Seriously. What is it with Indian parents? It's almost as if once their kid turns twenty four, all they do is cry. Do they not realize that their children will one day use the grey matter they have been blessed with and rationalize the world around?
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
My parents and I seem to have swapped lives ever since I grew out of my teens. Now, it isn't me listening to songs from the 60's and moping about how life is unfair and how we are all heading towards nuclear Armageddon, it's my folks. Anything that has ever happened to me over the past five years - boyfriends, breakups, exam scores, jobs, illnesses, weight-loss, graduation - has just made my parents more cynical and upset about how their first daughter is growing up. For them, it would've all been better if I just stayed thirteen, when they could tell me what I was to do and I had to listen. Or it would've been better if they could boast of my exemplary achievements (which there are none).
I think a part of it is some kind of social dilemma - Indians are all about being the best at everything and if they fail at it, their children have to achieve what they couldn't. So in short, your accomplishments aren't really accomplishments unless you have managed to live up to generations of expectations. In India life is a 'Vicious circle of Probability', a kind of fantasy tree that is planted and rarely grows. This is how it goes -
1950 - A man tried his best to become an engineer, but his father didn't let him live his dreams, he goes to option 2. i.e strive hard to make his son become a successful engineer.
1970 - So the son grows up, trying to become an engineer to please his father, but hates it and hates every moment of his life and swears that he's never going to let his children become engineers. His father tells him continuously that he's a failure.
1990 - Now the kids grow up, and are actually interested in engineering, but they take up a creative course because they want to please their father and fail to do so. So they spend the rest of their lives telling their children what decisions to make.
2010 - Kids these days don't listen anymore so they are born failures anyway.
Now all my parents do is point out minor successes of the children of people who hardly mattered in our lives. X has a job at the Bank. Y just gave birth. Z is earning ten times more than I am. They are so caught up in this web of pitting my accomplishments against the children of others, there is nothing I can do to make them think of me as a success - unless of course, I live up to their vision of the first child, and become a disturbed 'Child of Firsts' - the first to own a car, the first to earn the highest, the first to get married, the first to have children and so on.
What I'm trying to tell my parents constantly is that I'm fine, that I'm alright and they don't have to worry. But my mum clearly isn't convinced - ' You are 24 and not married as yet', she says. I'm thinking of a couple of fictitious triumphs to calm her down, but then again, I know this is a never-ending soap opera.
Wait, what is my mum looking up on the yellow pages now? Dear God, I hope there isn't another one of those prophetic cephalopods in my locality.
Posted by Meera Vijayann at 09:23