Thursday, February 16, 2006

Pyaar ke asli dushman

"So, tell us about the funkiest thing you have ever done on Valentine's Day" was the question on Go 92.5 FM's "Mumbai Voices" on V Day.

Here is one of the 'funky' answers from a female caller...
I got my medical reports yesterday, it had my ECG. So I decided instead of buying a card or flowers let me give this CD to my boyfriend so he can watch my beating heart.

While host Tarana thinks it's sweet, co-host Jaggu is not too impressed and comments:"You could also look at it as recycling medical reports!"

There's another caller who relates how her friend mentioned that her dream guy would come on a white horse and sweep her off her feet. And what do you know, the boyfriend actually hired a safed ghoda so he could propose to her.

"But what if the horse pooped in the middle of the road?" asked Jaggu. "This is the reason you don't have a girlfriend!" cries an impassioned Tarana.

And the debate continues. To celebrate Valentine's Day - or not to celebrate - depends on whether you are a Taraana or a Jaggu.

The important thing is you should be able to celebrate it - if you wish to. And this year, despite the usual threatening noises from the moral police things were peaceful, with a couple of notable exceptions.

If you ask me, however, I would say the biggest pyaar ke dushman aren't these anti-love protestors and activists but Parents.

It is amazing how few Indian parents - even today - know about the special person in their son or daughter's life. There are multiple reasons for this, depending on what kind of parent you happen to have.

a) The Nahin, nahin, kabhi nahin type: This is the old fashioned breed which will simply NOT consider the subject with any kind of open mind. The kids figure out from an early age that if they get into a relationship, sneaking around is the only sensible strategy.

Attitude towards Marriage: Hum hi decide karenge. Apne hi caste ka hona chahiye. Jab raaz khulta hai there are only two options: break-up, or elopment.

b) The 'You can be friends but...": A little more open-minded, though not out of choice but because zamaana badal gaya hai. The parent does not mind the kid having friendships but 'within a limit'. . Which means, look -don't touch!

Nope, no point spilling the beans here either until you are sure he/ she is THE person you wish to spend the rest of your life with.

Attitude towards Marriage: May be openly or secretly heart broken if kid decides to have 'love marriage' (esp with a boy or girl from a different caste). But will accept the decision eventually.

c) The 'It's OK but settle down first..": A variation of the above, this parent positions his or her concerns in the form of the harmful effects a relationship could have on the kid's psyche and studies. So they advise,"In cheezon ke liye aage poori zindagi padi hai, abhi to padhai ke din hain..."

Attitude towards Marriage: If the kid were to conveniently fall in love at age 25 with a well settled office colleague they would happily give their blessings. In fact they would secretly be happy to not have the headache of finding someone suitable...

d) The 'We're cool with it' types: They exist, but in a minority. The Westernised parents who see nothing wrong in having more than one relationship before marriage (and are cool even if you choose to indefinitely postpone tying the knot).

Attitude towards Marriage: It's your life. But if you really want to - we could step in.

So what kind of parent am I going to be, I wonder. Hopefully 3.5. If my daughter lied to me, it wouldn't be too hard to tell... I cooked up enough stories in my own youth! So honesty would probably be the best policy.

On the other hand I would be unhappy if she went in for a series of shallow physical relationships. I think social pressures and protective parents do make young people in India think twice about casual sex and that is not such a bad thing.

But ultimately, parents and society imposing their will on the youth does not work. They will go through an experimental phase and arrive at a value system of their own. One that may actually be far more 'conservative' that you'd expect.

Although once again, the term conservative means different things to different people... In Bangladesh, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission recently asked mobile phone operators to discontinue late night free-call facilities. As a newspaper editorial elaborates

The commission has taken the step after receiving 'numerous complaints from parents and guardians on the ground that the late night free-talk facilities were causing moral degradation and change in the behaviour-pattern and life style of the young generation besides hampering their studies and disrupting disciplined and routine life.

Note that complaints were supposedly received from parents and not Islamic fundamentalists alone.

So like I said, zamaane se aap lad lenge. Magar pyaar ke asli dushman... unka kya?


  1. Good Article
    at Tea Time .. :-)

  2. I feel the young generation hardly understands what love means.
    The responsibility and commitment behind loving and being loved is lost on them.

    I feel love has nothing to do with Valentine's Day. And especially the way its celebrated in India.

  3. Wonder if the situation was the same twenty years ago

  4. thats a nice study you have done to seperate people into 4 groups...

    one thing that always keeps me thinking is Valentines Day the best day to ask your friend to be your valentine??

  5. Good study Rashmi!!
    You have an excellent example here in Chennai, India called Anna University, where the oldies are trying to suppress the youth through a string of moral policing.
    Regarding bringing up kids, I think, like our parents, we should not keep a very close eye, because that often creates a sense of curiosity in the growing kids. They should be let to experiment on their own, but at the same time, we should pass on gyan to them about what we feel as right/wring to do!!!

  6. well.. i would say that it mightnt be correct to assign a static rating (1 through 4) to many parents. In a way, their rating is also a function of the age group their children. There are parents who might be in category 2 when their kids are teenagers, but they might shift to 3ish once their kids are well 'settled'. Of course, this doesnt include parents inflicted with caste dogmas.

  7. interesting post. gets me thinking.... since i've been more of a category 3.5 kinda kid... so i guess i'll try n be a category 4 parent. question is how many of my generation will do that... how many after enjoying a 3 or a 4 will go back to a 1 or a 2 when they become parents?

  8. Nice post as usual. I think, inter-caste marriage is the biggest issue where you will find conflicts between kids and their parents. Probably, its also the main reason why the parents are so watchful over their kids. If there had been no caste system, the category 4 parents would have been lot more in number.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. for me Pyaar ka asli dushman is Govindraj Eithraj!!

    He could have asked Menaka Doshi to read this >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    ha ha! just i have got an informal feedback from a girl that i am TOO practical and dont have emotions! yikes!

    only if she knew that is faulad jaise jism mein kahi ek shisshe ka dil dhadak raha hai! ha ha!!

    I think the only point is girls are too senti and dont mind showing it in public! crying included!
    guys are senti as well but its not a manly thing to do and show the ppl that you are senti!
    I learned this on Sex & The City on HBO!!

    Also , anybody heard that stupid NIIT ad on Radio on Vday that if you dont speak in english or speak in bad english then the chances of getting a chick are zero!!!
    what idiots! who ARE these marketting guys!?!?!??!?!

  11. Excellent stuff, i was trying to figure out where I fit in! Am a first-timer on your blog and will now, obviously, visit it more often !

  12. I grew up in a 3.5-4.0 household. More 4.0 now that I am independant and living in another country. I guess, for me, I would cease being a parent once my kid turns 18. Then, the kid can go to college, live independantly, pay his/her own tuition/ bills/rent and do watever he/ she wants.
    I guess for most parents cutting the apron strings is the hardest. And of course, for most Indian parents, its about what society will say or do.

  13. 3rd serious relationship of my life... (11th overall)...

    Dad: still clueless & searching for perfect punjabi daughter-in-law!

    Ya... cud completely relate to this! :)

  14. I find it interesting that you categorize parents into these moulds. My parents know about my current relationship, and they knew about my last one...those are the only 2 I've had. And i disagree that parents are the 'obstacle to love' as you imply. Parents are not out to get you. They're not trying to make your life miserable. Ever since i went ot college i've realized they're right all the time, they know EVERYTHING, and I've stopped complaining about them.

    I live in the states, and Valentine's day is big here basically so that Hallmark can make money off it. My boyfriend and I didn't really do anything, just went to work, then i worked on GRE studying, read a book and went to sleep. I don't see why you need a particular day to be all affectionate. Aren't there enough times in the year to be that way?

    In any case, I think you offer some interesting perspectives, and I'll be back to check this sit out again:)

  15. Ok, my experience with parents has been a little weird as far as boyfriends go. They know about him, have met him, though I've always maintained that he's just a friend. But of course parents will not miss the sparks. They know only too well that he is not JUST a friend. However, here's the catch. They've NEVER asked me anything about what really is going on. So its more like a known secret and we don't talk about it at home. This arrangement, obviously suits me fine for the simple reason that I have the space AND the time (minus pressures) to judge whether I want to settle down with the same guy eventually or not... At the same time, since they've met him, they know exactly whom I am with.
    Not the bad villainous sorts at all. Though I'd keep my fingers crossed. Parents also have this amazing ability to spring surprises any minute...!

  16. Spot on with your analysis. I just wont understand how and when we will have a free society, really!

  17. Hi rashmi,

    Is this the topic on which you can garner kudos for yourself.Sorry for being harsh...This is too rotten to write.How U manage to write on such shallow? My point is parents will ever come to stop U from doin all this..untill you are well settled.They have their own tenet...why will they spoil their own image by stopping their kids knowing that they will do wat they think rite for them.Days are not away when we can see..girls of 12-13 will give viagra to their male frnds.Globlisation at its height!!

  18. I'm a Jaggu, so yes, I'm a smart mouth.. and everyday is V day for Yours truly :)

    I'm not quite sure where my parents fit in on that analysis.. So, I don't wanna screw anything up by trying to find out! (I prefer sneaking around anyway - grapes are sour).

    I think I'd be a c.8 to my kids. I definitely know how I'm NOT gonna treat 'em, so I'm sure I'm gonna love motherhood when it happens to me :)

  19. Hi,
    Do you have the honour of being the first female non-engineer non-science graduate from IIM-A to make her own career in writing, straight out of IIM-A.


  20. All I will say is that one should not make a sweeping statement because sometimes youthful exuberance can make a wrong choice and prove the parents right too.

  21. The most important reason why i wudn't go against my parents wishes.... becoz I wudn't wanna be DISINHERITED. After all once u have all the money u can buy love (true ho ya false)... but vice versa u can't sell love for real money. Can u??

  22. well indeed sm intrstng views thr!!!... bt the underline statemnt - hw doz it matr whthr?? as a prsn i hv numeros frnds.. i freak arnd & also indulge in casual the special 1 is yet 2 tat doznt bothr me...yea 2 sm extnt ppl mite thnk dis the outbrst f anthr semi-westrnizd brouhaha,bt tats da way i feel abt life...n takin in2 considrtn views f my folks..i knw wen nt 2 hurt thm bt still njoi the cake...A sensitive balance nid 2 b thr...

  23. Hey,
    Nice post-loved the categories of parents!
    Bang on...and while we all hope we can be 3.5...I belive its easier said than done!

  24. I like the name 'pyar ke asli dushman'....

    check my blog for something related or u can say unrelated...its about pyar key asli dost!!!! called love and marriage!!!


  25. Hi Rashmi Ji,

    your post has always been a good read. This one too. I just disclosed to my parents the status of my love life. And surprisingly, they dint react the way I expected them to!!! I belong to a middle class Sikh family ( hope you know the Sikhs and ... marrying outta the caste is NO WAY!!!) [ The guy is a pundit btw]. They are like OK, let us meet him first.

    Dont know where to rate them 3 / 4 or 5??? The times sure are changing

    Tk Cr

  26. You're right about it being important that people have the freedom to celebrate Valentine's Day- on the other hand , I can't think of a festival that is more hype and less substance than this one- Its great that's its love that is being celebrated - but its less about love now and more about presents nad card and chocolate- although maybe hypocritically I wouldn't protest at being given roses and chocolates myself ;)

  27. ohhh...I am sooooo happy that we can celebrate valentine's day. Its such a chweeeeeeeet festival.

  28. thanks thanks :)

    wait till I make my parents read this >:) *evil grin*

  29. yeah rt!! pyaar ke asli dushman HA!!! ....... my parents are very conservative but still know about every girl i am friends with and go around with they also know abt every other thing that happens in my life....... there has been no time since my childhood that we never reasoned something out ...... my parents are my best friends and they know it ....... V-Day.... if u love someone flaunt it on the street is that what ur so called "festival" is about? ..... what is the right age to know what u should be looking for to know you are in a relationship?..... two ways to learn ..... have a series of "relationships" which can include casual sex and then feel used OR try to listen if someone tries to guide u........ but no they who take care of u for 18yrs suddenly become "pyaar ke dushman"........ i think u shud limit ur prejudice to a few ppl who no doubt are inflexible but the mass of ppl are not like those ur thinking of from the 1930s......... ur analysis may no doubt help a few........

  30. Straddled between conservatism and mordernism, today's youth is more or less confused about which one to adapt - whether to listen to their c1/c2 (majority lies here i believe) parents or whether to sneak and indulge in casual physical relationship.
    But on the same note, I'm sure most parents themselves are at a loss. They are just not able to decide whether to remain c1/c2 kinda parents (since society demads it) or to be the c4 type and let their kids live a life of their own.

    I guess as youth we have to try to understand the dilemma the parents face and not complain that they do not understand us.

  31. My parents have evolved from type a's to type d as I've grown up....though, heh, I'm already getting white hair on imagining my kids doing the same stuff I did behind my parents' backs...guess I'll be a (-d) parent...:-D

  32. Damn.. I was zimbly enjoying reading this when I came onto that para in bold..

    It was a disappointment in the sense that, you state albeit indirectly, that the fact that youngsters think twice about casual sex is because of social and familial pressures AND directly, that it is a good thing..

    The point to note here is that the common ideology, the previous generation's stereotyped one and yours is not too different at all.. They're just two different points on the same line of thought..

    What we could look at, although not very practical, and maybe not successfully, is that those youngsters indulge in or handle casual sex better - as a conscious rational decision of free will, not controlled, influenced, restricted or for that matter encouraged by social or familial pressures..

    But yeah.. Might not work.. And you might not want to take that risk with your own children.. But then, thats what everyone's been doing all this time anyway..

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