Not being much involved into the traditional rituals, citing excuses of busy schedules, my slightly fair understanding of Pitru-Paksha is to pay reminiscence to the late loved ones, through rituals and food offerings. It also deems a period of 16 days unsuitable for any auspicious or celebrative beginnings. This period also sets in a nostalgia about the elders who set rhythm to our households or the unfortunate younger ones whom we could not revel enough.
If one may think deeper, you can never un-debt from the huge legacy that these people leave behind. Legacies I am referring to are not of assets, properties and financial wealth; but of the ’Codes of life’ that today seem faint and disillusioned in our busy lives. These elders build traditions of the house, and lay down by example the finest ways to live. These encrypts translate into family traditions and lifestyle; unvaryingly we align with them, till we begin to develop our own (codes).
We often hear wonderful stories of our grandparents and parents, their might and principles, and take pride in being their pedigree. The younger ones are taught by example of these legacies to respect traditions. In every casual family banter, there are various moods attached to these stories; of struggle, humour, losses, gains, clashes and above all, grit to lead till the present. In a strange but interesting way, you look around and discover so many anchored conducts and lifestyles, of different families, existent in similar time. This ‘flattering difference’ is something we owe to our ancestors. We inherit a lot of solutions in these family tales, seasoned with experiences, to our present problems. The difference is merely of context, but learnings have no expiry date. Their charming existence was much more free and confident. The strength in opinion was either driven by experience or by faith, or pruned with far-sightedness. Today, it is ironic that opinions are driven by rumours, beliefs are feebly longing for acceptance, and confidence seeks approval before exuberance. Strangely, there was unspoken exchange of respect for elders and youngsters alike in these tales.
Rightly said, Master always remains a master, immaterial of the brilliance of the student. We have learnt a lot from our elders, but still a lot more to learn. That charming sense of righteousness, sprinkled with patience, the ability to accept all alike, the ability to be again the childlike ‘innocent’ when the circle of life completes.
The changing times bring with them changed priorities, and a clashing set of expectations. There are protectors of traditions and then there are professors of change, both fair in their own right, but both resistant to flexibility. Present social system is so cropped by the definitions of suitable and unsuitable, that it hardly leaves surface for everyone under the same umbrella. These definitions ride more on independent likeability than fair grounds. One may never be able to decipher the code to un-clash, again!
The barter of these traditions is not to just pass on a thought process unchallenged. But to evolve and grow with this thought process, contextual to present times and thread further legacies for times to come.