Life has a way of repeating events.
Couple of days ago, my son woke me up in the middle of the night to ask if it is with me if a friend of his came to stay at our house.
That was a very odd request at a very odd hour, so I asked for details.
Turns out that a classmate girl is having family issues where her life may be in danger and needs an urgent intervention. My son already had the car keys in his hand for he was very sure I would say Yes. And I did say Yes, even though I was worried about a lot of issues.
The first reason I said yes was because 27 years ago, a friend of mine offered me a place to stay when I had no where to go. I was doing 3rd year Medicine and we were living in Bangalore. Amma had gone back to Kerala and only I and my sister younger to me were at home. We never got along (and will never). Once in a while, I used to go out late in the evening to have ice-cream (mint chocolate ice cream, it cost 10 rs then)at a small shop in the city with a friend who stayed few blocks away from our house. We usually went for the ice cream and then for a long walk and he dropped me back home. That particular day, my sister locked the house from inside and pretended to be asleep. No amount of my knocking could rouse her from her sleep. The worst was that at one stage when my friend and I were standing downstairs and contemplating our next move, we both saw my sister looking at us through the window in her room. Clearly she was not asleep and clearly she wasn’t going to open the door. Where was I going to go in the middle of the night? My friend(bless his soul) took me to his house and let me sleep in his room, while he slept in the living room, It was too late in to the night and he didn’t want to wake his parents up. (perhaps, he felt if his parents said No, I would be sleeping outside on the street and he didn’t want to take that risk). I know he got in to solid trouble the next day. But I was given a place to stay when I needed it and it is only right that I do the same to another person in times of need.
The issues I worry about
- My son’s IB final starts this Monday. I have always felt that there is no point running a marathon if you don’t cross the finishing line. I worry that all this dramas are causing my son too much of distraction. However, I console myself that whatever has to happen will happen. I also teach students who have come to the School of Medicine from various backgrounds and I know there is nothing that stops my son from achieving whatever he sets his mind to.
- Allowing a teenage girl and a teenage boy to stay in the same room is not an easy decision to make. Both are 17 and are past the age of consent. Callous as it may sound, what they do in the privacy of their room is their problem. Not mine. However, I am still an Indian and struggle with cultural issues. This morning, while I was in the garden, both of them came out and were talking to me and my Indian neighbor was walking his dog and I introduced the girl to the neighbor. I did worry about what he thought. I know very well that the opinion of a stranger is immaterial, yet I worry.
- Precedent. Am I setting some sort of precedent here? Would my youngest ask for the same privileges? I have always had the same rules for all three of my kids. I am not sure why I am even worried about it !
I am not stressed, but I am not very comfortable either. The Indian in me is desperately trying to get out and I wish this process was a little bit easy, that somewhere in me there is a middle ground.