Why I chose to live away from my parents

A quick chat this morning made me think about why I chose to live away from my parents. Sanch’s post longing for family struck a chord and even when many hours had passed since we spoke, thoughts kept brewing. 

I am from Azamgarh. A small city tucked far east in UP and away from the modern metros of then and today. Papa came to Azamgarh for his first job, got married and that’s how this city became our hometown. There were good schools and we had what we needed for the first 17 years of our life. But then, it did not have much to offer in terms of what I wanted to do and the kind of exposure my parents wanted me to have. 

To become an engineer, I had to take entrance tests – the IIT JEE and UPSEAT. Yes I know there is AIEEE today but in those days, there were many exams and the best chances were via the state entrance tests or the national ones. There was B.Tech, then my interest in VLSI and then the first job in Bangalore. There was no looking back once I left. 

I chose to live away from my parents and they wanted me to leave their nest and grow wings of my own. 

Papa never picked me up and dropped me to Greater Noida when I was studying. I learnt how to get reservation done and travel on my own. There were no online reservations back then and flights were out of question. With a seat or without one, I learnt how to talk to other students, manage things, and safely come home for Diwali. Then, travel back to college. 

Mum and Papa never came to my hostel to check and inspect the food that was being provided. Mum told me to keep a bottle of jam and have it with parathas if the curry was too spicy. They knew I would be able to manage.

They told me to save time and hire a help to wash my clothes. I did. I was able to invest time in teaching others. They taught me what to delegate and what to own.

They told me to take care of my health and eat well. I never cared if the other girls laughed at me when I walked into the kitchen with a five rupee coin to get a glass of milk after dinner. I learnt to manage my expenses without missing my glass of milk.  

When I applied for jobs, I failed. They stood by me but let me handle it on my own.

When I got a job, I had to travel another 1000 kms and they supported. Again, they did not come to drop me and find a suitable paying guest accommodation. They knew I would be able to figure it out on my own. The wings that they wanted me have were there and I was able to fly on my own.

They did not ask where was I spending my salary. They spoke of saving well.

I was a 17-year-old when I left home and if I hadn’t, I would not be the person I am today. I do miss my family. Who doesn’t want to come home to parents with the first salary of life? Who wants to come back from work and not ring the bell? I celebrated success with friends and called my parents at every milestone

Now being married, I have another home but I still miss my parents. I can’t visit them over weekends or walk over for a quick chat or dine with them when I want. This year I went back home after four years but I meet my parents every year. That doesn’t make me a hippie like someone remarked recently. Their love and trust makes me strong. 

I long for my family and the life many of my friends have but I chose to live away to make a life of my own. Longing for family has been my strength as that brings me closer to them. I don’t think or talk about this often cos I want to stay strong and let my wings grow as much as they can. 

The couple who gave me wings – Mum and Papa


For Day 15 of #NaBloPoMo, I am sharing a piece of my heart. 

 

45 Responses

  1. Swapna says:

    I have really enjoyed reading your post because it reminds me a lot about the tough choices I made and the absolute confidence and faith that my parents had in me. Keep writing and sharing.

  2. Rachna says:

    I can see the love and confidence of your parents in the strong, confident you. I also originally belong to UP but had moved around a lot within UP as dad was in a Central Government job. In that sense, when we came to Bombay and stayed there for about 14 years, it sort of became the hometown. It also shaped the person I became as I completed my studies from there. Of course, while doing my MBA, I had to live away from my parents. I guess, we have to for studies, higher studies or work. What would we be without their love and support.

  3. Rajlakshmi says:

    What I loved the most about this post how much confidence your parents had in your decisions and capability. Also how independent you must have been even at that age. My dad sent me to a hostel after school so that I could learn all of this. That is the best decision ever taken in my life 🙂 But now, I have a daughter’s guilt, of not being there when they need me. It’s a tug of war between the home you grew up in and the home you are trying to build.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…10 points to Gryffindor!!My Profile

  4. You know Parul your post reminded me of something I wrote today. My views resonate with your post in the fact that I feel that the decade I stayed in India far away from Muscat to study and then to work was responsible in me growing up to be an independent young adult far away from being a teenager who didn’t know how to even cook, manage his own money, travel alone in a city where he didn’t know the language and more.
    Aseem Rastogi recently posted…Skywatch – Dusk in KuwaitMy Profile

  5. kate says:

    Wow an incredibly different upbringing to the usual Indian girl, but you are so strong for it!

  6. Rekha says:

    Bless you, Parul. Respect to your parents for giving you the freedom and opportunities. Most parents of our generation, including mine, were over – protective. It’s good to see that parents from a small town were free dark more wiser than the ones from Metros.

  7. This is such a candid post dear Paul and I could sense the gratitude in each and every word. I know the feeling because I have to stay away from my parents from the age of 4 as my dad was posted on a tiny village and yes for the sake of education but now I realise it was worth it in making me what I am today.

  8. Anonymous says:

    You seem to show parents as being selfish by them not extending a further hand to their kid who was with them for good 17 years. Whatever they do, they do it for their kid only. And their kid is always their primary motive. Then how come they can have a vested interest here? Yes, might be the joy from kid’s independence overrode some part of grief, but it still is selfless. It is never done intentionally to attain that joy.

    Do you come from an Indian family? It’s your wish to answer or skip. I am asking this because your opinion closely reflects the western ways.

    ENS is a valid point, but I believe life would still carry on with equally happy a feeling for parents to see their kids settle in life & make their own nests one day.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Very lovely post.

  10. Neeta masi says:

    It’s a beautiful experience to grow your own wings and every good parent wants and wishes his kids to grow and fly. This is life but the parents and kids both suffer emotionally. Slowly the winged bird starts it’s own home and parents are left far back but this is a cycle which keeps going in every generation. So our nest is empty but we old birds are so proud of our young birds that they are going strong and it gives us strenth to live our remaining life engrossed in their childhood activities and waiting for them. Life is like that and everyone goes through the same cycle.

  11. It’s a lovely thing indeed what you parents have actually done. I have loved a totally different life, protected and totally cocooned in the confines of my home and bangalore. The first time I left home was when I was 25, a full grown adult and that was when I got married. And I was lost in life. I would not know many things, my mind would be chaotic and I would search for a support often. My confidence was rock bottom low. But i guess life taught me and I picked up reins and learnt it the hard wauy. If only I had left home earlier to grow up on my own, If only I had learnt to open my wings on my own, I wouldnt have had those years of adjusting post marriage!!!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi! Very well written post and makes feel nostalgic.
    But, please don’t get offended, there was no other option for your mum dad.
    Parents (particularly Indian) can never let their kid go far away if they have an alternative. As you say small town & options were soon finishing off after your basic studies, what could they have done?… Except to go with the flow. Of course it would have been very hard for them, but then what else? The mother feels more as they say but the father’s pain is not less either. It’s just well-hidden in most cases.
    I also have another theory on your other point. In the process of making you independent by not providing a ready shoulder always, they infact helped themselves. Had they not done so, on one hand, where they would be dealing with their own loneliness, on the other hand, you would have been relying on them for at least for 1-2 years. They would have been far away but still extremely worried on all small teething issues you faced. The joy of seeing their daughter doing well all on her own helped them overshadow their feeling of left alone.
    Its backward you see! Well, that’s my one way to look at it.. But they did not do it on purpose. It comes on its own.

    They too left their own parents’ nest & settled in another town when they started up. I am pretty sure your grandparents were not into every detail with them either. It’s the way of the world.

    Psychiatrists, these days tackle ENS (Empty Nest Syndrome) on a very frequent basis. It’s very common with housewives who, all of a sudden, have nothing to do and nowhere to go because their “center of life” character is out of their life book for higher studies or jobs. It starts with ENS but reaches to depression finally. My advice to parents – please keep yourself busy with your passion & hobbies. And revive all your long lost ambitions, because life after kids have gone is still a life worth living. If for no one else, at least do it for your kids who want to see you happy and who are miles away but still longing to be home.

    • Anonymous says:

      You seem to show parents as being selfish by them not extending a further hand to their kid who was with them for good 17 years. Whatever they do, they do it for their kid only. And their kid is always their primary motive. Then how come they can have a vested interest here? Yes, might be the joy from kid’s independence overrode some part of grief, but it still is selfless. It is never done intentionally to attain that joy.
      Do you come from an Indian family? It’s your wish to answer or skip. I am asking this because your opinion closely reflects the western ways.
      ENS is a valid point, but I believe life would still carry on with equally happy a feeling for parents to see their kids settle in life & making their own nests one day.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey!! Probably you didn’t understand what I wrote. I clearly indicated that it is not done on purpose. And it comes on its own. And what is wrong if parents find joy in letting the kid find happiness on her own. Like it happened in this bloggers’ case. They had let her decide her own course of action; take her own small decisions and what if they are happy in doing so. It’s still for the sake of kid, not for them. But they enjoyed it, of course. So what’s wrong? Now you might say that happiness is wrong! People want to live in guilt because that drives them more than happiness does. Right?
        If you notice one of the parents has commented “we gave you wings but then we became wingless without you”. Meaning where the mom is feeling wingless (nowhere to go & nothing left in life), simultaneously, the daughter should feel guilty too of taking her mom’s independence away from her. Is that a way to live? When the girl married, did she think, she would give up all her ambitions, all passions of life once she gives birth? That’s what moms of India are becoming. But they don’t realize that their life is still well worth living without their kids. Kids will always be the most essential part of their heart & life but they should not finish off their own life for the sake. And in every word said or written by any mom, this feeling gets reflected. That’s because they want to bask in the glory of sacrifice. Mentioning again, that sacrifice was genuine for sure but it was never exhaustive. It only feels exhaustive to the parents because they want it to.
        One can always pick herself up & start afresh. We all have one life to live and what best we can do should be done.
        Now the mother says, “but still I am happy because you are happy” – implies that no other happiness is left for her other than that of her child. She has given up all her dreams, all her independence to see the daughter do well.
        We are what we make out of our lives. It should not be what kids would turn the parents into – willingly or unwillingly.

        Since you ask, I am an Indian. And from a small town and coincidentally from U.P. (from where the blogger is). My elder sisters’ dowry money was the financial fertilizer for my education. Till date I do not feel comfortable when I think of my sister funding indirectly to my higher education. That’s because I am against dowry as well. But that time I did not have a say in these things. I come from a middle class family. And I always used to think that one day I will support my parents and do much more for them that they could do for me owing to their limited resources. By the time I was able enough to do so, they were no more. So what all I achieved was all in vain! My only solace is that they would be blessing me from heaven for my growth and all. Even though I was able to save and send some money back to them from my first job, I came to know later, they keep that money apart for my marriage. Meaning the resource I was creating for their better living was still not getting used. That was when I realized, couples after becoming parents choose to set their own life aside & live the life of their kids. I am very well against this line of thinking. Might be you will say “when I become a parent I will understand, but I will not.” We all have to realize that parents did their part well while raising us; now they should be free enough & feel free enough to start living once again. And this has to change from parent’s viewpoint not from the kids.

        Let’s not make this blogger’s page as our battleground. I liked the blog so I commented but I will not do do in future if it is so much of a trouble for everybody. I see even the blogger being silent on this. Well, goodbye!

        • Parul Thakur says:

          Let me clarify by first stating that no comment doesn’t mean that I want to stay silent. It was paucity of time and still is. If you see, many other comments haven’t been replied.
          The point that you have raised is an opinion and very valid. Parents do keep there life separate for the sake of their kids, most of the times. And most of the parents do this. They find happiness in what children do and want to do. Sometimes at the sake of sacrificing their own. You are right that my mother’s comment kind of shows that and she still feels lonely. Her children don’t live around and of course it is not easy. I completely agree that parents need to live their life well when their children leave. So, point well taken.

          Also, thank you! You shouldn’t stop commenting on articles you like cos you are entitled to your opinion so what if not a popular one? I appreciate that you took time to stop by and share your thoughts.

  13. vineeta says:

    its true that we wanted to make u an independent girl because we live in a very small town and there was nothing to get after 12 th class. we gave wings to u to fly but actually we became wingless without u . even then we are v happy that u are happy and your happiness is our reward .
    God bless u always

  14. Kala Ravi says:

    Parul, I really love you for doing this beautiful, heart-warming and inspiring post. My daughter is at the cusp of finishing her engineering and plans to leave the nest in a couple of years. I am dreading it and I am going to miss her teribly but reading this, makes me feel, it won’t be too bad! Finding her own wings is indeed very important. Hats of to your loving parents. Stay blessed.

  15. Lovey says:

    Thia is such a great post and made me emotional. I have been living away since college and I do resonate with your thoughts. Our Parents have made us, what we are today. This line will be on my mind now, “Who wants to come back from work and not ring the bell? “”

  16. Shalini says:

    Such a beautiful post, Parul. Thanks for sharing a page of your life. I had lived away from my parents since my college days. And I am grateful to them to trust me enough to do that. 🙂
    Shalini recently posted…Matar PaneerMy Profile

  17. Such, such a beautiful post. You were talking about yourself and your parents but I felt it was my story too. I’m from Shillong tucked away in the North East. I’m what I am, all the good things in me, is because of my parents and that they let me fly. What would we be without them no?

    Hugs >3

  18. SHILPA GARG says:

    This touched a chord with me. For my parents did the same and we are doing the same to our child too. As parents it is our responsibility to give them the roots of values and ethics, and then the wings to fly and chart their own paths and destinies.
    SHILPA GARG recently posted…10 Reasons to Love AudiobooksMy Profile

  19. upasna says:

    Hey Parul, Sanch’s post was on my head until I went to sleep. Of course we have to move out at some point. We too feel bad for the parents having empty nests but it is something they know and prepared for. They have dreams for us. I moved out when I was 19 and never returned until its marriage time. I am thankful that I am here now in the same town as my Parents are. Calling someone hippy just because they do not visit the Parents every now and then is totally inappropriate.

  20. Obsessivemom says:

    This right here is what perfect parenting is. To give kids wings and then believe that they will be able to fly and not regret that you let them fly away. Sigh! That’s exactly what I’d love to be able to do. You have the sanest set of parents Parul and you’re just the way what they would have wanted you to be.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Notes from a happy momMy Profile

  21. Okay this has me in tears, I miss mom so very much.
    I identify almost word by word for I left home at 17 too and found my own way to where I am (strong in the knowledge that mum always, ALWAYS has my back).
    I go home almost every month and I get upset when I have to come back but thanks to the independence she has fostered in me, I know I can survive wherever I go and that confidence is the most important thing one can give their child.
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  22. Vineeta says:

    No doubt we were confident about u but when we gave wings to u to fly it seemed we lost our wings .it was unbearable to live without u ,not to visit your hostel, not to stay with u but it was only for your better future.
    The place u belonged was a almost a small town .
    It was necessary to build your confidence.
    We r proud if u beta .God bless u .

  23. Bellybytes says:

    Kudos to your parents for raising such an independent and strong person! It is difficult to say goodbye and let your fledgling find her wings. Indeed your parents’ judgement, foresight and courage is well rewarded.

  24. Uma says:

    Wonderful, Parul! The seeds of independence are grown early and I’m glad you got to learn and experience the benefits of being on your own at a young age, thanks to your parents. I, on the other hand, got to experience living on my own only after marriage. However, I did well to manage everything on my own including looking after the child without much help.
    Uma recently posted…Lessons I learn from parentingMy Profile

  25. NJ says:

    I think this is the story of every Independent woman in India 🙂 In order to expand your horizons you need to move out of your cocoon 🙂 Who doesn’t want a mother’s lap at the end of the day, who doesn’t worry about their parents health, I think in order to live some we need to leave some. It’s the way how life works 🙂 Great post 🙂

  26. Lovely post Parul…it’s something I could have written too. We are who we are because we left home. Independent, strong, and knowing how to deal with setbacks while we continue to have the love and support of our family. I can’t believe someone said you’re a hippie because you don’t see your family every year/day! Thanks for this post and of course, the chat! 🙂
    Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life recently posted…Longing for familyMy Profile

  27. Garima says:

    I too feel very connected with your post because we both left home at the same age from same place…….very heart touching and lovely post……

  28. Ruchie says:

    Parul I felt connected 🙂

  29. Esha Dutta says:

    I can totally relate to this, Parul. I too left home very young, at 16. My parents lived in a small hill town in the North-East. Living alone in a metro was a very valuable life skill that I developed through all this. To learn to make decisions alone and manage finances when pocket money was a humble amount, to adjust to a new way of life and to stay confident when travelling alone by train, booking tickets on one’s own, getting my won admissions done in a college, finding a pg accomodation…all of this and more, Parul. I know exactly what you mean. Your parents gave you the freedom to fly and you’ve turned out to be this fine person they hoped you’d be! Its a win-win for both, right?

  30. Parul, I can so relate to your story because mine is the same. I moved out of home 3 and a half years back, I have managed to survive, to change 5 houses, manage expenses, food, work, staying alone and much more. It only makes us stronger and yes we grow our own wings yet our nest gives a calling once in a while because the motivation lies there and all the love and strength we really crave for is found there. 🙂 More power to you.

  31. Vishal says:

    Beautiful post Parul. It takes remarkable courage to step outside the life we know and make something of our own. And it’s noble of you to attribute it to your parents.

    Surely, your mother and father are really proud today. And we are inspired.

  32. “They gave me wings to fly “..that’s what I think parenting is about. I had tears in my eyes when I read about finding paying guest accommodation.
    I too have done this alone.
    God bless you and your parents .

  33. Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart with us, Parul. Big hug to you.
    Your parents were confident of you and their upbringing which is why they let you fly away. Kudos to them!
    And to you too, for the fine woman you’ve turned out to be.
    I wish you meet them more often and celebrate happy times together.

  34. Uma says:

    Your parents gave you wings and you flew the right way. Kudos to your parents for the confidence and their trust in you and to you for all the efforts you took! Loved reading this. I am always amazed by the amount of love and strength parents have when they allow their kids to spread theit wings and explore new horizons. Although their hearts will always be full of fear and concern for their children.

  1. November 25, 2016

    […] my mind is occupied by one of your recent posts in which you referred to the days you left Azamgarh. Frankly speaking, I was never worried about your Greater Noida days as so many people were there […]

  2. December 24, 2016

    […] then like how everything changes, I left home to make a life of my own. The cakes were not baked or exchanged, the weather got warmer and winters […]

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