Friday, December 07, 2012


The mornings are of purple skies streaked with deep crimson. It smells of cinnamon and coffee. And of course, of love. One wants likes to think that being whimsical is what one does best. It is when one is happiest.

Then he came along. And suddenly there was chaos. She could not think what was it about him that confused her so much. Feet. His feet. First time she told him that feet are the first thing about a person that attract her, he said it was very wise. "Clean feet are the basic sign of hygiene. If a person cares enough to keep his feet clean and stink-free, you can live with that person." She had sighed an exasperated sigh then. Trust him to take the romance out of everything.

She looked at him now, searching for his glasses that were on top of his head. Wondering how he is going to live with his absentmindedness, she reached up to pull down his glasses to his nose. He smiled, that amused, indulgent smile of his. She grinned back. It was going to be quite a morning.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Cost of Independence...and its Worth

I am often told, by well meaning friends, that I am a Grown-up now. That somehow, this business of being a Grown-up implies that I can, and should be able to make my own decisions. I am sure, I often say this, well-meaningly, to my friends as well. But of late, and only of late, I've begun to wonder what a sham that really is.

Being a Grown-up, does not mean a thing. Or perhaps, it means too many things, and not one of us can quite put our finger on an exact, enclosed in angular brackets, sort of definition. Which probably is why we walk around, all of us, with these myriad ideas of what our role as a Grown-up in Modern India should really entail. Traditionally, of course, things were probably much simply designed. I say probably, because I have no real experience having lived in these "traditional, more organised times", and as such, I can only venture what I can, at best, call an optimistic guess. Optimistic, for the thought that, if present times are such a mess, the times before and the times to come must offer a clearer perspective, a neater thinking to things. I may be entirely wrong, of course, but I am rather hoping that I am not.

So, my problem with the present state of affairs is this--we are still a culture which places an enormous emphasis on the family unit--and the family unit, where the parent/parent figures make most of our decisions for us. All keeping the child's best interest at heart of course. And I say this, without sarcasm, condescension or judgement. Neither is this my problem, really, it is merely one of the parameters that define my problem. My problem then, is this change that some of us have perhaps willingly, and perhaps unknowingly, entered into. The change, from being our parents' children to independent, but unattached adults. We, who sort of, kind of, "move out" of our homes, either to study or to work, and then a few years, or if we are lucky, months, later, learn that we are now independent. We can now make decisions, where previously, we would have sought permission. We find that we are responsible for finding (and funding) our own food, rent and bills, and by that extension, we can also decide what we wear, where we go, when we go, and who we go with (or without, for the matter). But then, the problem arises, when we realise that no one remembered to send this whole we-the-independent memo to our parents. Who still are under the impression that they make the decisions in their child's lives, just as their parents made theirs. You can clearly imagine the possible conflicts of interests. And when the said conflicts of interests do arise, the best anyone can do, is fumble and feel their way through the dark. Hence the several make-shift arrangements. "I drink, but please don't tell my parents." "I can never wear these shorts at home, but they are okay for here." "My mother still thinks my roommate's a girl." "Don't you dare put the pics of Saturday night on FB, I have family on my list!"

This, this, is the reason why we have been fighting for the same things since the last 50 years--more independence. And it does not help that all of us have friends who have parents who are more progressive than ours, and friends who have parents who are more conservative that ours. So on one hand, I have friends whose parents sit with her and drink, and on the other hand, I have parents who wont even let her pick the clothes to wear. So we are constantly off the mark while judging our own parents' progressiveness (or should I be saying permissiveness, really?). Which is probably why I was shocked when at 18, my parents let me move out of a convent hostel and into an apartment in an area they had not even been to, with 3 girls they had barely met and I knew for less than 6 months myself. And probably why I am shocked now at almost 27, and having survived 'independently' 4 jobs, 2 different cities, 3 different houses and more threatening-to-be-life-changing crisis than I care to even tell them, my folks won't let me take up an apartment on my own. So when my friends tell me I am a grown up, I am not even sure what that even means.

Am I looking for an answer here? I am not sure myself. I am just asking the question, and hoping that would take me somewhere. Answers, are after all, just collateral damage, are they not?