I occasionally read Urdu publications, both – from India as well as Pakistan and sometimes, come across the stuff that leaves a deep impression, provoking me to translate the same for the larger audience.
The other day, I came across an article in which the author talks about his humble origin and very frugal childhood. A two room house occupied by large family comprising parents, siblings as also uncles, aunts and cousins would accommodate even visiting guests. Money was always short, yet the food eaten by the family was happily shared with the guests. Guests were never snubbed but rather egged on to stay for some more time. After completing 10th and that too from Government run school, the author’s father asked him to go to an automobile workshop ran by his friend to make him learn a trade as also earn some pocket money. After 12th, he was sent to a textile mill for part time job and to a publication house after completing graduation. Once the author got absorbed as a sub editor, he was married off and expected to fend for himself, his immediate family as also his parents, who had aged by then.
In contrast, author’s four children live a life of considerable comfort and luxury. They study in private schools and colleges, the younger ones get dropped to school by car while the elder ones go to college riding their bikes. They want independent bedrooms, the latest of the gadgets and are in no hurry to start earning, till they are offered a good white collared job.
Many of us from middle class strata would immediately identify with the Author’s story as children of today are privileged indeed. I understand that in western world and US, College going students are expected to become financially independent by undertaking side jobs along with college going. But in India Papa’s daughters and Mama’s boys have all the privileges even before they attain financial independence.
The author ends the article on a rather sombre note. He doesn’t mind doing all this and more for his children to make up for his deprived childhood, but he dreads their care me not attitude and their ungrateful uttering , “ what special have you done for us that you expect us to remain obliged to you for our entire life and take care of you in your old age? “
I think we are a generation caught in the middle – trying to be good sons and daughters on one hand and good parents on the other, but probably failing in both the roles!
I want to be a good child to my parents
And a good parent to my child
But I am caught in the middle of nowhere
Getting kick in the rear from one and from other – the chide!