Sunday, May 07, 2006

Cooking Under Pressure

One desi's analysis of how the Opal Mehta snafu saved Kavvya's life is spot on. I cannot comment on how it is to grow up inside a model minority pressure chamber in America, but I can imagine it is as terrible as the author describes.

Parents back home are over-achieving and pushy. Academic and other success of their children are trophies on permanent display. There is not much to separate a high-achiever Indian kid and a performing monkey - except with the kid, the show never ends.

My kid is bigger, better, smarter than yours is a theme I am only too familiar with. I felt cooked, stewed and ready to be served by the end of high school except I was allowed to sneak out of the crock-pot before getting myself into a name brand college.

Successful parents are able to transfer the sum total of their pressures without any loss to the child - from then on the kid is a self-propelled machine that has two possible end states programmed - to make it or break it. At my college, I saw a suicide every year I was there - the shock quotient reduced over time. There was rampant drug addiction too though it had ceased to be characterized as problemo numero uno by the time I came of age.

It is not for nothing that I keep J and myself away from the desi community here - the brethren can shove her into the communal crock-pot so quick, that J won't know what hit her until she came out cooked beyond salvation, spelling aardvark to zuchetto in her dreams.

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