This one is for parents.
Especially and with good reason, You are the first bastion, the initial wall on the road to collapse, the octroi post where you can tax your kids for the burden they bring to the home.
That is the first reckoning. That vacation back into the bosom of your family. It is faced with trepidation and stress ad longing and love and warmth and subterfuge and deception. Topmost among the list is the need to conceal from Mum and Dad and prying siblings the new tablet diet you are on. Most of us use peppermint breath freshener tins to keep them in. Some of us scrape the surface to obliterate the markings and make them look innocent. Then they can be mixed with actual Altoids or Fishermen Friends and only which are which. We do not want to be placed in a position where we have to explain what the hell they are or why we are having them. The biggest fear as we board the aircraft is running out of them. This can happen because we stay away from supply chains longer than we thought, rush our dosage because of certain stress factors like tension at home, parents fighting with each other, the claustrophobia of being with family, the sudden return to childhood discipline, the shrieking voices within becoming even more shrill.
The first few days are okay. Love is in the air, comfort food on the table, your childhood favorites, welcome change from Ramen noodles and cold pizza. Your own bed, your old clothes, a shelf of books you could not take to varsity. You then find your patience at an end. Your privacy which is so important on campus is up for grabs. In a line that never ends comes an army of your friends (and theirs as in parents) snooping neighbors who cannot mind their own business, aunts and uncles marinating advice that has not been solicited and obnoxious little cousins with closed minds clinging to mobile phones like lifelines.
It is a Kafkaesque comedy, cruel and invasive. One day, it happens. You lose it. A meltdown of epic proportions sparked by something so insignificant it is almost ridiculous. Your rant shocks everyone, they reel back and try to understand where all this is coming from. Their tolerance is even more infuriating, for God’s sake stop being so accommodating.
A little voice inside tells you to back off or else you may give yourself away. So you slide back into normality. Which relieves your immediate family and they chalk off your irrational behavior to an aberration that happens. Parents are by nature cowards when it comes to their children. They find it very hard to take them on. And I say to you call them on it. If you notice on furlough that they are acting odd, son or daughter, go for it. Check the pills. Check the love for ‘peppermints’. If they have lost weight dramatically or become plump do not justify it, go in there and find out why. If they are too cold or too hot or sit in the desert sun, binge on food, are sullen and snappy and rude and unlike their loving selves, do not accept it. Investigate. Let them lose it, let them shriek and shout and throw those ugly tantrums, it does not matter, you are doing them a favor.
It sounds simple. But it isn’t. We are so good at intimidating you. Ten days left for departure, you are already soggy with emotion, we have you in a corner and we will pummel you into surrender without even breaking a sweat.
Why is it so difficult for parents to read the writing, to see the signs, to ask each other, why is this train going off the tracks.
Instead, they will rationalize and empathize and pretend nothing untoward is occurring.
It is. See how it is. For God’s sake. For your child’s sake.
Vidhi, Has dedicates this song to Mohit as a Raksha Bandhan Gift