Friday, January 21, 2011

To not party

So, I don’t like this living at home thing. I’ve never liked it, to be perfectly honest. It’s one of those weird Indian social propriety things that kids don’t leave their parents’ homes unless they are married. This applies to sons and daughters. For as long as this system exists, I know that our vague sense of entitlement at dad paying our bills and so on will exist. In times of crisis, call dad. That’s how we live in these here parts of the world. It’s not a rich kid’s prerogative. It’s every kid’s prerogative.

The only problem, however, is the simple fact that you can’t really do anything. You have to be home by bed time. This, if you ask me, sucks! It wasn’t until I was 24, that I got the keys to my front door so that I could come home whenever without disturbing my mother. It was a big event. My curfew until then was 10pm. Any time after that was just not acceptable.

Of course working in a newspaper only meant production days were late nights and I couldn’t help coming home after 11pm on a Friday. That’s when the rules relaxed a little bit. In a way, I’m glad my parents were a little strict. I can’t imagine this late night lifestyle any earlier than now. I would have become a little jaded with it. It’s still fun. It’s still interesting. I’m not sure how long it is going to last though. My best friend is leaving for the UK next Friday and I don’t know who I am going to hang out with. It’s not like I don’t have friends here, it’s just that they are not my it’s-Friday-let’s-go-out friends. They are my shit-we-haven’t-met-in-forever-let’s-get-silly friends.

I find it a little trivial to be sitting and complaining about this. I cannot imagine weeks and weeks of going to work, coming home and hanging out with my family. Dear god! I’ll go insane in 72 hours!

Not like my family is not cool. They’re fun. But I can’t do B-52 shots with them now can I?

This is what happens when you’re a 20-something in this country. Everyone gets married or is in the process of getting married, and as the last one standing, you’re stuck in a rut. It’s not a nice rut. It’s a bag full of shit that smells so bad that the entire room and a half is reeking with its stink.

Take last night for instance – I was home at 2. My mother had, by then, called me about 50,000 times already. When I reached, she was calling me names she usually reserves for people she wants to send to death row. I was more than a little angry. Fuck angry, I wanted to turn my back and walk out. This is not the first time. When they found out I was seeing a boy, I became a slut. Yeah, it’s that extreme with my parents. When they found out I drink my father took every chance he got to say – “Well, this is what life is all about right? Boys, booze and partying”.

Of course, he thought he was making me think about the immorality of my actions. He works with reverse psychology. That’s his MO. It hasn’t worked at all on either Sid or me.

This conflict is something I’ve had my whole life. This “You come from a very respectable family. This is not how girls from decent families behave.” BS I’ve been hearing since I was a teenager and I was talking to boys. Well, when you put your kids in a co-ed school, you should have thought about talking to boys, right? Never mind if the fees are subsidized because you’re a teacher.

It’s more than a little annoying to explain to parents about having normal, reasonable, non-sex relationships with some men. Especially, if you’ve known them since kindergarten. They, of course, don’t give you the credit of having a functioning brain and instincts and judgment. According to your parents, no matter how old you are, you’re always the kind with an IQ of 5 when it comes to life. This is especially true at home.

Sometimes, on particularly bad days, I wish I was the oily malayali. The one who centre parts her hair, uses coconut oil liberally, has curly hair (I don’t!), wears only salwar kameez (when she wears jeans of course she will wear a bindi and anklets and a synthetic kurta) and spoke with a thick accent (my mother’s convent Englishness would roll over and die, but I do wish it sometimes).

My life would have been easier. My parents would have nothing to complain about. I would not have had to deal with any of this nonsense. I wouldn’t be sitting here, in Chennai, hoping that I can move out ASAP just so I can sit at home all day because that is what I want to do.

It’s weird. It’s trivial. It’s nonsense. But this is precisely the kind of angst some US-heading software professionals are escaping from.


  1. Indeed, a difficult proposition in a country like India. I remember telling my parents to stop giving advices, when I turned 18 :). I still hear a few, only occasionally though.

    Probably, finding a partner soon might help your state

  2. That would grind a person's spirit away. I hope dreams open their doors for you before you start feeling so pressured to escape that you just settle for something just because it's got to be better than this stuff. I know a lot of Indian young people who chased down that software or that engineering rabbit hole for the very reasons you describe, and it's a rough time.

  3. @Raj - I really don't see how a partner (I'm guessing you mean husband) is going to solve this problem...
    @Nevets - I don't think I want to settle. Not now. Thankfully, I'm not qualified for software...

  4. I meant a committed state, which can possibly invite less questions from your parents

  5. Software is the new serfdom, and some things translate across cultures. Some of your situation has echoes over here.

    Wishing you some peace and clarity :)


  6. Well I guess you're right. None of the above does hold true when "...they are not my it’s-Friday-let’s-go-out friends"

    But don't lose heart ma. You are oily Malayali ma. Promise. :P

  7. @Gumbo - thank you :)
    @Gogol - i am oily malayali it seems. sheddup!