There are many a stereotypes when it comes to Indians – the strange english accent, the loud volume, big crowds, cricket, and the list is never-ending. Now let me present to you the stereotypical Indian parent. What I have to say may hold good for any parent but I’d like to stick to an area that I have greatest exposure to. India is a big country with a wide variety when it comes to culture and tradition, but bar the language and the Indian parent is largely the same nationwide. Whether you hail from the fish-eating land of the Bengolis, the sandy deserts of Rajasthan, the beautiful valleys of Kashmir, God’s own country of Kerala or for that matter any other part of the world, if your parents are remotely ‘Desi’, you have grown up with the same expectations and hopes.
Throughout your life the Indian parent shall ask of you but a handful of things. If you have these bases covered, life is smooth sailing. The only problem is that these handful requests only just define your life. Hence, you end up spending a rather large third of your life either lying, crying or rebelling. We embark on the journey of our lives and go through each ask that come up through the years. Starting from studying, which is the smallest ask, through boyfriends/girlfriends, marriage and finally babies, we’ll go through the Indian parents expectations, statements and reactions.
PS : This is all in good humour so please be a sport and take it as a joke that it is meant to be. No offense intended 🙂
Study (Become a doctor/engineer)
It’s starts from the first day of kindergarten and continues until you have your degree in hand. “Study hard”, you’re always told. The Indian parent will invest money, time and more to ensure their child gets an A. They will sit up nights with you while preparing for those all important board exams and entrance tests. They will accompany you to counseling sessions when you choose your university. There will be poojas in your name and many a coconuts broken on temples steps while fervent lips beseech the Almighty’s grace as their child writes an exam. But this is the easier part, it’s the report card time when tensions run high. When the dreaded day of results arrive and the Indian parent sets their eyes on anything short of a 100 or an A, you’re in for the interrogation session of a lifetime. A 99 or 98 will always be forgotten while you will be grilled for the missing 1 or 2. And if you ever happen to miss even a 90, boy are you in for a beating of a lifetime. And while I could go into the gory details, Mr. Russell Peters has more than touched upon the subjects.
But report cards are only just the tip of the iceberg. School life also means parent teacher meetings. The only thing worse than the Indian parent meeting the teacher is you meeting your in-laws for the very first time and even that could better with time. You are put in the witness-box while your teacher and parents act as Judges. You have no choice but to plead guilty to every offense for there is no lawyer to defend your case. With every meeting, the torture just escalates and your only way out is to finish school.
And god forbid your parents to be the chatty kind, which they will be given that they are Indian, for as they wait in line to meet your teacher they will make friends with every other parent who happens to be waiting in line. This can only spell a death sentence for you. From there on in, you will be compared with every single one of your classmates in more detail than a tech savvy person would the latest gadgets to hit the market. You will be treated to a constant treated to a stream of, “If so-and-so can do it then why can’t you?”. And even if you happen to be best friends with said person, you will hate their guts at that moment. But should you be lucky enough to be top of your class, you shall be shown-off as a trophy is at every sporting event. While you shall be the apple of your parents eyes, you shall be the most hated kid in class. So good luck with that.
But, do not forget, everything that is done, is done for your good and it’s only your future that is being thought of while making you jump through hoops. “You may curse us now, but one day when you’ve grown up and have kids of your own, you’ll know why we tell you this”, will follow every lecture you receive. And do not for even a moment think that having the marks/grades will give you the option of choosing your profession, at most you may get to pick the stream of medicine or engineering you would like to specialize in or if you are really lucky you may get to pick between medicine and engineering. Any other profession is frowned upon and will automatically imply you are stupid and that’s not how you want people to think of you, do you?