Reading through the book The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, the life of the main character, Gogol, reminds me much of the young adult life of Chris Yuan from the book Out of a Far Country by Christopher and Angela Yuan. Gogol is living a much-desired American life. He strays as far away from his parents as possible and gets involved in multiple relationships with American girls. Similarly, Chris Yuan declares freedom when he leaves home for university and lives the life he always dreamed of, drinking alcohol, having sex, and doing drugs all to his own freedom. It is when Chris starts to sell drugs and get arrested that he truly realizes his actions and runs back into the comfort of his parents' love and acceptance. Gogol has not hit rock bottom yet, but by the end of chapter 7, he starts to feel a bit of remorse. I mean, even if you don't have a super good relationship with your parents, you do owe them your life and the least you can do is show a little respect. Being independent for awhile gives Gogol a chance to experience what it's like to make his own decisions. After years of living with his parents' forced culture, he finally feels free and is able to discover all the different aspects of American culture that he was always shielded from.
In the book Out of a Far Country, Chris returns home, humbled and in remorse. He misses his parents and his eyes are opened to see all the care they provided for him all his life. After living his own way and learning the hard way, he admits that he was wrong.
For Gogol, he doesn't go through the same obvious revelation that Chris goes through, but after his Father's death, he does reflect on his life and how he treated his parents. People say that you never appreciate what you have until you lose it.
"He thinks of the last time he'd seen his father, three months ago: the image of him waving good-bye as he and Maxine pulled out of the driveway on their way to New Hampshire. He cannot remember the last time he and his father had spoken. Two weeks ago? Four?"
When Gogol is driving away with Maxine he ignores his father's request and dismisses his father's attempts to build their relationship. Ever since he was young, Gogol never showed positive emotional reactions to his father's efforts to reach out to him. At the end of chapter 7 Gogol mentions one moment that he and his father shared. It was not a moment he simply treasured because he passionately loved his father and wanted to cling on to every moment they shared, rather it was because he was told to. In the incident of his father's death Gogol's mind automatically links memories back to the good times they shared and the last scene they had together. Even as Gogol reminisces the past, he can't help but convict himself for isolating his own life from his family. That without event of his father's death, he never would have willingly retrieved those forlorn memories of the past.
In a TV drama I watched this same idea is seen. People never truly appreciate what they have until they lose it.
After the main character's father passes away, everyone is thrown into a state of shock and depressions. His mother and now-dead father never had a happy marriage. They were always fighting and arguing and even threatening for divorce, but his death still causes her to cry and reminisce what few pleasant memories they shared (which basically refers to any rare time they were not yelling at each other). To her, although she claims she doesn't love him, when he really is gone, she finally learns to appreciate him. Sadly, this is the way too much of our world thinks. Gogol's isolation from his family doesn't strike him as an act of abandonment until he is hit with reality. Until something tragic causes him to reflect on what his life has become.
Having independence is a freedom and a danger. It's danger lies in it's vast freedom. Without the authority and control of parents in his life, he can do whatever he wants and no one is there to bring him back on track.
But what is 'on track'? Does that mean there is a set way everyone should live? No, of course not. If you find partying uncontrollably and living life completely without a care comfortable, sustainable, pleasant, and totally unquestionable to you, then by all means, continue at your own will. But for the most part, through many peoples' stories and even by my own experiences, I have come to find that having a set of morals to live by is what brings meaning to my life. Even Gogol has to take a step back in his life after his father's death and reexamine some areas of his life. He sees the dissatisfaction that Maxine actually brings him. He sees that ignoring his parents doesn't make him feel free, just uncomfortable, since he even dreams about his parents calling him back into their reign. Not to say that Gogol's father's death was a positive thing, but there are definitely positive outcomes from it. Sometimes it does take a tragic accident to shake us from the hallucination we're living in. Life isn't about playing it safe all the time and missing out on all the fun, but it isn't about going crazy all the time and wildly running around either. I think it's a balance of both. Living in a world full of selfish and stubborn people, tragedy is often one of the only ways to bring about a revival in people. What do you think? Do you think tragedy is necessary at times? It often seems that way in our world...
I have a story. You have a story. And while these stories need to be heard, in the end..we are all more than a story but still simple wayfarers of life.
A blog cannot contain the entire person I am, it is just a colorful collection of my stories.
P.S. Please ignore all preview blog posts due to it being written by my high school self for an English class project requiring the creation of this blog. I only keep it for amusement purposes.
Thanks for bearing