Note: (i) This post might seem a little harsh but let me say this again: I’m NOT saying that ALL Indian parents are like this. Nor am I saying that this is the ONLY thing that Indian parents have to offer. I’m also aware that even Indian children (including me) have flaws and I will be posting something on that topic as well.
(ii) Read the first part here.
When bullying doesn’t work, some Indian parents use the ultimate weapon: They will say that Indian culture believes in putting others before self and hence, the child will be sent to hell for making a decision that they don’t like. The whole argument is that if you are a good boy/girl, you will think about majority. Minority and their rights don’t matter in Indian Culture. Now, I’m ALL for helping others, standing up for the rights of complete strangers, negotiating in a way that benefits BOTH the parties, being less self-centered as long as it is DONE FROM THE HEART. But if you are going to make compassion and love an OBLIGATION or something that can be extorted at gunpoint, I’m sorry to say but this sounds like…bullying again! Many Indian parents don’t understand the difference between sensitivity and melodrama (this requires a separate blog post, no?). So let’s look at what parents say and if there is any possibility of a logical argument:
Your parents: How can you be selfish? You know that your career choice and your choice regarding marriage will hurt your parents and relatives. You still do it because you don’t care about others!! You are against Indian culture which always believes in putting others before yourself!
You: Okay. If my dream is to be a musician, I will help so many people: event management companies, sound engineers, music companies etc. If I make a career choice out of family pressure, then I won’t be happy. I won’t be able to work with passion because my dream is to do something else. If I hate my job, my organization will be affected (they are ‘others’ too). My customers will get affected (they are ‘others’ too). Technically speaking, the number of people in my organization plus the number of customers are way more than the number of people in my family and relatives.
Suppose a girl is marrying someone because of her parents’ pressure. She won’t be able to make anyone happy…even if she tries her MAXIMUM best. So let us count the number of people whom she will make unhappy despite trying her level best:
1. Her husband
2. Her Husband’s parents
3. Other relatives and friends of her husband etc etc
4. Her parents will suggest her to adjust but yet, if their daughter is not happy, they will also feel bad.
One person is making so many people unhappy. But if she doesn’t marry, she will be able to stop the unhappiness from spreading to more people. If she doesn’t marry, 20 people from her family (parents and relatives) will be unhappy. But if she marries, 40 people (her parents and relatives + her husband and in-laws) will be unhappy. Technically speaking, she is following Indian Culture, perfectly!
But if her parents want to marry her off despite her dissatisfaction, aren’t they going against the great Indian Culture?? For their happiness, they are making 40 people unhappy..and that includes their own daughter! Who is against Indian Culture here?
The very fact that you are EXPECTING a return to your investment (parenting) means that you weren’t giving to your child…you were merely postponing your pleasures. In other words, you are ALSO selfish.