Growing up in an Indian family when you belong to this generation, is a struggle. Your beliefs, your manner, your culture, everything originates from your family. They want to be the start and end of everything and they’re as inquisitive as it gets. But what about all the other things that influence your life, that makes you want to be more free, more aloof, more independent?
Well we hide those away in crevices, hoping they won’t find them. And what really happens is that they ignore them, even your family refuses to acknowledge your unique personality. The personality you bring out in full form only infront of your friends. Instead they turn a blind eye and pretend you are still that 13 year old who believes in all the same things, still likes eating curd-rice and who watches Pokemon everyday.
Maybe as parents we’d change a few things around to let our kids be their real self, kick back their heels and let them freak out in life. Here is to my future kids,
1. Go to the mandir every year on your birthday
No, don’t go to the mandir, instead, go to a church, a mosque, practise Buddhism or simply sit at home and believe in karma. Don’t believe in religion if you don’t want to. All I really would ask of you is to believe in something bigger than yourself.
After all, you don’t get stamped with the religion you belong to at birth.
2. Celebrate Diwali/Holi/ Navratri
I don’t want you to celebrate festivals only celebrated by a particular religion. I want you to eat biryani on Eid, to play with colours on Holi, to eat sweets on Diwali, to dance to Dhol on Ganpati visarjan and keep out cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas. I want you to celebrate whatever you feel like celebrating, including the day India legalizes Gay Marriages.
3. Let another person walk by after a black cat crosses your path.
‘Don’t cut your nails on Thursday, don’t eat non veg on tuesday and thursday, don’t cut your hair on a saturday’, These are things I’d never tell you, because superstition is not something I ever want you to believe in.
4. Don’t date until you are independent/ in your 20’s.
Date when you’re 14, because I did. Date because I want you to know what puppy love feels like, I want you to know the kind of relationship where the biggest deal is holding hands, I want you to know a time when flowers plucked from trees and chocolates are the most precious gifts. I want you to feel a love that doesn’t come from family.
5. Be an engineer, doctor, architect or lawyer.
No my future child, be a dancer, be a singer, be a writer or be a DJ. I don’t want you to have a degree in engineering, or build a tall skyscraper or perform an open heart surgery to be proud of you. I’ll be prouder if you do what your heart tells you to.
6. Study science.
Don’t study science, don’t start planning your future from the 10th standard. Do something bizarre that makes you happy, study sports psychology or major in film making or get a degree in philosophy. I just want you to gain as much knowledge as it takes for you to know right from wrong.
7. Learn to cook/clean/ before marriage
Learn to cook, clean but not for your husband. Learn to cook to survive, learn to clean so that you don’t stumble and fall face first into a pile of your dirty laundry.
8. Don’t befriend strangers on your backpacking trip.
Go abroad, meet people, learn about experiences you’ve never had, aspire to make them happen for yourself, make acquaintances, make friends that last you a life time or even find your soulmate while soul searching. I trust you and your upbringing enough to know you will filter people, you will choose wisely, because you know better.
9. Roam around in underpants if you want to
Be free, be chill and roam around in your underwear, just be careful not to surprise our neighbours.
10. You can eat dessert before dinner/lunch
Eat a cookie before dinner or even scorch down an entire apple pie, just remember to eat your greens.
11. Tell me everything.
Don’t tell me everything. If I see you upset, I will ask because I care. But I won’t pressurize you, because I know you’ll come and tell me when you’re ready. So take your time and deal with your emotions, I’ll wait for you to come around.
12. You will live under my roof until you get married.
Go and live with your friends, go to college out of the city, get a job in a place you’ve always wanted to live in. I won’t force you to stay home, I won’t even push you out if you aren’t ready. I just want you to experience freedom and independence and become your own person.
13. You should get married and have kids by 28
I won’t force you to marry if you don’t want to. I most definitely don’t want to find you a wife or husband that you haven’t fallen in love with. I won’t ask you to push out children, when you don’t like the idea of having kids. I don’t want you to lose bits of yourself to fulfill any of my desires or wishes.
All I want for you is that you can stand infront of me when you’re older and tell me everything you will do differently for your own children, because you’ve lived a life that’s taught you better.