Mrs Sharma came to me looking very agitated. Without much prodding, she spilled out the beans almost immediately.
“See I wanted to talk to you since you have been abroad and all that and know a lot about such things.”
Wow half a dozen foreign jaunts qualify me as the newest agony aunt. But then, yes, I do know a lot about a lot of things.
Apparently her son wants to pursue further education abroad. This thought itself highly agitated her. “We have so much property in India. He is my only son. Will it all go to waste? Now if I had two three sons, I would have said chalo, you go abroad.” BTW Mrs Sharma has two daughters too, but like always in India they were conveniently forgotten. The daughters were much elder and happily (hopefully) married. The son was Mrs Sharma giving in to pressure to have a male offspring. “Ladka to chahiye na”
Now the thing is if there were say three sons, one could be conveniently sent away while the other two serve momma dearest. Something like the theory of an heir and a spare in European monarchy.
I told Mrs Sharma not to be a goose. After all why was she opposing the son’s plans?
So these were her points.
What will happen to all the aforementioned property that they have constructed? (Funnily this point was coming up again and again.)
Who will stay with the Sharma’s and take care of them in their old age?
Well they could go and stay abroad with the boy.
No how can old people adjust to the new foreign ways?
Arre it is more comfortable there. No pollution and fresh water air and produce. No power cuts no intolerable heat and most important no mosquitoes.
“So you suggest that I let him go, just like that.”
Well that was not what I was suggesting. I knew the Sharma boy. Brilliant chap and mature too for his age. I advised her to listen to the kid and not throw a point blank no in his face. Right now there was a lot of time for that stage to come.
Lastly she threw the Patriotism card. After all what about this country.
Well the country was overflowing with brilliant boys. Some going away will ease the pressure in the academia.
Parental pressure is a funny thing. Some kids buckle under it and toe the line. Others go all aggressive and oppose the parents tooth and nail. They might even do stupid things just to spite the controlling parents.