I remember how, when I was little, I would think adults were very silly. They would argue endlessly about small things like “Which color of curtains would match the walls most?” , or “Should we invite X and Y together or separately for dinner?” Sometimes, they would spend hours deciding which shirt would go better with their pants… And I remember thinking: ‘When I would grow up, I wouldn’t waste even a moment my time on such useless matters.’
Amongst the few people that I thought were sensible, were my grandparents. They were also the amongst the few who listened to what I said, very respectfully. They would narrate stories, and listen to how I felt about them. Whether the fairy should have helped the farmer or not, was just as important to Grandpa as it was to me.
But whenever I would hear conversations of ‘grown-ups’ or a snippets on PTV news, I would be surprised to hear that people were killing each other because of religions. Granpai had always told us: “All people in the world are alike. There is one God, and all He wants is that each of us do good things.” And I understood it. But why were the adults having such a hard time to follow it? If only, they asked one of us kids.
I was in grade 1 when I grew really fond of watching movies. We had bought a new VCR – they were not so common those days – and I watched Bollywood movies infinite times. The comedy and fighting was entertaining. As more and more love stories became the central theme of movies, I developed my ideas of the concept of love. You were supposed to fall in love with someone, and then spend the rest of your life with them in the joy and happiness. It was so simple.
Few years ago, there was a piece on NPR which claimed on the basis of surveys that couples living with children are much more likely to be unhappy and stressed than those living without children. It also claimed that couples living with children eat far more unhealthy food than those living without children. I found it very interesting. They went on to give their opinion as to why then we still choose to have children, which included the fact that an occasional I love you from one’s son is worth many of his tantrums, or that when people grow older, those who have successful children are less likely to be depressed/unhappy than those who don’t have any at all. It talked about how much raising a child cost etc.
Anyhoo, last year a family acquaintance of mine lost all of his family to a car accident in Ohio. His wife who was driving with his children got into the wrong exit lane and eventually straight onto an upcoming traffic. Had a head on collision with a truck and they all died instantly. He wasn’t with them. Reports say she was distracted by her children in the back seat. How sad.
He/She is so nice to the whole world but not so nice to me. I have heard this many times from people about their spouses, parents, siblings and friends. Probably justified in some cases and probably not in others. I mean I can even recall days when I am mad at something, thus all grumpy at home but if some stranger knocks on the door I put up a smiling face. Or I would be frowning and quiet yet if a friend from out-of-town calls me, I am all cheery for the time being.
Part of it is that we are seeking some comfort and knowing that if the people who care would notice our bad mood, maybe we will get some sympathy. But it’s not always the case. Sometime we are mad at those whom we can be mad at. For example, we should be mad at ourselves for being in a bad financial position but instead we take it out on our kids. I have seen that happen, where someone’s ego got trashed in a party and she immediately takes it out on her own family.
The other part of it is that we have different expectations from different people. Our relationships define how we react to someone else. Like, we might pat the back of our friends’ son for graduating but we want our own to be summa cum laude. But the son probably thinks that his Dad like everyone better than him. Ok, so I must confess that my whole early teen years I always thought that my parents like every other kid on the block, my cousins etc. better than me. I felt it was so hard to make them happy. But then I realised I am no different. I consider everyone else’s parents to be so cool just because they are nice to me when I see them but they wouldn’t be the same if I were their son.