Posted: 23 January 2005 at 11:16pm
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An old man, staying in a small south Indian town came to visit his son in Bombay recently. The son in his early thirties is a successful businessman living with his wife and son.
The father, having spent most of his life at his birthplace, hardly understands a splatter of Hindi or English, forget Marathi. But he doesn't care. 'I have come here to spend a few days with my son and his family. I don't have to go out and socialize with the city people,' he said.
But the son is very excited about his father's rare visit to Bombay. He wants to make the best of it.
He and his wife want to show him around the city. And yes, the son enjoys those evening hours too, when he and his father go out and sit in a good bar, sipping their favourite drink.
Last week he was in a very good mood. 'Let's go to a five star hotel's bar tonight,' he told his father. It was a beautiful evening.
Talking about everything under the sun they had a few drinks. As usual they were offered some salad, peanuts, wafers etc .as accompaniments with their drinks. The old man being almost toothless was not much interested in eating. But that day when they got up to leave, he simply took a handful of chana (roasted grams) and stuffed it in the fold of his dhoti. He might have thought about munching on them, sitting in the car, or whatever.
Unfortunately while walking in the lobby, he missed a step and stumbled.
Down he went, scattering the chana on the plush carpet.
No problem .Now try to visualize that scenario. Someone else in his son's place would have been mortified, embarrassed to death. He might have cursed not his father but his own self for causing this awkward situation. 'Never again will I take my old man to such hotels', he would have vowed.
No sir, not this son. Gently, with a smile, he helped his father get back on his feet. Instead of feeling irritated or angry, he was amused. He found the whole incident very funny.Laughing, they both went home and on the way they decided to return to the same place the following Sunday.
The old man liked the place. Liked the chana too.A son rises A few days back, at a friend's place they both described this event and made everybody laugh.
Weren't you embarrassed? Somebody asked the son. 'Oh, come on now' replied the son. 'He is my father. He talks in his native language, prefers to wear a dhoti even to a posh city hotel, takes chana from the bar to eat later, does whatever he feels like.... So what? Why should I feel embarrassed with his nature and habits? Nobody has a right to stop him from doing whatever he feels comfortable with, as long as it is not harmful to others.'
The son doesn't care what the staff in the hotel thought about that incident.
He says 'they should be concerned only with their bills and tips. I am concerned about my father's happiness.' The wife too totally agrees with the husband on this issue. She feels there are enough other qualities in her father- in- law to feel proud of.
Accept them .The above incident is not mentioned just to show the love and devotion of a son for his father. More than love it is a matter of understanding and a healthy respect for the other person's lifestyle.
A seventy plus old man doesn't want to change his lifestyle now. He likes the way he eats or dresses or talks. In his eyes there is nothing wrong with the old ways of living. And the son says, ok, fine. Every body has a right to live as per his wish. Now at his age, why should he be forced to learn to eat with a fork and knife, if he doesn't want to? I will feel bad if he is doing something morally wrong or indulging in some harmful activities. But otherwise it is fine. I am not going to try to change him at this stage. He is my father. I love him, respect him.
Hey folks, can you think this way?
So many times we see people getting embarrassed by the so called unsophisticated behaviour of their family members. They keep on apologizing about their lack of class and manners or about their drawbacks to outsiders. My wife can't speak proper English; she doesn't know what's happening in the world, so I avoid taking her out or introducing her to my friends and business associates...
My parents can't eat with a spoon and fork, so I don't take them to restaurants.... My husband is working as an ordinary clerk, so I feel awkward when I introduce him to my rich friends. My brother is mentally challenged, so I don't feel like going out with him...
Are you plagued with such thoughts or do you meet such people who think alike?
If you do, please ask yourself. Why do others or I feel this way? Really what is there to feel ashamed of? Most of the people always have this fear of other peoples' opinions and comments. What would others say?
They think and try to alter their own way of living.
Sometimes unnecessarily. What is worse is they try to change their own people too. And when they can't, they are ashamed, angry. And apologetic to outsiders.
In fact, these are the people who have no respect for others and no confidence in oneself. They try to copy others, try to be what they are not, and constantly ask for outsiders' approval for their behaviour. They don't care about the feelings of their family members when they avoid or belittle them.
They don't think how happy his or her family member would feel if he/she gets an opportunity to go to some swanky restaurant or a fun- filled party. Your wife, mother, father, little sister, and old aunt...all those people depending on you for their happiness. If you don't fulfill their desires, who will?
They are what they are. We are what we are. We don't have to change ourselves to please strangers. And if you do, you are in for life long misery.
In that case you would never dare taking your dhoti clad relative to a five star hotel. And your father would never sit amongst your friends and laugh his heart out over some funny incident.
An Excellent Moral