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'My parents split when I was five months old'

Last updated on: September 19, 2011 12:17 IST

'My parents split when I was five months old'


Manjiri Gokhale Joshi's new book Crushes, Careers and Cellphones tries to highlight the generation gap between parents and teenagers through a series of various real life incidents.

The GenY is currently dealing with an altogether new wave of competition. They are battling with parental and peer pressure on a daily basis.

Manjiri Gokhale Joshi's recently released book 'Crushes, Careers and Cellphones' essentially highlights the communication gap between parents and their teenage children with references to various real-life incidents.

The book analyses both failure and success situations. The book's foreword is written by former Miss Universe Sushmita Sen with additional comments by ex-Police Officer, Dr. Kiran Bedi. In their words, the book is 'earnest, serious, irreverent and humorous.'

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Image: Book cover of Crushes, Careers and Cellphones' and (inset) Manjiri Gokhale


Divorce carries 'heart-wrenching' to a new level

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Here are excerpts from the book:


We wish so many of you didn't have to face this. You have been hurt and scarred, no doubt, but we are thankful that you have emerged a confident and sensitive human being. Among the many things we admire about your generation, the way you ve dealt with divorce is a big one.

Honestly, we don't know how we would've dealt with it if we had to and sometimes we still feel ill equipped to tackle the fallout of the situation. Hats off to you on this one! Situations differ, but let's get a few universal truths about divorce out of the way:

When people get married, they do believe they will be living happily ever after.

When they cannot, it is a shock and when they part ways it is with a sense of anger, regret, deep sorrow and pain.

In some ways, divorce is worse than the loss of a spouse. For the loss of a spouse is a loss of a life probably with the love intact.

Relationship break-ups hurt but divorce carries 'heart-wrenching' to a new level. There is just too much common ground -- memories, families, homes, belongings and the worst of all -- having to part ways or 'share' children.

Whatever you may have overheard or imbibed, neither of the divorced parents can be 'truly bad'. If there was nothing good about the 'bad parent', why would they have married and lived together long enough for you to be born and raised?

Even the most 'relieved and happy after divorce' parents would never ever wish that you would have to face divorce as they did.

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Photographs: Illustration by Uttam Ghosh
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The phrase a 'bitter divorce' is an understatement

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From the teenagers' chat room

My parents split when I was five months old. Obviously, I don't remember the effects at that time but I know the effects from the past few years. My Mum had me for a whole fortnight and then I would meet my Dad at weekends. My Mum worked at two jobs and was also attending classes at University when I was little.

My Dad paid little in terms of money so my Mum had to borrow money from my grandparents. When I was two, she met my stepfather. They were friends at first and when I turned eight, they got together. A year later, they got married and I found that my Mum had much more spare time and money. And although my Dad still doesn't put in a big effort to see or talk to me, I don't really care because I'm happy and so is my Mum.

-Kealy Harris, 12, Milton Keynes, UK.

The phrase a 'bitter divorce' is an understatement. No matter who you are in the relationship, the child, the mother or father, divorce is one of the most distressing times in a person's life. I do not wish it on anyone. However, thinking of the glass half-full rather than half empty, you could say that divorce on many occasions, leads to a happier and calmer life for most of the people involved. But, many times divorce also leads to a sadder, lonelier, less enjoyable life.

You can also thank modern culture, in a sense that it helps to relieve many men and women from marriages that they would have otherwise felt trapped in, if it were to have happened even only a couple generations ago. So there are many pros and cons to this term 'divorce', but it all depends on your situation. But for the good or bad, divorce is not something you should wish upon anyone.

-Tanvi Joshi, 17, Milton Keynes, UK

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Photographs: Illustration by Dominic Xavier
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Does your Mom/Dad cause embarassment to you?

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There was a time when your actions in public were a potential source of embarrassment for us.

A tantrum in a bustling mall, running across the aisle in a movie hall and a wineglass crash in a chic restaurant... We may talk about this fondly or even sound wistful about having the toddler back in action! But these are just some interesting nuggets of your colourful childhood neatly tucked away.

Now the tables have turned and every alternate action of Mum or Dad is a cause of embarrassment to you! Let's list some potentially disastrous situations:

  • Parent walking into a pub when you are with your friends
  • Parent actually entering a party venue instead of waiting for you in the car
  • Parent turning up anywhere when not expected especially wearing inappropriate (in your eyes) clothes
  • Parent displaying affection towards you in public
  • Parent addressing you by your nickname in public
  • Parent calling to ask stupid questions and insisting on answers when you are among friends
  • Parent stating the obvious -- like instructions about your safety
  • Parent singing, whistling, giggling, skipping, dancing, jumping or indulging in any 'childish' behaviour in your presence
  • Parent serving tasteless food when you have friends over for a meal
  • Parent expressing undue excitement at some 'minor' school achievement of yours
  • Parent in tears at your graduation parent in tears anywhere!
  • Un-cool parent not permitting you to go somewhere especially when another parent in the bunch does not seem to have any problem with the expedition.

This list can go on and you must be wondering how and when Mum or Dad turned into such bumbling fools? Actually, we haven't changed at all. It is just you, who has grown up faster than we thought you would.

It's also the heightened importance in your life of the opinion of your friends about everything under the sun including the behaviour of your parents.

Of course, we don't want to embarrass you but call it the inevitable generation gap or call us plain dumb, most of the time we don't understand what it is that is embarrassing about our behaviour. So enlighten us on what else embarrasses you and we'll try not to do it!

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Photographs: Illustration by Uttam Ghosh
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'Give me a break, please!'

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From the teenagers' chat room

Hmmm ...though I haven't faced such a situation yet, I will never ever be embarrassed with my parents turning up whenI am with my friends!

Yes, it makes me climb up the wall when my parents give me the same set of instructions, whenever I go anywhere on my own, like 'keep at bay from unknown people', and so on and so forth. I mean it is as if I am being told all the time that I must start taking my own decisions and yet, I am constantly told what to do! I know what is good and what isn't! So give me a break, please!

-Aavrutti Sharma, 16, Mumbai, India

You did so much for me. Yet today my thoughts are directed towards my friends rather than you. People say I've changed and right now, I couldn't believe them more.

-Kshitija Vaidya, 13, Melbourne, Australia

If you say it's we who have grown up faster than expected, then why can't Mum and Dad act a bit more mature? I don't know where to look every time my mother launches off into a story about me! Why boast about even my smallest achievement? It's not as if I have been honoured with the Nobel Prize or something!

-Sanghamitra Shastri, 14, Pune

I wouldn't call it embarrassment as such but more of insecurity if you ask me. We teenagers feel insecure about the way our parents act in front of our peers/mates and we find it hard to bear with that because the socialreprimandscan be verypainfulfrom a few measly jokes to making it to the back of the line.

What parents are really trying to do is just interact and get along but with the HUGE generation gap between parents and kids, it's hard to cope. Here are some things that reallyembarrassme or just make me feel insecure in front of my parents:

Mom reading my messages all the while and over-reacting to each and every one of them where they say "Love you! Muah! Gn SD..."

Mom commenting on my photos with girls and actually complementing both of us by saying we make a good pair and things along those lines!

There are quite a lot of things but I'm sure parents are doing this all out of good will. I'd probably just blame the generation gap!

-Adnan Shaikh, 16, Pune, India

The author is Head of Project Management, Primal Pictures London and co-founder of Maya Care, a non-profit organisation working for senior citizens in India. Manjiri's first book 'Inspired', co-authored with Dr. Ganesh Natrajan, was published in 2006. The book 'Crushes, Careers and Cell phones' is priced at Rs 195 and is available at all leading book stores in the country.

Image: Teenagers feel insecure about the way parents act in front of their peers/mates

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