Monday, September 12, 2005

The Highly Inflammable Years...

Just heard some news that got me thinking and as is wont nowadays for me...these thoughts more often than not always ends up finding its way to this blog. 17-20! What a dangerous age that greatest appreciation for my parents and friends is for how admirably they shephered me thru a phase in life were adrenalin surges and reckless actions have marred many a young life. Came to know of a incredibly talented junior from school and a family friend attending one of india's most prestigious colleges dropping out and in drug-rehab now...and of a cousin, the gentlest and soft-spoken of all boys a few years back, totally into weed and other crap and miserably flunking his exams. Both these boys had left their homes to study elsewhere. A majority of cases like these i have heard have come from families with expat parents who become money-order parents to their kids back home who fail to see the struggles undergone to make the money or those with little time for their children.

Though many would disagree with what i said above...most young people tread such a fine line in these years that I firmly believe from my own experience that there is nothing more beautiful than living these years out of home rather than the all-out freedom of a hostel life. I did a lot of crazy things thru school and college...yet would make sure I got home without fail for dinner at the latest...and though i had to encounter a lot of barbs for getting home early from friends it really pleased me that I didnt give my parents a chance to browbeat me...and though it irked and still irks that i had missed out on some late-nite fun dont think anything could surpass dining with my family amidst the lively chatter and my "watered down" retelling of the days activities while we huddled around the dining table. A question I die to ask them, but never will have the guts to do is whether they knew...all I did, all the money I iskified and whether they ever felt I had to be reined in at some point. Between all of our parents' contacts every single move we guys made could have been traced easily in little trivandrum. Yet despite everything I did, to this day my parents never had to speak to me in counsel about drinking, drugs, smoking or sex...i think they were smart enough to know kids are more intelligent than adults may think.

Pop and Mom were the strict kind until i wuz 15...and then they let me loose, little by little...thank god for that bcoz i have seen too many friends run riot if they got a little breathing space from over-restricting parents(viswa, potha...u guys reading this?? I have sulked at never getting a bike, having to travel on rickety ksrtc buses to college...yet they magically soothed me by letting me drive their cars to college once in a while(must admit, it felt really rotten though...nothing beats havin a bike and riding one!), once forever embarassed with the clothes i wore...they loosened their purse strings in that department without even a word from me, lived on measly Rs.15 and 20 allowances a day for food and travel which never made up the numbers for a day of movies, beer and outings...yet i believe they chose to take a blind eye to some of my misdemaneours in budgetting for books, money for excursions, exam fees etc. Nowadays, I laugh so much thinking about all the precautions i took, the lies I said, the worries I shouldered in never letting them feel disappointed in me...all that deception still continues to this day in some lesser form or the other! If i leave out my pals it would be a big has been a matter of pride for me that none of my closest friends from school, college or univ screwed up...we had such awesome peer groups...and for the most part exerted so much nice moral and ethical influences on each other...thank god for them too.

I had a cousin, just 10 days older to me who got killed in a car accident while studying for b.arch at madras...tomorrow wud have been his 25th birthday...when his grieving parents see me, i know they picture how their son would have looked like now...what if these parents had not bought him the car, what if he had not left home to study at that age...would he have had that night-out with doesnt matter anymore but I think all of us, future dads and moms shud give that question a thought. Well, its all about choice and the best education, parents can give their kids, whether it be at home-base or away but fact is at that age we need them a lot more of concerned parenting, and they shudnt be deluded or intimidated by our false projection of maturity, manhood, independence and rebellion. Many many years from now I wonder what sort of a parent I will be...will i be occasionally spying on them, will I deny them all the comforts and freedoms kept away from me...guess it will all depend on the kind of society prevalent then...but I earnestly hope my parents infinte wisdom in rearing us in line with the times will certainly rub off on me then.


Sujith said...

yup! true! the age 17-20 changes an individual very much.. so much so that it may derail a person's growth.. i personally know such cases.. parents have the major role in preventing that.. bt sadly many a times children at this dangerous age are so very streamlined in their actions that they never consider their parent's words.. so i feel the care shud start at a small age itself.. as to bring out a child who doesnt disobey his parents..

Unknown said...

a nice one jiby...Are u reading this.. jisha?? ;-)

Anonymous said...

I don't really agree... reining in your kids is fine, but not talking to them about sex or liquor is nothing really great in my books. People should talk more about a lot of stuff and get over their stiff necks :-).

Praveen said...

I can relate to this post too, I spent those years with my parents but as you say it was worth a lot! I mean I did in a way miss the freedom my hostel friends had, but living with parents was the best thing for me at that age.

Nunzia said...

a dangerous age indeed!

Jiby said...

vishnu, yeah ur viewpoint is valid too...guess my parents didnt have to counsel me bcoz when they ascertained my views they realized i had a rational mindset the best course ahead wud be to set limits for me... if kids brought are brought up from a young age to be responsible they will definitely know how not to spoil their life.

btw are u still in charge of the lobaglobal and sctalum sites... i send an email to the sctalum admin with some feedback but havent recieved a response yet. wuz wondering if u cud give us the ability to update our user-info and give some space for individual batches to post their news in lobaglobal. that wud greatly lighten the load on you.thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

This post set me thinking and hence the delay in my comment.I never realised what a smooth transition it was for me from being a kid, to a teen to the twenties. Of course there were hicoughs, but then some solid rules laid down made us realise very early on what we could so and what we couldnt . I have to thank my parents for being my eyes and ears when I was growing up, anticipating pitfalls before they happened and for cushining me against some hard blows of life.

Great post

Matter of Choice said...


I have a different view point.

Having lived outside home since the age of 10 my parents couldnt oversee me in those teenage years. But me and my friends never had any problem in restraining ourselves when fun began to get out hand while lotsa guys coming from hyper-restrictive families really went wild!.

This is generalization and lots of people who moved to hostel for the first time in that age knew and did take care of themselves.

But to me and my friends it was never a problem. we were living pretty much on our own terms for about 7 years before we entered college. So in a way we had seen it all and vast majority of us had no problem in having fun but never letting fun have its way with us.

I luv my dad n mom but i am also fiercely independant and i would probably have rebelled were i given a chance. But staying in hostel, where rebellion itself is ordinary, made it so uncool to rebel :))

But i totally agree with u on the money order parents. If u make kids make sure u have enough time to devote to them. or else use condoms!!!. I have seen too many too many kids from such families destroying themselves. In fact they just wanted to spite their parents and went into self-destruction mode to achieve that. I know some of those money order parents, really nice guys, but my sympathies are with the kids.

I do think kids need to be independant and given space and choice to make their own decisions. I have made most of my decisions myself. In hindsight, some of those decisions are obviously wrong. But i am still proud that i made those decisions and cant blame nayone else for making those decisions for me!.

if i ever become a dad, i will try to be like my dad, someone who gives his kids the chance and all the support to make their own decisions.


Jiby said...

anish, but u were in sainik school!! that inculcates a whole world of discipline into ur life...for me it wuz only the thought of returning home and facing parents that saved me from getting messed up.

i've been making my decisions too since 15 but like u said most of them were so wrong but am happy i dont have to blame anybody for that. as always thanks for ur comments man...ur always able to open new insights to me...btw did u know a prajith varma while at sainik...he wuz a bud in school.

Matter of Choice said...

ahem...glad to know that ppl still think of sainik school as one of those places which inculcates discipline :), we are proud of our reputation and thankful that the real story has not begun to leak out yet :))

yep knew prajith pretty well. he was my one year junior. he is in army paratroopers and now in kerala on leave. u shuld have seen him recently. the bugger has a real "islamic jihadi" type beard :)). so u can imagine what he is upto in the valley!!!


ps: am still digesting ur constitution post and marshalling my arguments :)

rk said...

awesome....really loved this true......hav never read nething like this post more often...oh n im a loyolite too 2007 isc:D