Parental guidance

Updated: Mar 29, 2020, 10:18 IST | Paromita Vohra | Mumbai

Sometimes I wonder: is this the result of watching too much TV Ramayana or speeches with too many metaphors, causing you to inhabit parallel realities?

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Paromita VohraThe hills are alive with the sound of grown up children scolding their parents.

My friend calls, irate. "Paro! Send me that article! Just now. So I can send it to my mum. You will not believe how she is behaving. She has gone next door to meet the neighbours who have just come back from out of town because, she says, I hardly ever get to see them! I've told her come back this minute! I'm going to put the fear of god into her."

This article is a terrifying description of exactly what the coronavirus does to your body right up to the moment of death by disintegration. It gave me such a fright, I began stocking up long ago, anticipating a lifetime at home and also told all my friends not to read it for their own sanity. But now, several friends have requisitioned it precisely in order to put fear into blithe parents, yaniki, ghar pe raho nahin toh Gabbar aa jayega. (I too, deployed it in a family WhatsApp group, but the link was too credible for anyone to bother reading).

Sometimes I wonder: is this the result of watching too much TV Ramayana or speeches with too many metaphors, causing you to inhabit parallel realities? In one, similies, analogies and Lakshman rekhas mesmerise you into feeling the virus cannot touch you because you are a good person. In the other, no government that's not Kerala, ensures you get food, so you take care of yourself. Hence, they act sharp on stocking up, but get dheela character on staying in. Hipster version of these parents are like, 'Nature is exacting her revenge. We must submit'. Hello parents, you are not auditioning for the role of Ma Anand Sheela. If you want to submit to Nature please stop using that overpriced anti-ageing cream.

Some parents think life is a movie and the disaster part is only three or four scenes, yaniki 14 minutes, which approximates, via an esoteric algorithm known as rationalisation the difficult time to actually prepare for. When asked "Ma, you have enough provisions in case you can't get any next couple of weeks" the reply is, "Yes, yes, I have Maggi and enough sabzi till day after tomorrow." You scream, "What! I am sending you a shopping list! You need to eat nutritiously to build immunity!" They retort, "Yes, I'm drinking lemon and hot water today. That's Vitamin C." This is no time to try and relive a missed youth, parents. We will eat Maggi while camping in the mountains in some hopeful future.

Other parents forward every faltu WhatsApp message— Confirmed case in our lane! Plate clanging will create vibrations on amavas which will destroy demons! India has never given the world a pandemic, so a pandemic will never come to India! Somehow their phones are immune to epidemiologists, scientists or identifiable sources of information.

Asked logical questions, they take offense and loftily say, "ya ya, we also have internet. Only you are not educated" until you are forced to say, "Okay, be like that. Don't come crying to me later then."

Parents, please. Being immune to good sense will not make you immune to coronavirus or any other virus actually. You're grounded. We don't want to hear any arguments. (That felt good).

Paromita Vohra is an award-winning Mumbai-based filmmaker, writer and curator working with fiction and non-fiction. Reach her at paromita.vohra

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