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The savages

July 8, 2010

A very sensitive film starring Laura Linney & Phillip Seymore Hoffman that examines the ethical questions.

Its abt the indecisiveness grown up kids (sis: 39, bro 42) face when their abusive father gets aged, sick & is confined to death bed. Whether to leave the old man in a nursing home or what to do abt him… is their biggest moral dilemma. After an age, children become parents & parents become their childen. The most touchy scene for me was when Wendy (Laura) takes her dad by flight to her bro’s place (to get him into a nursing home). In the plane when eating food, the oldman wants to go to the loo. Daughter is hardly used to this type of nursing. She anyways takes him along stumbling & cursing all the way. Btn the old man mumbles something – daughter looks down to see that his trousers had slipped to the plane floor. Really pained me a lot. Yes, they get as helpless as that. My gran was like that for a while. I was irritated with her at times – now i really feel bad for the way i used to feel in my teens. I hate myself for having been so selfish in that age.

Well i see this happening at an alarmingly increasing levels in Indian society nowadays. Family size has shrunk like anything presently – and a second kid is essentially seen as a luxury very few can afford. So who has the time for aged parents?  I can understand, the sons and daughters are all way too busy – they have no time for their mom with their careers, family life and holidays and friends . Still, there are moments i feel real bad for older people because of whom we are what they are today… And i was also thinking like, so if this could happen to the best of parents, then what abt abusive parents?  Do they probably deserve this fate?

(unlike in India, in the west they don’t seem to have ths DIL-MIL angle/equation! its really funny how such a thing which is an integral part of the culture of 1 billion people is TOTALLY NON EXISTENT in the west. here in my place, well, a woman can even ignore her parents, but just cannot, cannot oversee her In-laws. – i mean, we’re bred that way i think.)  (AND ADMITTEDLY OLDER PEOPLE ARE TOUGH TO DEAL WITH, ESPECIALLY IF THEY HAPPEN TO BE YOUR IN-LAWS!)

Well in this film, its like a typical american DISJOINT family – each living in their own world & spheres apart – with both the siblings remaining single so late in their lives – with the sis involved with a married man, and the bro’ in a live-in relationship with a polish woman who he luvs but doesn’t wanna marry. I mean, what society is this? Too much enlighenment i suppose.

Very soon i see such a scenario even in indian nuclear families/homes. It is already happening – IT WILL VERY SOON BECOME A REALITY.

Sometimes i think like – SO  what abt us in future? At the same time, i wouldn’t wanna make a nuissance of myself to next gen. I do think, Nursing Homes are a good idea for everyone – not at all preposterous as many might conclude – and we folks should get used to that idea right from an younger age. Its nothing wrong – and we should NOT leave that burden of guilt to our kids. They are after all our kids. I would rather have my son forget us & lead a happy life with his family elsewhere than cling to him, make him bitter/ hinder his happiness in anyway….

About the siblings meeting at a later stage in life:

I really donno. I think the last time i had complete privacy with my sis was before i got married. But until then we were fighting/arguing like anything EVERY SINGLE DAY. I mean, we used to prefer diff tv channels. We even favoured diff food. We shared our kitches duties, washing, cleaning etc which was the real point of contention!. Now it seems so silly.   Once i got married,  i never got time that way with my sis. .

Then she got married. She got 2 sons. Its never been the same again for us – NEVER AFTER.  Now both of us, to be fair, cannot also leave our kids/husband/in-laws/home behind WHOLE-HEARTEDLY even for a day to spend for ourselves … I don’t think any of us wants that sort of privacy even with our siblings !   … I think that phase  just gets over for us someday. U just can’t go back to the point u left for GOOD.

But its just that, my sis is now no more my sis, shes rather someone’s wife, a mother to 2 kids, DIL to her in-laws, and finally shes my sis…. … I think that freedom of unwittingly & unabashedly meddling in ur siblings affairs gets over for life the moment u/she/both get(s) married. Guess the question of formality rears up its ugly head at this point.

I do feel yearning sometimes for just a hr of so alone with my sis just like in good old times (no it was bad old times – but the time we spent together was like a patch of oasis in a dreary desert) – even if we chat everyday online/phone… even then we talk abt mostly our family life only….

So I think, once we’re married, atleast for women, LIFE WITH SIBLINGS IS OVER. We’ve both changed now – changed irrevocably. Spending a day now with my family ( i mean a night) is UNTHINKABLE.

Brother & sister spending time alone in this pic after many years is wonderful – even if they keep bickering as usual after all this time! Its cool – the old man switching off his hearing aid the moment the siblings start arguing. So spontaneous. But thats what siblings are for, right?

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