The old grandma would still like to believe in the proverbial seven births and matches being made in heaven, but not the new age generation who is falling in and out of love, breaking up making up and whatnot. Marriages are now upshots of online connections. Gone are the days when coy bride would peek out of her ‘ghunghat’ to catch a ‘first’ glimpse of her groom, husband to be. Today attitude, style, confidence is in vogue. But even in this era of modernization, patriarchal norms of our society do not fail to question every step taken by women. It is appalling to see in this age how the women still hold the second grade status in the institution called marriage and raising kids is deemed their only worth. There are women who are in the role of caregiver by choice and pretty content with it but there are also those who didn’t have much in the name of choice. Mr. Pramod Kumar (55) and his wife, whom I fondly address as uncle and aunt are more like part of my family, they work for the same bank in different branches, both holding the same designation. Once On my weekend trip I noticed how uncle was lying on a couch, watching T.V while my aunt was out on a field trip collecting some data for a marketing strategy which she was supposed to project in her next conference meeting. This clearly shows the dedication of women towards the profession they passionately love. But one cannot simply rule out the importance of marriage in someone’s life, after all it is the foundation on which a family is built. Anjali is 23 an MBA student, when asked about her career plans she instantly said marriage would be the first thing on her list after getting a degree, and when asked for reason behind such a rush she replied “Finding the right man and getting to know him might take time and so I would like to be on the pursuit as early as possible failing which I might cross the age of 30; not a good time to have kids considering the female biological clock. Ideally I wouldn’t want a nanny raising my kids and of course at the end of the day I wish to see them getting settled before I am about to kick the bucket.” There I realised that this is something that women have been indoctrinated with for generations. The so called well wishers inculcate into the minds of girls right from the beginning of their conscious life that a ‘Mrs’ before their name is more important than ‘B.Sc’ and it’s a blessing for every woman to be married and have kids . 20’s is perceived to be an ideal age for this, but the question is do all women want this? There are many women out there who want more from life; they want the world to recognize them by their first name, instead of getting husbands’ surnames like ‘Mrs Singh’ or ‘Sharma’ slapped against their name. They are the ones who do not want to sacrifice their career for anyone or anything and possess immense potential to make a name for them, but for the lack of opportunities their aspirations pine away. Usually there is a huge pressure of marriage bearing down on them which does no good to their inherent capabilities and not all of us have the heart to turn down our parents’ decision thus in order to keep off any emotional upheaval in their family women give in to their parents’ will, a life altering step which may suffocate them all the way through. Can’t we just let them breathe and decide the age they want to get married or not marry at all. As one ponders over the issue marriage vs. career the curious faculty of the mind can’t help asking the question what event triggered the awakening of the social consciousness among women which has disturbed the social framework of the society. It turns out that the transition of women from the home bound being to the liberated one has its roots in the industrial revolution that took place in England and America. Significant cultural changes with respect to women were brought about as the urban mill experience made young women dissatisfied with the country life of their parents. The invention of the telegraph, the telephone, and the typewriter, created many more jobs for women. They were out to fight for their rights while actively participating in anti-slavery campaigns also. An unprecedented shake up in the gender roles was witnessed during these movements. Men going out to work, having fun with their friends, coming back and getting all homely comforts at will be it food or cleaned clothes wasn’t the prevailing norm anymore. Since the dawn of civilization women have been sharing the bread earned by men under a sense of dependency, but the much celebrated industrial revolution brought along a rising tide of change pushing up the women’s cause as well. Marriages have now become more of a thought out deal between two mentally and financially stable adults who willingly devote themselves to each other ruling out any chances of fall outs that may be. Traditional form of love where gender roles were presupposed is fading away to give way to a newer version which acknowledges individuality and freedom and allows ambitions and aspirations to take shape. There is no dominant half who is invading other’s private space poking and prodding with high handed instructions like’ you should do this’ or questions like ‘why did you do that’. All these things are shrugged off as unnecessary bickering; today the young lot is not looking for long, never ending relationships, all they want is a break from all the stress, tension and anxiety; they are searching for a comfortable space and a happy time together with a significant other however short it may be; they are not shying away from one night stands, short-lived flings which will keep them going for years before they would like to think of marriage. They barely surrender to some emotional drama and live by the belief that not marriage but their success will promise them the long lasting contentment. Once you savour this belief, it becomes a palpable, throbbing entity that lives with you almost all the time.

Old hit hard by new culture

For 60- year old Kamala Devi, who is a retired government servant, her only son is a `living dead’. He is currently staying in Australia and has recently married an Australian girl. Kamala Devi could not attend his marriage though the son had been considerate enough to extend the invitation through a curt phone call. Alternatively the old parents could also be sent the pictures of the wedding, the son suggested.

So much for the revered and famous Indian values.

In a country once acclaimed as a nation of traditions, today its values and cultures are being brutally stabbed repeatedly time after time, generation after generation in the name of modernization and the worse sufferer are the old parents, who give everything they had to their children only to be left in the lurch once the children get settled.

Unfortunately these days we can find many Kamala Devis. Gone are the days when we used to take pride that we are born and brought up in a joint family where serving our parents was considered a blessing. We lived by the slogans of paradise residing in parents’ feet. Surprisingly this is happening in a country where even the scriptures depict that respecting our parents is core of our values.

A chorus from ‘ramcharitmanas’ quotes:

“Prat kal uth ke raghunatha, Mattu pitta guru navahi mattha” (Lord Rama bows before his parents on getting up in the morning).

Among Hindus it is a common practice to revere the dead by feeding them through some or the other means even after their demise. Unfortunately the dead are remembered and the living ones are forgotten.

According to Prof. Ram Ganesh Yadav a social scientist and a faculty in Sociology department at Lucknow University “Affection of parents is a reciprocation of the remuneration of their children”. According to him if not entirely then to a greater extent parents are solely responsible for what they are going through. “Everyone is running after money, values have changed, economic status describes a person now a days, this kind of thinking has been entrenched in the young minds by their parents, and today they are just implementing what they have been taught” remarks Prof Yadav. Sentiments, emotions, belongingness and attachment- these words are becoming quite vacuous. So is it possible that parents are not able to balance their personal and professional life and are seen to be more inclined towards their profession? According to him this might be the reason, but out of interest or compulsion it depends on an individual. They provide their children with money but do not have time to see how they are spending them. Social change comes by time, time is ever-changing, in coming years we are loosing everything, our jobs will frustrate us and it will become very tough for us to sustain ourselves with the changing time.

There is only one way to escape such horrendous future, that we should take the shelter of our scriptures and mythologies and return to our roots for teaching the basic ethics of life, be it our culture, values, tradition, and everything that has lost its natural essence. In an era of globalization we should have some moral boosting ‘Sanskar’, and remember that everything works on a pro quo duo criteria, that means we will only get as much as we give.

The rising trend of nuclear family over joint family can be stated one of the reasons. As first earning was not a priority as joint family tradition was prevalent and so was the feeling of consciousness, obedience and harmony. In nuclear family there is no tolerance, it is good for our own betterment but for collective integration joint family is more important.

Antagonist to this, Mrs. Indra Talukdar a social worker in at `Astha’, an old age home and hospital , says that it’s a trend of time, changing our social values with time will not dent our ethics but these changes should help attain tranquillity in our lives, irrespective of our relational bonds.

Western culture has drastically damaged our society and before surrendering to its culture we should have prepared ourselves for its consequences. So does it indicate we had surrendered our selves to this practice of separating our parents from us when they need us the most? Well, we need to accept this truth, it might look odd today but gradually we will have a more practical approach towards it, people will learn to distinguish their assets from that of their children’s, they will look for a more rational options rather than sticking around with their children’s, will start to respect individuality of each other thus gain more acceptance.

When asked about whether choosing an old age home as an option for spending their life is the decision taken by the parents or their children? She remarked “any old age home including ours is not providing free services”. Obviously the children’s are paying for their parents monthly this shows that financial crisis is not an issue in most of the cases, shortage of time is a matter of concern, ‘initially for parents later for children’s’, due to which they cannot provide proper 24*7 care in home and choose old age home as an safe substitute, in other cases intolerance towards the parents by them or their respective spouses. She added that such cases where the children’s are shown torturing or mentally harassing their parents may arise due to unaffordability credited by growing unemployment. literacy or illiteracy does not have any thing to do with it.

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan says in his block bluster movie `Baghban’ that If a father can help a son to take his first step in life … then why can’t the same son support his father to take his last step in life?

The kids who cannot give love, support and respect to their parents … I can never forgive them.