The extent of thanklessness in parenting is only equaled by that of the stupidity that we all show in rushing into it.
The social aspects and manners that a family typically tries to inculcate in a kid has always astonished me. Welcome a guest by explicitly welcoming them and making a huge fuss about their arrival. Wish each other a good morning. Wish each other on occasions. Make it known that you are delighted at their son making it to the elite university in the US. Make it your business to know what each and every one in your immediate, extended, and even 2 circles beyond extended family does. While I agree some of these are basic manners, I was amused by the artificial charade of it all. I was the kid who would mumble an inaudible welcome and run off to my toys. I was the kid who didn’t understand why one should wish her brother a good morning when clearly they were going to make their mornings miserable for each other by fighting over who gets the bigger share of the omelette. I still am the kid who does not understand why I should make it my business to know what everyone is up to and tell everyone what I am up to.
Don’t mistake me, I am not against socialising and spending family time. But I’d rather it came naturally. Like sitting down with an uncle and talking about how I ditched a class in college to sleep. Like just patting a brother on the back and reminding him that he is getting older than wishing him a very artificial yet happy birthday. Like discovering that cousin is moving to a different country, just by chance. I like that spontaneity. This might be the case in some families, but not mine. So having been deprived of the spontaneity in the relationships that I so crave, I have become the cornucopia of social awkwardness (to quote Sheldon Cooper) when it comes to interacting with relatives.
Having been in an incredibly long relationship and married to my childhood sweetheart, the first question many ask me is – “Are you not bored?”. When I say no, people ask, “How can you not be?”.
I cannot understand how anyone can be bored with another person just because they have been together for a long time. For me, boredom comes with personality mismatch, not with the length of a relationship. Do you get bored with your parents just because you have known them all your life? Or do you get bored with your siblings? No. You get frustrated, annoyed. angry when conflicts arise but you don’t get bored.
Also, people change incredibly fast. I am not the same person I was last year. So no matter how many number of years you put in a relationship, you have something to work on. In fact, a long relationship means that real hard work has gone in settling the chaos so that it stays afloat. What others see might be a fairy tale but there will be skeletons laid to rest (not buried, for I believe trust is the core of a relationship) before the fairy tale was built.
So pardon me if you can’t see it, but I don’t see myself getting bored with my husband just because I have known him almost all my life. And after so much time together, if I find some personality trait of his boring, I trust myself to be able to tell it to his face and I trust him enough to do something about it. 🙂
An advertisement for SBI life insurance greeted me through the pages of The Hindu on a sombre morning. I read through the poem and smiled at the brevity that gets through to the emotional side of readers. But there was one line that glowed red in spite of its inconspicuousness.
But you don’t give in, for your wife too, is part of the journey.
Although that was just one line in the poem, it reminded me of how often I see advertisements that show only male protagonists thinking about insurance for their family. It is as if they are obligated with the task of being the provider even after their unfortunate deaths or other mishaps.
It’s just plain unfair to men. Protecting and providing for a child is a parent’s responsibility, no matter their gender. Protecting and making sure your partner is fine when you are no longer around is an emotion anyone can express, no matter their gender. In today’s world, care giving is taken up equally by sons and daughters, wives and husbands. Yet that subconscious conditioning of a male provider and a female care-giver is far from being faded. Such subtle reminders exist everywhere, knowingly and unknowingly, reiterating something that is no longer meaningful. There are gender neutral words – spouse, partner to use but still this ad chose to be gender specific, even if only for a line.
This just shows how far we are to go if we need to break the shackles of conditioning and how much work we have to do if we want to be truly independent of biases. May we all step towards the light at the end of the very long tunnel.
Until later 🙂
2017 was a multifaceted year for me and throughout it was constructed with blocks of hardships and towards the end came the home stretch. We are still running the home stretch in several aspects. But the troubles are not what I want to write about. They come and go and I don’t know how I am going to fare through them yet. But I have learnt one solid lesson from all that I faced and all that I am facing – A lot of people, even those whom you trust to understand you, will sometimes won’t. One of the major issues I see is that not everyone knows what it means when you say NO to something. The rejection of their idea/suggestion/<whatever> is unacceptable to them. I was shell shocked to see that this caused a lot of friction in an otherwise normal situation. I always assumed that we have evolved into this century enough to know that every individual has a choice when it comes to things that involve them and the person who is involved has the final say. However, to get this done, to make the message reach, the struggle I had to go through was so tiring that I started wondering if people really know what it means when I say NO or when I say that I don’t want to do something they suggest.