TODAY -

Friends, family, fun and fiascos!

Dr. Mona Nongmeikapam *

A scene from Manipuri Film  'Dharmagi Mingda Imagidamak'
A Family scene from Manipuri Film "Dharmagi Mingda Imagidamak" :: Pix - Mayum Media and Communication



THE DICTIONARY defines family as a group of people related by blood or marriage or a strong common bond, such as those descended from a common ancestor, or a husband, wife, and their children. More elaborately, it is explained as a co-residential group that makes up a household, sharing general survival goals and a residence. A concept perhaps as old as humankind itself, it has been analysed by many an author, even included in the Darwinian theory of evolution.

What role does it play in our fast-moving, mechanised lives of today? Where a non-cook can totally manage with ready-to-eat or microwavable food or most women do not depend on their men-folk solely for their livelihoods. Children have also become quite independent and have an equal say in making decisions, unlike olden days when such tasks were considered strictly parental domain.

But also interesting to note is the fact that despite the facades of change that has evolved over the generations and generations of mankind, one thing that hasn't faded amidst the sands of evolution is the family ties. If nothing, it has simply strengthened and improved with the fore-mentioned growth. With the changing times, the concept of village or a clanship is fading out; communities do not sit together making household decisions and the village-heads do not give verdicts. Instead we rely on our immediate family for the same.

The essence of a family is realised once one suffers from ill-health. Attribute it to human vanity, but we often have the tendency to consider ourselves omnipotent when all fairs well. Aha......at those times, when health and other situations favour, even stars seem to be shining just for you.

Sick times serve as a reminder to the fact that one is, alas, mortal! In these situations, one's near and dear ones overlook personal limitations and give the kind of care the best of health-insurance policies cannot even dream of covering. The sacrifices made, the sleepless nights, the nursing care, the ungrudging moping and the cleaning ......... how can we put a value to all the love we accept as our birthright?

Then in big social occasions, friends and family alike come together, working hand in hand, day and night, not differentiating between self or the other, to make the event a huge success. Like the saying goes: too many cooks spoil the broth; more people, more confusion, more chaos and the resultant drama. A definite united front on the outside, but not without tears shed, many harsh words exchanged... even blows!

But family being family, we do always kiss and make up in the end. We cover up for each other's fatilts, lie for the other, praise each other to high end .........until there is yet another event to plan!!!

Friends are a race apart, very much like family, yet without the stem censuring that comes with being a family member. With the evolution and the modernisation, it is definitely possible for a person to exist alone. But then, it would be merely existing and not living. They provide the much needed spice to the curry called LIFE.

Of course, like all things in life, good or bad, there are bound to be a few drawbacks. The obligations and the setbacks that come as being part of a ship rather a lone sailor are there, but then, with rights come responsibilities. And a very small price to pay for all the lifetime's worth of love and adulation. Also worth mentioning is the fear that oft rankles the mind of many.

"What will that relative say" and "how would they judge us" often colour our decisions and affect our lifestyle? But then, without some of this essential censorship, human beings are also just one race of the vast animal kingdom. It is upto the individual to make the best out of the situation and use our better judgement to filter out what is unnecessary.

Provides companionship, serves as an compulsory insurance policy, and health care assurance, upkeeps human morality and maintains essential boundaries, distribution of labour, promotes united decision-making, what else? Such a wonderful concept; kudos to the one who came up with such a wonderful idea!

As a wise man once said: the love of family and the admiration of friends are much more important than wealth and privilege.


* Dr. Mona Nongmeikapam wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
The writer is a Consultant Psychiatrist at Shija Hospitals & Research Institute, Langol, Imphal
This article was webcasted on December 14 2012.


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