Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are that of the author alone
I know I am speaking on behalf of a lot of people when I say this, Indian households do not care one bit about space and privacy. You might be 25+ years of age, with a job, a few friends and earning sufficiently, yet if you live with your family (if it’s a joint one, you’re in a complete soup), they are free to walk into your room at any hour, ask questions like ‘Who are you talking to?’ and treat you like a toddler. It’s all accepted because if you complain, you’re going to be blamed for being ‘a junglee/ladaku/chudail’ etc.
The concept of space
In other cultures (keeping the South-Asian cultures apart), when individuals turn 18 or more, their parents and family realize that it is time to treat the said person as a grown-up. In India, that concept does not even exist. When it comes to actual homes as well, rooms and spaces are divided based on availability, barely on need. You might have had your mom sleep beside you your entire life and it’s considered completely ‘normal’, even if you’re 33.
Space is important for the mental well-being of any person. If you’re constantly feeling crammed, which is adding to your anxiety, then all other aspects of life like general productivity and happiness are hampered as well. One of the biggest reasons for my own mental health taking a hit is the lack of space — a factor I have noticed in several of my friend’s lives as well. Especially with the pandemic forcing younger generations back home, under the watchful eye of the Indian khandan.
When you’re mentally free, you’re better at coping
With the past year making all of us return to a homely environment, the fact that I have always had my personal space is becoming a baggage that needs to be lifted. With barely any space to relax after a day to work or being asked questions upon leaving, there is a downward spiral in terms of keeping myself positive and happy.
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As a method of coping with the situation, one strategy that has really helped me is speaking to my parents. Communicating the need for space is almost as important as needing space itself. With them realizing the importance of my mental health, it has been quite fruitful in demarcating times when I can be completely left alone.
How many others are dealing with a similar situation? Let us know your coping mechanism with the situation in the comments below!
Lead image credit: Rajshri Productions + Illuminati Films