Thursday, August 19, 2010

Of Ego & Expectations

25 years back, it was a happy joint family. All the family members with their children shared a bond of love, care, happiness and togetherness all the time. They played, eat and slept together. Had fun during summer holidays and were in touch with each other through regular post cards or letter writing. It was a picture perfect setting like any old Hindi family movie.

Now 25 years later all those family members are living separately. Their children have grown, some are college going and some are working and married. Their relationship and bondage with each other have become weak, meeting together is rare and get-togethers reduced to occasional family functions. Children are indifferent to their counterparts and communication is reduced to just ask welfare or say hello & bye!  The feelings of selfishness, bitterness and jeliousy have a cascading effect on the youngsters too. Sometimes, the grudges between heads of two families get reflected on to their children who also do not see eye to eye. The whole gambit of ‘Picture Perfect family’ has disappeared in the din of fast paced life. No one has time and patience. Out of blue, a close knit family breaks up.

It is said that as the person grows, wisdom sets in but how come such happy relationship of oneness of yesteryears is forgotten and relations become sore. Even though there were no major issues of differences, no fight has taken place amongst any family members but still the strain of ‘All is not well’ loom large on their faces. An expectation rides over rational thinking- ‘Why me alone, why not they?’, ‘Why should I initiate, why not they?’, ‘If you call me I shall reciprocate’, ‘If you come to my house I shall come to yours’, ‘If your children talk to my children, they will talk to yours!’ Each one of us expects the other one to take the lead, initiate and talk. The roots of ‘give & take’ feelings have gone deep in to our heart and mind.

The dynamics of human relations are changing. There used to be a term ‘Thick friends’ earlier, now ask someone who their thick friend is? Do not be surprised if after a long pause and thought you may be told there is none! And this is not just confined to family relationship but covers all other relationships like friendship, lover’s relationship, employee- employer relationship, etc. The feeling of ‘why me why not he/she’ makes all the difference. The changing life style, stress and strains of daily life and distance of living apart can be some of the factors but the major factor contributing to such a change can be attributed to our own making.

Ego and expectations have eclipsed our mind. In order to build a healthy and fruitful relationship it is paramount to understand that in the larger interest of relationship individual’s ego and expectations are to be kept set aside. The problem is not with our expectations but with our insistence that things must and should work out the way we expect them to. It is imperative that in any relationship there has to be some kind of invisible sacrifice, a readiness to forego and forgive attitude, forgetting smaller inconveniences in order to make a space for others to stay in your heart. All said and done, when ever you feel hurt, insulted and ignored, think with open mind, analyze and ask yourselves ‘what wrong have I/We  done’? Probably this may answer some of our own problems.


  1. The one expectation I have from my family and friends is that they NOT have any expectation of/from me :-) :-)

    The blog activates sensitive touch-points in all of us! Food for thought indeed!!

  2. A typical modern dilemma well expressed.

  3. Wonderful post Sir, provides for a great deal of introspection!

  4. It is primarily because the world is becoming competitive,houses are becoming smaller, families now consist of husband , wife and only one child.
    But,I feel, very soon joint family system will comeback into being and that too successfully.

  5. Survival of relationships need "give" or efforts of love.If people will hope something desperately
    without any investment of love. The relationship is bound to fail.

  6. Comments Posted On Facebook-

    Pudugram Vaidyanathan-- Nice article. It will ring true in many hearts, for many of us are having similar issues and similar emotions with our extended family members. Thanks
    Debasish Mukherjee- nucleus family, evenwith grand parents kids got the benift of wisdom as it incrases exponentially rich experience thanks 4 posting sir.

  7. Ego and Expectations! This is a good post.

    But, we increasingly fail to adapt when the former is hurt and the latter is not met! Not everyone can control these!!!

  8. Ego and Expectations ..always plays a role in every relationship...may it be ur family members or your friends ...with world becoming competitive people always look for profits from relationships.......

  9. Comments on Face Book-
    Timmavajjula Sundari- Very nice article.even we are having similar issues and similar emotions with our relatives.

    Bhargavi Das- Wonderful post!We truely need to instrospect keeping in mind the scenario of these modern times and our fast paced lives! thanks for sharing.

  10. Why was it easy back then and not so now? What is it that we do not recall any more?

    Koi baat aisi gar hui, ke tumhare ji ko buri lagi,
    To bayaan se pehle hi bhulna, tumhe yaad ho ki na yaad ho...

    If there was aught that annoyed your heart,
    We always let it go unsaid, you may or mayn't recall!

    (Momin Khan Momin 1801-1852)

  11. Really thoughtful post Sir ....

  12. I see it in my family...I think the main problem is the income disparities. In these times, when opportunities and intelligence and ofcoz luck rule, class barriers have been created between siblings. The old joint family had one income and everyone, irrespective of opportunities and intelligence, shared the booty. Jealousy and one-up-man-ship rules now.

  13. Alas, the joint family system is crumbling. Things do change, not necessarily for better. We have to take this philosophically. But you have brought out the agony well and I can see that you will render valuable assistance to those who need it at times.

  14. What an insightful post!!
    Its all happening around us all the time and still we somehow tend to just turn a blind eye and continue each day...its really sad that the beautiful Indian culture of ' Joint families' have now become a rarity!!

  15. Your words are practical and very true. I am recently trying to live as my mother does, with minimum expectations and a open mind... I am learning to accept my friends and relatives as they are and love them without bothering about ego. I have been able to live more peacefully and happily from the day I started doing this.

  16. well i can feel it....i have been the guy who never lived away from my family but have been forced cause of my job to move away and haven't been back close to one and half yr now......

    but it's not because the priorities have changed......though i still believe i won't be the same person as i used to be when i go back home....which does haunt me

  17. This is true for every family. From joint family the flavor of the time is nuclear family. Getting together has become only custom without any love or belonging.

  18. I have a feeling we are mourning for something which is not yet lost totally. There are family values...there are thick friends and there are people who think of others before self. They are all around us...fewer in numbers but they are there.