Tuesday, 9 March 2010

It was almost 25 years since the Rahuls were settled in USA, migrating to a different country, different culture and perhaps different perceptions. Rahul was the President of a leading Software Giant in LA and had everything one would aspire for. Excellent Job, Adorable wife, Priya, and a cute daughter, Sanjana, who was so very smart and intelligent for her 16 years. Having been brought up in USA from birth Sanjana grew up acquiring all the native habits, qualities and the manners of a typical american child.

Right from her 5th year Sanjana’s mother did try her best to imbibe some Indian culture, habits, language etc., into Sanjana but to no avail. Though Sanjana was very good at school and other academic exploits she developed a kind of vanity and a haughty nature which Rahul and Priya could not understand. She would want to do things in her own way unmindful of the fact as to how it may affect others. Her dressing style, although within limits of decency, was so bold that it worried Priya. There was a silver lining in the form of Robert Junior, who was a friend and classmate of Sanjana, with an exceptional maturity and good upbringing for his 18 years! Priya always felt comfortable when Sanjana was in the company of Robert and began to like him.

During the summer holidays Sanjana wanted to go for the “Wild Life Camp” with her friends. The camp was in a forest area far away from LA and not a well developed one. Priya found out that the other members of the team were four boys aged between 20 and 24 and 2 of them were drop outs from school. There were no girls in the team. Priya requested Sanjana not to go for this trip and promised her a trip to Florida. Sanjana threw a tantrum saying, “Mom this is the problem with you people, you do not understand the feelings and desires of a youngster and try to force the kid within the confines of your unfounded tradition and beliefs which are outdated. I need some space of my own mom please understand.” After this outburst she rushed out to meet her friend Robert,

Seeing Sanjana leaving to see Robert, Priya rang up Robert and explained in detail the entire episode and pleaded with him to dissuade Sanjana from going to the Camp. Sanjana narrated the details to Robert and said how frustrated she felt that her Mom would not understand her feelings and need for freedom. After listening to her patiently, Robert started explaining to her that the issue needed more detailed look. For example, the camp was at a far off place from LA and was not in a developed area. Even basic facilities like a Police outpost or medical facility was 50 miles away. There were only 4 boys and out of them two were drop outs without any care. Without another girl being there in the team, would Sanjana feel at ease to spend 7 whole days. While Robert agreed that Sanjana had every right to have her “Freedom and Space” , he explained that Priya’s genuine concern on the above issues and her fear for her daughter’s wellbeing was fully justified. Listening to his matured analysis with rapt attention Sanjana realized her mistake and felt ashamed for her behaviour, She understood that she had all the “Space” she needed which was perhaps filled with so much Love and Affection that it appeared to exert pressure!!


  1. K.Sundara Raman said...
    The dilemma of Indian parent in USA is portrayed nicely.Perhaps the solution lies in bringing up kids with our cultural background making them learn Carnatic music Bharata natyam and more importantly about our epics Ramayana and MahaBharatha!Art of living courses could be imparted.
    chitra said...
    Good she at least trusted somebody. Most of the children these days like to do things which they like with out bothering about the repercussions. That is why even in India we see all the psychology counselor's clinics getting flooded.
    Nalini Hebbar said...
    Some mistakes are best never made...I am happy sense prevailed. The problem is very much a reality even in urban India.
    S.R,Ayyangar said...
    This can be a story of any family in India as well. Children act on others' advise rather than their own parents.It all depends on how parents WORD their feelings.
    Anonymous said...
    Very good post every parent living abroad, with children in their formative years, should read.It is very important to imbibe our culture in children to enable them to appreciate our customs and values instead of blindly aping foreigners.

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