My parents have now been married for 19 whole years and, goodness, still coming to understand life every single day. So recently I interviewed them about what happiness means to them in life. And their responses were kind of expected, but what happened while getting them to record it was more exciting.
So the first step was bothering them. I had to do that for five days continuously so that they finally agreed to give their daughter some time out of their busy schedules. No, not today. We are gonna have guests here in the evening. No, I am busy cooking. No, I have an appointment with the doctor. No, I need to clean the house. Honestly, no’s are pretty common but the number of them that were thrown at me this particular time is a different story altogether. Anyway, after all the begging and crying, that glorious moment finally arrived. The moment I was waiting for. It was after a long, tiring day. My dad had just returned from work and was literally trying to remove his shoes when I started pestering him again. This time he agreed. “Fine, but I swear it shouldn’t take any more than 15 minutes,” he said. So, this amazing interview took place that night at 12:36am.
Now, imagine all three of us (my mother, my father and myself) sitting together in their bedroom at that time of the night, trying to do an English project. I started off with my question while the recorder was on and as soon as I had begun recording, my two younger siblings entered the room because they couldn’t sleep ( they also wanted to know what was happening in their absence).
Disruption no. 1.
So, my mother tried sending them off to bed while my father explained to them that this project is very ‘important’. I, on the other hand, was impressed at the amount of importance directed towards me. I didn’t think something like that would ever happen.
So yeah, we sat there and tried for the second time.
Then there was Disruption no.2.
The part with the most masala. So we sat down and my mother said, “Ajay, (my father) can we please practice or discuss it once before actually recording it? I’m a little nervous and it’ll help me know what I am supposed to say.” To this, my father replied in the sharpest tone he could: “See Priyansha, she’s already fighting with me and we haven’t even started. It’s fine Aditi(my mother), we’ll just do it at one go.” My mother didn’t seem happy and in a very low tone said, “I’m asking you to help me out. The thing is, you are comfortable and good at public speaking, but I’m not. I’m a different person. I need practice before doing things like these,” which is kind of true with my mother being a housewife. Things are, however, very different for my dad in work and life generally. She’s not used to these things. My dad, however, gives speeches and sits for conferences almost every other day. Things are very different for them.
Anyway, coming back to where I was, they kept on arguing for a while and didn’t know that I was recording, but that is what really told me how their relationship with each other is. They try to tell the world that they are happy together and that they love each other. This is to a certain extent true, but they feel like if they are portraying their relationship in front of someone else, it just needs to be very close to perfect.
Throughout the interview, my mother stressed on things like family. “Every morning you want to wake up with a smile and see everyone else around you smile. You want to see your kids happy, you want to see your family happy, you want to be happy, so I think that happiness is the most important thing to stay alive,” she said.
When asked if personal happiness is more important than happiness related with family, my mother said, “It’s connected”. My father added, saying that “Yes, there’s a direct connection. If my family is happy, my kids are happy, then I’m also happy. If I see them laughing, that makes me happy. If people around me are happy, that brings happiness to me as well. There’s a direct connection.” Most things they said were true, whether or not we choose to believe it. By the end, they were talking truly and I couldn’t have been happier.
I, being the annoying little 16-year-old, tried to create drama between them, picking up topics which I thought they might fight about. But at the end of the day, it didn’t bother them, and they kept on saying things that revealed more about what kind of people they are in their relationship. They had started with fighting, and believed that they can never come to any conclusion. But they did agree to one thing. You can never be happy if the people who you’re close to are not happy. That day, they taught me that you should always put others before yourself.
When we were done recording a 9 minutes long, deep, meaningful conversation, all I did was thank my parents and leave them at peace. I don’t think anything better could have happened that night. It was worth definitely worth spending my time on.