Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A very old conversation /gtalk.... with gals from diverse backgrounds (pardon the spellings)

"OK now for the reason as to why I went missing....well I was actually in Houston on the hunt looking for my cousin sister who ran away from home last week! Yup my chachas 19 year old daughter left a note in her room on new years saying that she wants to live independently and wants to face the world on her own and the only
hint she gave us was that she’s going to Houston but didn’t tell us exactly where. My chacha basically has disowned her but seeing my chachis state I went with her to Houston hoping to find my cuz. We came back empty handed Sunday night. She has called twice since then only to tell us that she’s gotten herself a job and an apt and is doing fine. I always knew my aunt and uncle were a little strict with their kids but not to the point where the kids wud wanna run off. I think my cuz has been watching a lil too many movies. Honestly I’m not surprised because she was a pretty wild girl. I’m just feeling sorry for my chachi...she was her only daughter. We haven’t told anyone the truth. Just told em that she’s enrolled in a univ in Houston and is living on campus. Dekhthe hain kab thak baath chupthi hai. I cant help but think back to the times when my chachi wud refuse her daughter to go anywhere with me or my sis saying that we will corrupt her and were bad influence! Is hi waja se we never
got close to my cuz..mahino baath nahi hothi thi. I think thats whats really killing her..saare bade bol saamne aa rahen hain. But I still have nothing against her. No mother deserves to go thru what she’s going thru. Lets c IF my cuz ever comes back. I know aisi baathen uchaalna nahin chaahiyen but as u know I have a habit of pouring my heart out in front of u all...so I couldn’t stop myself"


"S, soo sorry to hear about your cousin such things are always embarrassing and tough on the family, but the parents do need to be a bit open minded, I remember my
mom being a lot like your chachi, perhaps even worse, I remember being a little girl and my brothers friends used to visit, I used to refer to them as Bhai but the moment they entered our house my mom used to lock me up in the bedroom and forbade me to come out until they left, I used to be locked in the room for hours, Also like your cuz I was never allowed to go out with anybody, I too wanted to do the same thing run away, but I had my brother who supported me, he stood up to my parents and allowed me to go out with my friends and party, now when I am home on the weekends he's always behind my back as to why am I sitting at home when I can go out. So it is understandable as to why your cuz took such a step, my brother and I always had a saying "if you keep a bird caged up, it won't be long till it breaks free the first chance it gets" but I do feel for your chachi, hope all turns out well "

"S, that is heartbreaking for your chacha-chachi.. but then I am sure the girl is also feeling the same way, but you know what, who can you blame? .. the parents for being extremely strict? or the girl for leaving home, both are right in their own place... I am an only child and my dad was so strict with me that I was NOT allowed to go on a bike with any of my girl friends.. forget boys. No boy was allowed to call home...I had to wear a bindi and have my hair oiled ... and be the girl that will find a good house because of that 'look'. How I HATED it.. but then at the same time, he always made sure that I was working towards being self reliant and that I had to be independent. He always used to say, once you get married, its upto you and your new family... and now I wear no bindi, have NOT oiled my hair since Aug 1995 and chopped my hair in many styles...
he does not say a word now, because he knows I am married and living the way I want. It is hard for a child to be following rules of the house and when the rules get extremely strict, rebellion is bound to happen and no one can stop it. I hope the family comes together at some point and appreciate being with each other. Hope your cuz continues her studies and work and not fall into the teen habits of extra..frolicking"

"Wow S that is one difficult family situation! But it was really nice of you to accompany your chachi to look for your cousin. Hope they are able to sort it out soon and find some kind of a resolution which is a win-win situation for everyone.

The teen years are the hardest and the most challenging for a parent and maneuvering around and finding a balance between our culture/value system and beliefs and the ones they have to face here can be a bit tricky. Been there done that once and doing it the second time around."

"S,....that is some family crisis!!! All the more tuff coz u would be torn ...who does one commiserate with.......shattered parents or a frustrated daughter. The only upside would be that ur chacha,chachi get to introspect and maybe review their norms & for ur cuz to understand the value of independence. Hopefully she does remain in contact with some family member and work towards making a good future for herself. And perhaps given time they'll reconcile & see eye to eye on atleast certain issues."

"Thanx for the replies...I know what u all r saying. I guess my cuz was feeling a lil too suffocated in the environment she was in and probably had no other option...it will be wrong of me to judge her. Eventho I still cant see what it was that was so unbearable for her but then again I wasn’t the one going thru it. I hope I was in better terms with my cuz thaake mein uski side bhi sun sakthi. Right now weve just heard it all thru my chachis mouth.I really pray that she stays strong and firm in her decision and doesn’t end up regretting it cuz knowing the pathan my chacha is he'll never let her back in the house again no matter what. I’m soooo glad my parents are waaay more open minded and complete opposites. Except for the no bf
thing they’ve never 'forced' any rules on us sisters...I never felt like I was being treated diff just cuz I was a girl.

This whole episode has really scared me. I had always heard stories bout girls rebelling but now that its hit home its a comp diff story...is it that difficult to raise daughters? Chalo jab mere bachen honge thab dekha jaayega hehe."


" S,--I am also very sorry to hear about your cuz & the difficulties for your family. You have been more of a support then you might ever know, to your family. One, lending your support and time when others are in need, is a gift enough. But over and above that, to do that without recrimination, or the "I told you so," aspect is very important. You are there for your chaachi and family...!! Good for you. I had a close Pakistani friend in High School-- and her parents were so strict that when she got into a fantastic school, away from home -- they uprooted her whole family to move so she could live at home and go to school. A sacrifice yes -- but also a harsh reality for her to face. It alienated her parents from her, she rebelled, and moved out anyway. I remember still her father calling me to speak to her... to tell her to come home. I just didn't know how to balance that request! Eventually they reconciled -- but her choices were hard for her parents to swallow...
N and Si, have given some awesome insight into the whole scenario--from both a female and parental point of view. Like many of you, I too have faced my share of NO's from parents -- due to being a girl. When my brother could things such as going to homecoming WITH A DATE, and go to Beach week -- I was never afforded the chance to go. Even when my parents knew my friends. Now, when I think back to all my brother got into to-- I shudder to think if my parents had known. But, being the girl, I had to explain and reassure when he didn't. What now is a joke amongst other Indian friends-- the whole Prom, homecoming thing -- back then, it was hard. BUT, strikingly so, as I entered college, my parents began to understand that I needed to do things. And have been remarkably encouraging and supportive. And for that, I will always be grateful. Today, If I want to get on a plane and take a trip-- my mom is the first to --why don't you go here.. or there. I do my best to reassure them that they have taught me well -- for their personal peace of mind -- and I hope that I can find a happy medium for myself, in between.
Looking at it from a cultural standpoint-- this topic has been hashed through age groups. Parents are the ones who say -- look what they are doing, and kids say - why are they so strict. We have movies to chronicle the experiences --from Bhaaji on the beach to American Desi --- I guess its so much a part of the immigrant experience. Not that our parents wouldn't be that strict in India -- they might and could be. But I do know that those tendencies are doubled when they come abroad. To preserve the culture -- when often times it alienates instead. No easy answers. But N, what you do, and how you teach your son & daughter -- from chores to attitude -- these are the ways to subtly ingrain equality. I love your approach. "

"I had a STEREOTYPICAL tamil brahmin upbringing.............. very traditional, very ritualistic, very old fashioned............ I DONT REGRET ONE THING ABOUT IT.
Got lots of sleep, kyonki kabhi dating nahi kiya, baal mere waist se bhi 4 inch neeche tak coz he wudnt let us cut it.......... learnt every little nuance of how to grow up a brahmin........... passing everything on to our son............. without any guidebook
Had a joint family lived with grandparents until they passed away when I finished college........ the best memories a child could ever want....... bed time stories, snacks, pampering........ clothes, toys............. didn’t share one thing with my sisters while growing up...... dadaji loved the three of us to death, bought us our first watch, first earrings, first geometry boxes............... wudnt allow us to play outside after 7 PM............. had to wash our hands and feet when we came in........... learn to sing when we were 6!

I want the same parents and grandparents again and the same childhood all over again
3 girls........ no boy so cant say if he wud have had more privileges, considering how my Appa is he wud have been stricter on the poor guy so............

Pati ne koi restriction nahi daala hai abhi but I cant say I am overjoyed or I feel like my life term prison sentence was cut short on the day I was married or anything...........itne saare extra freedom se maine kiya kuch bhi nahi hai

Ya I watch movies that end at 1 or 2 AM and return home with my girlfriend, hang out with his bachelor friends whether he is in town or not....... go shopping when ever I care to, wear shorts....... sleeveless, everything Appa wudnt allow........... but its not giving me nirvana......

The joys from growing up are unparalleled

The one reason could be.............. I get to see my folks once a year for two weeks
Aur woh cheez SAB dukh, sab angst, sab pent up grudges khatam kar deta hai..........
Everyday I have them in my life is precious now..........."


"That sure was lovely exchange of thoughts on racism and upbringing. I have absolutely no experiences with racism....anywhere. I may sound racist when I say this... the school that my daughter goes to.. a Montessori school is filled with Indians... In a class of 25, I see about 15 -16 Indian kids... I dont mean to be rude, but I dont see a healthy mix of kids or different cultures. But if I ever to take her out and put her in a regular day care.. she would be the minority.... Not sure which one would be better.

As far as upbringing goes..I was brought up in a mixed environment of tradition and modern thoughts. My parents would let me do anything I wanted as far as a career was concerned. Of course, the career did not include modeling and other ultra progressive ones.. and neither did I have any inclination. I had to be home by dark.. was the rule when I was in school. Did not have many sleep overs, as friends were literally in the quarters that we were living in. Dad would be my escort everywhere if I had to go after dark. He is very possessive of me... I guess being the only child played its part. I did not agree with him about the dressing. That was the only major difference we had. We talk a lot about women issues and how we can help them in our own ways and which he does. More than my mom, its my dad who prepared me for the relationships with my in-laws after marriage. Trips to grandparents places are always memorable. Loved the train -bus journeys we had to take to get to the beautiful coastal andhra villages full of coconut trees and musical way of talking Telugu. If anybody has watched the movie 'Morning Raga'.. that is my mother's hometown and they pretty much have shown the natural beauty of the area.

I may show differences in the way I discipline my kids.. and am not sure if its because it is a boy and a girl or because its their behavior that demands different methods. I def agree with N, I will make my son do household chores... he NEVER ever volunteers but when he sees his litter sister having fun getting the clothes out of the dryer he joins in.. or getting the table set of dinner etc..."

"Regarding racial discrimination & the rest……me thinks that issue of discrimination in these times has lost "color"……we have all sorts but the moment the color of skin is involved it takes on a whole new dimension. Whatever it may have been in the past , for being "racist" now , I believe the motivations are more economic, prevalent more among the uneducated and those who feel threatened and suspicious of all "aliens". It is not a manifestation of the Aryan / Caucasian belief that they are a superior race coz of the color of their skin.
My colleagues at work often used to complain that on their visits to Europe , they was a subtle difference in the manner they were treated by their European counterparts……I personally did not experience any such acts of discrimination so have a sneaking suspicion that most of this divide lurks in our own minds and has basis in our own insecurities as far as our color goes and we often misconstrue & read more into what may be an innocuous gesture/word/behavior. But I may be totally off the track having never lived for an extended period of time overseas.
Coming back to big brother, Shilpa S, the "racial slur"……wonder what is the profile of a typical participant. And after all it is a reality show so what do u expect….cooped up with strangers. Haven’t seen the program either desi or phirangi ,but what I gathered from the video clip of the said matter is that it is over hyped tripe. And the reactions from various quarters.......……..activists /the intelligentsia /feminists need issues, politicians need mileage, personalities of indian origin need to take a stand, media needs stories, big brother needs viewer ship/ big bucks, people need controversies, SS needs publicity…..so there we are!!!
Well that was my dose of " a 2 minute analysis" as hubby dearest calls it. Xcuse my rambling
Bout upbringing…….I have no major grouses. I had a pretty liberal upbringing….my Dad (do I miss him…he passed on very unexpectedly 3 yrs ago…he had a regular day and late evening after dinner his heart just stopped beating ,he was gone in secs) was more liberal than my Mom, she’s too cautious. All through I have had the freedom to pursue my own. And if that meant getting home very late, it was acceptable. (Also I guess Bombay probably being the safest city in India for women until recently has something to do with it) .I was granted that choice but I had to work hard to justify this freedom and late nights were not to party but to work towards some goals . And liberal upbringing connoted more than being permitted to wear certain types of clothes or wearing my hair short (which I still do). I traveled extensively and even when I moved out of Bombay to work there was no objection. Both my 6 yrs older sis & me were extended equal opportunities to the point that if my sis had not been provided with sumthing I sure wasn’t getting it. But then the rebel, somewhat iconoclastic that I am ,I got to live a different life than my sis and am I glad for it, ever grateful to my parents . As my mom in law likes to say I’m the right blend of traditional & modern.
Bout gender divide , I been noticing around me this generation bro-sis siblings……the sisters are not taking biased attitudes sitting down…they just refuse to comply and the parents are also breaking the age old mold of treating their sons as the crown princes. "

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