Friday, January 4, 2013


Badettu family typically represents a cross section of Hindu family system where parents are revered and respected, at least till the middle of last century. Of course with "modernity" creeping through the society and education gaining upper hand over business, the traditional concept of joint Hindu family started disintegrating. This led to establishment of a number of nucleus families centering around the third generation members and many of them migrated to places far away from their second generation parents. This trend got accentuated with every succeeding generations and to day there must be at least over 100 nucleus families coming under the umbrella of Badettu clan settled in different parts of world!

Many of the members of third generation living to day have neither complete insight into the family heritage and practices nor the vision to foresee what is in store for them with their children and grand children. There are many instances in general where parents are left to fend for themselves during their old age and such stories of neglect are common in many parts of the country. But a moot question that arises is whether such a situation is totally unavoidable? Many youngsters of to day, after getting good education and good brides, invariably set their eyes to go "foreign" to seek their fortunes, realizing that India is a land of unequal opportunities with only some segments of the population eating the fruits of development. While the old age parents would like to see their children near them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days an year, they have grave apprehensions to migrate to foreign countries, even if their children are willing to take them, due to problems of adjustment. Probably many such parents migrated with their children feel that they are like parrots in a golden cage!

Here is an example of a family where the only son to the parents after getting a decent education and a bride of his choice, leaving his sick parents for a foreign land even without telling them! Imagine the trauma, emotions and frustration the mother and father of this boy must be going through thinking about their bleak future. In contrast there is another case where a boy, so closely attached to his mother, refused many chances to go abroad and finally bargaining with his employer to allow his mother also to accompany him, though he was also married to a bride of his choice. The million dollar question is what differentiates such noble character of the latter from the insensitive trait of the former. Is it the famous "pillow talk" of the newly wedded wife or his fundamental nobility of character that drives their behavior? Very complex question indeed!

A story that will highlight the importance of parents, especially the mother may be in order to illustrate the "motherly" bond that existed and still exists through eons. A busy son working as an executive in a high high profile private company had no time to spare to visit his mother, in spite of her yearnings expressed through phone conversation frequently. Since the dwelling places of son and the mother were separated by a distance of 500 km that will take at least about 10 hours in India, the son invariably broke the promise by not visiting his mother frequently and even when he visited it was for a few minutes on his way to some official work nearby. Finally he got an inspiration from his little daughter who chided him for not taking her to her grandma and he decided to visit his mother but on the way he had to return after receiving a call from his boss. On the way he saw a small girl standing on the road side thumbing for a lift and he was reminded of his own daughter which prompted him to take the girl to her destination, a few kilometers down. When he dropped her at a point on the main road, he was curious to know where the girl was going. He followed her and what he saw struck him as something awesome. The girl planted the rose bouquet in front of a field and kneeled before it for a few minutes. Later it emerged that the mother of the girl was dead some time back and buried there, making the girl come to the spot every year without fail to pay her respect and seek her blessings! That was a moment of enlightenment for him to realize his mistake that even though his mother was still living he had neglected her feelings of bonding! Thereafter, the story ends on a happy note with the son making it a regular feature of his life to visit his mother with family as often as possible and spending as much as possible.

In Badettu family of yesteryear, we have classical examples of both the above characters. Without taking any name the following cases illustrate the situation. We had a family of third generation where both father and mother were sick, living in an urban area and their five children, very amiable, soft and understanding type looked after them very well sacrificing their own future and comforts. Similarly there is another case of a second generation family with almost a dozen children which was a joint family with even children of other second generation families spending some years there. While some of the educated children migrated to other cities for professional careers, some stayed back looking after the business of their parents on behalf of the entire family. It was a typical example where parents could not get the comfort of spending time with their children to the extent they wanted, whether settled far away or staying in the same town but in separate houses! Those supposed to be looking after the parents promptly left the parents, built their own houses and became prominent citizens in the town. The needs of the parents were probably ignored giving them lot of frustration and anguish. What this means is that proximity of children does not guarantee fair treatment for many parents. When such situations arise, parents never curse their off springs but their desperation, anguish, feeling of helplessness and insecure mind may have some adverse impact on those responsible one day or the other! 

Badettu family must have a special place for mothers because "Ammeru" of Brahmasthana and Panchdurga Parameshwari of Indrani are the most favored goddesses with which family is closely associated. Though we do not know how the mothers belonging to yesteryear were treated in the house-hold of Badettu Narnappaya at Padubidri, it is reasonable guess that they had to bear heavy responsibility in carrying out many chores associated with earning a livelihood. However we do know that next generation mothers were kind, frugal, understanding, disciplinarians though some of them were subservient to their husbands. We cannot forget the venerated mothers like Tulsiakka, Paddakkaya, Kaveriamma, Janakiakka, Lahsmiakka and Sarawathiakka, all of whom deserve a special place in our hearts. Mothers in later generations should always remember that motherhood is divine and all of them must be treated with respect without imposing our male chauvinism on them.  

The proverbial mother-in-law vs daughter-in-law conundrum appears to have become a phenomenon in later years as new brides coming from educated families or with rich financial background always had different temperament and mindset. But such discords were far and few in Badettu family and with girls getting educated future mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws are going to be on par when it comes to intelligence, culture and behavior. Of course humans as they are, there can still be differences of views and opinions and as far as possible such differences must be defused by the head of the family promptly and decisively. Ideally a mother-in-law must be striving to be a mother also to her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law must try to be a daughter to the mother-in-law. Confused? If you respect an individual for what he or she is without aggressively demanding the same, you get respect automatically for whatever you are! Still confused? Try and try, thou shall succeed.      

Answer to last Quiz

The person who earned an engineering degree without enjoying any modern facilities and learning environment so commonly available to most of his cousins in comfortable houses in cities is none other than Sriram, son of Cheeya and Rema (from Ananthrama family branch). Any one who has visited the present conditions of Badettil will realize the extent to which Sriram was handicapped while studying his engineering course for four years. What is more amazing is that both his parents are not educated much and there were no senior persons in the family to whom he could have turned for advice and guidance.He is presently employed with a reputed company in Bangalore. Let us all applaud this boy for his sterling achievements!

Quiz for the current issue

Who among the fourth generation members of Badettu family can rightly claim as the first post graduate degree holder in Agriculture? Remember Badettu family was originally an agriculture dependent group and why there was none specializing in agriculture earlier is a mystery.


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