Finding the healthy space.
By Shradha Aswani
Growing up is both a liberating and humbling experience all at once. While ideas and ambition give you wings, you are tied down by expectations, clutched tight by expenses, and limited by energy. In times like these, family support is the best ammunition you have, be it to win the fi ght against ever-increasing fuel prices, or simply as the key to a well-rounded life.
As Indians, we’ve always taken this to mean proximity to our closed ones. Our culture of joint-households with eighteen members is stamped into our DNA, and the thought of independent life, away from your immediate family, is often considered no less than a crime, one only more ‘palatable’ if you are living away with your spouse and kids; or are abroad for a job that earns you the liberty to have your own life.
However, donning a myopic view on the space a child needs to become their own person restricts their
personal growth and how they grow in relationships with their families. Alternatively, embracing
that children, as the proverbial fruit, will need room to shoot up, helps individuals build their own life, whilst
retaining a positive relationship with their roots. What matters ultimately is finding a balance that doesn’t let space run into distance.
Masala spoke to a community members across age groups on how they find this balance after having moved
out of their parental homes.
SHIRIN RAMCHANDANI, 28
Founder, Fasting with Shirin
Born and raised in Bangkok, I moved out for university and have lived in Canada and Switzerland on my own for eight years. I relocated back to the city in 2020 to enter the entrepreneurial space and be closer to my family. I knew I’d enjoy the comforts of living at home for a while, so I did that for about a year. Once I felt settled, moving out on my own felt like the right next step!
When I’m home, time flies, I’m almost always distracted, and I can’t get any work done. The upside of having my own place is that there’s a boundary between work and fun. I wouldn’t have moved out if I had to rent because the benefits of living at home outweigh my need for independence. I may have my own place, but my whole fam has keys to it, so that’s as independent as I’m getting as an Indian girl living in Bangkok.
SAGAR CHOKSI, 36
The first time I moved out was when I was 20. I left the US, moved to Singapore, and stayed for approximately eight years. After returning to Bangkok, I stayed with my family for roughly a year before finding my own place again five years ago. I was living with roommates in Singapore but now that I have been living by myself, having my own space is a big plus. Being able to sit in silence and work or think is amazing. Also,
you can have people over and the freedom to come and go as you please without disturbing other people in the house.
Juggling cooking, cleaning, laundry, ironing, and other household chores along with a full-fledged professional life kept me busy. Add a social life, and you’re awake more hours than you should be. However, this situation helped me prioritise what is important for me in life and aided my growth.
SATKIRATH SINGH, 29
Director, Compass Hospitality
I place a lot of value on personal space, and having somewhere I can call my own provides a sense of personal sovereignty that I’ve wanted for some time. I moved out recently at the start of August, and the overall experience has been positive. My new place is very family-oriented and neighbourly, which creates a pleasant respite from the gentrified milieu of Bangkok’s CBD. Having my own place has also rejuvenated feelings of personal responsibility and gratitude that are always important to have in life. Nevertheless, I was lucky to fi nd somewhere nearby to my parents’ place, which makes it easy for me to stop by whenever I want – and to also share their helper for cleaning and laundry! Moreover, getting groceries with my mum has always been a
little activity for us to spend time together, and living nearby allows me to continue doing this on a regular basis.
I remember when I first moved out, I was apprehensive about meeting my landlady for the first time but when we met, she was very sweet and said I was a good-looking Indian boy, which immediately made me laugh. It’s these little humorous gestures that go a long way towards building a good rapport, so it was definitely appreciated.
At the end of the day, there’s no trade-off between having your own place versus having more savings. It’s an individual choice for everyone as we each value these things differently. That said, I haggled the rent like a true-blooded Indian, and I’m satisfied with what I’m paying.
ANUTTRA ‘ANNIE’ SETTHEEWONGSAKUN, 30
Digital Marketing Manager, SIWILAI
My move out of my parental home was really prompt. It was back in 2019 and I moved out within a couple of days of making the decision. At the age that I was in, independence seemed like the most important thing. Being in an Indian household makes you want that experience all the more.
Moreover, my office was far away from where my parents lived, so moving somewhere closer to work seemed like a sensible thing to do. Ironically, once I started living by myself, I was able spend more quality time with my family, as opposed to when I lived with them. When I was with them, I worked through the week and was out with friends on weekends, leaving me with barely anytime for them. Once I moved out, I would work and socialise over the week, and dedicate the weekends to spending undivided time with my parents, siblings and dogs.
I had lived by myself even before this, when I was in Milan for university; but doing that with your parents backing you financially is very different than being out there on your own taking care of everything. There were a zillion things to manage, considering I could not afford a maid but also struggled balancing household chores with my full-time job. In fact, keeping track of your expenses is something I would suggest
for anyone who wishes to take this on.
Despite all the challenges, moving out is an experience I would recommend to everybody. Even though I moved back in with my parents in 2021 when the COVID situation hit, the brief stint left me with immense pride and confidence in the fact that I can take care of all there is to take care of.