So, I was talking to an old friend from Europe recently, telling her about Suppi’s diagnosis and treatment.
She expressed how sorry she was, and then went on to tell me how great it is that my parents are funding Suppi’s treatment and she really admires that they’ve moved halfway across the world right now. “Put their lives on hold,” was how she put it.
I was momentarily stunned. There was no question, of course, whether or not my parents would pay and move for Suppi’s sake, because although she’s twenty, she’s still a student and dependent on them. As for their lives being on hold- well, I don’t think either of them have breathed freely since the day of Suppi’s diagnosis, and nothing else matters to them right now.
Being Indian, there are so very many things I take for granted. Especially the close, reliable bonds of family.
I smiled and changed the topic, but her question literally caused a paradigm shift in the way I view my current situation. It makes me incredulous, even now, that not every parent could/ would respond in the same way; that’s it’s way more complicated than that. After all, at twenty, Suppi is technically a full fledged adult. There are so many people in her shoes, placed in very different sociocultural, financial, and familial circumstances.
Small though it was, this innocuous conversation reaffirmed my decision to spend the majority of my adult life in India. As pretty much everything does, these days.