Indians stop being nosy please! #indianparenting

This post is a vent to a very recent (early morning today) incident I had to face with another Indian parent at school. And I stress Indian for a reason. Today was a drop in session at school. During such sessions, parents are invited to visit their child’s class and have a look at their work while the class work is in progress. Usually, you get to see their books, what their current topic is and the writing/math work they do.

Now the usual ethics and attitude that the firang people follow is that they are only concerned with their child’s progress. They won’t ask you nosy/irritating questions about your or any other’s child. Unless of course there is some altercation going on between the kids. Now, my son was the only Indian/Asian kid in his class of 30 until another Indian boy joined in last year. So today this boy’s mother came along for the drop in session too. All parents were at their kid’s desk going through their books. This lady, after looking at her son’s books, came over towards me where I was standing and watching S do his work. Ignoring me, she sits down next to him and asks him whether she can look at his book. I was SO SO appalled!

First of all why the hell does she want to look at my son’s books? Second of all, when am standing right there (an adult AND the kid’s mother) why doesn’t she ask me whether she can look at his book?? And last, why in the world do want to see and THEN of course compare your child’s work with mine?

I am so frustrated and exhausted with this typical Indian mentality of parents comparing their kid with other kids. It is always about competition. What classes your kid goes to? What clubs he has joined. Then they send their kids to the same classes and start comparing grades. I remember in school, while my dad was busy scolding me for the wrong answers in the paper, other parents were busy comparing papers and arguing with the teacher about “giving more marks to this child and that and not giving marks to their kid even if he had written the same answer”. What rubbish!

In a class of 30 kids, what are you going to achieve by comparing notebooks? To think in terms of success. To think in terms of comparison. And I have experienced this mentality only in Indian parents. As soon as this boy joined school, all his mother asked me was if I had enrolled S in a zillion classes, does he know how to read and write in his mother tongue.

This is the first time I have experienced this nonsense and I am glad that the other 28 kids are not Indians. The exasperation I tell you! All these conversations irritate me and intimidate me. I don’t give a shit whether my son is the best in his class or in the school. I am happy he has friends, he can talk confidently and is generally a bubbly easy going boy and I know when and how and more importantly in which areas to push him for this own betterment.

I hope she is feeling better about herself! after comparing her kid with ONE other Indian kid.

How do you make such parents keep their noses in their own  business??

-A frustrated mom


Progress report

Just back from the very first parent meet. I have come back with three very heavy work folders. The teacher talked about good reading, writing and math skills. The truly awesome thing was when she told me that S is a very good friend. He mixes with all the kids in his class, the bigger kids during outside play time and is a very happy and chatty kid generally.

Some of his friends do ‘tell on’ him but he never does that to them. I like it that he doesn’t get into the he said she said things. He stays clear of that kind of negativity. I am happy that he wouldn’t back-stab his friends and report on their mischiefs. I’m glad that he has that kind of understanding. Playground can be a cruel place and not everyone is considerate. I’m just happy that he is a kind person. 🙂

On anxiety

For the past few months, I have been travelling to and fro office in our car with family. The first one to get off is my husband; his office is on our way. Then we head to my FIL’s office and lastly to mine. In the evening it’s the same order in reverse. However, the route that we take is different in the evening.

My husband’s office has a huge premise and there are three different gates which link to the main road and highways. The glitch here is that one of the three gates falls under the premise of a different company and can be used by their employees only. To make things worse, this is the nearest route for us as it’s a straight way to link to the highway and very convenient one during the traffic time. Taking this route reduces our travelling time by 30 mins.

My husband insists that we take this route everyday as it is the fastest. I, however stick to my values of right and wrong and the fear of getting caught and wish that we take a different route. For the record, we were stopped only once and our gate passing percentage is very high. However, once, when we were stopped, I had felt highly embarrassed and anxious. The security guard asked for the gate pass and my husband said that we didn’t have any and asked for letting us through as it was late in the evening. The guard remained adamant and asked us to take a different route. I felt guilty and anxious at the same time. The guilt part was more because I knew what we were doing was against the rules and we were in the wrong.

However, that episode itched in my mind and since then I have always dreaded passing through that gate. It raises my anxiety level and I can actually feel the poisonous bile raising its ugly head like a snake through my throat. I haven’t had an anxiety attack in many years. The attacks stopped after a long session with my psychiatrist when he gave me a one minute remedy on how to….. but here I digress. Let me not get into that. 🙂

I used to be very anxious when I was a kid. I remember one time when I was appearing for a mid term school exam. I so dreaded taking the question from the teacher. She started from the other row and by the time she reached my desk, I had chewed all the nails on my ten fingers. That’s how restless I felt at that time. I don’t remember which paper it was but I didn’t flunk for sure. 🙂

Anxiety continued its pursuit of making me nervous through small things. I used to be dead worried when it came to school. I used to check and re-check my school-bag, whether I had carried all the required books, whether am missing any project related items, etc. I also remember carrying additional books even if the lecture wasn’t scheduled for that day. During the rainy season, my mom always asked me not to wear socks to school, but to carry them in my bag and wear it once am inside the classroom, to avoid them from getting wet. I obeyed but felt embarrassed when the guard at the gate stopped me and took me aside and asked me to wear the socks before getting into the building.

Growing up, this anxiety grew with me and I was constantly in a worried state thinking over issues and things and what could and would happen and how I could resolve it. It was like carrying an unknown burden, fretting over small things and working myself up about nothing in particular. I watched my friends being cool about everything. They never worried about anything. Life was happening for them. I wondered how they could manage it so well.

Then one day, I remember I was attending my English lecture and not paying much attention as always. I was contemplating on some issue in my mind. Right then it just struck me that I cannot keep on worrying like this forever. If the thing wouldn’t turn out my way then I would just accept it like that. Fretting over it and racking up my brain wasn’t going to change the outcome. It was a late realisation but better late than never.

Since then, I have stopped getting anxious and worrying myself to death about anything. It runs in our family though, getting anxious and worrying like hell. Some, are improving however, there’s no hope for others. I empathise with them and their state of mind however I know that only they can change themselves. I have been lucky to have friends who remain calm and patient when I narrate my so called sorry situation to them. And from them I have learnt how to tackle this anxiety situation. I believe that you need at least calming agent (person) in your life, if you are highly anxious.