My cousin’s mother-in-law is right. I am a loser.
I lived in Australia last year. The house that I was living in was being renovated and required me to move out for a bit. The non-expensive option was to temporarily move-in with my cousin’s in-laws. It seemed fine as I was acquainted with the in-laws.
Things went downhill bit by bit. It started with a laundry detergent feud.
Yes, laundry detergent. Apparently I used waaaaay tooo much laundry detergent and the in-laws washing machine had a slight malfunction. After I apologized and cleaned up, the in-laws smiled and stated, “It is your fault.”
So, I acknowledge that and we move on. Well, only I moved on. From laundry to how I use hot water – I was being furiously scrutinized by the in-laws. Then the biggie… “Lav, you are so not industrious. You are nothing like your cousins. You have amounted to nothing in your life. All you ever do is couch-surf from one place to another. You have no ambition, no goal and no aim in life. All you ever do is bits of silly writing.”
To be honest with you, I went to a local Aussie metal gig that night and headbanged the mother-in-laws words right out of me.
Then I moved out and on. It always played in the back of my head but I didn’t care much.
Almost a year later, I’m in an extremely similar position. Not with the in-laws but with my Uncle. I should explain that being Indian, you cannot move-away from family. Every family member – no matter how far removed – will continuously have a say in your life. Also, Indians don’t care much about your opinion because whatever they state is fact – even if not proven.
I speak for every Indian child/teen/young adult when I say, education and job status is of utmost importance. Nothing else matters. Being a Doctor, Lawyer, Accountant, Scientist, Engineer and Chemist is the highest form of satisfaction for any Indian parent. Even at that point, you are still required to study further for a higher job status.
I am the laughing stock of the family. A writer? God. Help. Me.
I won’t be the next JK Rowling nor do I want to be the next Mick Wall. No. I just want to write. I want to start conversations and have discussions with average people. It doesn’t pay my bills. Freelance writing without a byline about travel, Oscar Pistorious, robberies, rape and crime pays my bills. I don’t live an extravagant life and don’t drive a BMW. I live a simple, clean lifestyle and drive a Chevrolet big enough for me, my dog and travel luggage. I don’t like children (despite being an au pair) and I don’t intend on having them so there is room for me to wiggle around in and explore my life.
However, it’s not what my family wants. It never has been. I am the prototype of the “loser” in my family and their culture. I’ve been told that several times over and over again.
So, to the person who emailed me last night asking “How do I get to be a writer like you?”
My answer is simple. Only you know what you want to do and only you can decide how much you can take on. My story is different, unorthodox and by now – you will have gathered that it’s what I chose.