One would expect desi NRI parents to be chilled out about the life and lifestyles of their children, by virtue of the 'progressive culture' they reside in. But as it turns out, a lot of the time they're actually more hardcore than desi parents living in India.
Maybe it's the constant itch to prove their Indian-ness around once-foreign communities or that their desi habits and stereotypes haven't fully abandoned them even as they made the big move to the UK or US. NRI parents go the full mile in trying to keep their kids tethered to traditions back in the pind.
Though their children may now be walking in step with a whole new league of global citizens or trying to attune themselves to multi-cultural settings in search of new identities, desi parents will be like - nope. We are Indian, you are Indian, and we are living by Indian stereotypes.
Things Desi NRI Parents Say That Kids Wished They Didn't:
1. Make thy rotis round, or a husband will never be found
This is a problem across borders for desi kids who find more convenience in takeouts over rolling rotis into geometric shapes in the kitchen. In India or in London, the threat to not find a suitable hand if your own is not experienced enough in making rotis remains constant.
What if the future partner is a non-Indian who prefers bread over roti?
2. What do you mean you're dating a white boy?
Which brings us to the question of white partners. Though NRI parents live abroad, their heart resides in India. And naturally then, marrying outside the culture is a big no-no. Desi NRIs are known to often be more insistent on following traditional customs to the t. They will sniff Indian pandits out if they have to get kundlis matched for &t=7s">marriage.
So bringing a gora boy home into the family seems either a long shot or simply out of the question.
3. Why is your score not higher than Jessica's?
Desi parents everywhere know how to keep their kids firmly grounded. You may win the Nobel and they'll ask you why you didn't win it earlier. Netizens laughed it out over this recently when journalist Megha Rajagopalan's father's reply to her winning the Pulitzer tickled the internet.
The stakes are even higher when you are competing with a classroom of white people; because how can you be an Indian and not get top spot in academics?
4. You're still not married, what will your bua in Delhi say?
Relatives back home in India, if it's possible, get nosier when children in the family are growing up abroad. They take a keener interest in their exploits, what they're upto, whom they are dating, how much they are going out. Maybe they're trying to experience 'foreign' life up close vicariously since they never could themselves?
But mostly it's about the opportunities of stereotyping and moral policing they get. Desi NRI parents too, gullibly, play into that trap with ease, ensuring that their kids keep getting a taste of the good old log kya kahenge mantra.
5. Our izzat in the Indian community is important - Don't wear that
While NRI youths probably have more liberty to colour their wardrobes than kids in the homeland do, it doesn't mean they're given a free pass to slide by Indian dress customs. Especially when there's a community event or a desi relative comes knocking on their doors.
To show they haven't forgotten their roots, NRI children - often against their wishes - may have to don that dupatta or salwar-kameez, all for the family's izzat.
6. No, how can you just 'move out' and find a place of your own?
So what if Jason is finding a place of his own after college? Or Katy is renting out a place with friends in the same city as her parents? What do you mean to live with 'financial independence'? What kind of adulting do you want to do in a house of your own that you can't do here? Are we not giving you enough? Who will take care of us in our aging years if you leave us now?
Uff! Under-versed in the need for privacy, over-versed in the art of emotional blackmail. Classic desi parent move.
Image: Still from Bend It Like Beckham