Before you comment on how I’m just an ungrateful kid hell bent on criticizing my parents, that I have absolutely no sense of respect for them and that I’m just a post-millennial kid ranting away to glory, let me clarify one thing.

I love my parents and appreciate all that they’ve done for me. But if you grew up in an Indian middle class family like me, there is one thing we all can agree on. 

For most Indian kids, privacy is a foreign concept. 

You know why a Home Alone situation can never happen to an Indian kid?

Because Indian kids are never left alone in the first place! As a kid growing up on a steady diet of Hollywood movies, I used to be amazed and envious in equal measure looking at the amount of freedom kids used to get in films like Jumanji and Jurassic Park. 

They could go on excursions with their friends. They could have house parties. They had their freedom.

We on the other hand weren’t allowed to lock our doors from the inside. “Kya galat harkatein ho rahi hain?” the parents would exclaim. 

I never maintain a personal diary.

You know why?

Because (by their own admission many years later) the one time I’d maintained it, they’d read it. “Personal kya hota hai?” they’d said, adding insult to injury. 

I’d written about everything in that, man. My first crush, my fantasies, my secrets, my dirty secrets.

You get the idea, right? And they read it all.

Kids these days with their savvy mobile phones will never understand the struggle we kids from the landline phone era had to face. Talking to that special someone on the phone was no less than a suicide mission. 

Because we never knew when our parents would pick up another interconnected phone in the other room and listen to all the mushy exchange happening.

More than our sweet conversations, we’d have to keep an ear out to detect some random heavy breathing coming in the middle of the conversation. And as expected, it would either belong to a disappointed mom or a disgruntled dad.

Come to think of it, even after so many years, nothing has changed.