Words to Live By…
As an editor of Desh-Videsh and a community organizer, I meet a lot of people at parties or at community events, especially those from my generation. After a few meetings, they open up and talk about their family and problems. Obviously I can not advise them either way because that is not my expertise. But I am a very good listener. By expressing their feelings to me, it may give them some solace.
Some of these people do expect that I share my personal experience with them. But fortunately for me, Aruna and I are blessed with a very caring family. Two daughter-in-laws, even though they are born and brought up in this country, understand our feelings as our own daughters.
But for those families not as fortunate as us, I want to share one popular dialogue from the Hindi Bollywood movie, Baghban, which means Gardener.
Those of you from my generation (65+ years young) must have seen the old Hindi movie Baghban, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini. If you recall, it was a movie about conflict between the old generation and new generation. It was a movie about old thinking and new thinking where children do not understand their parents feelings and end up with disrespecting them.
Generation X and millennials may not have seen this movie. But I recommend that they watch ,and I highly recommend that they watch with their children.
At the end of the movie, Amitabh Bachchan gives a small speech about his newly published book titled Baghban. It is a small audience where his children were also present.
For the sake of new generation, I have attempted to translate it from Hindi to English. I know it is not justice to the Hindi language, or to the writer of that speech.
Below is my translation for this speech.
[dialogue excerpt from Baghban]
Ladies and gentlemen,
”Actually, l am not a writer. Writers are those that plunge deep into the oceans of knowledge and come up with rare gems of literature. I have written what life has taught me. Baghban book is not about me or any other individual. It is a book explaining the conflict arising between the days gone by and the days to come. It is a book explaining the conflict between the past and the future. It is a book about the broken relations between two generations, it is a book about the drooping (weary) shoulders on which some children had once sat to see the world. It is a book about the trembling hands that once held the hands of their children as they taught them to walk. It is a book about the parched lips, that once sang lullabies but they have now been silenced.
Times have changed, life has changed. If people of my generation will recall, we were always caught up in ties and in relations that yielded nothing. For us, our Father was God and at our Mother’s feet lay our heaven. And now people have become very sensible. The new generation is very clever and practical. For them, every relation is like a ladder, on which they will step to rise further in life. But when they have no use for the ladder they will be dumped with the rest of the broken furniture in the house like old vessels or old and torn clothes or old newspapers. However life is not like a ladder. Life grows like a tree. Parents are not the steps of a ladder. Parents are the soul of one’s life, like a big tree. Regardless of its size and fullness of big tree, it can’t stand on its own once its roots are hacked.
With all humility and respect, l ask today that if a father can spend every penny of his hard earned money with a smile for the happiness of his children, those very children, when the father’s eye-sight weakens, why do they hesitate in giving them light ? If a father can help his son to take the first step in his life, why can’t the son give his father support when he’s taking the last few steps of his life? What crime is it of the parents who have devoted all their lives to their children, that they are given tears and loneliness?” If they can’t give them any love who gives them the right to snatch their love from them? What do these children think? God have united their parents with love, how the children can separate and force them to lead a life of misery and despair?
Is it for a day like this that man seeks children? Children perhaps forget, what is our present today, tomorrow will be their present. If we are old today, they will also grow old someday. The questions we ask today, they will ask tomorrow. As for me… please don’t worry about me, if I am capable of bringing up my children, helping them become able and independent, I am capable of taking care of myself too. I do not expect anything from anyone because I am very fortunate, The reason I am very fortunate because life has given me a companion, walking with whom my hardships were always blown away, my hardships were always overcome. And that companion is my wife. People often fall in love. However they don’t express it as often as they should. I do not want to make the same mistake. Pooja…I love you very much. Thank you for being with me. I exist because you do and there’s everything if we are together, else there’s nothing, absolutely nothing.
That’s all I wanted to say.”
The reporter asks, “Sir, how would you react had Baghban, been your personal experience?”
“Those children, who don’t love their parents…who don’t give them shelter…who don’t respect them… I would never forgive them l would rather punish them and l would disown them.
One of their sons asks, a mother always forgives her children, “Won’t you forgive us?”
”Yes, as a mother l may perhaps forgive you. But as a wife… I cannot forget the tears my husband has shed. And all of you are the ones who made them shed tears. I can’t say what the future holds, but l have nothing to give you today Not even forgiveness.”