Indian parents are a breed all their own. We are fiercely protective of our kids and want the best for them. We also have unnaturally high expectations of them and more or less want them to fulfill our own unfulfilled ambitions in life. We compare our kids unfavourably with others and expect them to be creative high achievers, but conversely also expect them to be obedient and docile.
They are higher priority than being happy or healthy or any of those inconsequential things. And, it’s always swotting before sport!
Because most Indian parents experienced pre-libralisation scarcity, they believe that scarcity and frugality are virtues, not compulsions. So Indian parents can and will crib long and loudly about the price… of pretty much anything.
Commerce? Arts? Liberal arts? When they’ve stopped laughing at those suggestions, they will gently explain why the science stream is a better option for them; why it is the only option.
You have to study hard, become a doctor or engineer and ‘get settled’. Because fun is for losers in the Indian parent universe.
Artist? Performing artist? Chef? Animator? Fashion designer? Ha ha ha… Funny! How can anything be a viable career option if it doesn’t ruin a child’s youth and if it doesn’t suck the last shred of joy out of college life?
If a child is not doing well at school or seems to have other issues in life, it must be because of the phone; that evil device that the child is so fond of!
Indian parents are not big on jokes. They believe that life is and must be burdensome. If life is fun, you're clearly not doing it right!
Friends? If you seem to be having a good time with them, they are clearly a bad influence! Time spent with boring, distant family? Has to be good for the soul!
Indian parents are past masters at blackmail. They will remind you about their own impoverished childhoods, the scarce times they saw, the sacrifices they made for their kids (and parents) and professional hardships at every opportunity they get… even when they don’t get the opportunity.
Study in the holidays, they are delighted! Make them a cup of tea, they are quite overcome with gratitude. Sing a song for the relatives, they couldn’t be prouder of their child's ‘talent’. Make them a handmade gift, they will cherish it forever. Maybe that Indian parent, is a good idea after all…
Do you have something interesting you would like to share? Write to us at [email protected]