i recently took a few days off to catch up with cousins are who visiting from Canada.
there, i meet Periya Perippa (Older uncle), let’s call him Uncle R for the purposes of this story.
for scale, uncle R is the official patriarch of a really large network of intertwined families of five in a village smaller to the town of Pollachi. which by definition means he laid down the rules of the patriarchal system that the family operates by.
for further context, he doesn’t have kids. he’s been smoking beedi since he was 11 (gave up a year ago amounting to a totally of 60+ years of smoking everyday) which grossly affected his fertility. as expected from any patriarchal head, he dint let the childlessness get to or affect him and allowed his wife to bear the brunt of it.
cut to today, Uncle R sees me after 3 years and asks me how iam doing in life and if I have kids. so I tell him no.
he surprises me by saying “sorry. I shouldn’t have asked that. don’t worry. I don’t have kids either”
this shocked me. i don’t know who taught him to be sensitive about this but change is huge.
this is one issue of the “choice” of having children. there are larger issues about identity and sexual orientation that I don’t believe he would even realise in his life time.
people who swim against the current, who rebel the system with change, who shock the normal because they chose to be who/how they are struggle so much everyday with placing themselves in this society.
I understand the frustration but find a space that works for you and love your life. There is a good chunk of the society that is adapting a lot faster than the rest.
however, scientifically and anthropologically speaking acceptance of change is slow and takes eons. it not “change” because that would mean it’s just within the organism. this is “evolution” because the learning is to survive and transcend generations and time.
today Uncle R took the effort to make that change. at an age where he still uses a little notebook to jot down phone numbers that he dials into a smart phone. at an age where he can barely hear or understand his own grandkids. I welcome that.
change is the only constant. if you want for it to be consistent and be transferable then it has to be slow. rushing it wouldn’t work. you might not even see the change or enjoy the aftermath but like Sivaji Ganesan said “vedai naan pottathu”