Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hypocrisy the other name of life.

To me hypocrisy means play acting and doing something which you actually don’t want to do but you do for some or the other reasons and then we all say we hate hypocrisy and hypocrites too. Don’t we?
A small incidence which happened with me
1. A couple of days back we lost a not so distant relative because of cancer. Early in the morning we rushed to their house. Although me and my husband were bit reluctant to go, as both of us thought that when the deceased was alive and suffering we never bothered to visit him or even call him and enquire about his health and now when he is no more what purpose will our going there serve? But then we had invasions of thought like what the people will say? Or it will not look good etc and succumbing to silent yet powerful societal pressures we went.
2 As expected the whole family was grieving. We couldn’t bear the pain of the wife who had lost her life partner after being with him for almost 60 years or the dazed look on the faces of children and grandchildren. My father in law being the eldest in the family consoled every one and the immediate family stopped crying and we all sat down to pay our respects to the departed soul. As soon as a new group of relatives entered the room ,much to my surprise the seemingly calmed down family again started howling at the top of their voices and again the same cycle of consoling and supporting each other continued.
3. There was some delay in the funeral procession to start. So all the people gathered there were busy chitchatting, discussing all the possible topics on the earth, share market, marriage, swine flu, movies. As the time progressed people became impatient, “getting late for office, my maid servant will go, why are they taking so long”? And similar sentences floated in the air.
4. Came the day of mourning service or prayers for the deceased. Relatives from different cities started pouring in, so the family of the deceased got busy in making arrangements for the stay, food and other facilities of all the relatives who were coming for the final rites. While the final rites were being carried out, some of the members were busy (hiding from all peeping eyes) on their cell phones and discussing about their business meetings or calling other relatives and fixing up appointments for next meetings ( after all they had spent so much in terms of money and time to come to Bombay then why not meet other relatives too or do a little of business )
5. Not only that, each and every person who came made sure that the family members of the deceased saw them. And their presence was registered in their memories.
Formalities over and everyone went back to their routines without even glancing back at the grieving family.
Now some thoughts which erupted like a volcano in my mind and played havoc
1. Why were we all so much concerned about society? Why everyone including me did go there when actually we were not so much aggrieved as the immediate family? I know to pay our respects, for family relations, to lend our support. But why at that moment only?
2. When he was alive we never enquired about his health then why did we go now. Just to show the society or the relatives and to be called very considerate?
3. The pain of family members is understandable but then why there was a public exhibition of their grief. Why show off to everyone coming there that they were grieving. Is howling the only way of showing to the world that they have lost some one? Does that means a person who can’t cry is immune to the dreaded demon, death? There are people who are not able to express their pain, does it mean that they are immune to harsh realities of life or they were not attached to the deceased?
4. We all attend the funeral services and then afterwards forget about the family. How many bother to take care of the family after everything is over? Do we ever go back to the family and ask them how they are coping up with the loss or do they need anything? Is the wife able to shoulder the financial responsibilities of the family? whether the children have become emotionally stable? No, I don’t think so. Once the formal visit is over we are also done with the family. Let them live as they want.
5. Instead of crowding in large groups immediately after death, why can’t we visit them in turns and spend some time with them and help them overcome their loss?
6. The family has already lost some close one and then on top of it they have to make staying and food arrangements for all the relatives who are coming from other cities. The family has not only lost a life and now why do they have to spend huge amounts for the comforts of the people who will come to attend the prayer service. Why?
Doesn’t all this fall in the category of being hypocrites or having double standards?
I think all humans are hypocrites; the biggest hypocrite of all is the one who claims to detest HYPOCRISY. And though I hate to admit but then even I am also one.
Because I may like so many others raise my voice against all these double standards or show offs ,will do my official duties as a member of society, a member of family and then like so many others then turn my back and forget about it and go back to my worldly chores. Rightly said by some one “Whatever you condemn, you have done yourself”
After all this is the way of life. Life goes on. People crib, comment, criticizes, pass value judgment on other’s behavior as they are very inclined to set moral standards for others and then they themselves fall prey to all that.


~Just me again~ said...

This is a very good post. It reminds me a few years back, when my younger one was 17 or so. She had a fellow dancer, a guy, that got killed in a hit and run accident. It was a sad thing. But for her, that's all she felt. She said its sad, but its over. She was never close to the guy, and all the girls used to actually make fun of him. She was disgusted by the fact that the ones that seemed to have hated him most made a facebook memory page for him.

I had told her, that well maybe they felt bad for treating him mean? I've no idea why they did it, but everyone reacts different.

She was upset because the way everyone told her she was cold, maybe she was a bit. But on the other hand...she told me it would be hypocritical to now become his friend.

I've no idea, I kinda felt bad that she couldn't put it aside, and just go with the flow. But she stood her ground.

Neha said...

Anju, our nature is such that whatever is convenient to us is right and vice versa...in the end, society is made of us only...if we have all the time in the world to attend a social event, we will blame the one who do not turn up...I agree with whatever you have mentioned in your post, especially the last para..it's all created by us as per our convenience...my funda is - listen to your heart. If your heart says whatever you are doing is right, then go ahead and do it..

nice write up..

AnjuGandhi said...

@ Just me again, ideally speaking that girl was right. when you dont feel any thing then why pretend? but such are the societal silent principles that you don't speak ill of a dead person. even then it is sheer hypocricy to make a facebook page or orkut page and write comments. what you felt for the departed one are your own feelings. why share it with all?

@ Neha we all are social animals, bound by unwritten socital laws and rules. so even if our heart and head say something else, we have to do certain things contrary to our belief.

Anonymous said...

As always, a very profound study of human nature. In my community, we the members of the community, plan, cook and provide everything for the family. Some of our group take food to the home, some go to the dining area and serves, some call to arrange for certain dishes to be made and our church community provides the meat. Now, it is true there are a lot of folks gather that haven't seen the deceased or visited the family, for one reason or another, but they need time to be together. I have seen many families become closer after these occasions. One never knows when someone will leave just one value that can change a whole generation. That is just my comment, however I do agree with most of your statement, about how we conform to societal expectations. Blessing to your strong heart.

sm said...

good post,this happens with everyone some or other time.
Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't.”

Mimi said...

Very well put my dear friend, we do live very busy lives and do not make the time to be a part of everyone's lives when they are alive, but it is to pay respect and ahow love to the family at this sad time. I do not think that it is being hypocritic to visit one more time, if your heart is in the right place.
Good writing my dear and a real eye opener!!!!

The Panorama said...

So many questions, Anju. Many of them don't have an answer.
I agree with you that maybe it is hypocrisy to visit only at the funeral but sometimes, even that helps the grieving family to think that the one who passed away touched many lives.
It is also how one perceives it.
One of my uncles, who due to a fall out with my father hadn't spoken to him for almost twenty years. When he heard that my father passed away, he was crushed and came to the funeral. My mother was angry but my brother felt it was a fine gesture on his part.
Maybe my fathers death reminded him that once they were kids and grew up together and played gulli danda and marbles.

I was touched by the fact that he came to my fathers funeral. Am sure my dad would have liked that too.

Ms. Neha Gandhi said...

great post...some descriptions were really funny

it really bothers me when people have a mask on their faces...this hypocrisy is uncalled and unwanted...be yourself and do what u actually believe in...
but the society is not so kind to everyone..and hence we have to give in sometime or the other

Shruti SriHarsha said...

what a POST!!! made me THINK and relate to what am going through....Lot of things bother me Anju and you write those topics, which is soo much a part of our daily - every min of Life...
I agree about Hypocricy...am also a person, who needs to please lot of people and have no running away from it....I have choosen this path and at times feel, am I doing the right thing...
Loved your post as usual!!

Insignia said...

Oh my God!! I am so sorry. Let the person rest in peace. Its appalling isn't it? I too witnessed these disgusting and insensitive behavior of people a couple of weeks back at my grandma's funeral.

Anonymous said...

Its very sad. But, that is how it is.
For that reason, i never like attending any mourning ceremony. I never end up crying, so people think I am hard-hearted.
But, i differ from your opinion in some ways. The man who died was an old man, he lived his life, no one would mourn "very" much...because he lived his life and was having health problems when he died. I would certainly be sad if some young healthy person died. You know, in our caste, we distribute sweets (of any kind) to people on 13th if an old person dies. :-)

Apanatva said...

आज कल सभी की जिन्दगी व्यस्त है |
घर मे बीमार व्यक्ति हो और मिलने वालो की हो भीड़ तो सोचे सब का क्या हाल होता होगा?
शोंक मे शामिल होना ये हमारी भारतीय संस्कृति का हिस्सा है महज दिखावा नहीं |
ये मेरी सोच है |

Aparna said...

Anju, a lot of times it helps when people come to pay respect for the departed soul.
When my father in law passed away, a lot of people came to our house, whom we were not very close to. But it helped my mother in law. She felt good that some people came to offer their condolences. She felt it showed that my father in law was well respected and liked. Looking after the guests also made her a little busy. She would feel the pain of loneliness at night when there were very few people. Somehow having a house full of guests helped.It gave her something to do.
I think we go to some ones funeral because we want to say that we are with our people in times of sorrow as well. Not really because of societal norms.

AnjuGandhi said...

thanx to all my blogger buddies who leave their imprints on my musings.
i know that when we loose some near and dear one, presence of our well wishers give us courage and atleast provide us temporary relief. also the number of people attending various serives shows that how well respected, liked and loved by others. at the time of my father's funeral we were so much touched by the amount of people who attended all the rituals.
what i find hypocratic is stragers coming just to show their faces. yesterday only, i attended a prayer service where more than 300 people were present, but most of them were busy chitchatting, laughing, giggling, gossiping and discussing swine flu( the latest hot topic) I just feel that if you are not conerned with the deceased or the bereaved family, if you have no feelings for them then atleast dont attend such solemn rituals and make a mockery of it.

Suchismita said...

I think no one knows what it is like till it happens to them and so the insensitivity. I used to wonder how condolence helped till my own father passed away about five years ago. It was difficult to come to grips with the sudden passing, but the more we spoke about what happened, the more we could grieve properly. Yes, we did deal with ringing cell phones and 'just here to show my face' visits. But condolence does help. it wuld be wonderful if we could add a bit of sensitivity to it.

Butler and Bagman said...

Your post is right on target. I sometimes do not go to funerals unless someone is very close but I usually write a note on my calendar 3 months after the funeral. When that day comes up, I will write a letter to people close to the person because -- you are right -- 3 months later everyone else has forgotten, but the loved ones are still grieving and it is even harder then because people are no longer around.

Anonymous said...

Anju I feel the biggest purpose of going to meet the family immediately after a relative has passed away is to lend support... I guess even if don't feel the loss if we can just be there for them, we might help them by letting them talk about it, and by letting them cry.
I don't think you were a hypocrite, you just did what you could, you couldn't do anything else I guess....

And even if other relatives finished some work while lending their support, what is the harm? They could not feel their pain, but still they did make an appearance for them, and I am sure that made the family feel they are not all alone.

I realised it meant a lot to my mother that people cared to come, she felt they were there with her (when my father died- I still can't use the word died while referring to him )- I found them irritating, I wanted to be left alone, but she needed their presence. I noticed many were worrying about their children's exams back home and calling them etc, I just feel grateful that they came despite all commitments.

But I agree there is a lot of hypocrisy involved, I don't cry aloud, and that could have made some people think I wasn't feeling anything?! Yes, quite possible.

Renu said...

Very true post, even I feel the same..that if you care do everythiong when the person is alive.
And this howling..it really makes me very uncomfortable.
Personally I never want to be in the company of relatives or friends even at the time of any such loss, I would prefer to be alone.

Roshmi Sinha said...

A very good post with apt observation of people's behaviour. This kind of public display of grief is abundant and sickening.

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