About six years ago, I had attended a gurudwara function that had prayers for a deceased relative. I barely knew the deceased, a relative through marriage to my uncle. But, as Punjabis go, we attend these as a show of support within a small knit and close community, especially when we’re all related some way or another.
I consider this particular event a milestone in my life. You see, my relationship with my uncle had gone as cold as frozen leftover dhall in the freezer over the years. I had looked up to him quite a bit growing up as a teenager, and shared many a secrets with him when complaining about my parents, like any teenager, going through the normal angst.
But we grew apart when I attended university in another state, and you might say I had arrogance borne from immaturity. This means that I was young, I had the world at my feet and never saw any other perspective but mine. There were differences in the way we looked at life.
And so, the cold treatment had frozen more as time went by. I started a family and I lived in the city far away. And to be honest, I was arrogant enough to think that I didn’t need this relationship to be alive because life was busy.
It was at this funeral, out of mere chance, as if qismet ordained it, that I met my Uncle and my Auntie. The first few minutes were awkward. Then we chatted just like before. There was something to talk about. He’s a doctor and he played a big part in helping my mother battle cancer at that time. It was a dark time for every member of the family, and any little help or gesture like his, shone very brightly in the darkness. I was grateful and that thawed my arrogance and the coldness.
He didn’t expect anything in return but some respect for his role all my life as an uncle and a friend was indeed warranted. I didn’t see it at that time. I didn’t see it from his perspective.
What I did feel at that time was a huge burden off my shoulders as the warmth melted the ice cold bridge between us in that one hour. I mean I physically felt it! I felt this for the first time in 16 years since the last we had a meaningful laugh together. It was liberating. It also meant that I had to swallow whatever arrogant perspective I had and accept his point of view. Pity it took 16 years for this to happen.
I’m no saint. Nor have I resolved many other relationships in my life that have soured but somewhat impacted my outlook in life. There are a handful of relationships, with old friends or extended family members, that are going through the freezer right now, for one reason or another.
They say time heals. Just like how it healed the relationship between me and my uncle. I hope and pray it doesn’t take another 16 years. Acceptance is probably the right answer. A change of perspective can only come if we allow Acceptance of other perspectives and Acceptance that you can’t be perfect to others nor can you expect others to be perfect for you.
I won’t be presumptuous to even say that for Acceptance to work you need to remove our ego. I can’t say that because I’ve got my own ego and demons to fight myself. But I can say this with clarity – time heals, age matures, and acceptance can come from both. Sometimes, by qismet. Sometimes through tragedy. Sometimes through our own introspective view of ourselves. Good luck and may you have the Grace to feel that liberating feeling I felt.
* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
Don’t grow up (Asia Samachar, 10 Sept 2018)