India, Skiing & Family Values
On Sat afternoon, Ivy and I went to see an imax movie in downtown San Jose (at the Tech Museum) called "Mystic India." It was a beautifully-photographed forty-minute overview of Indian geography, history and culture. One thing that stood out was how communal the Indians are, and that that like many non-Western societies, people genuinely take care of each other; specifically, in families, the young look after the old and vice-versa. (You'll see how this thought ties in with other things in a second...)
Yesterday, Ivy and I woke up (kind of painfully) at 5.30am and drove over to Dodge Ridge near Yosemite for a day of skiing. Ivy is an excellent skier and better than me (she's skied a lot in Austria and Slovakia) but now that she is learning how to snowboard, our pace has been perfect and about even.
Driving home last night we stopped for dinner and were touched with how a father and his grown-up daughter made a point of taking their elderly (in his late 80's) grandfather out for dinner as well. The grandfather moved slowly but was having a great time and definitely appreciated being out and about and with his family. You got the sense that this family had their priorities right and that all three generations were very kind to each other.
Later on, Ivy and I had a good discussion regarding how unfortunate it is that Western countries are so bad at spending time with their families and taking care of each other. Yes, the U.S. and Europe are "wealthy" in terms of our ability to produce and consume material goods, but we are poor and lacking in terms of the amount of time we spend on each other. The India movie we had seen on Sat reinforces that poorer countries are richer than Western ones in many ways and you won't see many Indian or Asian families (even if money was no object) carting off their grandparents to old folks homes.
Also, although we don't have a good idea of what an Indian funeral would be like, Ivy and I suspect that many countries would spend much more time grieving and celebrating and honoring one's family members than what happens in the U.S. and Europe. For example, a co-worker of Ivy's dad died and her co-worker took a day or two off but was then back to work, plugging away. A longer period of time to celebrate and honor your parents would seem appropriate if we stopped to think about it.