“Stop it maa. I’m a grown up now, I am not drinking milk anymore”. Preeti said while slamming the door of her room leaving me behind. I didn’t force her anymore and just went away with the glass of milk. Preeti started having her own room since she was sixteen years old, which she calls her own ‘personal’ space. She used to study, watch TV and play in our big bedroom and would share everything with everyone in the house. But now, as she says , she has become a grown up, though not yet eighteen years old. Now she stays in her room throughout and doesn’t even share her day-to-day experiences with anyone. Not even with me.
Without thinking much and having used to the behavior of Preeti, I went to the kitchen to make her favorite dish that is bhindi ki sabji. Preeti just loves bhindi, she would eat everyday. I quickly took out some bhindi from the fridge and started cooking. I called Preeti for lunch, and she came after half an hour with as usual phone in her hand. She was busy scrolling, so I just served her and asked her to eat while keeping the phone aside. When she saw she just frowned and yelled, “maa, how many times I’ve told not to make bhindi. I don’t like bhindi and you just make it so oily. I’ll become fat.” After a few minutes, Preeti came out of her room all dressed up and left without saying anything. I was surprised and sad at the same time. After sometime, it started raining heavily and I was very worried about my daughter. I called her, but in vain. After numerous calls and messages I finally reached her and all she said was “maa stop calling me like a kid, I’m so embarrassed in front of my friends. I’ll block you maa.” I was shocked as tears rolled down my cheeks.
I started thinking is this what growing up means. Does growing up means not to call my children and ask about their whereabouts, does growing up means embarrassment when a mother calls her daughter in front of her friends, does growing up means dieting is more important than taking a bite of your favorite dish which your maa made in the home.
That day I became really very sad. I couldn’t take a bite and all I did was to wait for Preeti to return. She came back very late at night and finally I was relieved that she came back safe and sound. I quickly served food on the table and called her to eat while it’s hot. She irritatingly said ” I’m not hungry”. So I didn’t force her and asked her where was she and if she was drenched in the rain. Preeti just shouted and said “maa please leave me alone and mind your own business. I’m a grown up now and I don’t want to share with you”, and just went back to her room. I took the food and kept in the fridge with my hands shaking and blurry vision because of my eyes filled with tears of sorrow, grief and a lot of questions.
I quietly sat on the chair near Preeti’s room and started thinking, If I am too overrated or this is the real meaning of new generation gen-z grown up…