Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Empty Nest

A series of events sparked off the chain of thoughts leading to this post.

It first begun when I was watching a Ray film, Shakha Prashakha. The film is about an elderly gentleman who has a heart attack and the days that fellow when his family comes to visit him. His children were not the evil offspring of the movie Baghbaan. But the film did show their attempts to balance their professional lives and personal irritations with their concern over their father.

Then we saw instances in our own family when my grandfather was hospitalised at Calcutta and we saw the nervousness in the my grandmom's voice even after he returned home. Her children were there for them in different degrees but the reality was they had their own lives and own families.

Then during a meeting a client came up with the hypothesis that Indian men start thinking in terms of 'family' only when they have kids. Wives, parents were often less involving and not strictly seen as famlily according to this gentleman. I must say that I sensed a grain of truth in what he said.

Then my Mom came to visit us from Calcutta after repeated requests from us. Its just been three days but I've often been at crossroads trying to balance my regular life with spending time with her.

All of this makes me thinks that do parents get the raw deal in a parent child relationships?

In the average relation the parent give up everything while rearing the child - money, saving for the child's future, being up at night, listening to the kid's prattle, answering questions patiently, coming home from work and cranking up energy levels for the kid, suspending life when the kid is unwell or has exams.

And I am not talking here of bad parents or 'bad' children here.

But the fact is do children spend as much time and energy with their parents as their parents did with them? Is this a fact of life? Are their exceptions? Is it possible for a grown up to focus as much on his or her parents as they did?

If not, then what is the best one can practically do? What would we expect from future generations? For those who are parents, is it worth the effort?