At the end of winning a rat race, we are still a rat.

August 21, 2005

institutionalised behaviour....

A strange aspect of our lives is our seeming "ability" to be courteous and civil to absolute strangers while being "unable " to do the same with our near and dear ones. We are horrific in our absolute lack of basic courtesies to our "own" people.We can hug a stranger but find it difficult to hug our mothers. It has been true for me. There is a certain awkwardness which creeps in, a discomfort..Inner freedom is marked by its absence. It is more like a forced gesture.
We are unable to be ourselves with our own people.We resent their intrusion of our space. We are accustomed to being judged and judging in return. Simplicity and integrity of expression is greeted more often than not with mistrust, a suspicion of intent. Guess a lot has to do also with the cultures we are a part of. "Duty" is an oft-repeated word in Indian households.Everything has to be the way it is "supposed" to be. Thus, we have definitions and associations with various relationships. We strive to reach this "projected ideal" of the way certain things are meant to be.
Thus, a "husband" is expected to behave in a certain fashion and he goes about doing it morosely and in a state of absolute disinterest. The same is true of the wife. A child is "expected" to take care of a parent and vice-versa. Seemingly "right" things are done as a "role-play"; no life , no enthusiasm, no energy to it.
As a person who has had opportunity to meet a lot of people in the context of "problems" they face, I have had some pretty revealing insights. For a lot of Indian parents, the "marriage" of their children is a cause of great concern.They do a lot of prayers, follow a lot of rituals to ensure it and so on. It is definitely an expression of their concern from their points of view.
However, in all these years, I have never come across any parent praying for the "well-being" and the "joy" of their children. It is more from an aspect of "completion of duty". On discussion, I have been told that it is a "given". But I do wonder....for we are so unconscious.
Please note , I am not judging or condemning them here. It is just a tragic manifestation of the death within all of us. We live in "concepts" rather than in "realtime". We operate from a need to be "correct" or rather be "seen" as being "correct". And correctness is always contextual and a matter of perceptions.
In the above quest, we die as spontaneous humans.We lose touch with our "realities" and live and operate in deceit; folling oiurselves primarily and those around us.


We have institutionalised the way we have to behave. All of us make the courtesy " How are you...." call on people. How many of us actually mean it? Or listen to the reply of the person. Plastic smiles and gestures abound. The stench of death within suffocates us.

As the famed red - Indian chief mentioned in his immortal speech, "The end of living and the beginning of survival...."

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