Saturday, 18 April 2015

THE PLEDGE: If you need something done, you can count on me, World

July 28, 2009: Some years ago, an uncle of mine who was in the business of producing TV serials told me and my wife — young couple with stars in our eyes — “If you want to do something in the world of television, just ask! Aawaz do, hum saath hain!” Taking his word at face value. we made a couple of trips to his office at Filmcity, and were quite disappointed to see that he didn’t really mean to help us at all. 

Which brings me to the question of what family ties are all about. I believe that being family means that we all have an unspoken contract of aawaz do hum saath hain! By this, I mean that we have a confidence that our father, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife, son, daughter will “be there for us when we need them,” whatever that means. 

Everybody interprets the when-we-need-them clause in whatever way it suits them. I think very few interpret it honestly and deeply. Most people mean it as, “If you are ill, I will definitely visit you in hospital.” 

Very few mean it as, “If you need my help to make your dreams come true, I will do everything in my power to assist.” 

And even fewer mean it as, “If your life is falling apart e.g.  if you are aged, senile, going bankrupt, in the grip of alcoholism with your marriage falling apart etc., you can count on me to do my utmost to help you rebuild your life.”

And yet, I think, that is what being family is all about. I think we need to periodically renew our vows to our whole family, never mind the constraints — real and imagined — of modern life. I don’t know if others will be there for us, but that is not in our hands. What is in our hands is: will we be there for others? Are we there for others? Are we really family?

Or are we just spending our lives as imposters: sons, daughters, fathers, husbands, wives only in name? (I’m leaving out mothers from this list because by the very act of motherhood, I think a woman does something infinitely valuable for her offspring… never mind what else she does or doesn’t do later in life!)

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