Okay, let’s be real, How many of us can be honest about who we are at home? Many of us are living dual lives: one version that exists at home and are parents approve of (kind of) and the other version that we are when we step out of those doors.
Life of an Indian girl is no less than a spy. We are the generation that’s on social media, are familiar with the culture of clubbing, speed dating, hook-ups, and if our parents ever see the second version, they might be scandalised and in many cases really upset.
Can we be held accountable for lying to our parents? Who wants to live a secret life? Because if you have seen the kind of work that goes into keeping a secret, a secret. Why do we have a dual life?
Indian parents have considerable amount of control on their kids even when they are well past in their adulthood because they don’t trust our choices and we too let them control ourselves. Why? Because of fear and guilt. Also, because some daughters are not allowed to work and make money and are financially dependent on their parents.
Society’s grip on parents
Society wants to police and control women and most parents value random opinions by relatives. So, they police us further. According to a study, only 49% of Indian parents rated happiness in life as one of the three most important goals as compared to 77% in UK, 78% in Canada and 86% in France.
So this dialogue to mom and dad, “can’t you do this much for my happiness”, might not work on a lot of Indian parents.
Good girl image
The pressure of maintaining a good girl image. Parents want their daughters to be so pure/virgin so that no one points a finger at her. She doesn’t get tagged a “bad girl” because of her lifestyle choices. If we fail to live up to these expectations, we will get scolded, beaten up or in some cases, even get killed.
And so, we lie.
Here are the bad things that come out of this:
Not seeking help in need
First is of course, not seeking help when they need it because we are hiding everything they see as controversial. Then, of course we are hiding our sexual experiences too and that includes everything from pregnancies, to unsafe sex, to STDs, to even sexual assaults. In 2017, an average of 11.8 million teenage pregnancies occurred in India.
Not knowing your child
Second is, not forming a bond and not knowing your child truly. Daughters in India live as strangers to their parents under the same roof. But if there is no conversation happening and the only thing you’re discussing with your daughter is how they can be more of a good girl, how they can be more sanskaari, then chances are that your daughter may never reveal who she truly is.
No opportunity to grow
Number third is that they don’t get the opportunity to grow. You know the world outside is bad but it’s pretty wonderful too. One of the ways in which you truly become an adult is by getting to experience that world up-close on your own.
Even if parents are restricting their daughters for their own good, they might be trying to protect their child from any harm, they have to realise that one day they will have to set her free. Free from their place into the world. Even if that place is her husband’s house, you should prepare your daughter to stand up for herself and not tolerate oppression of any kind.
Missing out on opportunities
Number four is that hiding the true selves can come in the way of us grabbing the opportunities. Many of our parents have good intentions in their heart and they do love us and that’s why they feel like setting out a path for us to walk on. “It’s for your own good.” We do want to please them and make them proud of ourselves. But should that mean we should not take up opportunities that might displease them?
We don’t want them to be proud of the fact that we wear full clothes or are not on social media. We don’t want them to be proud of that we are not following the career of our choice and listening to whatever they are saying because there is nothing to feel proud about in that.
What we want our parents to be proud of is our talents, our achievements, about how we will financially support them and always be there for them. Of how we have the guts to live our own life, to fight prejudice and society every step of the way and we do need our parents’ support for that.
(Featured image is used for representational purposes.)