Often I have heard from people boasting about the Indian structure of relationships, how the different Indian generations stick together and live together under the same roof, how the Indian children obey their parents and grandparents, how the parents still have the control on their children’s lives, and try to preach this to the world. This article is my dedication to them, to break their misconception.
Ever since I was young, I have been observing different joint families, where children were suppressed in every possible manner, and their basic liberties were stripped off. They were indirectly forced to bear in silence. If they ever felt perturbed by their parents’ behaviour and brought it up, the parents would always tell them that it was them who gave birth to and nurtured the children, so the kids owed them and needed to return the favour by serving the parents in their old age.
While this seems rational to read, in reality it is not. This attitude of Indian elders actually deteriorates their relationships. They try to dominate everything and start feeling that they can interfere in the lives of their children, control them. This is one of the major reasons why Indian couples prefer boys, because the girls will be married off and sent to other houses, but the son and his wife will serve them. The relationships become like a business deal. The love and care which should be provided by the children out of respect becomes an obligation. This obligation results in a feeling of disenchantment and becomes a precursor for fights.
The major argument made here is that till adulthood, it’s the parents’ duty to look after the child, and after that, it’s children’s duty to repay for the sacrifices made by the parents. First of all, tell me, do you give birth to children because they should serve you in your old age? Are you that selfish? Is this a loan repayment scheme by the bank where you need to repay the money with interest? Also in the case of parents, it’s their duty to give their children a good life as they had the option whether or not to bring them in the world. But that’s not the case with children.
In all, I’m not saying that children should not do things for parents or that they should disrespect them, but this should not be a compulsion. Parents should not intrude into the personal lives of the children in the name of favours and children should do things out of respect, love and care, rather than greed for property. Otherwise, the relations would just become more and more bitter with just immense pain and tears on both sides.