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We Have Failed Our Parents

We Have Failed Our Parents

June 23, 2012

Did our parents work hard only for us to grow up and be just like them?

Indian Parents. They may be overbearing, aggravating and meddling, but there really is no denying that they have always dreamt the best for us. They have aspired for us to be happy, healthy, successful and renowned. They have desired for us to have a good career, a large house, a big and safe car, and prodigious amounts of savings. They have prayed that we choose a worthy spouse, one who espouses their values and beliefs. Of good looking, able-bodied stock, who would help the family line advance with angelic children.

It is purely with the intention to help us achieve all of the above that our parents have been overbearing, aggravating and meddling. They have pushed and pulled us, carrot-and-sticked us, laughed and cried with us. They have deployed the best strategies to make us the stars of their dreams. The question is – have we kept our side of the bargain?

Sure we have, we would say. We would say that we worked hard, studied at the best universities, got ourselves a good job or a successful business, settled down with the best person who agreed to marry us, bought a house, had children, got a car etc. In short, built for ourselves a normal, decent life, just like our parents did when they were our age. The fact is, though, that our parents aspired for us to be better than them, not just like them.

The reality is – we settled for less. Instead of being Phenomenal, we decided to be Unremarkable. We could have had everything, but we chose to work hard instead of smart. We deliberately, and foolishly, chose the path that took us away from Unbounded Success. Unbounded

Success is what we read about in the papers every day. It’s what we watch in the news on TV. It is what ‘they’ have. And we don’t.

Unbounded Success means the ability to make millions, nay billions, within 5 years. It means getting conferred honorary degrees from the best universities of the world, even if one barely attended class in school and college. What is true accomplishment if it isn’t living in the most exclusive and well protected neighbourhood in the city, while also gobbling prime property all over the world? Real achievement means not just owning a couple of bank and investment accounts in India, but dozens of offshore accounts in exotic locations. It means having your own helicopter for small hops, and a chartered Boeing 747 for longer leaps. Why have ‘a’ car when you can have a fleet decked with flashing lights – and why stop in traffic when you can have the traffic stop for you? And, when you achieve it, Unbounded Success is not just limited to you – it amply spills over to your spouse, your children, your friends, their friends, your extended family, and their friends and extended family. One signature from you can make someone’s world come crashing down, or turn another man’s pot of dust to gold. When you have Unbounded Success, everyone talks about you constantly. If they say good things, it is deserved, if not, they are just being resentful.

Unbounded Success is defined as never needing to be accountable. It is being in that zone where whatever you say is the truth, and the rest is all lies. It is being the master of the universe.

It is the kind of success that even God only dreams of. It is the kind that makes one feel they are bigger than Him.

We could have had all of that. And yet, we decided to not join Politics.

We have failed our parents.

Photo credits
: sritoys.com 

23 Comments

  • Rickie Khosla
    By
    Rickie Khosla
    26.06.12 10:57 PM
    Sonik, Britul, thanks for reading.

    I would like to make one point. This piece was not really about whether our parents love us or not, or what constitutes success and whether they would be on board with us making certain decisions or not. This piece was only about the shameless impunity of our politicians at grabbing everything that they can get their hands on.

    "Parents" and "Success" were just creative ploys to make my point.

    If that didn't come through in this piece then I obviously haven't done a very good job writing it! I will do better next time.
  • Britul
    By
    Britul
    26.06.12 10:46 PM
    I completely agree with Sonik.

    The risk for chasing extraordinary dreams may be high and most of the parents will never want their kids to take such huge risk.
  • Sonik
    By
    Sonik
    26.06.12 12:50 PM
    I don't think parents want us to have such great a success. If we look at that typical group of middle class parents, they'd simply want their children to be comfortable. "million dollar success" comes with a lot of pain, blood and sweat and most mothers would rather have their sons being fed parathas by sundar, sushil bahus and their daughters to be married off. why else did we have so many clueless kids being prepped for engineering when they wanted to just do something else?
  • Rickie Khosla
    By
    Rickie Khosla
    25.06.12 07:25 PM
    Thank you, Priya!
  • Priya Sreeram
    By
    Priya Sreeram
    25.06.12 06:10 PM
    lovely ! well written
  • Rickie Khosla
    By
    Rickie Khosla
    25.06.12 05:27 PM
    Rajpriya, actually, I have no emotions either way about people knowing only their "own" kind in a foreign land - I guess, to each his own. But I do find it intriguing that they would choose to do so - where is the fun in being in a different world if you don't want to become a part of it?
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    25.06.12 08:42 AM
    @Rickie – Even I don’t mean the shanty slum ones. I know even in the shanties and slums there are enough good human beings who want to be educated. I mean the rotten egg that managed to go to the west but remained ignorant and arrogant.

    The ones who exceed the limits of decency on public forums feeling untouchable behind the shield of anonymity of the web that irritates me. Seriously think of it. Was it the parent who was overbearing, not aggressive enough to knock some sense into, ignored and has been unable to foresee what the child would grow up to be?

    Thank God I was not provided an opportunity to live in an Indian ghetto in Germany. Being the only Indian family in a German village, we needed to show we had more than good manners all the time and managed to become accepted in a really conservative setup as decent Indians.
  • Rickie Khosla
    By
    Rickie Khosla
    24.06.12 11:54 PM
    Vikram, looks like there is a list of "golden" professions to choose from!
    Thanks for reading.
  • Vikram
    By
    Vikram
    24.06.12 11:38 PM
    Interesting take, I would add to that list becoming an civil services officer or a government contractor. all three have the same benefits but for the flashing lights..
  • Rickie Khosla
    By
    Rickie Khosla
    24.06.12 05:08 PM
    Stuart - thanks! (That is a lovely song!)
    Rajpriya - I have wondered about the "ghetto" concept - and I don't necessarily mean a shanty slum. There are very affluent "ghettos" in New York and New Jersey where Indians love to live in their cocoons. Other Asians have their own ghettos. They somehow have no desire for acculturation. Strange...
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    24.06.12 01:36 PM
    There are Parents who have managed to get their children out of ghettos but some children have the ghetto following them like a shadow to every corner of this earth. This becomes evident when they continue to output garbage and the intput can be only garbage.

    Now who has failed whom? The child or the father?
  • Rickie Khosla
    By
    Rickie Khosla
    24.06.12 09:36 AM
    Harry, shush, our parents are reading this! :D
    Britul, Writerzblock, thanks for reading!
  • Writerzblock
    By
    Writerzblock
    24.06.12 04:29 AM
    LOL! I didn't see that coming. Very well written.
  • Britul
    By
    Britul
    23.06.12 11:02 PM
    One reason for why we have settled for less- may be because we don’t want to take risks. We want a secured life with fixed monthly income. We can try for unbounded success but the ways for unbounded success are unconventional. We have a fear in our minds- what if everything goes wrong and we fail ? in that case, all efforts put in by our parents will go in vain. To avoid that we chose to be “unremarkable” but remain secure.
  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    23.06.12 08:56 PM
    @ Rickie

    Nice write-up, but you forgot to include 72 virgins not forgeting the wife by your side, or would you have prefered 2 whores, who knows what they are doing, as a side show.

    Hey Anjani, this is only a satire, so don't loose your cool.

    HARRY
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    23.06.12 07:53 PM
    A Politician, a Journalist and a Blogger have always had many things hurled at them: Bouquets,Brickbats, Rotten eggs, Shoes and other objects.

    There is a famous TV show in Germany where Politicians, Newspaper editors, Professors and experts on a variety of subjects discuss really serious matters of the country.

    The name of it "Hart aber Fair", meaning "Hard but Fair". An opinion always respected but rejected with strong argument against with out abuse.
  • Stuart
    By
    Stuart
    23.06.12 07:33 PM
    Oustanding! I've enjoyed your other pieces, but in this one, the anger that drives good satire was more evident, and gave the writing a nice edge. Of course, since my favourite filmi song ever is yeh duniya agar mil (I have TWO t-shirts with lyrics from it on them), the theme of this piece is one I wholeheartedly endorse.
  • Rickie Khosla
    By
    Rickie Khosla
    23.06.12 03:58 PM
    Thanks, everyone, for your messages!

    Rajpriya, I will get in touch as soon as I have my affairs in order - promise!

    Ajay - thank you, as always.

    Anjani - Thank you for reading.

    A Singh - Thanks so much for your encouragement.
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    23.06.12 03:09 PM
    Wow Anjani, this piece really did go over your head. Why don't you go through it one more time - this reading all the words while considering the possibility that the author might not have been completely serious.

    Great piece Rickie, keep it up:)
  • Anjani
    By
    Anjani
    23.06.12 12:16 PM
    This article is disgusting. Unbounded success is measured by the stuff you have? Indian parents are clearly not a homogenous group because I think my parents just want me to be happy. And I don't need a whole bunch of stuff to make me happy. Idiot.
  • Ajay jain
    By
    Ajay jain
    23.06.12 12:04 PM
    Absolutely BRILLIANT.
    I could feel myself saying yes I could have done better in my life if i would hv worked harder but definately not through politics.
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    23.06.12 11:08 AM
    Close your eye to the extra "an" and read as "an Indian Parent".
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    23.06.12 11:03 AM
    @Rickie,

    I am really amazed at what you can put down in writing. I won't make my comments on this article though you come so close by the breadth of a hair in tempting me to do so and the simple reason I won't: My memoirs are due to you. So much insight and realities of if not all many an Indian an Parent.

    Do I rightly belong to be one of them, well, I will let you tell me.

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