Also, it's probably going to upset a lot of traditional Indian folks. But my sincere hope is that it will empower & encourage at least a few million young Indians like me. That's only 0.002% of the population. So really, the goal is quite small, hairy & audacious. Much like the author.
India has the highest youth suicide rate in the world, particularly for young females. Though a number of varied causes are cited, I believe that one of the biggest underlying reasons are some of the harmful, culturally accepted norms around parenting. There is a widespread lack of respect for the hopes, dreams and individuality of young Indians and consequently, the pressure put on young Indians to be everything but themselves.
Indian Parenting needs to be redefined (by Indians) for the sake of the next generation and that is what I hope to do through my memoir. I hope that my writing will be a source of hope and encouragement for young Indian people as they look back on their childhoods and consider what kind of parents they want to be now or in the future (if that is what they want).
A recurring theme in the book is the idea that respect is only ever directed upwards in most Indian families; for those who have migrated as well as those on the homeland. Children are taught to respect their elders but little respect is afforded to the children in these families, by their parents.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The Not-so-Subtle Art of Indian Parenting
In 2016, I became pregnant with a daughter. The pregnancy was planned. Having a daughter was not. How was I going to raise a girl when I wreaked havoc in my parents’ lives when I was a little girl? This little girl was going to see right through me. I would have no credibility standing before her as the person who was meant to raise her. It was a disaster waiting to happen.
As the months went by, my body become more rounded to match my round face. I had to wade through the uphill swamp (if that is a geographical possibility) of facing my own childhood and coming to terms with the piles of manure deposited by sacred cows throughout the journey. As one would correctly predict, my spherical state meant that I rolled backwards quite a few times as I revisited periods of depression, physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
While other mums were nesting, I being asked by my dentist about how much I grind my teeth at night. How was I supposed to know? I was busy having nightmares about how I would manage mine and my daughter's relationship with her Indian heritage and grandparents.
Eventually I reached the top of the hill and gave birth there. It was a glorious moment of becoming a little girl’s Indian parent. It still is not a subtle art but it’s an art I have redefined for myself.