my parents would leave me for good.
At a time when we are settling down with our career and having fought the demons put out by a rather rigid stereotypical society, we now find ourselves in the middle of this storm. The pressure adds if we live far away from our parents, sometimes so far away, we only get to see them once a year. This just gets complicated if we are the only kid. And a totally insane high if we are Queer and are working out things with them while in the midst of balancing our life, transition, partner and job.
We face a huge dilemma, don’t we? – “Oh! my parents are facing the wrath of time. I am at this point in life where I know what I want; I have eventually found the person I am truly happy with and I am at peace with myself about my own identity that I am making changes. How them am I going to share this with my parents? What if they disown me? Who will take care of them when they get old? Wouldn’t it hurt them more than it would me? Or am I being too arrogant in thinking that I can handle it better? Wouldn’t it be mutually brutal? Wouldn’t the guilt eat away whatever happiness that I have found, off so late? Wouldn’t this be mixed with our own anger that they are not able to understand and accept who and what we truly are, and that we really had no say in deciding the way we are? How am I going to convince them that I am as “normal” or “regular” as other people? That my love is as good or better than anyone else.
I really don’t think there is a happy and easy life, or is it? I think we just need to find happiness in the midst of all the Fuck ups we are put to, however transient and frivolous they might be. But I am hoping that whatever it may be – my parents’ despair at old age, or my own guilt that I might hurt them, or my skepticism in making them understand that I am just me, or the fear that this would kill them, or its just the F responsibility established by the society, Our mutual love for each other would bind us together and keep us alive and we could cherish together the few years we still have left with us. I hope….