Many of us born as Gen Y live under a constant state of dysphoria because we’re the generation that transitioned and cracked the technology game and most of our parents lost out. We experienced things far different from our parents because of the exposure we got and during all of this, we never realized that we’re living a dual life to make peace with ourselves and those that matter to us. (Hoping I am not the only one) Here I specifically talk about people whose parents belong to small towns or moved from small town to big cities but could never really transition at heart.
So we’re the generation that’s insta obsessed, check in soon as we land up in a new city, are familiar with the culture of clubbing, speed dating, hookups, drinking openly, solo travelling etc. in India. And while we were observing all of this, our parents were still trying to figure how to navigate a smartphone. Personally, I can say I had had a Facebook account for eight years before my parents got to know about the social media platform and felt the need to board the ship.
Also read: Using ‘She’ And ‘He’ Reinforces Gender Roles & Discrimination Of Women
We’re the generation that normalized social and gender-agnostic drinking in a far greater manner as opposed to the generation before us, where only a small group from metropolitan cities indulged in gender-agnostic social drinking. Growing up, I saw my father as an alcoholic and my mother despising alcohol with all her might. Naturally, I grew up to keep alcohol at a distance. No I think for me, at some point in life, it was ‘sin’. Then suddenly, one winter my father became a sober man completing giving up alcohol at a time when I was still in school. It calmed down the fights between my parents massively.
But the thing about college life is that for some people, it makes them a rebel and want to try all kinds of shunned things in life. Frankly, it requires only that one friend to push you a little and you know in your head, you needed to hear that one friend go, “Don’t worry, it’s not that big a deal.” The same happened to me with alcohol as five of us friends decided to drink in one friend’s house in the first year of college. It is a memory, I cherish to this day and it was helluva fun. But with smoking, it was very different, no one goaded me to light one. I take full responsibility of getting swayed by the cigarette. Both of these collectively are secrets I have kept from a large section of my family including my parents for close to a decade now.
One winter my father became a sober man completing giving up alcohol at a time when I was still in school. It calmed down the fights between my parents massively. So my take away on alcohol pretty much equated to sinning.
Apart from these, while my parents have always been very supportive of my life choices so far, conversations around boyfriends or boy friends was a strict no-no in my family all through school and college. So much so that I couldn’t even discuss being harassed or bullied with my parents for most of my childhood. I was also so scared that they would find out about it that I never had a boyfriend up until college.
So when it did come to dealing with attention from the opposite sex, I was totally lost. During my school days, I felt so voiceless and under-confident that I felt if I would offend guys who showed interest and worse that they would use that as a reason to bully me further.
I was so unaware that it was okay to have same-sex relationships until 2010-11. Until I got into one myself.
Initially, it was a very casual liking for one another because she was the most popular girl who everybody liked and I was just a nobody in college shrouded by varied forms of vulnerabilities. This relationship reinforced the compartmental life I led. Outside my house was me drinking, bunking classes, whiling time away in my girlfriend’s car, making love, smoking and so on. It was one that my parents wouldn’t even imagine in their wildest dreams. And back home, I would flip to the same chirpy and studious girl in a second. I must have come home drunk in the evenings from college like a hundred times and never even once was I caught. Was I that good at hiding?
Also read: Why Does Our Morality Wake Up Only When Women Drink Alcohol?
Now in my 30s, I have crossed off a lot of things from the checklist from my 20s but never with regret. I was perfectly okay living the dual life. I rebelled. I questioned by it was okay for men to do things but not for women and I called out such gender roles.
I am glad now that my parents know that I drink or smoke and date a guy, they have become far more accepting of me. Not that they were ever not because I aced the dual life scene like it was my second skin.
I am glad now that my parents know that I drink or smoke and date a guy, they have become far more accepting of me, not that they ever were not because I aced the dual life scene like it was my second skin. But it taught me a sense of responsibility to decide for myself if it was okay to go off the edge at a certain time and how to evade that thought without anyone pointing a finger at you. The point is to do everything you desire and learn your own customised lessons.
Disclaimer: At no point, does the author of this article promotes drinking, smoking, bunking classes and the other things being talked about here. This is just an account from the author’s life on dealing with home and the outside world so please take it as such.