The myth of the happy family exists not because of our actual experiences of family life, but because of our collective silence and our reluctance to acknowledge the abuse and violence inherent in the family. Unless we do that, we will continue to internalise such abuse and perpetuate it, and find ourselves unable to distinguish love from oppression, care from control, safety from imprisonment. It is only when we see the family for what it is, and not what we are told it is or should be, that we can begin to rescue our notions of care, security and love and recognise meaningful relationships outside this paradigm of family.
How odd. If we go to watch an action film, which promises gangsters and shootouts, and then in the film some gangster manages to unrealistically dodge bullets, or survive three bullets to the chest, or famously splits a bullet in two by throwing a disc at it, we are unconvinced because its not realistic enough. But at the traffic signal, with these con-artists, we are outraged because its too-realistic, because they completely convinced us.
Its definitely not the first time this has happened. I found myself in exactly the same spot a few weeks ago when social media plunged into an ugly turf war over Raya Sarkar’s list. The very impulse to respond or engage was preceded by this intense introspection- of my own position in the debate/discourse. Its like the question “What do I think about this?” is blocked by a much more pressing question:
“Where am I thinking from?”
“Every time!” I thought to myself, gnashing with irritation as I hiked through the dark and dug-up mountain trail that was the sidewalk. “Thieves, greedy f**kers! Why cant they just go by the meter!?”