Friday, June 25, 2010

Debt to Debt....

Case Study #1 :

A small and happy Indian family. A husband, his wife and their son. The parents ensure the best possible upbringing of their son. The son completes his studies, doing exceedingly well all through. He gets a job overseas and hence migrates abroad. He works hard and well enough to get much more than a decent salary. He uses his finances to get his parents a beautiful villa back in India with all the luxuries possible, including servants, drivers, etc. He sends them a big cheque every month and calls them once a week.

A few years later when his father suggests him to return, he explains that his job abroad is a must for them to have a good life. And also that he wouldn’t be able to adjust in India again. But he ensures that his parents are well cared for.

Case Study #2 :
A similar small and happy Indian family. A husband, his wife and their son. The parents ensure the best possible upbringing of their son. The son completes his studies, doing exceedingly well all through. He gets a decent job in their town itself and so the family lives happily together.

A few months into the job, the son falls in love with a girl colleague. But their families have completely different backgrounds. The girl’s family is strictly against their marriage. The guy, hence, gives up his love and decides to marry a girl of his family’s choice for the sake of his parents’ wish to have a daughter-in-law.

The above two scenarios, though completely different, are a common occurrence in the Indian society. Most often than not, you will find young boys and girls taking steps to ensure proper care and well being of their parents, while also ensuring priority to their parents’ wishes. Something which is really heart-warming to find all around us.

But a deeper understanding of such actions provides evidence to a much heavier basis to the above attitudes.

In the first scenario above, the son was more concerned about his parents being well cared for, while in the second scenario, the son put his parents’ wishes on priority. And if you ask anyone, neither of them would be doing any wrong on their parts. In fact, both are being the good sons anyone could ask for.

But in most cases, (surely not all) the reason behind such a caring attitude of children towards their parents is because they seem to realize the great debt they owe to their parents. As per my experiences, people tend to care for their parents in order to repay that debt. You will most often hear someone say. “My parents have done so much for me. So I can’t be selfish. I have to care for them too.”

What I don’t understand here is that do parents care for their little kids so that they can pile on that debt on them which could be retrieved later in life ???

Obviously NO ! Parents do whatever they do for their kids because they love their kids more than anything. So where does this debt thing comes in between… ???

Suppose a guy has to borrow some money from a money-lender in some unfavorable times. He can always repay that debt once he has enough money of his own. But how can one even expect to repay the debt of one’s parents by any of his or her actions ??? In fact, considering the unconditional love of one’s parents to be as a debt is, in a way, reducing it to something cheap and materialistic.

And if one is adamant enough to consider it all as a debt, then, it is absolutely certain that such a debt can never be repaid by any action. Even if one lives for a million years earning a zillion bucks per hour !!!

And if one is adamant enough to consider it all as a debt, then, he will surely take this forward in the next generation onto his kids. Which usually happens later in life. People who believe in this ‘debt’ business towards their parents are the ones who deal for their children’s happiness later in return.

Why can’t people love their parents instead of trying to repay some debt all their lives. Our parents will never ask us for sacrifices in return for any ‘debt’. In fact, they won’t even ask for care or affection. It is actually onto the children to have real feelings for their parents which comes from within. Not due to any obligations.

If a person marries someone of her or his choice, that does not automatically mean that the person will stop loving, caring and respecting one's parents.

On the other hand, there are parents who demand a sacrifice from their child in the form of breaking off with the love-interest and marrying someone of their choice. Such parents are those who have carried the 'debt psychology' towards their own parents and hence expect the same from their own children.

The real happiness our parents have is through seeing us happily leading a good life and by us being with them. No amount of money or sacrifices would give any happiness to our parents if they see us unhappy or don’t see us at all.

I hope people would understand that they should care for their parents out of their love for them. Not because of trying to repay any debt.

We care for our parents because we love them. Not because we have to...


  1. Awesomeeeee.. too good.. one of the best posts of yours. I really loved the post Shobhit!!! you are absolutely right. Even I have seen lot of people do this repaying of "debt" thing. If we are not happy, how can our parents be happy? All they want from us is that we stay happy in life and like you said stay with them. Not send them money to survive all alone. I am putting the link to this post on my Facebook profile :D

  2. U gave me fodder for a post:)
    One can never repay parents, it is foolishness to believe that we can, never try or attempt, love is the answer ... like KNAAN says :)

  3. Came here from PNA's blog...Interesting topic..
    I do agree that our parents love us and want to see us and we can never repay our parents..but is it not love when you acknowledge the sacrifices your parents have done for you..and you try your best to reciprocate... was an unwritten rule in India that the son had to live his parents and take care of was not out of only love but was mainly out of a sense of responsibility and the expectations parents had from their children mainly the son.

    Things have changed..but expectations are there and hence children feel it is a debt which they have to repay..
    Unlike the west..where once a child is grown up..he decides to start his/her life and parents have no expectations and children have no expectations...

    if we think it as a debt..I don't think it is wrong at all...that does not mean we love our parents any is love and a sense of responsibility..which I feel is very good..

  4. evanescentthoughts :

    Thanks a lot ! :D I hope that I'll be able to put across my point to more people. Your linking this post will be an immense help considering the vast following of readers you have. Thanks again. :)

  5. Pins N Ashes :

    Thanks for visiting and liking my post. I'll be hopping on your blog too. :)

  6. Lazy Pineapple :

    Thanks for reading the post.

    I agree to what you said. It has been a sort of unwritten rule like you mentioned. But the word 'expectation' is what creates all the problems. I wanted to point out that even though if parents don't have great expectations, some children make them up in their own minds, and hence, keep trying to fulfill such imaginary expectations all their life. What they don't understand is the greatest expectation any parent can have is to see their children happy.

    And reciprocating is exactly what I disagree about from a son/daughter's point of view. Should one always only reciprocate and not do his or her bit without any obligation ?

    I don't say one shouldn't consider it to be a debt altogether. Okay if one does. But one should never even consider repaying it by anything because that's one thing that's impossible.

    Thanks again for visiting and putting across your views. :)

  7. Generally it doesn't seem so... Parents have lots of expectations on their children... Like stay together, earn well, marry a person of their choice AND (strictly 'and') stay happy even though their opinion is not asked at all... They normally tend to forget that we have our own life, ambitions...

  8. I do not know what makes u take the word debt so negatively... see the kids are not trying to give back what they have got... they are so thankful for the way their parents have brought them up that they know they can't repay anything... But they are doing their best to make their parents happy... And the parents get to be so demanding in some cases, the kids have to even sacrifice their happiness for them... At the same time there are many parents who need just their space and the roti kapda makaan from their kids but the kids will be so arrogant they don't even care for their parents...

  9. Preethika Shenoy Padiyar :

    I was just trying to differentiate between the two examples you gave.

    As far as I have seen in cases, (not everyone) the children 'sacrifice' because they have to repay. Not because they should do something out of love.

    I mean, ok, a person loves his parents. But in certain matters, he makes some really crazy 'sacrifices' not because of that love but because of a feeling of a debt that he has to repay.

    Secondly, why can't we understand that our parents expect our love and our care for them out of that love. Not because of some debt-business. Like, we did so much for you, so that's why you should care too.

    Does one really has to 'sacrifice' to make one's parents happy ?

    And parents who actually demand such 'sacrifices' from their children are the ones who have carried this debt-repay thing for their own parents as well.

  10. Preethika Shenoy Padiyar :

    And I would add that just like the case I stated in the post, why should a guy 'sacrifice' his love for the girl he chose just because his parents didn't approve ?

    Is that 'sacrifice' out of love for his parents ? No ! It is out of a feeling of repay of debt.

    I say so because I've been closely involved in a case where a moron married a girl against everyone's liking. And then left her and married another girl of his parents' choice. Leaving the first girl to a fate of her own.

    And the reason he gave for this preposterous act... "REPAY OF DEBT !!!"

  11. Nicely written. :-)
    As a parent of 2 kids one almost an adult , i know for a fact that they didnt ask to be born. I know for a fact that they wuld have been happy with 3 meals a day and basic clothing and shelter and left to play int he dirt, they are perfectly fine with a regular public school education. They have no expectations of being treated like little princes, givent he best and absolutely no expectations from us that we will toil, work, sweat and tears for them.
    having said that we parents do it because it makes us feel good, It makes me feel good to take my kids on nice vacations, expose them to diff cultures, dress them in good clothes, give them nutritious and sometimes expensive meals. send them to the best classes. spend a ton of money on them. I do it all by myself. for myself, of cours ethe brats are the beneficiaries but they dont expect it.
    This is not just in my house it's the universal norm everywhere. so why should parents have expectations, where is the debt, in fact we owe our kids a debt until our dying day for the joy they have provided to us ( and pain too :-) ). wise parents will plan for retirement.
    its the not so wise who see kids as their PF plan. your child can never and should never be responsible for your happiness and care. as an adult a fully grown adult it is the responsibility of every parent to set a good example and teach the next gen on self-sufficiency not leach like behavior. you are the masters of your own fate. what better lessont o teach them .

    1. MR :

      Thank you for reading and for the thoughtful comment. The thing is that many people start mistaking expectations with entitlements. It is not a crime to have expectations. But is is absolutely wrong to force someone to fulfill those expectations at the cost of their own happiness. Very often, such a force is well disguised in the form of a debt.

  12. Shobit, I agree with MR above. I love my kids and do the maximum possible best I can for them. In return, I only want them to show their love - by keeping in touch, sharing their thoughts and experiences. That's all. I don't want them to support us in our old age. That is unfair - I think we should plan for our own retirement and not treat our kids as our insurance policy. Also kids should decide whom they want to marry, where they want to work, all those adult decisions that they need to make, they must have free will over them.

    1. wordssetmefreee :

      Yes. You almost put out the gist of what I wanted to convey. Thank you for reading and providing your valuable thoughts. :-)



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