Recently, my friend posted an article on Facebook about how a girl gave up her dreams of going to the US to take care of her ailing father. She said she realized when her father was ill that it was now her turn to take care of her father and forgoing her dreams was a small price to pay in return for all that he had done for her. In every person’s life there comes a time when an awakening occurs and you realize the true essence of your parents in your life. For some this comes early on, for some much later in life, and for some, maybe never. Till the time you realize this, you take your parents for granted and think that no matter what you do, you can always be a child and fall back on them. It is when this awakening happens that a slight switching of roles happens and you start to nurture your parents like children. You are blessed if this awakening comes to you while your parents are alive and I am blessed.

I have had this awakening on and off, but I should admit that most times I have taken my folks for granted and expected them to be on the receiving end to all my tantrums in life. Few years ago, I bought my father the latest camera on the market, shelling out a few thousands of dollars. It was a proud moment, because eons ago I had seen him sell his favourite camera to pay my fees. It felt good to see him holding the camera and his delighted face, like that of a kid, who gets a new toy. This was when the switching of roles started and more distinctly about a year ago, when I spent some quality time with them, without any of my own responsibilities. The incident is similar to the girl’s article on Facebook where she had to take care of her ailing father. I did not have to make any sacrifices, but for a few weeks I was my father’s parent ensuring he used his eye drops accurately and taking him for his doctor visits.

The awakening cemented itself with my pitching in financially for the construction of our dream home. Our own house, is a dream that my family has cherished in the corner of our heart for ages. Taunting remarks from relatives has left us sore many a times, “oh you don’t have your own house yet?”.. “still renting eh?”. Why does it matter to them, I have never understood. Nevertheless, these statements took its toll on us, sometimes. Now with the construction underway, I see the dream turning into reality in the eyes of my family. The day by day talks of the minute details of the house, feels like we are virtually putting the pieces together of a puzzle. It is during these few months, that I have assumed complete (well almost) responsibility of driving a home project at such a grand scale. And as the days pass by, I realize its nothing about the money (well it is, when it comes to paying the contractor), but the happiness and the gleam in their eyes makes it all worthwhile.

Giving back to your parents and making their life comfortable is a human thing. Some people attribute it to the East and Western culture, but I tend to disagree. It is not East or West or defined by culture, but a natural feeling everyone is born with. It is just that people from different origins show it in varying degrees.

I am firm believer of enjoy it while you have it. You never know what is in store for you tomorrow, for that matter, even the next moment. So while you have your parents, wherever you are geographically located, provide for them, not the materials, but the feeling that you care. That you have made an attempt to understand all the sacrifices they have made to bring you up from an eight or nine ounce baby to a five plus foot tall human being, with emotions, a mind to think freely and make decisions to brace the world and life. Doesn’t matter if you are a girl or boy or belong to a culture where boys are providers and girls are receivers (something that I totally detest), make an attempt to understand them and be a part of their every days. You may be living away from them, take five minutes out of your day, to call them and ask about their day. They may not be doing anything exciting, but the feeling that you care about their day, makes a difference. It is recently that I started calling my parents everyday, and I know what difference it makes to them. And for me, its like my daily system boot, more relaxing than music.

I am finally ‘awakened’ and I realize fully well, that I owe myself and everything I am to my folks back home.

PS – Also read this on Maya Patikkal

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