The life of an Indian girl, a good Indian girl, is effectively two lives in one — there’s the shiny, pristine, straight-A winning life and there’s the dark, dank, dashing into the first lights of freedom life.
Up until junior year of high school, the first life is the only one I knew. Then stuff happened, that is not worth going into unfortunately, and I saw the second life I contained within myself.
It plays straight into the hands of non-South Asian people to say that Indian girls are forced to nurture both parts of themselves without arousing suspicion from their parents. It appears to them like we’re just as oppressed as they think we are. But I wouldn’t say it’s as easy as that — our parents want to protect us and that often means forwarding their own worldview, and all they know, as a shield. Sometimes it breaks our hearts, but most of the time it pushes back mistakes until we’re at an age where we can handle them. Hopefully.
I am blessed, as an Indian-American girl, because I grew up comfortably with parents who wanted me to talk about sex as long as I didn’t have it. And even now, I’d say I have a very open relationship with my parents even if I don’t go into the particulars.
My mom knows, for instance, that I have been using dating apps till recently. And while it’s not her preferred mode of contact for me and “boys,” it’s fine for now. My dad has a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy that suits both of us. Both of them were supportive when I said I wanted to start this site. “Think of the SEO potential,” I said, while they nodded their heads and changed the subject.
Most of my content on Sexed Mag has been safe — I haven’t discussed sex positions or anal fisting. The most I’ve done is complain about dating apps and talk about how I like having a period. Not the best, my parents might say, but definitely up to me.
When I start going deeper, though, I told them I’d have to write about actual sex-related stuff. I’d have to use my real name, not a pen name, if I wanted to add these articles to my portfolio. As a professional writer I can’t exactly forgo my byline. This topic came up in a conversation with my parents in a very typical South Asian way — “You’re aunt has asked your mother to stop sharing your articles from your site,” my dad texted me while I was at work. I could tell he was laughing on the other side.
“She didn’t know it was your site,” my mother responded. “But yes, she asked me to stop.”
Oh. That sucks, but you know I can’t pretend —
“Yes, this is your work,” my mother effectively texted back. “Use your name.”
“Hey, I mean, if others can embarrass their communities, you can definitely stick it to the baniyas,” my dad said, invoking our caste and family.
So, here I am, writing the first piece in a recurring column that will explore love and sex from a thoroughly brown perspective, with my parents’ approval. What could be more Indian than that?