I am currently about halfway through the manuscript of my book, The Not-so-Subtle Art of Indian Parenting (and how to survive it).
In it, I draw attention to the way in which respect is only ever directed upwards in most Indian families; those who have migrated as well as those on the homeland. We are taught to respect our elders but little respect is afforded to or modelled to the children and youth in these families.
India has the highest youth suicide rate in the world and though a number of different reasons are cited, I believe that the underlying theme is the lack of respect for the individuality, hopes and dreams of our youth, particularly for young girls.
I tell the story of my first pregnancy and provide a window through which you can see the anxiety I faced, knowing that I would become someone’s Indian mother, yet not wanting to live up to the stereotype of a forceful, strict Indian parent.
The mountain I faced was to do with having to build my own parenting toolkit from scratch, looking at what the research said about a child’s needs, regardless of culture.
As I climbed that mountain, I kept falling over and rolling backward whenever I came across something that was lacking in my own childhood.
It is a story of coming to terms with and accepting my own childhood, trying to build and sustain a relationship with my parents despite our differences and learning how to create an environment, along with my husband, for someone else’s childhood and foundations.
Genre: Humour, Memoir, Parenting