Dear mom and dad,
This is not a letter to tell you how I failed my exam, nor is it a letter to tell you that I am in love with a man you would never accept. It’s also not a letter to tell you that I hate what I am studying.
It’s a letter that will tell you something about your parenting that you don’t acknowledge very often.
Recently, I read an article about how difficult Indian parents can be during these times of draconian laws and growing fascism. It spoke about parents making choices for their children and how they enforce their politics and opinions on them.
After that, I looked at you and saw different people – not those people that everyone else spoke about.
You might not agree with everything I believe in, but you never took away my right to speak, the right to pursue my politics and most importantly, my right to disagree.
I still remember the evening I went to my first protest. You were nervous, I could sense the fear and uncertainty in your voice. But despite that, you said, “If it were not for the brave men and women who went on to the streets during the independence movement, we would have still been under British rule.”
You gave me some money to travel and told me to eat. You asked me to be brave and kissed me on my forehead. That day, and so many other similar days that I go out holding a placard, shouting ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ or singing ‘Hum Dekhenge’, I never had to come back home and lie or live a dual life.
I know it is never easy for a parent to send their child to a protest while knowing the repercussions, the possible threats and the backlash. It is not easy to wait for your child to return when you know there is a high chance of it not happening; it is not easy to be prepared for the worst every time your phone rings; it’s not easy to fight every relative when they ask you to stop me from doing this ‘drama’.
Most importantly, it is not easy to be a parent.
Thank you, mom and dad, for giving me ‘azaadi’ at home.
You give me hope amidst all this maddening chaos and noise.
Muskan Raj is political and a heavy movie buff, who also manages to write.
Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty