A Family – Us and Them

Family has always been regarded as the most precious possession by all human beings. Family has always been the backbone of a person. It has received worthy attention in all forms of literature and religion. Hinduism defines family as an ‘illusion’ (samsara maya), explaining that it is a coming together of souls with different origins, survivals and destinies. A family instills religion, faith, desires and aspirations in its members. Every person, irrespective of what he is, gives credit to his family for all he has, and blame for all he has lost. Thus, the family is what makes as well as breaks a person.

In an archtypical Indian family, comparisons are what can be found the most. Comparisons of their fortunes with the next doors neighbours’ fortunes, comparisons of the son’s art grades with their daughter’s, comparisons amongst the ladies’ jewelry as well as comparisons of their new sedans. Ironically, we always aspire for the best but tend to settle for the mediocre. This is due to another common factor- fear of change and fear from taking risks; school being taken as an example-a child is always sent to a school of his parents’ choice. By the time, students realize the plusses and minuses of their school; they don’t wish to switch over to another school. This is because they want what is absent presently, but at the same time, they do not wish to lose what they already have. The popular dialogue of an all time Bollywood classic holds very true-“To gain anything, you need to lose something!”
Parents, sacrificing themselves and their interests, wish their wards to match up to the best. All families want themselves to be the happiest; they always teach their children to respect those above them. But they often overlook to respect those below them. We must aspire to grow better, but should never stop those below us from thinking the same. As a person expects from his mentors, due praise and appreciation, he must realize that he too, is mentoring someone else and so, should support them..
Another common scene in the Indian household is that of people’s contrasting behaviors at different places and situations. Students desperately attempt to become cynosures in the classroom by discussing matters, which sometimes don’t interest them but are considered the ‘in-things’. They often talk about money, fashion and other forms of extravagance. They often do this to attract friends and immediate attention. But what kids usually don’t realize is that it is their uniqueness that holds meaning for their friends, and they never attain this ‘uniqueness’ by idolizing or copying anyone.
The ever known Greek warrior Honorius’ court poet Claudius Claudianus once said “Pride sullies the noblest character,” and this is what holds true for all us humans, another common string between our social institutions and between ‘us and them’.

Sahil Chaudhry
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