I’m sitting on my mother’s back as I write this post. I did this when I was 8. I still do it at 22. (No, I don’t find any thrill doing this. She feels good with weight on her body, just the way I do.) I hardly ever get time to spend with my parents. Either I’m at work, or they are. After work, my mum goes for yoga and my dad, to his garage.
I enjoy the space they give me. I don’t know if everyone feels this about their parents but I feel mine have the best parenting skills ever. And trust me, I know enough to judge parenting skills. I’ve seen the worst ever as well. It’s just that I don’t feel grown up at all when I’m with my parents. Or do I? I’m not so sure. Right now, after a month of work, although I see them less than I used to, I feel closer to them. I like having an hour’s chat with them after work, even if it happens only once a week. It makes me feel grown up. Oh there I go contradicting myself!
I like thinking they’re proud of me. I will never know if they are or not. We are a family that finds having emotional talk a bit too awkward. I have never told my mum something she has cooked is tasty. My dad has never told me I look pretty. My mum has probably never told my dad how much she adores him. I know this isn’t emotional talk, but you get what I mean. Somehow everything is just understood. I mean shouldn’t it be understood that the rasam rice my mum makes is my favourite? It’s my everyday food. If I relish it everyday, I must love it.
Oh dear! I almost forgot about my sister because she is married. She isn’t expressive either! he only way we express ourselves is over text messages and once on her wedding day when both of us cried our eyes out before she left. I’m sure she knows how I feel. (And not by reading this.)
So as I was saying, I like thinking my parents proud of me. I like thinking they are happy to see me as a grown up girl. I feel good about myself while talking to them. Doesn’t that happen? There are days when you feel so good about yourself. That feeling when someone randomly recognises you on the street and you have no clue who they are? That happened to me once. I was at a wedding and this guy approached me and said “Hey aren’t you Swathi?” I was puzzled because I had no clue who he was. He said “I have seen some pictures you shot of my friend’s band. Great work!” he said. To be all professional, I acted modest and threw a little bit of attitude, not too much to appear snobby, not too less to appear over friendly. Just enough.
That very same day this teenage girl asked her father secretly about who I was. Much to her embarrassment, her father approached my mum and said “my daughter has constantly been asking to be introduced to your daughter.” I raised my eyebrows at the girl with mild interest. I knew what that felt like. I have been the timid little girl with dreamy “I wanna be like you” eyes! I used to think my cousin Smitha is the most fashionable girl. I’d observe closely everything she did in front of the mirror. My sister, Su, was always the good daughter, so I’d try real hard to be like her. My cousin Navu was the most outgoing person ever, and the most likable person. I mean no one can have a problem with her. I wanted to be that. And I know what it felt like when my mum would figure me out and tell one of my cousins such things. It’s a red-ear moment. So I gave that girl a friendly smile and thought Ah I understand how you feel, but I’m not going to tell you that, because you should go through what I went through and write about it many years later.
Of course all this could just be my imagination. But it’s fun imagining things, don’t you think? So basically, I think there is an upper limit to how much you can be like someone. At some point or the other you have to learn to be yourself. It’s like being a musician. When you keep playing covers, you realise at one point that you finally sound really close to the artiste, but it still isn’t exactly how he sounds. Your own style is what suits you best.
Realising this could take a while. I am still in the process of figuring myself out. And the process started only a couple of years back. I’m trying to shape my opinions from my own thoughts and not just base my decisions on that of others. It’s a long process. I’m enjoying it and taking my time with it.
I’m writing this post because I suddenly have people asking me for advice asking me if they should do journalism, engineering or design, where they should study, which hand they should use to eat, etc. This has made me understand that I’m past the young dreamy eyed phase. I’m old now. Old enough to be looked up to. I suppose it’s time i learn to behave and stop teaching kids bad words. Damn.
PS: At some point while writing the post, I did get off my mother’s back.