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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

House Warming Gift!

Nothing in the world makes parents happier than seeing their children make significant progress in life. Within a few years of getting a good career break with a computer giant, our son had a very pleasant surprise for us. Our eyes were moist in those most joyous moments of our lives when he called us to break the news that he had bought a new house and wanted us to come immediately for its formal opening from our hands at the house warming party he had already fixed after a fortnight. Along with the invitation he sent us our tickets for the flight to USA. He also told us not to bring any gift for the house warming, as he had already made up his mind what he wanted from us and would tell us when we arrive there.

The house warming party over and when all the guests were gone, he and our daughter-in-law disclosed what they wanted from us as our most precious gift for the occasion. They earnestly requested us to take early retirement from our respective jobs and join them in the States. This was not the gift we had prepared ourselves to give them. They drove us into the most difficult decision making moment of our life. On the one hand there was too great a temptation to be with our son to let it go, and on the other, we did not want to be amongst those parents who often unknowingly add undue pressure and stress on a young marriage by placing possessive time demands on a son or daughter. At a time when a younger couple is struggling with limited finances, establishing solid relationships, securing a dependable income, and learning to raise children of their own, overbearing parents can add unnecessary stress to a fragile marriage. We firmly believed that parents must do their part to support and strengthen the marriages of their children. Parents should be more concerned with the success and healthy condition of their child's marriage than with their own assumed rights to time with the family.

Keeping in view our above belief, we thought it better to discretely decline our son's request to move to the U.S. to live with him. We pleaded with him pointing to the modern day facilities of cell phones, email, iChat and the rise of social networking like Facebook, which make parents become the extended family over vast distances. Our son was quick to kick out our excuse saying even though technology allows families to keep in touch and share personal milestones more easily, nothing replaces the experience of actually living under the same roof with family. With families dispersed all over, technology helps to bring those families together now more than ever. But it just can't beat a hug or pat on the shoulder.

Our son used all his persuasive power to convince us to come to live with him in USA. His answer to our beliefs was his own firm belief that adult children and their spouses must also realize they have obligations and responsibilities to their elderly parents. This is accomplished through love and respect. As adults, grown children should not only be self-sufficient in meeting their own needs, but they should remove as many of the worries and emotional stresses from their elderly parents as possible. When ageing parents experience failing health, adult children have a responsibility to administer or see that proper care and support is in place. Though nursing homes and elder care facilities may provide helpful and needed resources in caring for invalid parents, institutions should never be looked to as complete solutions to elderly parental care. Love and emotional support expressed through touch and heartfelt conversation is the responsibility of children and family, not employed care providers.

Perhaps, thinking that his point of view might be construed by us as a kind of sacrifice of his privacy and personal life for his parents, which he knew we would not like, he came up with yet another, though entirely, different angle in arguing for us to live with him. If not today, tomorrow he will need us as a great help when he starts his family. Having the support of an extended family can help young parents through many of the tougher times with child raising. Extended families play an important part in assisting with childcare needs. They can come to the rescue when parents cannot see solutions to problems that they face with their children. Many parents suffer through finding babysitters and childcare providers for their small children. When these parents are attached to a strong extended family unit, childcare is rarely a problem. Grandparents are only too willing to watch the little ones. Often, permanent childcare solutions can be found within the extended family that will give dependable care at a large monetary savings to young parents. People who cultivate extended family relationships are at an advantage emotionally and are often more successful in their personal lives. Both children and adults benefit from these relationships during times of great stress. They also reap the rewards when joyous events enter their lives. These are the people who will rejoice and be glad with you, as well as sorrow and grieve with you. You really can't lose.

Indeed, we could not have over emphasized our son's smartness and sincerity on the issue of extended family v/s nuclear family, and at the end of the day, we agreed to give him the gift of his asking for the house warming. We made up our mind to join him by moving to USA.


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