Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Distance Makes the Heart Grow Weaker

Makes me wonder about the huge population of old and alone parents in India. Half the boom in USA's new IT industry is fueled by desi bachchas who left their parents in search of their karmabhoomi. They are doing amazingly well and more than just a job, many of them are impacting our very lives with their innovative work. Yet the life they impact most is two sets of parents. Parents who have large nest-eggs in a large empty nest back home.

The rest of us didn't go that far, still, Lucknow is more than a planet away when calculated from Bangalore. The best of us manage to meet them once or twice a year. Usually it is once or twice a decade. Usually it is combined with a packed sight-seeing schedule. Usually the whole deal is no more than 10 to 15 days, all inclusive!

Oh yes, I have even wondered about the alternatives.
Probably one option is to stay with parents in their city and be limited to the opportunities available out there. Chances are, your "IT" job in such case would be about as fancy as owning the dealership for Creative Sound cards. Of course, the money earned would be enough to lead a kingly life in that city. But yeh dil maange more. So even the parents sacrifice their time with us to encourage us to leave. To see us live the dreams they never dared sleep over!

The other alternative, of course, is to bring them over to live with us. This means uproot them from a comfort zone and bring them to a world where we spend more time on intercontinental con-calls and buzzing blackberry's than on talking to people within 10 meter radius of us. So now they are near and yet not so dear.

Little wonder then, that none of these options are very popular. What is common is just old parents living alone, in a big empty house, far removed from the race to get 10Gbps DSL-at-home and the next 30GB iPod. And there is a whole army of them! So many of them, and yet each one is equally lonely. Equally helpless. Or are they? My dad is quite unwell and I am the one feeling helpless. With all my brains and money, I can not "be there" at his time of need. With all their weaknesses, I am sure mom and dad will manage to triumph over this!

Us "developed" 21 Centurians have destroyed age old family systems in our infinite wisdom to replace it with no system. Somehow we are sure that 20 years of education is enough for us to challenge 2000 years of collective wisdom. We barter strong family support and social structure to root for weekend-couples and latch-key kids. The brains that created a whole new industry for "keeping in touch" failed to offer a single hug for those on the periphery of technology.

Despite being one of the strongest civilizations in the world, haven't we stooped to embrace volatile and fragile social systems from the most infantile civilization in history?

My favorite saying goes: "The best things in life are either illegal, immoral or fattening". We seem to have chosen an ice-cream lifestyle over cereals and fruits.

To live for today like there is no tomorrow and there never was a yesterday...

Sorry Dad.


Biby Cletus said...

Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be back

Deep Regards from the other side of the Moon

Biby Cletus

Vidooshak said...

Thanks Biby Cletus. This was a very encouraging comment. I look forward to your constructive (and critical?) comments and will randomly surf my way to your blog one of these days :-)

Hope your side of the moon is cooler

Just like that said...

Hey, what's with my day today? Am reading Jhumpa's Namesake and have just reached the particularly hard hitting bit on fathers and their transcience.. and now this blog from you on similar lines...

I know exactly where you're coming from- sometimes we're so busy running the race that we lose sight of what we're running for...

And if its like that with the parents, its the same with kids too... you have all the money for jam, but not the time to spread it on for them...

Sad state of affairs, isn't it? I hope your Dad gets better soon...

Vidooshak said...


I am yet to understand best way to communicate with commentators. Till then, I shall fill up my own comments sections with responses to you.

I had not thought of the Kids angle, probably a month later I will empathise with that as well. I sure hope our kids can find a more balanced approach to living life. I am sure what we are leading now, this cannot be what God had in mind when he started this "intelligent life" project!

Dad is better. Thanks.