Looking Back - Wed, Sep 16, 2020
Where do we come from ?
Dealing with parents tricky. You have different world views, different perspectives, different preferences on almost everything. It becomes difficult to bring those two lifestyles together, something I have been struggling with since I have come home to visit my folks. There are smaller things like my schedule is a little messed up, I am not getting enough sleep but then also the bigger things like how they respond to the world changing around them.
The thing I am struggling with most everyday is the kind of content my parents are consuming. Mostly content around TV news media. I try engaging with them on the topic, but more often than now I find myself getting angry about the situation. I understand it’s completely unfair to throw random judgments at my parents. So I wanted to unpack that a little bit today and see what is happening here, why it is happening, and what we can do about it.
So the saga starts at the same time every evening, I finish my work and join my parents to chill with them for a couple of hours. The TV is always on in the background, I have managed to convince them to turn it off during dinner but otherwise it’s usually on. And when it’s on a lot of times my parents and watching “news” channels. The shows are absolute garbage with no useful information whatsoever, just an exercise towards sub-standard entertainment products. The whole setup fills me with rage and snap instantly at the misinformation flying around.
But I am not going to complain about the problems of TV news media right now, I have touched upon it briefly in another one of my blogs. I want to to discuss why it happens, why do my parents enjoy it and why I fail at convincing them otherwise.
My parents come from fairly extreme backgrounds. My dad was born in a low resourced family where survival was the biggest struggle and the topic of attention. He has worked incredibly hard his entire life to ensure that he climbs the hierarchy of economical and social strata and creates a comfortable life for himself and everyone around him. A life he necessarily didn’t experience himself while he was young. Now he is satisfied with the result and finally wants to relax in his life, not care about the world crashing everyday and enjoy the everyday things.
My mum on the other came from a fairly privileged and well off background and has a more resourceful childhood. But even with all of that she had to face the challenges of being a woman all her life, even without being aware of that most none of the time. Right now she is part of a patriarchal system where for better or for worse her life mainly revolves around ensuring the sanity of a typical household. I believe it’s even more unfair to ask her to do more and explore better avenues of news consumption when she barely gets time to breathe after taking care of everyone.
So that is where we are with the whole situation. I feel guilt for criticizing them, while feeling enraged by their consumption habits. And I find myself bargaining with the situation, atleast they are not active bigots (read sanghis) who are out on the street killing people and supporting obscene shit, they are just passive consumers. On the other hand I feel that passive consumption at some level is a seal of approval to all these antics and reaffirming the place of people in power. And then there is the whole side of being a upper class Hindu in the entire equation. Not touching that part for this blog.
An important part of the entire equation here is my parent’s history, it shapes most of what they are today. And probably the only way to decode this better is understand their history. It’s definitely not an easy exercise, but definitely a necessary one. Understand where they come from to better engage with them and these challenges. I hope to learn something there.