Monday, December 15, 2008

Some Thoughts on Hopes and Expectations

We live on hope and expectations. We especially bank a lot on our progeny.
My young modern dance teacher, all of 23, said that he comes from a Sindhi business family. He started his own dance company at the age of 19, began to learn dance at 15, with the help of pocket money- his father would never finance the learning of dance at a dance school for him.
His parents would have reared him with certain expectations, and he would be a disappointment for those who think that dance is for the birds, a hobby, a phase, or something not to be taken seriously, definitely not as a profession. He talked of how he struggled because he was often rejected by dance schools where he applied to learn, and then again when he set up his own dance school. He preferred to stay away from home. He went there recently, on his mother’s request, whereupon at the family dinner table, relatives who were visiting from the U.S. asked him what he did.
“You dance? How interesting,” they said, a couple of them raised their eyebrows. “What work do you do otherwise?’’
The eternal question all creative beings are asked, I feel. He runs a dance company, has opened an office of his own, has branches opening up in Mumbai, yet… it does not seem like a profession like being a doctor or a lawyer. And parents, what of their expectations? So, be happy, if your son or daughter is earning a living and happy with what they are doing, making a mark and a place for himself/herself through hard work. It may not be a profession to your liking, yet it is work, and it is something being achieved with pride and a sense of purpose.
It has always surprised me how a family of doctors will want their children and grandchildren to follow that very stream, whether or not they be so inclined or capable to do so.
Another boy, a friend of my daughter’s, belongs to a business family. He wants to be a professor of literature. I have my doubts if he will be allowed to follow his dream, unless he has the guts to break through. The hopes and expectations that parents pin on their progeny is often something one wonders about. It may be an extension of their unlived dreams, it may be a need that the family business continue at any cost, it may be that the status attached to a certain profession assumes all importance, even if the child’s soul dies in the process. I have heard parents say, “Ro peet kar isey humney lawyer banaa hi dia.”(With crying and beatings, we have made him into a lawyer). And they beam with happiness and pat the shoulder of their child, who cringes and smiles sheepishly. But often his eye will be dead.
A girl wants to study aeronautics, but is forced to study architecture since her father is an architect. Another girl wants to study German, is totally passionate about it, but language has a shaky future and no promise of big bucks, so she is forced to study chartered accountancy. That she eventually gives up commerce and returns to her first love can be credited to her parents’ finally realizing the truth - her unhappiness and inability to cope with a subject not in keeping with her own dreams.As parents we need to be more open to what our child wants to do. And as children we have to more assertive of what we want from life. There is only one life. We must help our child live the life according to his aspirations and dreams, not ours. And we must try to live our life as per our aspirations, not project our hopes onto our progeny. And if our child opts for an uncommon path, we must have it in our hearts to not only accept but to support. A bamboo has as much place under the sun as an oak.


SloganMurugan said...

We Indians. Hahahahaha

abha said...

hi gopal,
Yes. more so us Indians.

Sumeet said...

Hey AAbha.. I just went through your blog. I am indebted to you for taking my example to bring out a strong thought. Will be glad to meet you soon, Take care

abha said...

Thanks, Sumeet. I love your commitment to your craft, and the ease with which you teach.
Phir milenge, inshallah.