It is correctly said that old habits die hard. The mind of a youngling is like a pavement laden with freshly brewed cement; it is extremely easy to leave an imprint on the undeveloped cement, which could last a lifetime. Such an imprint can only be rectified by adding new cement to the sidewalk, and smoothing out the previous imprint.
Let me explain with an example how the concept of contamination works:
After a long and tiring day of work, Rahul was happy to finally enter his key into the lock and click his way back home. He had a beautiful wife waiting for him, and he couldn’t wait to get his hands on a hot plate of steaming food.
“Honey! I’m home!”, shouted Rahul, to alert his wife of his arrival, but to his dismay, there was no answer in return.
Just then, the lock clicked again, and in walked Seema, his wife.
“I am so sorry! Our systems went down, and we were coding all evening to get the systems back up! It was super urgent, and we had to pull over-time.”, explained Seema. She was extremely guilty about coming home late, considering she missed a lot of the chores that needed to be carried out.
Listening to, and complying by the values of our elders has always been a concept that our culture is known for; but what happens when the values and outlook of our elders sometimes don’t make sense?
“Well. What do we do about dinner then?”, said Rahul.
“We could order in, you know…”, suggested Seema.
“Seema, when we agreed to you working, it was made pretty clear that you need to manage and balance your work life and home life in a way where there’s always home cooked food on the table. My mother ensured that my dad would never have to eat outside food on a working day. She was correct to suggest you not working after marriage, but since you made a big deal about it, I allowed it; but only if you were up to fulfilling all of your duties and responsibilities as a woman and a wife.”, retorted Rahul.
Seema was left appalled with this response from her husband. A modern and educated man, who married the woman of his choice, a woman he loved, and a woman he knew had ambition to do something in her life apart from handle homely chores. This was the first meal she missed in 2 years of their marriage, and only because of a serious work emergency. Before she could utter a word for herself, Rahul began again:“You have a maid that comes in every day, my mother didn’t even have that. Both my parents were quite surprised with your decision to work, and I kind of agree with their outlook of you staying home. All the women in our family have always stayed in the house and taken care of the living space to turn the four walls into a warm and loving home. I think it is best if you consider doing the same yourself, and hold up the family tradition of nurturing the home. Leave the money earning to me. I will ensure there’s never a shortage.”
When a situation arises where you may find yourself conflicted because of the values instilled in you versus the rational thing to do, always apply reason; think about what would be the rational thing to do.
Seema’s heart broke. This is not the man she married. This was not the person she said ‘I Do’ to. This was contamination from other sources! A value that was instilled in her loving husband from a very young age, an age where he couldn’t apply reason to his learnings, and only followed what the elders deemed correct, because our culture, from the beginning of time, teaches us to follow our elders and adopt their traditions as ours, turning it into something known as ‘family tradition’.
Seema was also crushed down by the weight of her own guilt and emotions. From a very young age, she had seen her mother dedicate her life and time to only her husband and family. Her mother’s life revolved around making the man of the house comfortable and in the process, she lost all ambition and dreams of her own. This subconscious learning led Seema to believe that somewhere in all this mess, she was to be blamed for not being a good and ideal wife. One part of her was trying to fight the contamination by trying to become independent, but the contaminated part of her was pulling her down for not fulfilling the role designated to her by society.
Take a minute to process the situation here and think about what happened between Rahul and Seema. Rahul’s mother was brought up in a different generation, with different values, that may not necessarily apply in today’s times. Seema’s mother followed a set of traditions and values that were instilled in a time that is long gone too. It is unrealistic to expect the same values to apply to modern times, where people swear by equality.
The following blog will showcase the space to break down and understand why contamination needs to be treated, and how cleansing can be achieved.