Stepping on Everyone’s Toes

Different cultures have different sets of rules and practices. These rules have been laid down to have a concrete foundation in our lives. With time & generations, rules or what I would put down as discipline evolved as per the convenience we found in our lives. With each generation, the definition and the requirements which one seeks from their lives have changed and we will see a steep amendment in the further generations. The usual debates which happen amongst generations is regarding which generation lives were or are better. The older ones, where the roots of foundations were firmly planted and now control the growth of the tree? Or, the flowers who are blooming to look beautiful and with time will ripe into a fruit and then feed the further generations the seeds from the past making sure they reach the future? Does this not sound like who came in first, the egg or the hen?

Our lives are a speck in this vast universe which runs on the steam of time. We take birth, we grow, learn things, move ahead in our lives whilst experiencing and participating in creating the future life and ascend to start another speck of our own life somewhere again in the future. A few would ask me to prove the existence of rebirth, however, this article is not and will never be about it. This is more towards trying a way to live lives, by unlearning a few things from the past and teaching a few things to the future.

Privacy or individual privacy is a matter of debate in our society. Most of us will tag this idea of privacy as a western culture. Although all of us have our space, our time is necessary for us. If we do not look after our needs, we will not be able to look after the needs of the one’s dependent on us. However, this word is frowned upon by many in today’s world and then begins a war at home where we are intentionally or unintentionally stepping on everyone’s toes. When I say this, please do not take this statement literally, it means that we are crossing a few unseen boundaries of an individual which need to be considered.

In a regular household in a country like India, we will have 3 generations living in one house in many sections of the society. The concept of joint family might have changed for some households, like the in-laws living in the house or flat in a different building or a different floor. However, it is still together and not countries or cities apart. With the soaring inflation and living expenses it has become unfair for only one person to be the earning member of the family of 6. It is a herculean task. The burden of income has been divided to two sets of shoulders carrying it rather than one. One can just imagine the range of requirements each member of the family might have and the burden of expectations along with the burden of survival. It is simpler put forward in words rather than living it our entire life.

Here comes the limitations one can have while trying to manage multiple tasks juggling everyone’s requirements. The requirements are of various kinds: range in food, medical, expenses, kind of household, the cultural requirement to raise the kids, demanding work, toxic social pressures like kitty parties, holidays, Instagram lives showing the happier side of trying to portray the perfect happy family. But is Freedom to express really acceptable? How can one’s happiness be measured? When the answer for these two questions will come as a yes; which also might be an unlikely possibility considering the baggage of expectations & confusions we all carry & live with.

Now coming back to the part where we were talking about ‘Privacy’; this will never mean closing doors and doing what one feels right; that is communism and dominance. What we need in a household is respect and a safe space to express and be ourselves, yet to be accepted, the way we are. Privacy can be about anything, maintaining a diary and not expecting anyone to read it, taking time off from the kitchen while someone else takes it over, having a hobby and being free to pursue it. At times, privacy can also be two individuals enjoying their quiet time with each other. When I say stepping toes, it is being disrespectful to the other one when they are trying to create their own space and identity amongst the family. Freedom to express one’s perspective in front of others and not being judged by it.

The thought is simple. Although the understanding around this simplicity is made complicated at times. Live & Let Live is not only a mantra from the jungle; it is now more of a mantra to be implemented in this concrete jungle. Making people change their very essence because they do not obey you or live as per your rules does not make them indiscipline or a brat or ill-mannered. They are just people; maybe a little stronger to fight for themselves rather than being weak and giving in.

The pain when we stub our toes to any corner object is quite intense. Similar is stepping on people’s boundaries and trying to ruin their private space for your convenience. Hence next time you think of why someone is being irrational to you; rather than assuming that the other one might be at fault; let us just once try to see what you must have done for them so that they now react badly towards you.

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