Sunday, January 27, 2013


Many of us belonging to third generation Badettuans often think about our early childhood and get some what nostalgic about those days. This is not because our parents took care of us diligently, responsibly and affectionately but because of the freedom we enjoyed. Probably this might have been due to too many children in each family varying in number from 7 to 10. Obviously which parent can devote that much attention to each and every one under circumstances considered very difficult in those days?. Financially many families were not very well off though we were never left to starve. The innate affection and love which must have been there, were not exhibited by our parents frequently giving us an impression that we were being neglected. Corporal punishment was a rule rather than an exception. Also to be remembered is that invariably every one from the third generation were naughty, mischievous and pokris with out any doubt. Whether it is because of too many children in the family that denied constant attention or because of the personality traits of each of us, the fact is that we were living a hectic life of intense activities, partly doing house hold chores or gallivanting with friends, some good and others bad! Of course we do realize our follies now, when we have grown to be toothless and weak in physical strength due to age but to day's youngsters seem to be different, better in some respects and worse than us in some other respect.

I, for one was an ordinary boy with an some brain and a good physique, brash enough to do any thing I felt like doing without thinking about its consequences. I often introspect regarding the thought process going through my mind at that time. Each day passed without any thoughts about what I wanted to become, my only environment being the hotel where I could enjoy good food like poori, dosa, vada, sweets etc. It is said that 99% is perspiration and 1% is inspiration for success. While all of us were not running away from perspiration due to hard work, what we lacked was probably inspiration to push us into more productive and motivated life. Of course we can never blame our parents because they themselves were not highly educated and their exposure to outside world was rather limited. Given such an environment, if some of us were able to reach where we are to day, the credit still goes to our parents who had enough common sense to think that their off springs need not pursue the same profession as that of theirs. Look at the Marwari community which trains its youngsters from day one to go for business and make them successful too when they grow up. Whether this is a blessing in disguise is very difficult to surmise. But education is always preferable to business, especially if one wants an even paced life with no ups and downs.

Here is an interesting story which sends a strong message that whether in business or professional career what is important is the human quality. There was a family with father, mother and a young girl living happily in a a nice home. One day the mother saw three old men sitting in front of their house near a culvert and she felt sympathetic to them imagining they were famished. She sent her daughter to invite them to have food in her house. But the old men declined the invitation saying that they would not come to a house where there were only females as the head of the family had gone out for some errant. After the arrival of her father, the girl again went and invited the old people. Though they accepted the offer, a condition was put that all three would not come together and the family would have to choose one of them. Further they identified themselves as synonymous with "love", "wealth" and "fame" respectively. The family discussed among themselves as to who should be invited. While the mother wanted the "fame" fellow, father preferred the "wealth" fellow. The daughter chose the "love" fellow and reasoned out that it is most important in life. When "love" fellow was invited he gladly accepted the invitation and started moving towards the house. What surprised them was that the other two also followed him! The moral of the story is that where ever love and affection are there, all other benefits follow in life. Hankering after money or high places by hook or crook in life, cannot take us any where and it is only consideration for fellow humans which will be rewarding!

Whether we were trained to love others adequately, one thing is sure, that is not to cheat or hurt others. During our younger days money was hard to come by as our parents were strict in giving unnecessary money to kids for the fear that children do not understand the value of money and its relation to hard work. If earning money was the only consideration Badettu family could have bought half the properties in Kollam and Alleppey easily with the earnings from the business! If Subbraya, Venkatraya and Ananthrama are remembered in Alleppey it is only because of their generosity to others. I have personally seen some of the bigwigs in politics those days standing before our house in the morning seeking money for one purpose or the other while father was doing his daily pooja, spanning about 2 hours! The landed properties bought by all the brothers while they were in business were jut enough for their families for a decent living. Ambition ( or call it greediness) was never there.

What a remarkable change that took place when there was the transition from third generation to fourth one! Fragmentation of the Badettu family into a series of nucleus sub-families during the generational transition had a telling effect on the parent-children relationship and practically every fourth generation member was brought up with lot of attention, love and guidance and no sacrifice was considered too high for these parents to put the children on a high path of growth towards becoming a good citizen and self-confidant human being. It is only after reaching adulthood we had to witness some aberrations in the relationship between parents and their off springs. Marriage which was sacrosanct earlier became more of an arrangement between two like minded persons with parents being more and more marginalized. Societal changes and rapid changing of the family concepts and environment sweeping India did not spare Badettu family also. While there appears to be a genuine demographic imbalance, skewing the ratio of males to females, parents are increasingly finding it difficult to find suitable match for their sons and daughters and number of eligible females seems to be declining dramatically. This is further complicated by high level of education among female members, aspirational goals to be some body in the society and thoroughly professional dedication and commitment to work which probably have sidelined the priority for marriage. Probably these changes are good and desirable for the future of our society where females are always considered an inferior human throughout Indian history.

What do the parents expect from their children when they grow up? Money, support, constant attention or subservience? It is very difficult to categorize parents into such demand compartments. There are definitely parents who force children to marry with persons chose by them irrespective of the feelings of their son/daughter. There are parents who consider that they have invested in their children and they deserve adequate returns for that! As a parent myself it was my expectation that they should give some respect, love and affection and make us feel that the life is worth pursuing, in spite of all our obligations completed on the earth when the children are settled comfortably. We are more than happy that these children and their of springs of fifth generation are making our lives more and more meaningful and happy. Such attitudes must come genuinely from within and cannot be demanded. One must remember the famous dictum which says that "respect has to be earned through deeds and not to be demanded through black mail or force".

When I look back I often wondered what my own father must have thought about me? At the age of 20, I left Alleppey, that too as per his wishes for pursuing studies though my aspiration was to be part of the hotel business. I can salute my father for his vision and recognition that I could become some body, better than a hotelier in life. Full impact of father's reliance, confidence and belief in me ( silent mode!) was realized only when he chose to make me the executor of his Will without even telling me before his demise! We may have differences with the parents, we may think they are old fashioned, we may think they are conservative but never question their credentials as well wishers. Matha and Pitha are first two Gods and Guru and Deivam come only after them. To day I am missing my parents more than any other time in my life and wish often that I should have been more communicative with them than I was actually. Alas, this realization comes after they have gone forever, never to be available for showing my love, affection and respect. May be i can do it one day when I meet them in the "other" world! All those youngsters with what ever idealism, motives, ambitions, aspirations, yearnings and what not, must make use of the rich experience and traditional wisdom their parents have, NOW when they are alive with them. To morrow may be too late!                

Answer to the last Quiz

Senior most member in Badettu family living to day is Padmavathi (Paddakkaya) who is living happily in Admar with one of her sons, Raghupathy. She is aged about 95 years. May God give her health and happiness for a number of years to come.

Quiz for the current issue

Name one of the third generation member in Badettil still associated with hoteliering?


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