Parents keep cribbing how immature we are for our age, how millennials don’t have the sense of responsibility they had when they were younger and such. You end up telling them how much you hate where you are and that being open to something else doesn’t mean you are irresponsible. You then get into your room (good for you if you have the privilege of having one, I didn’t) and slam the door with all your might. If you said, “Aah! Ith ente katha aanello!” welcome to the club dudey!
Why so? Why does it end up being so stressful at times and why is it so hard for us to convince our parents? We often complain about how our parents can’t look at things from our perspective, right? For a change, let us look at why parents are the way they are, and why we millennials are the way we are!
Millennials were born into privilege. Their parents, not so much.
This is not a generalisation. Before you attempt to @ me, try and understand things from MY perspective! We have often heard stories of how our parents had to walk to school, run errands, look after their younger siblings and so much more. While we all laughed at Vineeth Srinivasan’s comeback in one of his movies, “Achante school entha Sabarimalayil aarnno?”, little did we think that we are giving zero or negative value to the efforts they put in. Do we have the burden of marrying off our sisters? Do we have to bring in water from a nearby pond during summers? Do we have to walk 10 km because there aren’t any transport services? Okay, so you get my point.
Money doesn’t grow on trees. No, not even money plants.
Some of us were privileged enough to get a few Rupees as pocket money every month. Some of us did little chores in and around the house and earned our pocket money. The rest of us do not fall into either of these. This ‘rest of us’ are the people who were given exactly ₹12 for their canteen lunch and the exact change for their bus ticket. If you wanted to eat ice cream on Wednesday, you have to start planning it from Sunday, convince your parents that ice creams don’t give you fever all the time, and get that money by Tuesday. Phew!
Many of us didn’t realise the value of money until we reached a certain age or started earning on our own, did we? Our parents probably knew it from Day 1. Every single penny in the house was accounted for. They have so many stories of how they used to save on bus money and walk an extra km or two so that they could add it up and have biriyani someday. And here we are, reading newspaper articles on how children contemplate suicide because their parents did not get them what they wanted to eat for dinner!
A thought-process moulded by society
While most of us think about ourselves, just ourselves, our parents and their generation did not do so. They think about how almost every act of theirs is going to be perceived by the neighbours, their neighbours, and some distant aunt dozing off in Angamaly. Our fashion choices, career choices, the friends we hang out with, and a zillion other personal choices are always questioned from time to time. This is probably because neighbours were not just nosy-parkers back when they were growing up.
They were family. There was no ‘ente parambu, ninte parambu’. All the children played under one tree, their moms went shopping together to one marketplace and the dads spent their evenings together discussing ‘naattuvarthamaanam’ in one chaayakada. They cared for each other and stood by each other. While this scenario evolved into concrete fences around each house and doing things at their own pace, what didn’t quite make that jump was the mindset. Minds were still wired to think about “what the people around say about what we do”. Well, well we know better now, don’t we? (wink, wink)
The great Indian household
Mmmm no that is not a typo. It is not just the kitchen that deserves to be in the spotlight. The entire space under the roof does! A house where the men took important decisions and the women got to choose just the utensils in the kitchen on which they proudly etched their names. The house where girls were expected to be ‘prim and proper’, cook, clean and help their mothers and the boys well, could just be. This is the house our parents grew up in. This is what they have seen all through their lives and this is why they call women who talk about feminism ‘dangerous’. This is what they have seen their role models do too.
To them, this was how it has always been. And was there a problem with all this? No, not in their eyes. There we no rebellions because nobody dared to go against the ‘voice of the house’. Hence, it probably hurts their ego to watch things ‘spin out of control’ as they would like to call it. This system and its toxicities have been drilled into them since their formative years and it is now difficult for many of them to even think otherwise.
The whole point of this article is not to justify the acts or thoughts our parents have. While we may not always be right and them, not always wrong, the best course of action in the event of a disagreement might be to sit with them and probe into what they think is so wrong in what we do.
Instead of yelling at them and slamming doors, let us try having discussions. Takes an enormous amount of patience but we believe it is worth it. So there. That’s some food for thought, I hope.