Somewhere between playing with toys and becoming toys of life, we all grew up.
My mother tells me I was born 35 years old and that I get more middle-aged every year.
This article is not about growing up, it’s about growing.
My relationship with my parents has changed to quite an extent from childhood to now. There has been a reversal of roles as gradually I have inclined towards the adult and they inclined towards the child. Of course, they’re inclination has been much steeper than mine. (I was already an adult, remember).
My parents have been very good parents. We had a tough time, financially and emotionally, but I’ve never felt that I had been without things that I wanted. (Except one thing and that is a topic for another time). They’ve never forced me to think the way they do, never imposed their choices on me, never told me do something and answered my “Why?” with “Because I said so.” This is quite advanced for a couple of orthodox people, orthodox Indian people, orthodox poor Indian people.
As I grew older, I tried to make them advanced in their thinking. I would present arguments with the flourish of a lawyer on topics like gay rights, societal pressure, “log kya kahenge” etc. These arguments would lead to back and forth bickering and then end with my so-called win when they’d say “No one can best you in arguments.” After several years and several wins, I began to question what was my prize. I had won the battle, but lost the war. Because the whole point of these arguments were to make them advanced in their thinking. And the continuation of the arguments showed that they still did not agree with me.
Then I focused on my first sentence to myself. I want to………… make them advanced in their thinking.
No one, not even God, can convince someone of something if they don’t want to be convinced. If my parents have chosen to hold on to their orthodox thinking, it is their choice, it is their right. Nothing I could say would convince them otherwise, if they have decided not to be convinced.
So I gave up.
And boy, the relief was instantaneous. I have let my opinions be known and have heard that those opinions are baloney and that’s that. No more bickering. No arguments. No fights. I was finally doing what my parents have done for me while growing up — letting them be. As long as their thoughts or opinions were not causing anyone harm, there was no point in me trying and trying an trying to change them. And causing distress to myself and them.
This is a tough thing to do. When you hear something that you think is wrong, it’s really tough to hold back from countering. But really, who am I kidding? I have a lawyer’s tongue and counter arguments are my specialty. Most of my bickering stems from the desire to prove that I am right rather than for the sake of the intellectual awakening of my opponent.
Of course, you should let someone know that what they are thinking, speaking or doing is wrong. But once. There is no point in repetition and sparring. If the person wants to improve, he will ask you details of what you think is right and he will change his mind if he thinks that what you are saying is not baloney.
My parents stopped growing somewhere along the way but they have never stopped me from growing. So we are as different as chalk and cheese. Which is why the way to a happy relationship is to follow the old jungle law.
Live and let live.