In search of (un)happiness !!

Jayanta Madhav

“Parents are the only ones obligated to love you ; from the rest of the world you have to earn it” ; wrote someone beautifully on parents’ love for their children . Out among stories galore in any civilized society – of parents’ selfless affection for children, a poignant one that would touch anyone in a right mind goes like this :

Once upon a time a boy fell in love with a girl whom he proposed to marry. The girl said she would marry him only on condition that the boy’s mother won’t live with them as she felt , mother- in -laws always tried to control their sons after  marriage. The boy talked this out with his mother who smilingly agreed to the girl’s pre-condition. When the boy told his fiancée that they would live separately from his mother once they got married , her reply was : even if they lived separately , her would be mother-in-law would still keep coming to trouble  them. On the boy’s proposal to shift to another state after marriage, the girl was still unconvinced and said she could marry him only after he killed his mother and bring her heart on a plate as proof. The boy narrated this to his mother who said : “ That’s all, my son ? Your happiness is my happiness and I will die happily to get you your love.  So, go ahead, here’s the knife’’. The son killed her and rushed to his girl with his mother’s still warm heart on a plate. As he was almost at the girl’s doorstep, he tipped and fell. No sooner than he eyed the plate to check whether the heart was in place than he heard it groan : “ You okay son ? Did it hurt ?” .

A mother is love incarnate ; the mother who feeds her baby through one breast  while smilingly enduring its painful kicks at the other.

And yet, when this baby grows to a repulsive monster for that same very mother, it racks every sane heart – as has been so with the Sivsagar couple recently ending their lives after years of excruciating neglect from their only son for whom they gave up all comforts of life. A blot on filial piety cannot possibly get more revulsive than this !!

A colleague of mine building his house in Guwahati once told me : “As if  my  family tensions are not enough, these ever extending office hours and never ending assignments have rendered life so stressful  that I can hardly sleep at night even with the Kurlons and AC’s . But when I hear my construction labourers guffawing at night inside their ragtag, plastic- draped shacks and find them loudly singing alongside their Mobile FM tunes while bathing and cooking in the open in morning, I feel they are so much happier than me. ” I recalled  reading somewhere :  “Money can buy you a bed but not a good night’s sleep . ” 

Going by the oftentime reports on tragedies similar to the one from Sivsagar, it is disquieting how stark materialism has gripped people today and the way social fabrics have strained with ever ebbing morality. No wonder , knowingly or unknowingly our never ending greed for worldly pleasure has opiated our societal conscience to the extent of edging us to dementedly run after the mirage of material happiness where there is no space for human ethos like love and compassion . Otherwise how does one explain the heartbreaking situation at Sivsagar where the only son does not even make himself available to light his parents’ funeral pyres ? Nothing  so  truly exemplifies , “there are people so poor that the only thing they have is money” .

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