Living With Parents ? Get Out of That House Already!

(Published first in DailyO, March 2016)

Ever wondered why small town bumpkins in India are smarter than their big city counterparts? (oh yes they are).  Its because unlike the Indian city dwellers who shack up with their parents late into their 20’s – some into their 30’s and some beyond even after marriage-  the small towners  come to the cities to strike  it out on their own. They  live alone,  struggle, scour, scrounge  and find themselves, if you like, in the process.

As a contrast, the over-parented, mollycoddled city youngsters show themselves up as emotional waifs and exhibit symptoms including high-brow  prudery, crabby uptightness and sundry  social attitudes unique to big cities.

Cohabiting with parents despite having a job that can pay for your own apartment, is a phenomenon unique to the Indian sub-continent. All over the world young adults shacking with their parents are pejoratively called ”Big Babies”. In Italy they are called bamboccoioni and Mammone – (mamma’s boys). To  justify this behaviour you hear a lot of sanctimonious drivel about  Indian values and about the special  family bond, which the cold-individualistic westerners,  can never understand.

The biggest fallacy is the assumption that  those who continue to live with their parents,  love them more. The truth is, it’s a minefield of  squabbles out there and the  built up rancour in the family is so thick,  you can cut it with a  knife.

It has nothing to do with love in the first place. Or with our great Indian culture – which is invoked every time in a discussions of this nature. The reasons for shacking up with parents are usually selfish; not being economically independent, high rentals, security and comfort, warm home cooked meals,  not having to deal with the pesky landlord or simply plain laziness.

What is  utterly selfish is the fact that people prefer to live with their parents as long as the   latter   are comparatively healthy and are able to fulfill their needs -(material,  psychological, emotional). But ironically the living-with-parents advocates are the first ones to scoot when the parents grow old and need attention.  There are umpteen   cases   of children abandoning their old,  invalid parents. The excuses are familiar; had to focus on  my career, my marriage , my children’s education etc etc.

There is an assumption that parents need no space or privacy. Everyone does.  Even Indian parents.  And because young adults don’t get out of their homes and grant it to them, parents never know  what it means to enjoy that space and the emotionally uncluttered quietude that comes with it.

One can maybe cut the slack for those who are not economically independent – though pray why a middle-class Indian is still dependent in their late 20’s or 30’s is mindboggling and perhaps a subject of another debate.  But what excuse would an educated, fully functional adult, who can afford to rent a place of his own, have to continue to hoard up with his parents, if not because of a mental malaise.

Living with parents has more pernicious undoings than just the fact that you stop growing. Having been couched up with all those gooey feelings and not having an opportunity to let one’s emotions mature, one is almost beside oneself with them. As a sad consequence one morphs into a clingy, needy creature that  goes from being  clingy and needy with ones parents to being clingy and needy with ones boyfriend/ girlfriend (or  husband/ wife).

 To be fair, mostly the parents themselves, are to be blamed  for their adult sons and daughters  squatting at home. One cannot countenance the fact that your child is in the same city and not living with you. The very big and the very Indian  – what will people say  question looms overhead  keeping the children within the family fold. And at the same alter of Indian values,  appearances must be kept, no matter if  behind closed doors the two generations are at each others throat.

As if living with one’s parents before one’s marriage wasn’t absurd enough. What takes the cake is living with them post- marriage.  What makes it even more bizarre is having to live with someone else’s parents- an ignominy that marriage thrusts on Indian girls.

To be in a family is great but to be moored in it all the time is lacking the will to explore one’s own impulses. Without any wind in our sails we risks becoming our parent’s clones and instead of making up our own minds about the world, we end up peddling our parent’s  ancient attitudes and  outdated beliefs . After all,  religious indoctrination and deep orthodoxies, like patriarchy, jingoism, caste-identities are imbibed not in school canteens but in family living rooms.  Its not a coincidence therefore that many youngsters now claim  their only ambition in life is to become  like their mother or father.

This imitation of the past by the youth pushes the nation as whole a generation backwards.  Back to the parent’s generation, perhaps further back because their parents imitated their own and in this regressive backsliding we are transported back to the middle ages.

114 Responses to “Living With Parents ? Get Out of That House Already!”

  1. Oliveo says:

    Very well put Sanjay Sir. I clearly see my life in 2 phases. Pre move-out and post 🙂

  2. Meghna Singhal says:

    Love this piece Sanjay though i wish you had used Indian images in your write-up

    • Priya says:

      Hey Sanjay…i totally get what you’re trying to say about todays big city phenomenon…There are manyyyyy young people who are staying on their own away from their parents within the same city too…in smaller cities however, this options hardly ever arises and children who stay on in the smaller tier 2-tier 3 cities invariably stay under the same roof as the rest of the family-join family structure…If you need any references for independent people living on their own in Delhi plz feel free to connect can put you through to soooo many…FB group pages on Flats and flatmates, rentals etc is a good indicator of people staying independently away from the family fold..

    • crazygirl says:

      I disagree, mostly. In fact, the only reason I comment is coz I find this article particularly annoying. It’s a matter of choice or preference. Staying with your parents has advantages and disadvantages. It depends on what you want in your life and how much space you need or your parents need. Which in turn are influenced by your culture. Saying that what you want is what everyone should want and do, is rather arrogant and judgemental. If I wanted to stay with my parents till I turned 70, and if my parents were okay with it, I would do it. Also, amongst the people who stay away from their parents and “find themselves’ and endure “hardships”, a great many lose sight of what brought them to the cities, get distracted and irreversibly damage their lives.

      • sanjay austa says:

        Hi Crazygirl ( Thats the name thats shows with your comment) ,
        Of course its your choice. And you can do anything you like of course. I am just making a comment on that choice. And you are well within your rights to feel annoyed by the piece. All the best.

      • johny dsilva says:

        Hey.. by the tone of your reply, you don’t sound so crazy after all! i think Sanjay’s gotten many points well wrapped here. Think they might be true enough to pinch some sort of sensitive point in you. You are the perfect stereotype of somebody who claims that an arranged marriage is also a matter of personal choice. Let the forward thinking bloggers live in peace and get your account!

  3. Harpreet Kaur Jass says:

    …few dare to look into these insecurities of self…. well said!

  4. Sindhu Sarathy says:

    Someone finally said it!

  5. LIsa Beth Aronson says:

    what about old adults living with older parents?

  6. Debesh Sharma says:

    Sanjay, nicely written but presumably you have some defined age in mind…that is what I surmise. I had been away from “home” for about 30 years till I returned – don’t know whether it was the return of the prodigal son though And I can safely say that it is a wonderful feeling to be at home again and at this age…for none of the reasons that you mentioned.

  7. Debesh Sharma says:

    And oh I am still “young” – therefore the comment

  8. Sheetal Wadhare says:

    Loved how you put it! Living alone is an experience in itself. Teaches you things you would never learn otherwise. I feel everyone should go through it no matter what the circumstances!

  9. Kalpana Sunder says:

    Love your perspective!

  10. Shruti Chakraborty says:

    Although I agree with a bit of the core sentiment and totally endorse the thought that adults shud move out as soon as they get a job, I think you’ve been harsh and a tad bit superficial in your assessment.

    For one, when you say ‘mental malaise’ is the only reason for an adult to stay with parents, you’re discounting the fact that for many nuclear families with all working members, just those fleeting moments during weekends and/or at night are the only time they get as a family. That connection’s easily given up, but very difficult to maintain.

    Second, for an independent-thinking adult, living with parents is actually more difficult. So there is a continuous battle of minds and thoughts between the two generations. And such conflicts on a regular basis and then an attempt to live within reason is much more taxing than having to worry abt one’s bills. I assure you!

    Third, you’re right when you say/imply that a lot of it is societal norms. Especially post-marriage. But also consider how having in-laws may help a newlywed set up house, especially if both partners are working. If I ever get married/live with someone, I’d ideally like to live alone with my partner, but having put much thought to the matter (over years and sometimes under duress), even I have to admit there are some valid justifications for living with family (whether it’s in-laws or parents, is a whole other discussion on why shud the woman always move house post-wedding, which I shall not get into here)

    Fourth, when you say parents are mostly to be ‘blamed’, consider their PoV. Given how kids these days easily mistreat parents, can you blame them if they don’t always trust that the kids who’re no longer living with them won’t be around when they suddenly (god forbid) have a heart attack, physically hurt themselves, etc.? Sure, parental abuse happens with live-in kids as well, but at least one hopes that in a worst case scenario the kids will hopefully at least take the parents to the doc by virtue of just being present there (proximity), if not anything else. I guess I have a problem with the word ‘blame’. Had you said they’re ‘responsible’, I may have agreed!

    As a backgrounder, I’ve been trying to convince my parents to not get upset and let me move out in Delhi for the past four years at least. They’re okay with me changing cities, but having me move out in Delhi (which is a city i love and where i have a career) is just like a question on their parenthood. I’ve lived on my own for a year in Chennai, and I am a huge advocate for independent living. But to simplify it the way you have… is rather unfair. There is a medley of thoughts in both the mind of the adult and the parents when a decision like moving out is taken in India.
    2 hours ago · Unlike · 1

    • sanjay austa says:

      Hi Shruti, I am making a point about young adults who have a choice to move out but won’t. In case of any mutual crises- if one is invalid or the parents are seriously ill etc – its a different issue altogether. I am also trying to point out that young adults don’t give any space or privacy to their parents or at least don’t think they need it.
      Also I will never understand why should one need to convince parents about ones decision to move out. This would be making them “responsible’ for it then wouldn’t it be? If one thinks one should move out one needs to just pack ones bags and tell them. If thats difficult then maybe one can leave a note on the fridge. No? 🙂

      • Shruti Chakraborty says:

        Sanjay, the points I mentioned have nothing to do with mutual crises. Just regular stuff that people living with parents think about or have to deal with. Kids hanging on to parents and thinking of them as ATMs, are a whole different breed (irrespective of whether they live at home or occasionally visit), but the whole society is not like that, which is the sense that I get from your piece. I understand the disgust, I just don’t agree with the umbrella treatment meted out in the piece.

        I totally think parents need space… though, funnily enough, most of the parents i’ve met have been surprised that I think so. so, i guess we’ve kinda met polar ends of the parent pool. Coz when i’ve suggested that parents ought to take time out, or have some privacy or just ‘run away’ occasionally (coz they have as much stuff to deal with, if not more)… I’ve had jaws drop, with an exaggerated sigh of disbelief (you can even imagine hands criss-crossing to touch ears and tongue sticking out if you like a dash of melodrama) from parents themselves.
        If i gave my parents privacy and space, they’ve misconstrued it as indifference or a show of being unconcerned with them… which is unfortunately quite the opposite of what I wanted to express…

        Wrt the convincing bit… yes, in one way it is indeed as simple as packing up one’s stuff and leaving, but while doing so… if I have to deal with tears, I can… but two people one absolutely loves questioning a lifetime of parenting values, thinking that my moving out means they’ve been standing in the way of my moving ahead in life when it’s actually quite the opposite is not something at least I’d want to subject them to. Because, y’know… the unfortunate part abt the Indian system of thinking a world of one’s kids is that once they are they’re own person, the parents don’t register the fact that they need to build their own life (unless they get married!!)… especially with daughters! At the same time, they don’t think they deserve to have that time to themselves for themselves after spending a lifetime for someone else. Strange, but true. I’ve been advocating the “flying the nest” concept to all parents and children around me to much amusement, revulsion, shock… all of which, hopefully, some day, will melt into acceptance.

        So, no… leaving a note ain’t difficult to do… it’s just plain difficult to even think of!

        • Shayon Pal says:

          I think you just wrote every single feeling I had while reading this piece. Thanks for not making me write all of this in the middle of a work day.

        • ~j~ says:

          Hey Shruti, you’ve made some great points. And I completely get what you’re saying. I’m not entirely convinced of Sanjay’s simplistic view that it’s easy to up and leave the nest even though I agree in principle Indian children must be on their own once they can. I’ve been trying for years to make my parents understand that and the response I always got was “get married and do what you want” or “find a job in another city and it’s justified”. And this was when I was still not completely secure on the career front. When I was keen to move out, the arguments and petty quarrels would just go on and on. I recall advice from a friend who had moved out before marriage for a year: “Don’t move out for the wrong reasons and especially not out of anger”. So a note on the fridge? Please, too filmy and ridiculous!

          I’m now a significant contributor to the family’s financial needs, and so I don’t feel the need to move out. It’s another matter altogether that my parents decided to move to their native village for their own peace and happiness. So saying that children don’t allow parents to have their own space is also something I can’t relate to. My parents create their own space.

          I have a decent job in Bombay and with the job market being what it is (for my role), there aren’t any great opportunities out there for me. So if I have to move out and pay exorbitant rent money for a place that will be like any hotel room to just sleep and bathe and occasionally eat in, what’s the point?

          And I am half-amused that the author here thinks small-towners are smarter than city folks on this moving out theory. Generalisation, much? Your circumstances make you what you are. And I’ve been fiercely independent all through my life… so much so that my younger brother got married while I continue to be single. It’s very much my choice and my elders do not like it. So please don’t assume I have a comfortable life because I’ve lived with my parents well into my 20s or 30s.

  11. Shruti Chakraborty says:

    Sorry for the rather looooooooooooong response, but it’s a topic i’ve been personally dealing with for quite a while, hence the outburst

  12. Pankaj Malhotra says:

    very well written sanjay also the fact — which pushes the youth a whole generation backward..

  13. Shruti Chakraborty says:

    Many years back, I’d given my parents a print out of Kahlil Gibran’s poem, On Children, to try and make them understand the philosophy I believe in. As anticipated… a few days later my mother was using the A4 sheet to soak in excess oil that wud splutter out of the kadhai

    On Children
    Kahlil Gibran

    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them,
    but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children
    as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
    and He bends you with His might
    that His arrows may go swift and far.
    Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    so He loves also the bow that is stable.

  14. Vijayta says:

    Sanjay, while you actually talk about this happening in urban cities, there are lots of them in villages and rural areas, who continue to live with their parents. In fact, in cities, a lot of middle class children actually have moved away to study, work and continue to live alone. (This comes from personal experience and seeing the company I had around in college, in office). You may actually have a point when it comes to the poor lil rich kids…

    • sanjay austa says:

      Vijayta.. yes i am talking of a very small group of people ‘ those who have an option of moving on but don’t’. In villages you don’t have a job but work in a family and can’t afford to live separately.

  15. Kavita says:

    Shabaash beta 🙂 did you show this article to your parents Sanjay 🙂

  16. Aditya says:

    Your article, while well written, makes a lot of assumptions on how both the children and parents feel about living together. A lot of parents expect to live in the same house as their children and be taken care of, something your article puts across as a burden. The only thing that does change is who owns the house (moving your parents to your place for example), pays the bills and other responsibilities. I know of many parents who see, and have seen, their child moving out as ‘abandonment’ and not the ‘I’m giving you privacy’ you think they need/want.

    Similarly, for a lot of children just being able to afford their own place doesn’t mean packing their bags and shoving off. Some like to take into account the future – huge medical bills that are almost a certainty in today’s day and age, investing that surplus income to ensure a more comfortable future for the family as a whole and other avenues where that rent money could be put to better use. ‘Building character’ doesn’t rate very high on the list when hospital, loans and other responsibilities are breathing down one’s neck.

    I’ve stayed both independently and with my parents, as have many people I know. We certainly haven’t become “emotional waifs” and the other traits you describe just because we choose to stay at home. Our parents don’t treat us like infants, they hand over all the responsibilities on to our shoulders and expect us to function like adults. I know people who behave in exactly the way you describe too, but you can’t hang everyone for the crimes of a few.

    You see moving out of the house and away from the parents as a necessity for a better life, something that is highly subjective based on what that ‘better life’ is in one’s eyes. For example, the vast majority of people I know who live ‘independently from their parents’ use that freedom to indulge in substance abuse, excessive alcohol and nil savings at the end of the month. That’s a lifestyle they choose and are content with, but it doesn’t become a benchmark for the rest to comply to.

    I disagree with your viewpoint that children and parents living under the same roof lead unhappy, unfulfilled, lives. Will children be more independent and learn how to survive better if they leave home? Yes. Will they be unable to become independent responsible members of society if they don’t? No. Urban denizens will always be softer than their rural counterparts who have seem more hardships, renting a house isn’t going to drastically change that.

    I don’t know what kind of life you have led to form the opinion you have, but I see nothing wrong with the family values and nuclear families that you seems to have a distaste for.

    This is just my personal opinion here, no offence intended.

    • Aditya says:

      I’ve made so many typos, where’s the edit button when you need it. 🙁

    • Rheea says:

      Well said, Aditya. I couldn’t agree more with you.I understand the value of living independently, but this is post is superficial and also assumes that everyone looks at “privacy” “space” and “independence” in very western terms. There are multiple notions and ways of appreciating those terms in cultural subsets. I myself see my life more western in the sense, I need more “personal freedom” and live on my own, etc. But I have close friends who live with their parents and actively make a choice not to move out because well, they are happy, and they sure as heck ain’t living unfulfilled lives.This is a glib response to a very textured culture, there are no right and wrong answers. What matters more is the values and life goals we instill in each other- to love, be kind, share, be open minded, and contribute something to the world we live in- whether we live with or without our parents.

    • sanjay austa says:

      Aditya.. as i have pointed out before I am not talking about crises scenarios but choices. If the parents need care then no one is advocating ‘abandoning’ them. I am talking of young adults not wanting to explore themselves. I am not talking about moving out to seek a ‘better-live’. Better life as I have pointed out can be had in your parents house- where your every comfort and whim is take care of and you don’t have to struggle to find your own feet. I advocate struggle as opposed to cushy comfort of a home.

      • Aditya says:

        The opinion that you need to leave your parents to ‘struggle’ is where our thoughts differ. Living at home isn’t as cushy a life as you make it out to be. Take for example the hot meals, don’t most independent people hire a maid to make just that?

        I have possibly misunderstood what you mean to communicate through your post, but it strongly infers that people who live with their parents go through life being nursed like toddlers. As I have mentioned above, while I don’t deny the existence of such people – that certainly doesn’t seem the case for the majority of people I have come across. I could make a counter argument that living independently doesn’t always end up with a positive outcome – depression, suicides, substance abuse, a detachment from parents and eventual refusal to take care of their needs. I’m sure these scenarios apply to a very small portion of people who live independently, but I too can make it sound like the entire lot are black sheep eh? 🙂

        The only scenario where I would possibly think of advocating what you suggest is if the family is excessively regressive and actively tries to squash new thinking. I personally come from a very liberal family, the need to leave home in order to discover myself has never come up.

        To summarise my rather lengthy comment, your post comes off as telling everyone to walk in your shoes even if the feet don’t fit 🙂

        • sanjay austa says:

          No Aditya.. I am just saying take that choice when you have it. To stay with parents as a young adult is also a choice- I am making a suggestion that staying with parents when you have a choice of moving out is not such a good idea as its made out to be in India.

          • Aditya says:

            I appreciate that you take time to reply to every comment. Without which, I would have continued to misunderstand what you mean to convey.

            It would have perhaps been better received if you had made more of a case on why young people need to go out and what awaits them out there, rather than deep diving into an opinionated piece on all that you think is wrong with staying at home with one’s parents – for that is where the disagreement lies, there are far too many permutations and combinations for people to see things through your eyes. However, from what I can see on my social streams, there seem to be people who agree with your line of thinking too.

            It was an enjoyable read nonetheless, certainly stirred me up enough to hit the comment button and post my two cents. 🙂

          • Deepak says:

            I tend to agree with Aditya. This post came to me via FB and as with Aditya’s social circle, mine also endorses the writers sentiments.

            I have a caveat. It may actually serve you well to taste independance (financial and otherwise) and then come back to stay with parents. It teaches you to be patient, empathetic and also gives you clues as to how you can “adjust” with other people. Am tempted to add that I may have become a better husband as a result of this experience since most of these traits are required in any human relationship.

            As with most situations, you either make the best of it and use it to evolve or you let it lead to your devolution. Its not the choice that you make but how you relate to that choice that makes the diff.

            So am not sure if the black and white scenario painted here is true.

    • Jia says:

      Very Well Said Aditya! You have covered every thought i had while reading this article.

  17. Kersi says:

    Well written.. however I strongly disagree with a point made here –
    ‘Its not a coincidence therefore that many youngsters now claim their only ambition in life is to become like their mother or father’

    I am 29 now and I have been own my own since I was 6.. boarding, hostels, self rented aprtmnt & now 7 seas away from home.. I have had the opportunity to interact & live with quite a lot of diff sorts of ppl. I have had a lot of real influence on me from my teachers and diff ppl all along.. I would also agree that, I would not agree on a lot of things my parents would have to say or the way think about certain things.

    And it sounds all fancy to say I wanna be my own man and not like anyone else.. and its fair in some cases as well BUT I would be glad if I can be half a man my dad IS.

    Am just saying that just because I want to be like my father does not make me a over-parented, mollycoddled 😉 or it cant be true the other way around as well.

    Also, ‘Cohabiting with parents despite having a job that can pay for your own apartment, is a phenomenon unique to the Indian sub-continent’ is NOT completely true.. one may want to do some more reading or rather visit some places outside India.

    Though I did like this article.. Its a good read 🙂

  18. Easwar says:

    I’m not too sure on judging people who stay away from the parents and those living with them. In the end we do need our private space, but leading a lonely life and dying alone can be a nightmare to some of us. Individualistic living can also raise existential questions on life.

    Maybe if we do things alone we could get smarter in certain aspects of life. But some of us don’t really care and just want to enjoy our irrational life and pickup up the same old quarrels with our loved ones 🙂

    I can only remember the lines in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.

    “We don’t turn in the chicken because we need the eggs.”

    Living with parents is a messy process. But living alone isn’t great either 🙂

    Free-will ceases to be free when we judge a certain way of life and coerce the society…

    Love your articles Sanjay! Keep up the good work. If only we could get more opinionated articles in the mainstream press..

    • sanjay austa says:

      Thanks Easwar, I am glad you like my article. But i am all for existential questions. I think many of us don’t really bother with them at all. But I feel we should. 🙂

  19. Vishal says:

    Saath na rahein toh achcha,
    Saath rahein toh aur bhi achcha…

    I lived separately in the same city for a year. With colleagues / friends and closer to work. It gave me more time and freedom. And made me realize how much more family is for me. I didn’t see the point in paying the kind of rent and expenses i did in Mumbai – despite having a house! My parents would be happied if i saved that money or spent it with them!!
    That was 6 years ago.

    I am back home with that knowledge and living with family. I’ll prefer to live with them even after marriage.
    I am 31 right now.

  20. Sneh says:

    This is the first article that I have read of yours. Very well written! A true projection of our Indian society. Its been a year that I moved out of my parent’s house – and so far so good!

  21. Venkat Kaushik says:

    Well Sanjay,
    If you wish to stay away from them, you can. But why do you generalize this phenomena that occurs to your mind and ask everybody to get out?
    Narrowminded isn’t it?

    • sanjay austa says:

      Venkat the phenomenon is not in my mind but out there in Indian homes. It is an op-ed article so it will have a certain opinion. You can disagree with it of course but that doesn’t make it narrow-minded.

  22. rakesh says:

    …For Intelligent sensitive children, living with intelligent sensitive parents…either situation is workable.
    The individual/separately living world is quite capable of handing out similar if not, as “undesireable consequences” to your protagonist. of balanced mind and see beauty in the fact of living and learning…..

  23. Erica Mukherjee says:

    Hi Sanjay, so totally agree with you. Very well said. If not to give space to parents, one needs to go out to grow your self. There are many things that life can’t teach you if you stay at home and that I truely felt when i moved to another country and was completely on my own, responsible for my self. One does realize the positive difference that comes in you before and after the umbrella period. But i feel in our country, despite the willingness of youngsters, it’s the parents who refuse to let go. I’ve seen many cases where kids have to let go of better career prospects just coz parents don’t want to let them go. That needs to be changed first.

  24. jas says:

    Brilliant , Refreshing, Brilliant! this is an eye opener for alot of people who are caught in emotional manipulation by families …and it has only reassured me further, that i am not the only one who feels its a necessity to live independently…not that i dont love my parents…(i love my dad to bits) but i can for certain feel GUILT- FREE now!!!! thank you Sanjay… you have penned down this so perfectly…

    P.s : And lastly , rather than going to temples and satsangs ,i hope every Indian parent reads this and realises that the best deed they could do for their children is letting them step out of their not-so-cozy cocoon and embrace growth in the truest sense.. 🙂

  25. Roopa says:

    Dear Sanjay,

    I’m not sure I agree with most parts of your write up. Mine was an arranged marriage, and while I was careful to look for a guy who’s stayed out on his own, I couldn’t imagine living without the in-laws! They are the parental affection you miss when you move to a new house. How about looking at the concept of grow up children meeting financial and household responsibilities, and simply enjoying the company of parents who gave up a lot of time from their lives to bring you up? After having a child, I realized the sheer amount of time parents invest in children, and they do it so lovingly, and all through my adult years none of this was ever mentioned! Their lives completely revolved around us for a long time! They worked hard for us, they played with us, they noticed every expression and took great joy in our achievements. When my toddler learns a new word, I cannot tell you how happy it makes me. There’s a machaiavellian way to look at it, and that’s not how I choose to look at it. True, I have more freedom to talk to my folks about anything they did that upset me, and cannot do the same with in-laws. But can I ignore the words of advice I’ve received from them on the work front, on the home front? Can I ignore that my 2-year old daughter is feeling so comfortable and learning so much in the affectionate old arms that hold her? Can I forget the family stories they shared with me to make me feel like a part of their family? Can I ignore the time they took to have conversations with me so that I don’t miss my parents? You’d being shallow if you think this is being emotionally weak. These emotions can be the grounding factor for many. We both have fulfilling careers and love the work we do, and our folks enjoy watching us grow to meet more challenges. My folks and my husband’s folks have both experienced the ’empty nest’ syndrome when their children flew out to study abroad/outside and work elsewhere. Now we’re all back, and because we wanted to be with each other. We want to come back and see those faces that have grown old watching us grow every day of their lives. Words don’t even cut it. All the silly squabbles are one thing. The real stuff is what I cannot do without.

    I agree – it is important to marry a person who’s been out on his own. Vital. No two ways about it. But it’ not just about who does what around the house. There’re bonds.

    • sanjay austa says:

      Thanks Roopa for sharing your experience. There is no denying there are loads of people who have similar experiences and that it works for them.

      • Roopa says:

        Thanks for writing this Sanjay. This article is more about the angst at 18 years of age – to go out and see the world. That struck a chord, and we’ve all felt it, and some of us were lucky that our parents helped us do it. You’re pretty much clear that staying with older parents is a totally different issue altogether.

        With regards,

  26. sanjay austa says:

    Aditya – thanks for taking the time to read and commenting. We can of course agree to disagree on this one 🙂

  27. Aparna says:

    Hi Sanjay,

    Really appreciate you writing this from a different perspective.

    Living independently is still frowned upon in a typical Indian society and then again I am talking typical here. :-).

    So as a single Indian woman who chose to live away from her parents even when I was in the same city, I would say, it has its advantages for sure. You miss out on certain comforts but grow as an individual to a great extent. And I was close enough to meet them regularly.

    This is especially important for people who have lived in a very sheltered set-up for a major part of their lives. I saw my other friends from childhood days who had stayed with parents all their lives, missed out on the independence and challenges of running one’s own home.

    All things said and done, I like your article as it explores living independently from another angle.

    I firmly believe, we have our own value and we do not need to ape the west but if there is an opportunity to explore living on your own, I suggest everyone should try it at a certain point in their lives as one comes out wiser from the experience any which ways; even if you finally decide to be back with family for your reasons or do not.

    As far as I am concerned I am having the time of my life living by myself and am in close contact with my parents. In contrast, my eldest brother who left the nest in 1993 came back to India in 2010 and now loves to live with them and enjoys their company.

  28. Ikru says:

    Tell me about it!
    Here I am, 26 years old, waiting to move out of home because I can and I want to. I have no complaints about staying at home. Yeah, I don’t have to pay rent, bills, wash bed sheets and I have all the freedom in the world. I don’t need to chew on gum and spray ten bottles of deodorant on myself just because I don’t want my family to know I went out drinking. Everything is perfect. And all that was pretty great till I realized I’m missing out on a really great learning experience by living with my parents. The sad part is when you know you are getting used to all the pampering/comfort and the thought of moving out becomes hard, slowly but it does happen. Not because you are so emotional. Because you know, deep down, it’s easier to be lazy and have everything done for you.
    So I finally walked up to my parents and shared my thoughts with them. Told them I need to get out there and find a place for myself and learn to take care of myself by myself. That I don’t need to wait till I’m married off to some Gulf return to finally move out and cook fish curry for him. That as much as I appreciate the comfortable life they’ve provided me, I want to be able to run out of coffee powder or band aid or get stuck in the shower because I forgot to turn on the water motor. I want to be irresponsible and learn from it. And have good, bad, scary, funny or stupid stories. And that they will only see me as a more capable, independent person. Maybe it’ll help me be a great mother someday even. Ha ha!
    All these major dialogues and you know what they said? They said NO! Apparently, I’ll always be their little girl or something like that. They said I can move out when I relocate and ideally speaking they would like me to never relocate. They are all up for me travelling for weeks together and coming back with great stories. But I have to come back home. I need to come back home. They love having their kids at home. Yeah, we are still kids. We never will be adults to them. I don’t think they realize how much it’s going to hurt them when we all have to leave someday anyway. Oh, let’s all just be young and old and die together and that’s what happy families are made of. It’s such an Indian thing, really. But if I say that out loud, they’ll probably think I don’t love them. Drama!
    Long story short (a li’l too late for that now, eh?), I thought I’ll shut up about the moving out thing for sometime and not hurt their feelings. But I think I just needed to read this post. Let feelings get hurt. It’s for the best, they’ll see. I’m going to have a fun time talking to my parents and I’m going to show them this very well written post of yours to back me up. And if it all works out, I’ll owe you one big, fat thank you! So wish me luck! 🙂

  29. Aditi says:

    And what if the parents react super emotionally to this!

    Have been battling with this thought since few months, ignoring some really great career opportunities, just coz parents would take this to heart.
    I do feel my thoughts, my capabilities are thwarted by their thinking (though they have been supportive throughout), but I feel there is a lot to explore-all by myself.
    But just a guilt blocks it all- that would it be worth it!

  30. Aruna says:

    Hello Sanjay,
    Your intentions are somewhat understandable, and I agree with the crux of what you are saying. But:
    1. Why do you have two very unrelated pictures that convey nothing on the blog?(Perhaps I am missing something very significant.) The last one lists the nationalities of people sitting in a living room!
    2. The self-righteous tone that you adopt while preaching living apart, is also characteristically Indian, if I may point it out. Cohabiting with your parents is not unique to India (it happens in Europe and elsewhere too), yet the related emotional blackmail and passive aggression are perhaps more forgiven in India than anywhere else.
    3. There are other things that are good about living away from your parents. Like that you start accepting emotional blackmail as a way of existence, and that you start thinking of yourselves are very important to your parents’ lives.
    It cuts down socializing and other healthy interactions too. Living with in laws one shouldn’t confuse for living with parents, it’s the man’s way of keeping both their wife and parents busy with each other, and sparing himself some trouble. It’s a different matter, however unpleasant, and pertains more to the Great Indian Culture than mollycoddling or dependence. My point is that there were some very logical ways of leading up to all this. Your blog is a little unconvincing because it mixes up a lot of things in a bit of an angry rant against imaginary unions of spoiled children. There aren’t as many as you imagine.

    • Aruna says:

      Thanks for replying. I am not sure many of the economic reasons elsewhere are very justifiable though. It just turns out that it is economically more comfortable to live with parents for them, not that it would be impossible to live alone. To an extent, that is true in India too. Of the lot that you describe in Delhi, most stay on because it is much easier to live off what has already been gathered than go about gathering it yourself. In India, people do tend to justify it otherwise, as if they are being very useful to their parents or resisting breaking away an emotional bond. In that, I agree with you. The phenomenon is not more wide spread than elsewhere, it is just justified in a weirder way.
      The other side of the story being the compulsion to live with (healthy and able) in laws after marriage. I wish for many women that they could “get out of those houses already,” and I am sure so do they, and I’m afraid there aren’t enough polemic pieces against patriarchy that makes them forced care-givers.

  31. Sobin Ponnachan says:

    This is that one note which Karan Johar and all other Indian directors thinks in that stream should read. Well said and innovative Sanjay

  32. Ritu Lalit says:

    You nailed it. Children should move out, otherwise it affects their growth

  33. Tanuj says:

    Thanks for the post. Though a little superficial 😉 , it initiated an interesting discussion. Loved some of the comments. They helped minimizing the misleading inferences one might have after reading your article. 😛

    The primary reason I have seen kids moving out, is to start of their careers and gain financial independence (the folks you generalize as small town kids, though big city kids too move out).
    I certainly see the point you are trying to make, as I have seen quite a few of my peers who tried to live out on their own, but found it too difficult to live. Though their parents may be progressive and understand the importance of exploring self living independently, the kids see it more like the parents don’t care about them anymore. They say they explored themselves and came back to live with their parents, as that was not a life they have to life because they can “afford” to live a better life. Yes they are my age and they are now more settled in their life than I am, but hey to everyone their own.

    On the other hand, I have seen some who exposed themselves to the world and in the process changed themselves as they learned more about the world. But sadly didn’t keep in touch with their parents to keep them informed of what they are experiencing and how they are changing. Thus by the time they are well settled and ask their parents to move in with them, there is a gap between them which neither of them are able to decipher. Many a times, I found roommates, friends, friends’ roommates etc. who were confused about where they were in life and expected advice from me. (hey I was in no position to give them any advice, and thus rather turned to my parents to get advice on what to advice to that other person. but the point is…) Kids become so detached with their parents that they fail to understand the affection that the parents have for them. They fail to understand the difference between the professional expectations that the world has from them and the life expectations that the parents have from them.

    The moving out of the nest has become more common in the last couple of decades, so the parenting too needs to change to make kids more prepared for such a phase of exploration. The parents too need to ensure that the kids respect their need for “private space”, rather than assuming that the only job a parent has is to look after their kids well being.

    Maybe you could follow up this post with something on how the Indian parenting needs to change, to help kids prepare to take on the real world independently. (of course, if you would take into account the existing societal realities, then the article would be more interesting) 🙂

  34. Raj says:

    What about parents that WANT to live with their kid and don’t want to leave him/her alone? I have a cousin whose mom follows him wherever he goes and despite being a dad he has to live with his parents.

    Then there are my parents whose main goal in life, now that they’ve retired, is to live with me, even if I’m in another country. It’s not like I don’t want them to be with me. I love them and would love for them to spend a few weeks/months a year, with me.

  35. audrey says:

    Well i totally don get the livin with in laws post marriage! Well when my parents tried to arrange my marriage, my only request to was to live alone post marriage -u know sans de in laws! Not only de boy ran the opposite direction but had to hear a few unkind words too ( which by the way i don care). The whole episode creeped me out, i mean when women can leave everythin behind sometimes even her job, the men cant even move their butt out of their comfort zone!

  36. Saurabh says:

    Hi Sanjay,

    You have expressed your views in the article, without actually trying to know the psyche of “majority” of the parents.

    It’s a fact, that most Parents who have their children move out would be happier had their children stayed with them. Deep down, all parents have this feeling and a “Hope” that in their old age their Children ( Male child ) will be there with them, and they surely would not want to wait till the time they become TERMINALLY ILL to be taken care off. ( May be, you could Ask your own parents and you will know that. ) Many Individuals decide to stay with parents not because they want to take advantage of Not paying EMIs of their homes, or having home cooked food etc, but they feel a sense of responsibility and a feeling that it’s their turn to give it back to parents now, as they approach their old age.

    I am assuming that you are a very SELF RESPECTING guy and moved out of your parents house immediately when you became FINANCIALLY SELF DEPENDENT, ( please correct me if the case is otherwise ) but dont you feel a sense of responsibility towards your parents ?? You surely cant move back to them later when they desperately need support and leave your spouse and kids.

    In the article you talked about “small town bumpkins” who left their small towns to struggle in the Big cities. I would like to urge all of those smarter , now successful, small town Bumpkins to bring their parents to stay with them in their Big city homes, because I know a “small town bumpkin friend of mine” who brought his parents from the Village to live with him, after he became successful and could support his parents living with him in the City.

    It’s a separate matter if Parents decide not to come.

    These are my personal opinions, and we need not necessarily agree.

    Best Wishes,
    Saurabh :):)

    • sanjay austa says:

      Hi Saurabh, Thanks for sharing your views. I agree with you that most parents would want their children to stay with them. The idea of having Male Children so that they come handy when you need them in old age is according to me utterly selfish and has all sorts of social consequences including female infanticide.
      My article focuses on young adults in the late 20’s and 30’s. It does not delve into looking after your parents in their old age. We all of course agree they should be taken care of.

      Small town bumpkins by-the-way have smarter parents 🙂 ha ha. I am from a beautiful apple- growing Himachal countryside and there is no way my parents would want to abandon that to live with me in congested and polluted Delhi 🙂

      • Saurabh says:

        Hi Sanjay,

        Thanks for your reply.

        You have misinterpreted me. I did not ever mean that Parents produce kids, hoping that it’s a Male child so that he comes in handy in Old age. Not at all.

        All I meant was that if I am born as a Male child, I feel a sense of responsibilty towards my parents, because, in our culture, my sister will move away after marriage and will have a different home,( may be you should write a Blog on this tradition to be done away with, and I will surely be able to relate with you on that, because if a couple is Blessed with only Female children, then all their children will move away from them as per this tradition, not to forget that the Female has to always make a HUGE adjustment by moving into a completely New home )

        I am sure your parents will stay Young for a long time, since they are living in Fresh Air of Himachal ( Touchwood ), but, most of your “Not so smart” Big city friends in 30s might have parents who are 65 plus, and living in polluted Delhi, hence, taking a toll on their health and growing older much faster.

        Best wishes & regards,
        Saurabh 🙂

  37. Jesal says:

    That’s certainly an alternative, almost brave argument for indidvidual independence stemming from India; I can certainly see how feathers feel uncomfortably ruffled based on some of the comments.

    My caveat is that young adults should live on their own at least at some point in their lives as fully functional financially independent socially contributing members of society.

    As an Indian girl brought up in the backdrop of America with very Indian parents I fought for that right and chose a graduate school 3,000 miles away. Sure I was petrified but way more excited and invincible 21 year old. Eventually living on my own steam, it is worthy experience because it 1)shows you and your family, you can survive without them, that after all is the entire point of parenting, give you the skills to make it without them 2)gives you a wider perspective of the world, it is amazing the social conditioning we accept as the norm if we never challenge ourselves out of the familial box of our childhood.

    All women should experience the true freedom between dad’s house and husband’s house (even if the husband is not the usual typical traditional “Indian” mold, disclaimer: I am not implying anything negative about Indian men, I love Indian men, haha just drawing a patriarchal distinction); there is something empowering about being answerable to yourself.

    And if you follow the traditional route of becoming a wife and a mom, you will always be anchored to those roles, even if they are not traditional or binding.

    I guess there are many reasons why people would want to move into the family home, post all that independence and I think there are multiple benefits to an extended family esp. for little children and ailing, aging parents. Hey if you can make it work in a mutually beneficial way, more power to your parivaar.

    But seriously I hope Indian younglings make an effort to live alone at least once in their lives, its awesome being able to make mistakes and learn from them empirically then one day you can give gyaan to your kid based on your life not their grandmas.

    • sanjay austa says:

      Hi Jesal,
      Thanks for taking time to share your experiences.
      I liked your point about living on your own steam as it ‘shows you and your family, you can survive without them, that after all is the entire point of parenting, give you the skills to make it without them’.
      Thanks again.

  38. sree says:

    thats utter non sense, and subjective of authors views

  39. Jia says:

    There is a quality which is quite predominant in India. Here parents DEVOTE their lives into making their children’s lives better. How much ever they love each other, their priority continues to be their children. Maybe its the arrange marriage culture, but to them loving each other is mostly not the priority. And when the children leave, for studies or to work, the lives of their parents get as dull as ever. Of course there are exceptions. But what this leads to is pressure on the children to give back that love and care that was showered on them. Are they excited about living on their own with all the freedom in the world? Hell yes. But can they? Mostly not. Not because its frowned upon, but because somewhere they are filled with guilt about leaving their parents alone. Therefore, mostly this set up arises not as a result of someone seeking ‘comfort’ but out of necessity.

  40. Maneck says:

    Austa, very well written and impressive account of kids leaving their parents house at an early age. Sadly, I would have to strongly disagree with the opinions expressed here. More so, because the opinions expressed here are of a small town boy who moved out of his parents’ house and hence for me the blogpost is biased.
    Fair enough of you to have put your point across and in agreement to it, I do agree moving out of the parents’ house does play an important role in making you independent. However, for me that is not the only factor which determines the personality of a person.
    I have always believed relationships from the start are never self-less and they exist because people are able to derive some benefit from it, financial or emotional or both. My take however is that in my house I have seen both examples. Firstly, my younger brother who moved out at a very early age for studies and further studies, jumping from one city to another in different countries and detaching himself from the daily ties of the family. Ofcourse he loves us all and his extended family a lot but he likes his or used to like his (before he got married) lone life and never wanted to trade it for anything else. He has done well for himself and probably is never scared of the unknown, but still he falls back on us if he needs to, and always knows that we are there for him. So technically “Moving out of the house in our culture need to necessarily mean Moving out of our parents’ lives or vice-versa.”
    Then there is me, who has always studied in Delhi stayed at my parents place till I wanted to move out consciously and even after that they come and stay with me, either out of emotional need or because they just enjoy it. Ofcourse my Dad and I argue much more, now that I am an “INDEPENDENT” adult, but at the back of his mind he is as proud of me as he is of my younger sibling. How staying with my parents affected me is that I understand the intricacies of how relationships are woven, and how we can use this network to best of everyone’s advantage. I moved out of my parent’s place after I started my firm, but I had bought a house for myself long before that because my parents taught me how important it was for me to make my own path. Sanjay, you know me well and the cons of staying with parents that you have mentioned, I have used them to my advantage and probably understand the value of creating a family whether it is personal or in business much more than anyone else. To leave a legacy you have to stay connected to everyone and that is what staying with parents have taught me.
    To summarize (and before my comment becomes longer than your post) I would say that your take on this topic is well taken, but have you tried to understand the other side of the coin too. Whether we choose to or not, our parents and our upbringing do shape up our personality and our choices in life. I am sure you are also aware of a lot more examples which are negative when kids moved out of their parents shadow. In the end, We are what we chose to be.

    • sanjay austa says:

      Thank you Maneck. Thanks for giving a very nuanced argument about the phenomenon. I agree with you. You know me – the piece is polemical as such articles with such topics tend or need to be.

  41. RM says:

    Honestly,this looks very much like a POV from some one who got stuck living with parents and dint get enough space.and this article makes it look like that is the norm & everyone needs to get out.
    Depends on what kind of a family you have and what kind of a person you are.

  42. Vaishnavi says:

    In most cases it’s the parents who don’t want their children to move out. Daughters are not allowed to move to a different city in search of work or for education, parents blame daughters-in-law if the son wants to suddenly move out, after marriage. Basically in India we have the concept that sons are ‘Budhape ka Sahara’ and this culture is ingrained in us. Our parents did it and we will do it to our kids and so on and so forth.

  43. Thanks for this Sanjay. I agree with you wholeheartdly on the sentiment in general. I moved out of my parents home at 21 and have been living on my own in Europe since 13 years. Its been a revealing experience and I share most of all your chagrin at this borderline unhealthy culture of Subcontinental youngsters living with their parents and justifying it’s pitfalls in the name of ‘Indianness’.

    Nevertheless, there is a second side to the story that I do feel often goes a little unadressed in the midst of contemporary Indian culture finding it’s feet–the Indians ability to keep their parents and families involved in their lives in a wholesome way. I live in a country where parents and children negotiate thrice before they agree upon a dinner appointment or weekend stayover with each other. While I respect that point of view as much as any other, I can’t help but notice the adverse effects this extreme (If I may be so bold as to use this word) has on human-relationships and society as well. Here’s to healthy lives and happy, balanced relationships.

  44. ashish says:

    Sanjay, You’ve nailed it. I feel this is one of two things that is destroying Indian society from moving forward -the other being the English language. Ok, that’s a pandoras box and should be opened another day, another time.

    I run an internet company in Delhi and we employ about 25 people in our office. We got our first few employees through word of mouth in 2010 and they happened to be from Delhi NCR. At one point, we had about 6 people in our office who were born and raised in Delhi. Today, after 3 years running the business, we have zero. We didn’t get here by chance. It is deliberate. We have an unwritten rule in our office not to employ anyone who was raised in Delhi. Call me judgmental if you like but I need to run a business and I need to do what is best for us. People raised in Delhi are arrogant with a misplaced sense of self. Unfortunately, their attitude doesn’t reflect in their quality of work. As Sanjay has so rightly pointed out, the seeds of this misplaced self worth are sown over the dinner table at home.

    To grow up in the knowledge that you will always have a roof over your head, no matter what, is not a blessing but a curse. It is the greatest barrier to the growth of individual thought, creative expression and development of self identity. Look what happened to Rahul Gandhi.

    Why do we get entrepreneurs in the US at 17, 18, 20 while Indian boys and girls are still being mollycoddled in their mothers arms at that age?

    This debate is at the heart of India’s identity as a society and the outcome of this debate will determine the future of the many generations of young Indians and many Indians not yet conceived. It is a debate worth having. For all those opposed to Sanjay’s ideas, please don’t consider it an assault on your personal status in life. Continue to live with your parents, if you must, but listen (carefully) and have the intellectual honesty to appreciate the points he has raised.

  45. Preeti says:

    Quite an interesting article – I do not stay with my parents and I could relate to this article, in bits and pieces, though 🙂 But on a serious note, I do not agree to this article in its entirety 🙁 Your points such as the “lacking the will to explore one’s own impulses,enjoy that space and the emotionally uncluttered quietude,more pernicious undoings than just the fact that you stop growing” & many more are prevalent in any relationship. For example, this could happen to anyone not living with their parents but living with a spouse or a partner. Our partner may be the cause for “backsliding we are transported back to the middle ages.” One may have an orthodox life partner who would stifle the growth and joy in life.

    You don’t need to live with parents to experience this. So, would we look at not living with partner/spouse for safe-guarding our personal growth or would we wait for the West to catch up with the ” Not living-in partners/spouse” culture and then appreciate and ape:) Every relationship needs to be balanced – irrespective of staying with parents or otherwise.

  46. Saswata Basak says:

    Hi Sanjay,
    I am a small town guy in India and I left home when I was 18 to live in a far away city in a college hostel doing my undergrad degree, and I can vouch for all the points you have mentioned in your article. They say that life is the greatest teacher and I have experienced it right from the moment I left my parental home. Living alone was full of struggle during those initial years but it has made me confident, much wiser and ready for any situation in life.

    We can be almost sure that those people who don’t agree with you and me, either partially or fully, are supremely indoctrinated and would naturally lack the ability to understand logical facts. You don’t understand it unless you experience it yourself (without the spoon-feeding of Indian parents). Live on your own for a few years and only then will you understand its tremendous merits and how selfish you had been to live with your parents, and they had been to ask you to live with them. Moreover, we need to be open to the good of other cultures because, let’s face it, no culture is the best and definitely not the Indian culture.

    Most Indians consider their parents as Gods and would do anything to protect or defend them. Sadly, it is this child-like attitude, along with age-old religious or family traditions, beliefs and the kind of racism still so vehemently practiced in India (Read: the caste system) that has been crippling the country’s progress for generations.

    If you want to repair a table, you need to find out which leg is uneven. Similarly, if we want to improve our country, we should look into the root problems that are preventing its progress. Doing this would be truly patriotic. Let’s stop believing that India is great (Mera Bharat Mahaan) and address these issues and encourage merit over mindless traditionalism.


  47. Mukul Bhatia says:

    Sanjay, am working on a subject similar to this for an year now, and am afraid, the idea of children not moving out just for free food, laziness, or to avoid rents et cetera too conclusive, and inappropriate in most cases. The young generation has been tremendously plagued with a dependency syndrome, the seeds of the idea have been sown right from infancy. I don’t know many children who’ve been taught the idea of living independently. Infact, I feel that self doubt and fear is installed by many parents, just to make sure they get the insurance of emotional security once they’re old. Most Indian parents, from the very beginning try to shape their children, their aspirations, dreams, even love life!
    I guess more than just a clingy generation, its the one of guilt infused, passion-less collective who have either lost the fight, or are still fighting just for basic individuality.

    Also, Americans for an essay with indian roots? 🙂


  48. Tanya says:

    Dear Writer, I get your point. Just that you have simplified it way too much and that you need to develop some sense of openess to the “other view” when you write so extreme. I really don’t think you stereotype the people who do choose to stay with their parents.
    The fact that you actually narrow this down to a debate between “small town bumpkins ” and city dwellers gives me an idea that this isn’t a well researched article, out in the open. And yes, I am an educated, fully functional adult, who can afford to rent a place of his own, yet still continue to hoard up with my parents, not because of a mental malaise, but because it is my choice!! (to mention, I did have my own little space while studying out of this city, to show my independence)
    I do not quite believe that I need to assert my independence by staying alone. My independence to me is choosing the career I want, going out when I want to, having friends over when I want to, marrying out of my will (and not being forced into it), being able to afford my interests and fancies! So yes I do not believe that staying alone is the “only” way to show my independence. One important point that you have not taken into account is, that with most people working in the family, you get to “properly” meet them only on holidays. So the idea of giving and taking “space” is pretty much taken care of. Not all of us have parents sitting on our heads (as you have made it out to be). So I guess it’ll be good if you take into cognizance such families as well.
    I also disagree with you when you say that staying with a family is regressive. I would love to welcome you to stay with my family just to feel, how it can be to stay with “non-clingy”, progressive parents (yes those type exist, unlike your finding in this article). 🙂 I got nothing against you, but don’t write generic, and be so judgmental/opinionated about a lot you don’t seem to know much about.

    • sanjay austa says:

      Dear Reader, Thanks for sharing your views. The ”other view” as you put is, is bandied about enough in India- in our melodramatic Ekta Kapoor’s serials, our culture, our families, our movies and our songs. Therefore I was presenting the counter-view and it may seem extreme in India but not elsewhere.

  49. Swarnedhu Biswas says:

    It seems the blog writer has a bizarre and perverted mind, and is against family values without any valid reason. His English is not bad, but he couldn’t give a single logical explanation that why the parents and their son/s’ families shouldn’t live together for a lifetime under one roof, and why he thinks the son’s and daughter’s mental growth and emotional growth get stunted because of staying with parents. Tagore and Subash Chandra Bose and several other great luminaries used to live in their ancestral homes only and I don’t think their mental growth got stunted because of their parents’ influence! Of course, economic factors do play a crucial role in inducing two generations of family members to stay under the same roof, as do a deep sense of insecurity, but they eventually help in cementing the family bonds further. Necessity eventually paves way for more emotional adjustments, which I think is an edifice for a better evolved and more tolerant society. At the same time, I must say that I am not at all against people who live away from their parents, for a valid reason of course. Whether to live with one’s parents or not should entirely depend upon an individual and his/her spouse and children’s given conditions, situations, and priorities and it is about time some people who pretend themselves to be radical without reason, or believe in being rebel without a cause stop being judgmental about it. And by the way, the writer was factually wrong too, as he is prone to be, for he was dispensing with logic while giving free rein to his biased thoughts. There are many countries outside Indian sub-continent where parents and sons live together! The writer should read some good twentieth century English literature to get a clear perspective of the western society, which is much different from James Bond movies. For example, Italy is one country where family bonds are very strong! Japan is another country where it is the norm to have sons and adult unmarried daughters to live with their parents.

  50. Mahima Sukhwal says:

    Agree very much, specially with “The reasons for shacking up with parents are usually selfish; not being economically independent, high rentals, security and comfort, warm home cooked meals, not having to deal with the pesky landlord or …” and “The very big and the very Indian – what will people say question looms overhead keeping the children within the family fold.” Very courageous of you to post this Meghna, I haven’t usually said it out loud for fear of being reproached for not following the Indian culture, values, etc.

  51. Parul Abrol says:

    I think it is more of a South Asian feature. We just never cut the mental umbilical cord. I have seen friends who have become independent, some married, and their lives are almost run by their parents, still. Whether you want a divorce, change jobs, buy a house, make an investment – all the decisions are taken by parents and people let them. Then they complain that their parents interfere too much. We dont know how to mark boundaries.
    I loved the point you made about parents needing space – I could almost see my parents there

  52. Jarking says:


    I need some advice…my elder sister (age 27) refuses to take up a job, though well qualified…she refuses to marry too..she just wants to sit at home and quarrel with my parents all day long…blackmailing them abt suicide, verbally and sometimes physically abusing them…i am going mad…i stay away at my own job…but when I come home, I see this..and I want to go to the police…plz give any suitable legal advice

  53. Anand says:

    Very different from the usual stuff what I get to read in Indian e-media. I can vouch for your words even if you won’t dare to!. Because I lived away from home for last 12 years as part of education and job. Now I look back I was a mild tempered, bookish, not so social kid whose only achievement was some decent grades in schools. After 12th when I moved out of home I gradually started to loosen up. My social and communication skills developed though not so fast. Most importantly I learned not to freak out on smallest of issues. Learned to say “No” when I really have to. Travelling have become a big thing thing that needs immense planning to a joyful activity with almost zero pre-planning. Some of these things might be happened as part of the natural process of “growing up”, but I really beleive leaving home as a young adult helped me in my personal development. All these things didn’t bring down my love and attachment with my parents even a tad bit if not increased. Hats off to you Sanjay for the unique piece and the brutal honesty with which it is written! 🙂

    PS: It reads it was first published in March 2016 on top, but most comments are from 2013 and 2015!. How come?

Leave a Reply