About my parents and how they brought up 3 girls in India
|Almost 10 years ago, I had written a little something about my parents; about how wonderful they are. When I look back at that article now, while the words and the style of writing edge on dramatic and embarrassing, the content seems fairly accurate.
Despite things having changed so much in the last 10 years. I am grown up, 31. And feel a responsibility towards them which sometimes I feel might be unnecessary. Yes, they need us when they are in the hospital or ill. There is some financial dependence. And yet, they perhaps are not our ‘pseudo’ children, while it would be much easier for us to consider them just that, and ‘discipline’ them…in their ripe old age!
They are very special people. A common sentiment, I should hope among children, but worth mentioning nonetheless! Parents who brought up three girls who wore jeans, cut their hair short, and did a lot of things which perhaps at the time was considered inappropriate (like professional studies - yes there was a world like that!). Mild, moderate people who never worked too hard at being fabulous parents; but people who did work hard to give us the means and the freedom to do most of what we wanted to in life.
There have been occasions when I have wondered whether they just didn’t care enough, or trusted excessively. Only to realize that it was neither. They were just being themselves, concerned but practical, the best they could think of, the best they could be.
For one cannot deny that some people make better parents than others. That however much we learn from our parents’ mistakes (or what we think were mistakes), we make our own stock of mistakes, which our children will promise to learn from.
My family has a fair share of loud voices, ridiculous arguments and disagreements; it’s not all peaceful and wonderful. And yet we live in a house that provides privacy without ever leaving you lonely; a house that was never claustrophobic or made you want to experience the ‘freedom’ of getting away; and a house that despite all of this, trusts you to have the strength to find your way outside of it.
I know little about my parents’ upbringing or childhood. They both come from small places. My mother is not highly educated, and reasonably orthodox. Her hair is generally untidily done, and yet she has the most beautiful face I have ever seen, for what it does for me! She is embarrassed by her lack of fluency in English, and yet I clearly remember her snubbing an idiot who once was holding forth on dowry. I would never want to be the marvel she is – simple, strong, giving. But I can’t but admire her ability to allow her daughters to be less and more than her.
My father lost his father early, and made his way completely on his own – can’t imagine how someone that young would have understood the value of education and pursued it. He did well for himself, and even at 66 continues to keep his eye on several little pet projects of his – most of which his daughters don’t approve of!
As parents, they never really set standards for us, but were proud if we surpassed the ones we set. They were never over friendly with our friends, but gave us a home where we could bring many, and build many friendships. They didn’t visibly dream for us; they were neither surprised at nor indifferent towards our successes. This family is not friends. We are distinctly mother, father, sisters…and now sisters-in-law and aunts and niece. And we are good together.
How does one truly balance protectiveness and space? I am certain my parents did not have a ‘plan of action’ while bringing us up. They just looked out for our happiness and well-being. And maybe that is the secret of their success.
For I do believe they are successful parents. If good parenting came with the genes, I would be a fabulous mother! And if I manage to earn the respect, admiration and affection I feel for my parents from my child, I know the child will be as blessed as I am.