In my 25 years of existence, I’ve met, been friends with, and found family in several women who live with their parents — some because they want to, and some because they don't find it viable to move out. Being someone who moved out at the age of 19, there are pangs of jealousy and longing when I see tiffins full of ghar ka khana, or anecdotes about going for mandatory weekly dinners. Inevitably, I blurt out, “You’re so lucky!” followed by a deep sigh, and an eye roll which might as well result in their eyes accidentally falling back into their brains. Once the eyeballs are back in place, it’s always followed by the words “If only you knew.”
Now, I might not know exactly, but I can very well imagine it (it's not like I have memory loss of all those years of being an active, at-home daughter to my parents). Women, since a very young age, are policed heavily by their parents, hidden under the guise of "we just want what is best for you". When you're young, you mostly wait to leave for college to find and create your own space and individuality, but when you're older and don't see distance as an option anywhere in the near future, your patience starts running thin. You start speaking your mind, drawing your boundaries. And God knows, to be a good daughter, you have to be really really creative. You need to have some major survival hacks up your sleeve to piss off your parents just enough that they register you as a whole person and not just their daughter, but you need to know where to rope it in so it's not an active war zone.
We've had way too many bildungsroman style books and movies about growing up and tasting freedom only once you move out. But what about the folks who don't? How do they navigate living life in an Indian household? How are they aligning one’s personal growth with their parents? How are they sneakily helping their parents unlearn their questionable patterns (without realising it, because it's game over when they do). All under the same roof, might I add, without the roof falling off?
If you’re a young woman, still figuring out how to coexist with your parents for whatever reasons life may have thrown at you, allow these brilliant 30-something women to let you in on some wisdom they learned with age and experience, and to reveal to you the survival hacks of living with your parents.