Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Desi Mom!

“You are SUCH a Desi Mom”.  At her wits’ end one day over one of our daily routine arguments, my daughter hurled the words at me in exasperation and stomped off upstairs to sulk in the sanctuary of her restroom.  

What??  Hold it right there buster.  Was that supposed to be an insult?  Tsk, tsk, tsk…. you poor baby!

I have had better punch in a fizzled-out coke.  As I happen to be a Mom with so many deep roots in India as to shame a Banyan Tree into drooping its branches, I naturally fall under the proud race that is commonly referred to as Desis.  Given this fact, I hope you’ll understand why I clucked my tongue at my daughter’s receding back with pity.   As exits go, it wasn’t her best.  Poor child!

To my surprise, subsequent conversations with fellow Desi moms brought to light an interesting fact. Apparently all our children have been drawing from the same well of insults all these years, pitiful as it is.  After one of our recent ‘sob and tell’ parenting woes sessions, we discovered that we had all, at some point, been at the receiving end of some form or the other of the following accusation. 

  1. ·        Why do you have to be SUCH A MOM? (a cry of agony)
  2. ·        YOU DESIS! (in utter disgust)
  3. ·        God!  You are such a Desi. (also uttered in extreme disgust)
  4. ·        God!  You are such a Mom. (???)

In keeping with the spirit of the theme, they also use ‘You Asians’ every now and then.

Lately, I find myself pondering a lot about what it is about a Desi Mom/parent that brings out such eye-rolling exasperation in our kids.  Why do we push our kids into tearing out their poor, unoiled hair roots so much?  Here are a few reasons from the top of my head.

  • A Desi Mom loses more than her sleep over a ‘B’ grade on her child’s report card.  At times she loses control over her bowels too.
  • A Desi Mom believes in regularly checking with her fellow Desi moms about all the academic and after-school pursuits of their offsprings.  After all, she does not want her child to be deprived of any such advantages.
  • A Desi Mom manages to find time every day to fit at least 3 lectures to her children about the importance of Studies, especially science and math, in one’s life. 
  • A Desi Mom will silently thank her stars when the US public school system offers to take responsibility for talking about puberty and other unmentionable subjects to her kids in school.  She also breaks out a sweat when her child gets home and wants to discuss those unmentionable subjects to her.
  • A Desi Mom is a stickler for organization.  Her children never are. 
  • A Desi Mom hates the word ‘boyfriend’ as fiercely as she does ‘dating’, ‘drugs’, ‘alcohol’ and ‘cigarettes’.   She will not hesitate to give her life to protect her children from these evil ‘boyfriends’.
  • A Desi Mom loves to play dress-up whether her child wants to play or not.  She will hound her daughter every single busy school morning until she picks a shirt that reveals no more than her upper collarbone for this world to see.
  • A Desi Mom is inquisitive by nature.  She insists on knowing the background of every human that interacts with her child.  She doesn’t understand why her child thinks it is insulting.
  • A Desi Mom strongly feels her children do not know the value of money.  She worries about their materialistic attitude even as she showers them regularly with unnecessary games and gifts.  ‘Money does not grow on trees’ is a phrase that all Desi children are familiar with.
  • A Desi Mom expects no less than complete obedience/respect from her children even when she packs them off to a school that encourages them to ask questions.  ‘Because I say so’ is a phrase she uses often at home.   
Well!  That is just from the top of my head. 

While I believe a lot of the characteristics that I have listed here may belong to an unlabeled, regular 'Mom" as well, I believe we Desis are blessed with just a little bit more irritable traits than others to earn the very unique 'Desi Mom' title from our children.  Here, at the end of this very weird essay, I am proud to raise my cup of rasam in a salute to all my fellow 'Desi' moms. :-)  

Go Desis!   


Anonymous said...

From one Desi Mom to another, "You go Meena!!!

Prashanti said...

A Desi mom instructs her children on how to behave in front of guests... each time she expects one!

Sahana said...

Very funny Amma!! But really did you have to mention the unmentionables? :)

Srilatha said...

A Desi Mom is a mass of contradictions. While she will strictly forbid her daughter from dancing with a boy at the school dance, she will spend hours worrying about her daughter's feelings if no one asks her to dance. Of course, said daughter knows that if any male asks her, she has to say "NO" and said daughter is now really confused with Mom's behavior :-)

Vidya said...

Unbeatable, desi sis! Way to go.


Shreya said...

Well...being a desi kid...I couldn't agree more!!! :D

Nagu Parasu said...

Wow. You are getting off so easy. Normally our 'you desi parent' has atleast one decoration. Pick one depending on the occasion from cheap/nosy/ambitious/eager/pushy.

After reading Sahana 's comment, I am breaking into my customary 'is this the little girl I carrrriiiieeed!'

Meena Sankaran said...

Thank you Krithika.


Prashanthi, you are so right. I do it every time I expect a guest too.:-)


Ha ha ha.... Habits die hard Sahana.


Srilatha, a 'logical mom' is as much of an oxymoron as 'genuine imitation'. Being contradictory is written into our DNA just as worrying about our children is. I am hoping that some day in future, our kids will find something endearing in our contradictory nature.

Meena Sankaran said...

Thank you Vidya and Shreya. :-)


Nagu, I have heard the same adjectives being used for Desi mom. Just forgot to mention them.:-) And when I read Sahana's comment, I had a similar reaction myself.

Deepa said...

Hi Meena akka,
That was such an enjoyable read!
Btw, remember me? (I'm Vidya's school friend from Chennai. Found your blog via her blogger profile.)

Meena Sankaran said...

Good to hear from you Deepa. Of course I remember you. :-) Hope all is well with you. Glad you enjoyed the article.