Have you ever thought of a vacation? For yourself? For your family? I wouldn’t wonder if it didn’t occur to you. We Indians are not the vacationing sort. If the thought did occur to you, where’s the time, you might be asking; where’s the money, you might be quizzing; where’s the freedom, you might be complaining. Is the budget in your control? Are you free enough from ‘human bondage’? This is where the question of cultural values comes in. The values that bind you. The values that crush you. The values that elevate you. The values that give bondage its value.
You’re tied down by family. If you’re a bachelor, by obligations to your parents by taking care of them in their old age—their sustenance and health; by educating your brothers and/or marrying your sisters into good families, or by the additional burden of your father’s debts. If you’re married, by obligations to your wife and kids. Today’s demands are so demanding what with providing food that becomes expensively expensive by the hour; the clothing that doesn’t last a season, the crazy cost of the four walls of shelter—rental or otherwise. What with the donations and capitations, the socks that sag the next day and the shoes that give out at the seam tomorrow, mountains of textbooks and exercise books, umpteen pinchings of cash by schools with an endless regularity. What with the gold you have to buy, the dowries you have to pay, the ‘perks’ you have to provide your sons-in-law. To cap it all, there’s this ever-soaring, ever-gravitation-defying price index!
Little wonder if your time, money and freedom are gobbled up or chewed up. I pity us. Or shall I be proud of us?
Sounds Greek and Latin? Little wonder, if it does! For after all, times have changed, values have changed, life style has changed, earnings have multiplied. Only loud thinking from a foreign land? No, what you read just now were facts of life ‘once upon a time, so long ago, nobody knows how long ago’. (The social setup was such in India in the 1950s and tge 1960s)