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Sumati Huber asks Indian parents your most important questions

by Ashima

Check out June’s edition of her hilarious Nama-Slay column!

How do we know if we have found our soulmate?

Soulmate? What is that? Like a friend you make when you have been reincarnated? Really, kids today, living in some dream world made up of Hollywood Shollywood fantasies. Are you expecting some prince to come ring your doorbell? No way we would ever let a boy enter our house before marriage!

In our day our parents chose who we married based on who they thought was the best match for our family. So what if the girl had a moustache or the boy had a pot belly? We didn’t know anyway because we met them at the wedding and that was good enough.

These days you all want to “find yourself” and get to know someone. What will you fi nd after wasting all that time? Nothing! You will just be old and alone eating instant noodles wishing you accepted any proposals that came your way. Just marry whoever mummy and daddy choose for you when it’s time and be happy you have fulfilled your duty.

What are some skills we should have to be successful in life?

Where are you going to fi nd success? In your phone because you are busy taking pictures of all the food that you didn’t even cook yourself? Maybe try filling up a plate full of round roti that you successfully made to feed your children and family. Now that would be a good skill to have in your life.

Also listen to your elders without question especially when they tell you how to dress, what subject to study, and when to get married. No decent family ever came running to ask for the hand of a crop top-wearing, starving artist with no connection to society. Always be the first to volunteer to do a dance at a wedding sangeet and everyone will talk about how worthy you are.

What should we do if our own kids don’t listen to us?

In our day a nice tight slap always worked. But nowadays all our children are saying they are woke, whatever that means. It’s not like we have ever seen them woke before noon when the day is half over already. So next best thing is to make sure you have your scary face ready to threaten them merely with a look.

Make sure you compare them to other kids constantly who are much better than they are, whether it’s true or not. Remind your kids daily that Sanjay is a doctor who saves lives, while they think that perfecting a winged eyeliner or not having a hangover is an achievement.

Any tips for finding a rewarding career for myself?

Who do you call when you are sick? A poet? An Instagram influencer? Don’t be silly, doctor only. Your mother has already done countless puja and consulted numerous astrologers since you were born to make sure you are lucky in life and make lots of money.

Work hard and don’t waste time with friends who will only lead you astray. Make becoming a doctor your only goal through your studies and with a little added help from your parents’ prayers. But if you didn’t bring home perfect grades from school then you can always get a job as the shame of your family.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Hai hai, we are still young. Look at us! We never went in the sun and always had haldi and yoghurt ready to keep our skin smooth and fresh. Don’t drink cold water and eat lots of ghee. That is the secret to a happy life.

An unreformed party girl and mother of two, writer, editor and observer Sumati Huber tries to make sense of our unique Thai-Indian society and the aunties that she will one day become.

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