Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Your opinion please!!

This is a rough translation of a story I read in a Tamil magazine and I’ve tried to stick to the story as far as possible. Since I did not have a copy of the story, I may have missed a few points. This story impressed a colleague so much that she asked for a translation to circulate among members of a mahila samity to set them thinking about it. I too tried to ask myself the question raised by my friend. Do children make one forget one’s duty towards parents or do our priorities change? Is it a natural phenomenon? Well, I must admit that I did not like the answers my ‘head’ gave me and found solace in the excuses offered by my heart. I leave the onus on my readers and request them to give me their true opinion.

Gayatri had just finished her work and was about to sit down with a book when the telephone rang.
‘Could it be Mayura?’ she wondered. The very next moment she remembered that it must be around midnight in America and Mayura wouldn’t be calling her at that time. Mayura was her daughter married and living with her husband and children in the United States. The phone call was from a friend of hers asking whether she was free to accompany her to the market. She was in no mood to go and politely refused citing an imaginary headache as an excuse.
Continuing to remember her daughter, Gayatri recalled the initial years that followed Mayura’s marriage. Phone calls were regular and letters had been frequent. Letters had now almost stopped except for the occasional e-mail and e-greetings. She remembered how she had pestered her husband to teach her to use the computer to be able to access her mail. The phone calls were more regular but this time it appeared as if it was it was unusually long since Mayura had called.
‘When was it that Mayura had last called?’ Gayatri wondered. ‘ Oh, yes’ she recalled. ‘ It was on Diwali day. Nearly a month ago. Twenty eight days to be precise.’ She normally rang up once a week or at least once in ten days. While the children kept her busy, her husband was worse than a child and depended on Mayura for every little thing. ‘The poor girl is over worked.’ She thought.
She wondered if the children were okay. It was wintertime and they were prone to cold and throat infection. She remembered that her son in law had plans to go to Germany on an official trip after Diwali. Mayura might be managing every thing on her own. However hard she tried Gayatri could not get Mayura off her mind. She continued to worry about her daughter when she spotted the postman at the gate thrusting something into the letterbox.
‘ Might be an invitation or greeting card’ She thought. ‘Who bothers to write these days?’
She nevertheless went to get the letter. It was from her seventy five year old mother written on a postcard.
‘ Dear Gayatri,’ the letter said, ‘ long since you wrote. I hope all is well with you. I keep worrying about your welfare. I hope Mayura is fine. When is she coming to India? How is your husband?’ and so the letter went on.


Amit R Verma said...

Perhaps priorities changes with time also we tend to take our parents for granted, thinking they would understand.Perhaps! I dont know!!

Ardra said...

Hello! You have been tagged HHG!
Please visit:

Thank you and hope you dont mind...
warm rgds

Hip Grandma said...

amit:Nice explanation.I think so too.
ardra:I see 2 tags in your blog.I'll take up the second one since I've already done the first.

Usha said...

oh really nice!Loved that story!

hillgrandmom said...

my granddad always said 'The river always flows downstream'. I agree that we expect our parents to understand and as a parent of a married daughter, I understand, just as my mother does.

Something to Say said...

I've begun to understand my mother, her motives, her feelings, much better now - now that I am a mother myself. In fact quite contrarily to your post - I begun understanding my duties towards both her and my in-laws far better - since I've become a mom. Probably becoz I understand what it means to be a mom - only now

sdpal said...

Well, I wonder why is the daughter has to call always from US to India (Although she need to.. theres no question about it). If the daughter is in US, I guess, it wouldnt be too costly to call the daughter once in a while. She is also away from the family etc and stuff. Just a different view point..

Anonymous said...

May be its just me, but I have observed that I USED to take my parents for granted. But, since becoming a mother myself, I have definitely started calling them and keeping in touch with them more often and on more regular basis now. Not to mention, that their input, guidance and enocuragement in raising my own kids is invaluable.

Its not that I didn't appreciate them earlier but I don't take them for granted anymore. If I can take out time for everyone around me then why not take out time for my parents too ? Specially, since I know that they start worrying about me if there's a long gap between my calls or emails.

Is that weird ?

passerby55 said...

Hi Preeta,

What goes round, comes round!

As i look back into my dad's young days. I see him write a letter back to his parents every fifteen days. (if he wrote on first , he always received a reply by 15th)

They(dad and his parents) had a system(by default). A day late/missed was like something is missing. HE looked lost.

They didn't need management gurus to tell them about time management.
We need them. They never used STD or ISD or emails.

We are running on the fast lane.
Maybe, we are tyring to handle a lot with mere two hands. With the same two hands we want to get back the maximum.

For giving we want another two hands, which we don't have. SO we look up To GOD, who we assume to have four hands. So he should take care of things we cannot.. it sounds so sad!

Sorry, i think i flooded your comment box.


Ardra said...

the first one was not a tag actually, I had just mentioned u'r blog as one of the blogs which has influenced me deeply. :-)
shall wait for u to do the tag...

Kalpana said...

Till now, I end up calling my parents every 2 days or they call if I don't. Might be, since I am not a mom yet. To see.

Artnavy said...

SORRY FOR SUCH A LONG COMMENT but i guess you it is a similar story on a forward that I received yesterday-

"My parents left for our native place on Thursday and we went to the airport to see them off. In fact, my father had never traveled by air before, so I just took this opportunity to make him experience the same. In spite of being asked to book tickets by train, I got them tickets on Jet Airways.

The moment I handed over the tickets to him, he was surprised to see that I had booked them by air. The excitement was very apparent on his face, waiting for the time of travel. Just like a school boy, he was preparing himself on that day and we all went to the airport, right from using the trolley for his luggage, the baggage check-in and asking for window seat and waiting restlessly for the security check-in to happen. He was thoroughly enjoying himself and I, too, was overcome with joy watching him experience all these things.

As they were about to go in for the security check-in, he walked up to me with tears in his eyes and thanked me. He became very emotional and it was not as if I had done something great but the fact that this meant a great deal to him.

When he said thanks, I told him there was no need to thank me. But later, thinking about the entire incident, I looked back at my life. As a child how many dreams our parents have made come true. Without understanding the financial situation, we ask for cricket bats, dresses, toys, outings, etc. Irrespective of their affordability, they have catered to all our needs. Did we ever think about the sacrifices they had to make to accommodate many of our wishes? Did we ever say thanks for all that they have done for us?

Same way, today when it comes to our children, we always think that we should put them in a good school. Regardless of the amount of donation, we will ensure that we will have to give the child the best, theme parks, toys, etc. But we tend to forget that our parents have sacrificed a lot for our sake to see us happy, so it is our responsibility to ensure that their dreams are realized and what they failed to see when they were young, it is our responsibility to ensure that they experience all those and their life is complete.

Many times, when my parents had asked me some questions, I have actually answered back without patience. When my daughter asks me something, I have been very polite in answering. Now I realize how they would have felt at those moments. Let us realize that old age is a second childhood and just as we take care of our children, the same attention and same care need to be given to our parents and elders.

Rather than my dad saying thank you to me, I would want to say sorry for making him wait so long for this small dream. I do realize how much he has sacrificed for my sake and I will do my best to give the best possible attention to all their wishes. Just because they are old does not mean that they will have to give up everything and keep sacrificing for their grandchildren also. They have wishes, too. "

Vinutha and Lingaraj said...

I guess the priorities change... the life change.. many other things in life take priority....
Loved the article...

The Inquisitive Akka said...

What goes round, comes round!

Mahadevan said...

One can never measure upto parental love. Now that Mayura has a family of her own, her child is her first priority and mother gets relegated.

Secondly, the art of reaching out to people is gradually diminishing. As Usha had put beautifully in one of her blogs, today we have all the tools to reach out to people, and yet, we do not try. Mayura's grand mother did not have a tool and yet, she could reach out to her daughter through a post card.

Itchingtowrite said...

nice story as usual. once people get busy with their lives they tend to neglect the usual courtseys as they feel they can take these liberties with parents. i guess its also the closeness that determines everything. there r some mother-daughters who r so close that they need to talk each and everythign that has happened during the day so the phone calls are more regular at that time

Hip Grandma said...

Usha:Thanks Usha.I wonder if you read this story.I read it in 'Mangaiyar Malar'.

hillg'mom:Mothers will never misunderstand their daughters.That goes without saying.I was wondering if one's duty towards one's parents takes a backseat once children come along.

something to say:Motherhood definitely makes one appreciate what our parents and parents in laws have done to make us see this day.

sdpal:This story was written some 4 years back before Vonage phone and mobile phones took over.These days mothers do call up their children in the US.But do they check if their own parents need some attention?

nz:You like smething to say seem to have understood better what your parents did for you after the arrival of kids.Keep up the good work and extend it to your in laws too.

passerby:Our parents were a lot simpler than us and hand written letters did wonders.We don't need hands to give.A generous heart can do the work.Give elders a little time.They want nothing more.

ardra:I am sorry I have no photos of my childhood.I'll ask my brother to upload any that he may'll have to wait for a while.

kalpana:When you have children your parents will call you twice a day.Take it from me.

artnavy:That was a nice story.Very touching.

vin:Priorities change but let us not let them change to such an extent.

IQA:May be it does but very often I see that it doesn't.

Mahadevan:You are right as usual.Our parents were much more organised despite having larger families and took interest in each family member including the nieces and nephews.Why am I not able to open your blog??

ITW:You seem to have an acceptable explanation.No formalities are needed between parents and children and one is almost certain that their parents will not mistake them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hipgmom, thanks for your encouragement. I guess I have become a lot more sensible since becoming a mother ;-) And as far as extending the same thing to my in-laws goes, Unfotunately, both of them (MIL and FIL ) are no more.

Loved Artnavy's comment/story.

Mahadevan said...

Please click my name in this comment and you can go to my new blog. My earlier one has developed some problems.

Inder said...

haha... we always expect others to do things to us. we forget that others too have some expectation from us. that is us - humans :)

Life Lover said...

I loved this story. Though, I don't have my own example, I think I can relate to this as I have seen my mom in such a situation. Children have a way to fill your life so completely and so the role of a mother tops every other role- like role of a wife, daughter or sibling. But this story is an eye opener too, when I am in such a situation in the future, I want to make sure I can balance both relationships and not let my mother or child feel neglected. Hope God gives me the strenght for this. Thanks for sharing this story!

Anonymous said...

i liked ur meaningful post.ofcourse i completely agree that it is the chidren's duty to stay in touch with their parents even if they are married or busy with their own children.however i would like to add a dimension to this.i live in the US alone and one thing that i admire abt this place is how the older generation(parents,grandparents) can enjoy their life w/o thinking abt their children all the time.Once the kids have grown up and are leading their own lives and settled,its admirable how they can be on their own yet enjoy life.they travel with friends,visit places and are happy.I live alone and speak to my parents very regularly and i see that my parent's lives still revolve around us children.i hardly see my parents going for dinner alone or a movie and enjoying themselves without having to think about us.i love indian tradition and family values yet i think that this value from the older generation in america , i will like to adopt.When I say this i dont mean that they dont love their kids or their kids are not succesful.u should be in touch with ur children and talk to them always but once they have grown up,we should try to live our lives to the fullest....
what do u think?

Monika said...

i am sad i read this late and at the same time happy too abt the same thing as i get to read all the comments too :)

its a lovely story and i think its not just a story its something which is happening every day in every family and not from now... its been happening from as long as one can rememeber we must learn to strike a balance then that is the most difficult thing in life to do anyways... i hope i am able to maintain that balance once i become a mom

PS: i read artnavy's comment and uit brought tears to my eyes too as the same kind of incident happened with me... my dad being a little reserved and less open in displaying emotions didn't say a word but by the way he was walking and getting ready i knew he is feeling the same

mommyof2 said...

yeah me too like Kalpana.. I end up calling my family in India at least twice a week.. And I agree with sdpal, people can call from India too.. Actually I just start to get calls from India since recently.. It really feels good to now that they think of me too:-)(Actually I have my bhua & chacha there, no parents.. so different type of feeling than you have with ur parents still..)

Hip Grandma said...

hi all,
I'm glad this story provoked such good comments.So most of you are not like Gayatri in the story and those who are laid back wish to make amends.I am so glad for you.

Shanks_P said...

Nice meaningful story. Everyone in a relation, mom/dad/ssiblings/hubby and friends want to be called becoz it is a nice feeling to be liked and wanted. But how many find time in their routine to be in touch with luved ones is a big question.
I am away from my family for last 11 years. I make it apoint to talk / mail them atleast once in two days.
Some how I know how much my mom/ sis is happy when they recieve my call.

Doli said...

Really lovely story :) I enjoyed reading it. Now I think about my mom and dad who eagerly wait when I call them or mail them from the US :(

Renu said...

I see that practically girls still keep track of their parents but dont let their husbands do that for their parents and in the process daughters are called more affectionate and caring..