Sharing an email. Parents who permit any communication (not friendship) with guys would be considered liberal by many.
What fears and insecurities make Indian parents (and society) forbid their children from interacting with the ‘opposite sex’?
Some possible fears could be – ‘love marriages’, ‘date rapes’, MMS videos (this one from a coed school principal who didn’t want boys and girls to sit ‘next to each other in class’ or ‘talk to each other after class’), ‘what will people say’, teenage pregnancies, or simply the children ‘going out of hand’.
What do you think are the current methods achieving?
I have been following your blog from the past 4 years. And very unfortunately, the way I got to know about your blog was through an eulogy to Tejaswee in another blog. I wept aunty, for TJ and I even dedicated a post to her on my blog. And I hope that you don’t mind my calling you aunty 🙂 Somehow, your blog posts always found resonance with my way of thinking.
I turned 21 a few days ago. I am going to finish my graduation in a couple of months. I was brought up as any other girl of Indian society. I had guy friends from school but my parents didn’t see my friendship anything more than mere acquaintance with my classmates. I am still good friends with 2-3 guys from my school. I along with my mom came to live in a cosmopolitan city for my graduation. After joining college, I became good friends with my seniors. But I was hesitant of telling my mom about my closeness with them.
I had a reason. My sister, who is more mature than me always bore the brunt for being friends with guys and for hanging out with them. Indeed going out with a guy, even in a group, was thought to be a taboo. None in our family ever dared to be open with their friendships with people from opposite gender. So it came quite as a shock to my mom when she found out that my sis went out to meet her lone guy friend, alone! There was a hullabaloo in my home on that day. My father was at least a bit better, he said that if it all she wants to meet a guy friend, she could meet him at our home. But mom opposed that, too.
According to her, friendship with guys should always be limited to academics, nothing personal. My sister, who was a rebel by nature always argued with my mom regarding this but in vain. Luckily, she stayed away from us so she hardly informed my mom whenever she had to go with a group consisting of guys. But I wasn’t so lucky.
So, I became cautious of what my acts would lead to. I had to learn lessons from my sister. Because I couldn’t afford to lose my friends nor want to earn wrath from my mom. I would text my friends when my mom was not around. I would meet my seniors (cuz they left college) at local eat-outs taking care of the timing and probability of any acquaintance of mine finding me with a guy( or guys).
But whenever I had to go out to meet them at other places, I had to wear a scarf. I was scared of getting caught, of being seen with guys. I know that I had nothing to hide from the world. But I was scared of being judged by the society. People ask us why girls wear scarfs? Is it to hide their faces when they roam with guys? Hiding means that they are doing something wrong, blah blah. I have an answer for them-
“Yes, I wear scarfs while meeting my guy friends. Because I hate when people look at me, find me with a guy and think that he is my boyfriend or that I sleep around with him. People’s judgementality makes us hide our faces despite whatever we do is not wrong.”
But, I am sick and tired of this drama. Because I don’t want to hide from my parents or tell them lies when I have to meet a friend. Come on, a friend is a friend irrespective of its gender. Then why the heck is my mom so insecure?
She feels that none in our apartment brings friends of opposite genders to their homes nor do they hang-out with them and that friendship at personal level with guys is totally unnecessary.
It fills fear, rage, frustration and hopelessness in me. For long I have been trying to tell my mom how things are not the way she thinks is; how “log kya kahenge” attitude would take her no where. I understand the fact that she came from a small-town and that her attitude is entirely influenced by it. But, things have to change, don’t they?
Because, shortly after graduation, I have to join an MNC which will make me work till late in night, hangout in groups which will have guys in it, for sure. If this is how she’s gonna remain, I am sure, there will be a lot of hue and cry from my mom due to my behaviour and changed habits.
I always fancied living far away from home, where none knew me, where I could go out on my own, make friends with people, chat up, bring up conversation, make my home, take care of myself like a responsible adult. Whenever there’s a conflict between my mom’s ideas and mine, I felt like doing this forever, go away permanently. I know, a few call this the chagrin rush in youth but come on, I don’t want to lie to my mom anymore nor do I want her to be hurt.
I want to live a life, a real life where there is no deception, no hide-n-seek between truth and reality, where I can go out to meet my friends freely without a veil hiding my face, where I can happily pillion-ride on my guy friends’ bike without fearing people getting judgemental about me. Can’t this happen ever in my youth? Can’t our society stop being judgemental about people going on roads wearing a mini-skirt, sleeveless top on a guy’s bike, meeting up guys and all?
I brought in the society thing because I know, majority of Indian parents are more society and God fearing than their children-loving -_- I want society to change. Only then can my mom or any other girl’s mom with similar ideology would burst the cocoon they built around themselves and come to terms with reality, practicality and freedom of living.
I grew up with my own idea of life. I am intelligent, I love studying and I love reading books! They bring me in contact with the real world. Is it wrong if I dream of spending a few days in my life in New York all alone? Date a guy? Or get into one of the premier institutes, fall in love with a guy irrespective of his identity? Wishing to spend my life with him, working on a job I love with no pressure either from my in-law or my own family asking me to stay at home, helping them with their house-hold chores, taking care of babies? Of living a real ‘liberated’ life? Am I at fault for all these thoughts?