Where society has mattered most

Privileged are those who have been told about their ancestors of at least three preceding generations. However, one is likely to learn only good about them while their weaknesses are carefully kept away in order to ensure that the children respect elders and learn from their lives. My experience is no different: I only know good about them. I only know the positive side of their lives. All I understand is that they were all educated to some level. The women of the family were married off at an early age in live with the practices of those days. My paternal grandmother, Devaki Devi was married at the age of eight to my grandfather who was 18. She was allowed to continue her education but was compelled to stop after her matriculation.

Education has always played an important role in my father’s family as everyone believed that education played a vital role in shaping the behaviour of the individual. However, my mother’s family believed that family values had to be instilled in children by example. My mother could only complete her 10th class after which she was trained in household chores till the age of 17 when she got married. My maternal grandparents had to “think about society” besides dealing with the “responsibility” that came with five daughters.

My paternal grandfather’s parents were poor. They were hardworking coalminers at Singareni. Whereas my paternal grandmother came from a wealthy family; her father was a supplier of building material and also had farmlands. I don’t know much about my maternal grandparents. Except that their family greatly valued societal acceptance and believed at society played an important role in educating you and shaping your personality.

I find the situation not much different even today; people still attach relevance to what the society thinks of them and what course of action does it “prescribe” for them. I can understand the “society pressure” as my parents and sisters go through that time and again. We are four sisters, everyone expects us to get married as soon as possible so that our father will be free of stress. Mercifully, my father believes that we should be independent and strong enough to face the vagaries of life in our own way. He chose not to succumb to the pressures and dictates of society and chartered a course of life that he knew would help him and his children to lead a meaningful life. However, he has always told us not to forget what our roots are.

As my father quoted his father who had said, “Knowledge is your only asset and all luxuries are liabilities which can be taken away from you. Only knowledge remains with you always”. – LAXMI PAVANI KODATI

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