Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Theory of difficulty - 2

If I accept that it is a difficult task to manage you along with work, complaining alone will not help. It might get some sympathy but doesn't help me solve the problem. I need to look at available solutions as well. What are the options that we have? Having some one from India will surely help. But that doesn't work for us. One of us can chose to stay at home. That one has to be Ashwini for many reasons. But that won't help much as well as she will be loaded with all the work. She will still have to depend upon me for few things. The only sound option is to go back to India. That would work really well as there is no dearth of helping hands there. Even if I can't find any support within the family, I can still employ someone for household work. We had a maid for household work when it was just two of us staying in Bangalore. So moving back would surely solve all our problems if we think it is a problem. Then why are we not going back to India? No one has forced us to come here to lead a tough life. No one is begging us to stay here for longer.

If we go back to India, it will surely make our job easier as per as your care is concerned. However it will take away the comfort of our life style from many other aspects. The roads will not be as smooth as here. The environment will not be as clean as here. The healthcare will not be as efficient as here. It will fix one problem but will end up adding others. However, none of them would have appeared as problems if we have hadn't lived here for last 5 years. Five years of comfortable lifestyle had made us forget the life style we were used for more than 25 years! It was the same experience I had after moving to Bangalore for work! The coastal weather had suddenly turned hard to bear though my body was used to it for 22 years of my life!

My mother used to tell some interesting stories of her life. When they were kids, they even had to struggle for stomach full of food. Though poverty was very common during those days, there was no shortage of rice for living. Still the elders were too cautious about the future and used to provide as little as possible to them. They were neither allowed to go to school or enjoy the childhood like we used to do.

The conditions under which we were brought up was entirely different from the conditions in which you are growing. We are taking care of you without much help from our family due to our personal reasons. However my mother didn't have great support when she brought up four of us. There wasn't much place for us in my fathers house due to the big undivided family there. My grand mother was restricted to bed due to her illness, so she was an additional responsibility along with us. My father couldn't come home everyday due to work and other reasons. We were grown up mainly with the support from our neighbours and one of our aunt.

The village where we grew up had no roads. The nearest hospital was nearly 5 miles from home out of which around 3 miles were walk way. The availability of buses to rest of the journey was also very limited. There were no doctors in our village neither any vehicles to rent. When one of us fell ill, either my mother or grandfather used to walk those five miles carrying us on their shoulder. Without any access to the medical information, without any knowledge of basic health care issues, I can only imagine how difficult it would have been for them when we started getting different illnesses.

Apart from the normal difficulties that we are also facing, they also had to undergo some unusual issues. Our house was very close to the river. During rainy season there used to be floods surrounding our house completely with the water. Some times it used to take 3-4 days to go down and we would be completely cut off from the outside world. There were 2-3 cases where it even came till our kitchen forcing us to vacate the house. Our house was very old and it would often invite unintended guests like snakes, scorpions etc. Spiders and centipedes were more common. Surrounding our houses there were also couple of open wells and ponds. They had to watch and protect us from all these things as well in addition. Here we are even afraid of leaving you on your own in protected rooms. Imagine how difficult it would have been for them.

There are hundreds of such issues that they had to face while bringing us up. There are others, in our family itself who had to face even tougher times. If I compare what they had to go through with us, there is no way I can call anything that we are facing as tough task. Still, if we feel that it is tough, we really don't have any idea about the real problems people are facing. It isn't just our problem. People in general have very short memory. A short stint in Bangalore makes me completely forget about the humid, hot coastal weather that I had grew up with. A short stint in western country makes it really hard for me to adjust back to the Indian lifestyle that I lived for 28 years. My definition of difficulty is changing fast with the time. In other words, there isn't anything called absolute difficulty. Everything is relative.

For a person striving hard to earn his bread, people like us are living a heavenly life. Where as people like us despite having everything essential in life worry too much about things that we don't have! The more I think about the nature of difficulty, the less I feel I have understood it. When should I really call a situation as difficult? Is it always relative or is there a point at which the comparison ceases to exist? My definition of difficulty is a tough situation without an easy way out. An unfavourable situation imposed on me without my consent. A situation that makes my present miserable even after concentrating all my efforts, resources on that. Certainly your care is not one of that. This is neither imposed nor unsolvable. If it can be fixed, there is no point in calling it as difficulty. If we really think it is difficult, is just because of a failed judgement over priorities of life!

Think of people having chronic illness that disrupts all their plans of life. Think of people under dire poverty where meeting two ends of meal itself is a challenge. Think of people who have lost all their hope of having a better life. There are millions of people facing these difficulties every minute, still some of them are optimistic about their future. Whereas millions of people with all the basic necessities or even the luxuries of life still feel they are leading a miserable life. The more you look at what you don't have ignoring what you have already got, the more difficult the life becomes. Without facing difficulties, it is hard to realize what happiness really means. The more I understand it the more I enjoy these circumstances. I don't complain about my changed life because I don't have the right to complain. The change might irritate me at times, but it will surely make me delighted to look back few years down the line!

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