Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, February 26, 2009

By Tareq Adnan

(The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children.
Clarence Darrow, 1857 - 1938)
The kids arrive, it's the last day of school before the weekend begins, and they have all these things planned. So many things but they know they'd probably end up playing the newest racing game on offer on the Playstation. But it didn't matter; it was cool being able to hang out with friends outside of school without teachers telling 'em to shush.
(A couple hours later)
“Hey! You just swerved me into the fence! No fair, you can't hit me into obstacles! We're racing and this isn't Burnout!”
“It's all fair. Why couldn't you have just swerved out of the way?”
“That does not make it right! Why couldn't you just overtake me?”
(Blaring music from the game... clarion calls): “YOU LOSE!”
“Who won?”
“I think we should have paid more attention to the race…”
(Enter mom, she's got a tray in her hand, food on the tray and a smile on her face)
“Hey, kids, how's it going? And Abrar, you seem taller than before! My how've you grown! Are you taller than Sakib now?”
“What… Mom!”
“…Umm… er… yes Aunty, just a few inches in the last summer!”
“See, Sakib, Abrar cuts his hair. He's not growing it out long like a hippy!”
“Mom! What… what… what're you doing?”
“What, I don't get why you refuse to get a haircut, that thatch on your head looks wild!”
“Would you stop already?”
“Alright, alright. Okay, listen, I made pasta, but you're not supposed to have the meatballs. You're allergic. It gives you those horrendous rashes. Alright? And no Coke, you already had like half a litre today!”
(Coldly) “Go away …”Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury

Ah… yes. You can already feel the adrenaline rushing to the cheeks. Your friend didn't need to know about the rashes. It was unnecessary. And the effortless ease with which your mom forbid you drinking the Coke…man, that stings doesn't it? And that quip about the hair… You were pretending at school how you had conquered your parents and they had finally accepted your rebellious hair. Oh yeah.

There are many ways in which your parents utterly, utterly fail you. Like that incident at your birthday party when your mom gave you that huge hug and slobbery kiss right in front of the girl you liked. Or the time your dad decided that playing football with a bunch of hyperactive kids was cool except he ended up hurting his hip.

What people like us understand, at a very early age is that parents are bumbling fools, they makes things that much harder for us. And then they wonder why we sulk right? So, because they wonder and then they nag us as to why they are un-cool, here's a checklist of the things they do that infinitely embarrass:

1. One of the first things I learned growing up, is that whenever my friends were over, it was paramount my mother didn't get access to my room. Because if she did, she would invariably insinuate herself into our little world, with her probing questions and little non-funny jokes. And then she'd tell my friends stories about me, as a baby, as a toddler and just the other day when I accidentally locked myself in the bathroom.

This isn't cool mom.

2. You have your friends over or at a friend's place for the night. This generally means a lot of fun doing nothing all night, but it also means spending some time with the parents at the dinner table. They will obviously pester you with questions. And then you're dad will start humming that accursed song from the seventies…

3. Eid shopping, so you're at some mall, browsing through cotton looking for that elusive piece of cloth that'll make you shine. The dude at the shop is showing off all manners of pants, even bell bottoms from the seventies… which your dad buys for you. And on Eid, he insists you wear them… Oh God.

4. You finally get the guts to talk to that girl. That girl!! Just when school lets out, you gear yourself up. And start crossing the infinite plains of the playground to go talk to her. Your almost there, almost… and then you hear your mom, she's come to pick you up, something she never, ever does. Something about going to your khalas's wedding, telling you to hurry up, telling you that your panjabi is ready to be picked up from the tailors. The girl laughs.

5. Its end of the school year, you just got your transcript. Booyah! Finally beat that chalky teacher's pet at Math! Alright! Time to gloat. Except… Huh? Why is she here? What she doing talking to the teacher?!?! What? Mom? What? English? B? But but but… hey, I mean WHAT?

Yeah, parents are the bane of our lives. Every time we chalk one up on the board of coolness, they bring us down two places. The thing is; we kids are the fly men, at the bar about to score. The parents are the wingers, the people who hold you back and tut-tut quite unappreciatively at the girl you're staring at. And then they totally destroy your chance of ever redeeming yourself by grounding you because you were staring. God no.




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