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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Family foibles

The older one grows, the more one gets the feeling that there are lots of things in this world that one will never understand.

I have a grown up daughter at home now. She and her mother quarrel most of the time – well, twenty times a day, at least. The issues are utterly trivial; often they don’t need issues at all. I sometimes get exasperated, and sometimes despair of things ever getting better.

But then, what is ‘better’? They tell me they hugely enjoy bickering (forget the snarls and yells and mutual accusations and long faces); besides, I can see that they simply cannot live without each other. The quarrels start and end with utter unexpected abruptness, too, and then and I see that all is sunshine and honey once more, and they are all over each other. I myself, when I look inwards, know for a certainty that I won’t have things otherwise – I have long stopped pretending that I even have any idea how things could have been ‘better’.

Twenty years ago, when I didn’t have either wife or daughter, I could have given very wise sermons about what a happy family should be like.

Twenty years ago, I was a fool.


ginger candy said...

Dear Sir,

The timing for this post could not have been more apposite for me, simply because I am beginning to have these realizations myself. I am fast approaching the age you'd have been twenty years ago, and I am constantly re-evaluating my former opinions on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from religion to romance. I am no longer the same wise-cracking, cocky version of myself I was just seven years ago who would dispense instant advice (or 'gyaan', as many would call it) to all and sundry on their relationships and careers and religious affiliations and what not. I have seen a lot, absorbed a lot, and reflected a lot- and all I can say in the end is that there is really no way to know for sure what 'better' is. There are a lot of occasions when all my worldly wisdom and knowledge have failed me miserably, and although I am still supremely confident about some things in life, I have been humbled too many times to ever assume the tiniest idea of what 'better' means.

Thanks for this lovely post- I feel reassured after reading it.

Yours sincerely,

Sayan Datta said...

Dear Suvro Sir,

One cannot read this blogpost without sensing your love both for your wife and daughter. This is a warm post which beatifies the spirit and makes one feel optimistic. I can almost see why you won't have things otherwise.

I think, Sir, that there are a lot of things one can be sure of, rather, should be sure of, although after putting in a lot of mental energy in discerning right from wrong. I know that that is not the point of this post, Sir, but if I am allowed to digress a bit, I will say that there are things in this world that can't be 'understood', only felt, at an emotional or intuitive level at best. Love itself falls in this category, I think. I remember how the giraffe and the hippo fell in love in 'Madagascar’, which is symbolic of how love can happen between two disparate individuals with respect to their age, sex, religion and upbringing...which is why I feel often surprised, but disgusted more often about how many factors and sometimes even traits and sometimes the ability to conform, people try to 'match', so to speak, before marrying, where the question is simply of love and mutual respect. 'Respect' - this is an important word. Without it no relationship, of whatever nature, will work, I think.

But I have a question, Sir, which is somewhat unrelated to the post. What does one do with the things one doesn't understand? Simply make his peace with them?

Thanks for the post, and sorry for the incoherent ramble.

Sayan Datta

Tanmoy said...

Dear Suvroda

Thank you for writing this post.

I miss a huge part of my family back home. However, I am building one here. Real life does change lot of perception.

I wish you all well.


Dipanwita Shome said...

Three years ago I was used to thinking that i could never live with anybody whop was not like, well, take a guess, Fitzwilliam Darcy--quiet, dignified, proud (not vain) of the right things, benevolent landlord with piercing eyes--a total BBC Colin Firth. I had believed myself incapable of achieving happiness without these in my man. Well, how things turn out in reality! I am now bickering and laughing heartily with a man, who for all his dignity and character, is as unlike the Austen's ideal as chalk is from cheese! And, i am enjoying every bit of it. I used to dole advice to friends about the ideal man, but now I am wise--I shut up. I know, to each his/her own, and in fact, his/her lovely little own.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Thanks for commenting thoughtfully, Joydeep, Sayan, Tanmoy and Dipanwita (funny that so many people read, and so few write anything sensible in response!).

Glad I cheered you up, Joydeep. Sayan, yes, making peace is the only thing to be done, isn't it, so long as something doesn't rankle too badly? Tanmoy and Dipanwita, yes, life has a strange way of changing perspectives and opinions, doesn't it, no matter how clever and learned we imagine ourselves to be when we are very young? The only thing to do, therefore, is to keep one's mind as open as possible as long as one lives. One can be surprised, often pleasantly too.

I shall be glad if others write in to say how they have had similar experiences and realizations.