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Nats goes home, ‘full time’

Updated on: 04 February,2024 06:43 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Rahul da Cunha |

“Well, Nats, I’ve gotten used to you answering at your convenience, I put it down to uhm… Gen Z zzzzzzzz.”

Nats goes home, ‘full time’

Illustration/Uday Mohite

Rahul Da CunhaIt had been some time now that Natasha aka Nats, my Gen Z neighbour, had gone home to Hoshiarpur—“Going to see my folks, back in a bit, later” was all her message revealed. It had been some months now, I was getting a tad concerned, but I put it down to Nats’ Gen Z “forgetfulness” to inform of a delay.

“You thought I was ‘ghosting you’, right, Rahul bruh?” Nats asked, as she walked through my door.

“Well, Nats, I’ve gotten used to you answering at your convenience, I put it down to uhm… Gen Z zzzzzzzz.”

“Hah that’s clever… you’re referring to our intertia as Gen Z zzzzz.”

“So if it’s not being too uhm inquisitive…where were you?”

“Went home to meet my parents, I told you.”

“For 12 weeks, Natasha?” I said, sounding sharper than I’d meant to be.

“Woah woah dude, easy on, Rahul bruh… who’s counting”

“Apologies, Nats, peace,” I said, realising I’d stepped over a line, “I was intrigued, that’s all, your Whatsapp message suggested you’d be away a few days, there was no communication from you, and then you pop up three months later!’

In spite of her customary swag, and nonchalance, today Nats was strangely shifty, she definitely wanted to talk, but pride and ego as always, stood in the way.

Nats had always been highly experimental, inconsistent in her career choices, which had been many in the last few years—graphic design, an on-line record store, a start-up pastry business, dog walking were just some of her initiatives. She put it down to her “restless” mind, “Bruh, I have too many interests”, “Dude I’m a multi-tasker”, were her justifications.

“So Nats, why were you so long in Hoshiarpur? Your parents are well, right? Your sister?” I persisted.

For the first time in her life, Nats whispered, “Uhm I went home to earn some money.”

“To ‘ask’ for money, you mean, right?”, I asked.

“No uhm to ‘earn’ money, I went to work for my parents.”

“Oh wow you’re joining the family business… what does your dad do?”

“Uhm he makes spare parts for cars… but no, that’s not it”

“Say more, Nats, I’m curious.”

“I went home to be a full-time child”, she blurted.

“A what?” I asked, one octave higher

“A full-time child. It’s an idea I got from what’s happening in China, the concept of Full-Time Children, in my case, a full-time daughter”. Pause. Nats continued, seeing my surprise.

“So young people in China, who are struggling to hold down jobs, or having a tough time making ends meet, post Covid, or who’s WFH start-ups haven’t succeeded, have gone home to ‘work’ for their parents, for a salary!” 

“Your parents are paying you a salary, for what?”

“My dad agreed after much negotiation, to a measly 50k a month—my ‘tasks’, well, they aren’t as fancy as Chinese kids, I discovered. You know, Chinese kids go to the grocery store, wash a few dishes, go for walks in the park with their folks, Indian parents have Indian style ‘duties’.

They kind of take the term ‘available to them’ and household chores a little too seriously, too much paisa vasool... somehow they’ve bought into Narayan Murthy’s 70 hour weeks. (double eye roll)

Six times I had to teach my dad how to use mom still can’t email properly, no one told me that my grandparents have also come to stay, so the chores quadrupled, ‘Natasha get me dahi’, ‘Natasha I have run out of cooking oil’, ‘Natasha, accha its time for Dadimas’s foot massage’, ‘Natasha, don’t forget papa’s champi’, ‘Natasha, chalo hum mandir ja rahe hai’. There was no cut off time, demands at all times of the day and night—‘full-time children’ is actually ‘overtime overworked paid help’ (triple eye roll)—the neighbours would come over, and I’d be serving them too!”

Nats had steam coming out of her ears, while I held back many smiles.

“So you’re back to stay, Nats? Or you returning to Hoshiarpur?” I asked

“Noooooo chance I’m going back, no more ‘full-time childhood’ in Hoshiarpur, I’m good being a ‘part-time young adult’ in Mumbai!” she concluded.

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at

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