|By - Mridula Chaudhari|
As a child when my mother told me to behave properly while guests were around, I wasn't too sure what that meant. I wondered if behaving properly was to sit in a particular posture not moving from my place until I was asked to do so. Or was it to strike a very polite conversation with the visitors? Whatever that meant, I knew I was to be silent and nod and agree to each of our guest’s request and thought process.
Keeping these minimum expectations of my mom, I would ‘behave properly’ and not give her any embarrassing moments. Thus I was the well behaved, well groomed girl of the family. My mother would always be complimented on being such a fortunate parent. She would take pride and expect me to accompany her everywhere she went. To keep her in good mood lest she would get angry with me, I would visit each of my aunts and uncles and umpteen number of relatives. I was never asked whether I enjoyed these trips and on my part I thought it was my duty.
On the contrary my brother would be most impish and would never comply with our mother's wishes. He would talk to the visiting guests to no end, show them all the new things we bought and share all our family secrets. How the neighbouring aunty borrowed our mom's egg beaters never to return back and such stuff.
Such embarrassing moments would make our mom very uncomfortable. She would try to signal him but he would be too busy sharing stuff to even notice anything amiss.
When alone our mom would scold him and our house would be a perfect pandemonium. He always thought that he never did anything wrong and was merely being truthful and trying to entertain the guests. “I try to keep your guests entertained mom”, he would add. I never saw him regret, ever. He would never be available on our visiting sprees to our aunts and uncles. “My studies will suffer mom”, would be his most favourite answer. Our mother would nod her head with concern and march ahead of me, confident that my own studies were never ‘that’ important.
Today my brother is a successful man, heading a billion dollar company and a globe trotter. As a child, I would not put him in the rebellion category but he surely spoke his mind. He was never scared of speaking the truth or exposing something that was not right. He respected our mom but he was not scared of her. He shared a healthy relationship with her and most of the times his arguments were rational. He always stood by his arguments.
Pan camera on me now. I am living a peaceful life as a home maker with little ambitions. Now I behave the way my husband likes it. He is apparently happy with me and we rarely argue. I don't know what exactly I like, since I like everything that he likes and I dislike everything that he dislikes. Whether it is the kind of movies or music, kind of friends we socialize with or the colour of curtains in our house, our choices match exactly to the T.
I realized early that my happiness lied in agreeing and accepting rather than arguing and rebelling. What did I finally want? Peace and happiness, contentment and companionship. I was getting all this in ample amount.
My brother and I, both are happy today. I listened to each of our mother's sermon and he listened to his heart. There is never a totally right or totally wrong approach to one’s behaviour. Some of us accept and agree while others fight and achieve! Good luck to both of us!!!