May 8, 2014

A Gujarati Play

Image: Google
It was an Invite by the Community Group BBuzz to go and see a Gujarati Play. Organized through the Gujarati community and sponsored by the local Business houses, it was a welcome opportunity to do something different for the weekend.

Veran Vagde Ugya Phool... That was the name of the Play and though not quite sure, what it meant, the implication was that a flower grows even in a barren land. It was with this much of an understanding of what the Play meant, that I went to see the same. Now, not that I don't understand Gujarati, but then, would one ask some one at a play, what does it mean?

A long time since had gone to a live professional play, was looking forward to it. Come the day, the time,it seemed like minutes from the time the doors opened, that the entire Auditorium of about a 1000+ capacity was filled up. What was also interesting was the active participation of the young kids who attended, considering that this was advertised as a Social issue Play, and more so that it was on a weekend.

The backdrop of the Play was Surrogacy, or even a Womb for Rent. A wealthy couple in the US coming down to India as they had no kids. Different options considered, including adoption and of course going the surrogate way. Hard hitting at times, when the wife reiterates time and again of her anguish of being unable to bear a child. A mix couple where the Husband is a realist and accepts that fact that he cannot have children, and is willing to spend money as it is all looked at in $$'s and definitely cheaper in India,

Wanting to have a child at the earliest and in the shortest of time span, the couple are provided with a surrogate mother, who is uneducated, lacks manners in terms of meeting people, in terms of speaking and is married to a drunkard. Described as a good "candidate" who has the ability to carry a full term pregnancy, the play revolves around the life of the couple who spend the next nine months with the "Mother" who will bear their child.

An issue that exists in society all across, with many couples unable to bear children and the lengths that they go to have some one who will bear their name after they have long gone. There are various options, but the key message that I could gather were two:

The first was the acceptance from a society's point of view of a woman not being able to bear a child. It is always the fault of the girl, no matter that the fault was with the boy. With changing times, men are more acceptable to the fact that the fault lies with them, but does society forgive the woman? The mother of the boy in the play, would not resist passing a barb once in a while to her daughter in law for her inability to be a mother.

The very fact that the couple despite living in the US, chose to come back home to a remote location away from the prying eyes of all their relatives, to have a child out of Surrogacy, was proof enough, that though we live in modern times, we are still worried as to what Society will say.

The Second message as I saw and inferred from the play was the change in the attitude of the surrogate mother. Here was a woman, married to a drunkard, having delivered a child who did not survive (due to the drunkard's bad genes), a woman, who was in all terms uncouth with respect to manners, dressing, speaking, and even respecting elders.

The change that transforms this uneducated woman while living with an educated family, learning to dress, to speak, to walk was the second message that I could infer. Obviously eating proper food, getting a good place to stay, living with people who respected her, provided an environment that was different to reality. One could see as the play progressed, the woman changing and even wanting that new life.

Unfortunately, I could not go through to the end, but the message stayed far and long. The fact that we consider ourselves to be great, but are yet driven by society's norms and thoughts, their likes and dislikes is proof enough that though living in Unitary families, one cannot escape the surroundings around us. Cultures may have different levels of acceptance, but the Indian / Asian culture has traditionally frowned upon such choices and there seems to be no change in that thinking.

The second part about the woman bearing some one else's child inside her, getting a better life in the process, was a clear cut message that you are where you live, how you live and who you live with. Your entire demeanour is dependent on the society that you live in. Having good food / education / money, is a great contributor to the ultimate outcome of a persons personality. Yes, we do have our exceptions, who despite all of this turn out rotten, but the many that have turned as such, can at times be linked to the backgrounds in which they have grown up in / with.

Questions that did leave me thinking and unanswered yet:
- Is society so demanding that it expects no flaws in people?
- Are people who are born into bad surroundings and turn so. Is it their fault?
- The Surrogate mother who rents her womb. Is she serving society or doing a business?
- Does the saying the one who rears the child as against the one who bore the child is more important hold true? Who passes the values?
- The Surrogate mother.. After renting out a few children, if she has her own, will she have any attachments?
- Just because some one has the money, does it give the right to the person to do what they want and use the one's who need money! Is it moral?
- Are developing countries the dumping ground for such requirements and needs? Is that what they are worth?

I went in trying to see a play and have a relaxed evening.. I came out more confused and lost. I am not sure about you?

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