By Lata Jha:
“Families are held together by blood, by obligation, by desire and sometimes, if you are very lucky, by love.”
Like it or not, our lives in India are bound in strange ways to our families. It’s like we come in a package. A lot of our decisions are made under the immense influence of, if not entirely by, our families. From the right time to get married to the right number of children to career choices, every aspect of life requires a nod from everyone, including distant tayajis and phuas. That is when blood and consequently obligation take precedence over everything else.
In this light, enterprising kids have it really bad here. I’m not saying our elders shouldn’t have a say in our lives, of course their experience and wisdom count infinitely, whether they support of don’t approve of our decisions.
It’s just that life in India tends to follow stereotypical dictates where one is often compelled to bow down to filial desires and pressures. I remember how stressed some of my friends have been, year after year, after each of them took the 10th. Taking up any stream other than Science was out of the question, according to their parents. And these weren’t people who were contemplating; they didn’t see themselves doing Science at all. A miserable two years later, they’ve taken up law or social sciences.
I can say without the slightest bit of hesitation that all our parents want only the best for us. It’s just that their ways of defining the ‘best’ are possibly based on individual prejudices, desires and often unfulfilled dreams. In a chat I had with five friends from different parts of the country who are based in Delhi, three said their parents wanted them to take the UPSC. They didn’t want to, but were going to anyway.