Ok the Mother India posters are a bit too much but thats the image that comes to mind. So let me elaborate on what’s brewing in my head!
Recently, I was talking to friend of mine and the topic about how far we have come in life came about. We talked about how life has changed over the years. Much after the conversation was over, it lingered within me. It has been twenty years since I left my home country and moved to the land of golden opportunities. Opportunities were many and the outcome was golden but looking back at the journey, I realized it was not easy at all. Every aspect was an uphill task and it took a lot of endurance and determination from all of us to get to a cruising level.
All about relationships: When I first moved west, I did not know anyone, no family and no friends. Everyone I knew and relationships that were built over the last 20 years had to be left behind. In this new country, everyone was alien. Not having a job was another impediment, since there was no place to actually go out and meet people. Then slowly people trickled into our lives, a friend who introduced us to a friend of theirs and they inturn introducing us to two more, so on and so forth. We latched on to every one of them and tried to fit in. We cooked, we hosted, we played, we talked, we partied, just to have some people to talk to. The perseverance paid off, slowly we built our own little family here. Our kids played and grew up together. We helped each other out in times of need and fought with each other too just like families do!
Where the time went: We had a lot of time for each other the first few years. There was nothing much to do. So our evenings were dedicated to reruns of ‘Married with children’ or ‘Seinfeld’. I also can own up to unashamedly spending my afternoons glued to ‘The bold and the beautiful’ and ‘The young and the restless’. I remember waiting for him to come home from work so I could tell him about all the new developments in those soaps. Then one day I realized everyone on the show had slept with everybody and that I had turned into a couch-potato with a soap addiction, I decided to call it quits!! And that truly was the end of it and I never looked back again! But the point is that, it was lonely. There were not many places to go to and not much money to be frivolous.
The part about money: Yes, we started out with none. It was not an easy path. I remember that right before I moved here, he asked me if I would like an apartment with a washer-dryer in the house or a common one. I distinctly remember not even understanding what he meant and wondering, why on earth would I want to go wash clothes in a common place. He of course got us an apartment with the washer/dryer and it was only after I moved in that I realized we were paying a small fortune to have that luxury! We had to think about everything twice. We wrote budgets, planned where the money went and what we could afford. K-Mart was our answer to everything. The cheapest most affordable store. I remember that we went to restaurants/movies once in 4-5 months. We just couldn’t afford to be frivolous. Slowly, we grew. We worked hard, saved and survived. It took us about a year to just furnish the apartment. But it taught us the value of money. Life was definitely simple with real problems.
Today when I look back, I think we did good. Our kids have everything they want today but I wonder if they realize all the sweat and toil that went into us getting where we are today. What they take for granted today was out of reach for us a decade back.
So the big question I am stuck with right now is this: Should we as parents make our kids also earn their money to teach them its value or just be parents and give them what we didn’t have so they don’t have to face the same hardships? Someone once told me, if you get your kids to enjoy all the luxuries of life, they will get so used to it that they will aim big and make sure they at least get what they are used to, if not more! While I do feel like Mother India and I am sure he feels like Father India, do we really want our kids to experience those days? I don’t think so! This was our journey and we crossed it. I am sure they will have their own journeys to make.