20 July, 2007

Live and Let Live !!!

“Were you out of your freaking mind ?”. “You are mad – well and truly mad”. “My God – Yaar Sacchhi Paagal hai tu.”

This was what I got to hear from one of my acquaintances week before last.

Now where did all this stem from ?

It so happens that we (the whole family) had been invited to a wedding which was to be held at the Conrad Bali Resort and Spa. So here we were, basically staring at a five day holiday in the face. All we needed to do was book our own airtickets.

Now most of these weddings are nocturnal affairs – the partying starts around 10 pm and goes on until the wee hours of the morning. And with two children in tow, this was not the most ideal of situations for us. No child would be able to take that kind of a change in schedule – sleeping thru the day and staying awake thru the night - five days in a row. Atleast ours cannot !!!

So then, the choices

1. We all go over to Bali for the wedding and take things as they come – meaning go over to Bali and get stressed out there because the children were not able to adapt to the sudden nocturnal awakening hours.

2. We all go over to Bali and each one of us takes turns babysitting the children at night while the other goes partying. Yeah Rite !!! And then the husband gets to explain why the wife is missing the party and the next day the wife gets to do the honours by explaining why the hubby is missing.

3. Vic travels alone to Bali for the wedding and me and the kids stay back in HK. That way there is a representative for the wedding and we get by without any major disruption of the childrens’ schedules too, thereby avoiding the highly likely possibility of raising our stress levels.

And number 3 it was.

This was what, apparently, prompted the above comments from the acquaintance I mentioned earlier.

Another socially very active acquaintance had enough cheek to tell me

“Bacche to Bacche hain. Wahan par bhi 9 0 clock ko so jayenge. Lock them in the room and tum dono party me chale jaana. Bacchon ko thodi na maloom hoga”.

I was stupefied into silence. I was still trying to come to terms with the fact that one could actually conceive a situation as obnoxious and abominable as locking up the kids in a hotel room (mind you – a totally unfamiliar set up for them) and going off to party until the wee hours of the morning.

My mind was busy swirling with a multitude of “What Ifs”. Hypothetically speaking, what if the children wake up in the middle of the night and find themselves on totally unfamiliar ground with no familiar adult face around ?. And many many more questions like such continued to find space to eddy and churn within my disbelieving head.

Going a step further, this person even went ahead to the extent of telling me what a fool I had been to have let my hubby go off to Bali on his own.

“Baliiiiii !!! Arrey wahan par to women walk around the beaches in all kinds of skimpy beachwear – sometimes even topless. And you let him go there alone ?”

It sounded so corny - right out of a Hindi Movie. And the quite so apparently dimwitted me burst out laughing. The entire situation, with its unsaid connotations and suggestions, seemed so incredibly comical to me.

I just could not take it any more. And I burst out laughing and could just not stop laughing. The acquaintance in question backed off, apparently having reached the conclusion that I was indeed barmy, loopy and so totally round the bend.

Since when did the Trust factor take a nosedive. Admittedly, maybe, not all may have the privilege of enjoying the degree of trust that we do, that too for reasons best known to them, but the sheer audacity of the statement was what made it so very dramatic.

I did not say anything at all to both of these people – not because I did not know what to say, not because I could not put them in their place, not because I was tongue tied – but simply because I did not feel the need to give them an explanation of any sort. And I didn’t. And assuming that such situations arise in the future, I won’t be doing any explaining of any sort. Absolutely not.

I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.
- Edward Gibbon

That said, it kind of brings me to the question of

“Why don’t people realise where to draw the line ?”

How a person lives his/her life or how a family functions is largely based on their values, their standards, their ideals and last but not the least, what works for them. So who are we, with our very own set of yardsticks, to tell others what to do and what not to.

I know of mothers who manage to pack in a morning of sport, a afternoon of some other activity, an evening of out-of-the-area shopping or whatever. I do admire the way these ladies manage their time and they manage to cram in so much into a single day. Time management and multi tasking – they manage to do it all very efficiently, yet ensuring that they give their children enough time too. I would say “Hats Off”. But the fact remains that I am yet to master this art.

Another bone of contention between me and many of my acquaintances here is the fact that I don’t feel the need for any household help from a helper or a maid. I don’t have a maid – full time or part time. And many find this terribly hard to accept.

Many find the fact that I am, for the most part, a very hands-on mother to my kids, very amusing, something akin to a bone to sink their teeth into and chew on and on. And I am tired of the snide remarks and the insinuations that follow.

The other day someone whom I’m familiar with was hardselling the concept of about four or five of us going together to learn golf in the mornings. And then, there it was ….
“I know you must be really really busy with both the kids and that you don’t really have the time ……..”
Sugar coated as it may seem, it does not take an Einstein to latch on to the sarcasm that is loaded into the statement :-)

I have nothing against anyone going to learn golf or for that matter anything else at any given time of the day. If it suits you fine, then by all means, go right ahead. All I’m saying is that while you are happy living your life the way you want, let others live their lives the way they want.

Is it asking for too much if one lives or chooses to lead life the way one wants to, especially so if ones idea of “life” is not in tandem with the framework set by a said majority of people who consider things a rule unto themselves ?

And if they do find a person/persons willing to go against the said flow of events so laid out by them, does this give them a right to pass spiteful comments which at times border on being outright insolent.

Is it tantamount to anarchy if one chooses to break away from standards that have been set by a majority ? I personally do not think so.

Last but not the least,

Is it asking for too much when one expects others to keep their opinions to themselves, especially when they are not asked to give their opinions, just because of the simple reason that they would be inordinately crossing lines by expressing their gratuitous opinions on issues that are most definitely personal ?

Live and let live – is a proverb oft heard.

It is so very difficult to practice ?

post signature

18 voice(s) said so:

Sujatha said...

agree. vun hundred percent. live and let live.

Asha said...

Yeah, option 3 is the right choice. Locking up the children! Absurd! There are people out there who don't have anything to do other than sniffing around in other people's business. Just don't mind.

SUR NOTES said...

its a wonder to me why its so difficult for people to accept and respect the choices one makes about our children.

lock the children!!! forget respect- does that person have common sense???

d said...

isnt that just what that french doctor couple did with their 3 children in portugal? leave them alone in a hotel room while they were having dinner? and that little 4 year old madeliene got kidnapped? it got written about a lot in the papers here.
obviously your acquaintance has no clue!

but anyway none of what you have written surprises me! i live in the land of where this is commonplace! people constantly volunteering unwarranted opinions (which more often than not are in stark contrst to our own!) etc.
am used to it and it honestly does'nt even bother me any longer! (at least most often it does'nt)

i usually pretend to listen and with a fake polite glazed expression nod for a bit and then move on! all this usually happens at the park in the evening!

on another note - we just returned from a wedding in goa! these kids are only to happy to stay up till the last human being in the room is awake! so it suited us quite fine. in fact the only one who wanted to go back to the room and sleep was G!!!


WhatsInAName said...

I agree.
I hate those preachy kind of people too!

Kowsalya Subramanian said...

Gauri, you must have been really really frustrated and I could see that in the post :(

Trishna said...

GAWD!!Why cant people mind their own business??? And what the hell??LOCK up the kids!!the nerve!
Such people irritate me to no end!!!
And being a new mom,I see them everywhere!! and they will just not stop at dispensing advice.. some of them even follow up to see if you are following!!!GImme a break!!!

NainaAshley said...

I totally agree with you.
No matter what you do, whether you are a mom or not, whether you are a SAHM or WOH mom, whether you leave your kids with family, nanny or day care, whether you send them to this school or that, whether you do the house work yourself or hire someone....etc... there will always be someone who has problems with it. I have come to the conclusion that their criticism stems from one of the following reasons:
1. They have made different choices and they really believe that their choices are the best, which I think is really stupid.
2. They have made different choices and are trying to convince themselves that their choices are the best by attempting to convince others, which I think is pathetic.
3. They have been forced to make different choices and are trying to come to terms with it by convincing others that their situation is the best, which I think is sad.
In any case I wish people kept their internal struggles to themselves and not hurt other people in the process.

karmickids said...

Gosh, we would have both not gone, me being the cribbity crabbity one who would have made hubby's life miserable had he gone off without me...and he, being, the darling he is, would have not wanted to go without us. What a good person you are Gauri...feel humbled.
But yes, to each his own, and its absolutely no one's business what anyone else decides to do. And locking up the kids and going partying...anyone who suggested that would not be my friend again...

Just Like That said...

Hear! Hear! Live and let live, it is!

Am amazed at your friend- didn't she even hear of the kidnapping of little Madeleine? How irresponsible and 'fun' mad can you get? But as you said, it all depends on the values each of us have in life. No wonder you didn't bother explaining your stance to her. There is just no point!

Lol at the Bali topless beauties too. I ogle the beauties in B'lore along with my Hubs(am straight, tho') and even point them out to him, at times.

I hope Vic enjoyed Bali!

Gauri said...

Sujata : Yep. Though we still seem to be the "minority" in society as far as this theory goes.

Asha : Yeah - absurd it is - but let's not forget that I live in a land where people carry their pets on their arms and their children on leashes.

Sur : Common sense is supposed to be the least common of all senses.

D : Is it not such an effort even to hear these things out without letting any emotion show ? Sounds like the lil ladies had a gala time in Goa :-)

Whatsinaname : Alas !! They're all around us !!

Kowsalya : Extreme irritation would be more like it - not to mention the fact that I choose not to give vent to it right then and there.

Trishna : Good ole "advise dispensers". :-) Guess they're here to stay huh ??

NainaAshley : Agree with your "dissection" of the situation.

Kiran : In this wedding, representation was a must. None of us going was not a choice at all. Don't feel humbled at all Kiran - all we did was save ourselves a few extra grey hairs :-). Knowing Appu and Abhay, had we all gone along, it would have been a nightmare beyond description, given the fact that these two are pretty much creatures of habit.

JLT : Oh - that happens out here too :-) There have been times when I've shocked the daylights out of my MIL by drawing Vic's attention to someone "interesting" and it has worked vice-versa too :-).

Something to Say said...

keep kids locked in a room is the weirdest thing I've ever heard...and u have a right to decide whats the best for u and ur family - wonder when people will realise that.

DotMom said...

lock children???? WOW. just WOW. Can't belive people actually say these things. And I thought these things (schedule and so forth) gets beter as the kids grow up. Sigh. You just burst the bubble for me :)

Poppins said...

I'm reading and getting outraged, I can just imagine how you must've felt. What about Madeleine? I've had friends be sarcastic with me too when I turn down and offer to go partying.. They start off with 'You've changed, you've become matronly etc'. Hey, I like it that way.

There was a time when we freaked out and partied all night. Now we don't ! Simple. I don't even enjoy it all that much anymore.

If that makes us old fashioned, so be it ! You go Gauri !

B o o said...

I remembered Madeline too as soon as I read your post. Is there any chance, your "friend" was joking? No one in their right mind can suggest such a thing!

Poppins - You read my mind. Thats exactly what I go through sometimes. "Oh, you have changed. you dont have any enthu!" Yeah, So?

Gauri said...

STS : Yep. I wonder too ....

Dotmom : This "schedule" thing - it differs from child to child, I guess. There are some children who adjust to schedule changes pretty fast and pretty young while some others don't. I guess mine fall in the second category :-)
So don't burst that bubble - not just yet :-)

Poppins Mom : Oh !! We've had our wild party and disco nights too - all before the kids - when we were DINKS. We used to pretty much freak out too and there have been times when we've got back home in the wee hours of the morn. And what you've said is very true - priorities do change a lot after children come into our lives. And that change in priorities is something not everyone is able to stomach and accept.

Boo : About the Madeleine issue - couple of others too have commented on the same. If I were to have asked my "acquaintance" about Madeleine, she'd, in all probability have asked me which movie Madeleine was in.

Itchingtowrite said...

how cud they tell u to lock up the children!! i normally take the easy way out- of not going.. upshot of it is that i hav not attended many weddings for sometime now..

the mad momma said...

well we've dragged the brat everywhere and doing the same with the bean... if they were creatures of habit i'd have killed myself so i can understand how hard it is for you to break routine. i have yet to figure out what kind of ppl lock up a child and leave. though the truth is i have had lots of single friends suggest that once the child is asleep. i dont think they have an understanding of the situation. really.