Families that drift

Published On: September 9, 2017 12:47 AM NPT By: Priyankaa Chand

Priyankaa Chand

Priyankaa Chand

The contributor for Republica.

How is it easy to leave behind something that forms your core values? 

Every family is unique but families that don’t stay together and are yet together are undoubtedly the most remarkable. 

There are certain norms that guide every family. Having dinner together is one rule that my family strictly abides by. But the last time I checked, living together was not in the Chand’s family book of rules. With good job or university placement abroad, I am allowed to leave and call my new friends my new family in a new place. The most surprising thing of all is that parents won’t let their daughters and sons stay one night out in their own city but encourage them to move, for years, to a new country.

Unlike the west, where the “kid” is expected to move out and live on their own after reaching the age of 18, families here won’t let go of their grownups ever and are always involved in their important decisions. I am a product of one such family and I actually enjoy such interference from my people. For instance, my not-so-little sister was confused about the choice of course for her bachelor’s degree. So we had a table talk, discussed her career options, her passions and she was more than happy to hear me out. A week later I took the lead and admitted her to Kathmandu University School of Arts. So that is how it works in the East; take the lead or follow the bead. 
Simply put, a family is a team that stays and works together for common goal i.e. happiness. But can the goal be achieved while working and staying at different places, with varying time zones? The problem comes when the family’s happiness doesn’t align with your own. It is hard to play for the same team if your priorities are different. 

The problem comes when you see that the family’s happiness doesn’t align with your own. 

As the family consists of people of different age groups with individual desires and aspirations it would be naive to expect complete homogeneity. But somehow living under the same roof make its members find ways to form common ground. So when one family member moves to a different place they are likely to explore and discover their own path. True, the world is turning into a small global village but with no physical presence of people related to you by blood, it is a strange feeling. Eight years and I still get confused while greeting my eldest sister a warm goodnight or an early good morning. 

Although the extreme amount of sharing of one’s personal life in social networking sites has blurred virtual reality with reality, the blur still leaves old parents with moist eyes. The global village is one factor that has made family a dynamic entity. Many families divided by space still communicate, which in turn have turned them into a virtual family. The solemn vow of ‘till death do us part’ in order to create a family is old. The modern vow is ‘till good opportunities, better career options do us part’. This is not to say that people should not seek betterment but hope for better future often comes at a cost. 

So does family really come first? Has staying together in family just been a matter of convenience? Or do we still value the bond and hold family as our greatest strength? It is said we only grow when we step out of our comfort zone but it seems as if it has been translated as grow out of the family you grew up in, to be the new person people expect you to be. The new expectations of the group of families that unite as the society have left people like me bewildered.

Growing competition, shortage of opportunities at home and the trend of going abroad to find yourself, they have all left no choice for the grownups but to get stamps on their passports. Many grownups leave in the hope of returning while some have made their mind to settle where their boat sails. Today, it is normal to be at ease while leaving what has formed your core values and shaped every choice in your life. Surprisingly enough most parents want their children to go abroad and hold on to the place for as long as possible. 

The profound relationship that each family member shares with one another is beautiful. Having said that, the distance that we are forced to maintain and stay apart, for whatever reasons, either help build a new family or break up the old one. 

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