Desi Parent Trap: “Abhi Mehnat Kar Lo, You Can Enjoy Later”

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Desi Parent Trap: “Abhi Mehnat Kar Lo, You Can Enjoy Later”

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

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very desi kid has been told three things, growing up: “Paise ped pe nahi ugte”, “Shor karoge to bhoot aa jayega”, and “Abhi mehnat kar lo, baad mein aish hai”. While the first is just a plain hard fact, the second is a sly tactic to get you in order that neither party believes, while the third is a sadistic, evil, and dangerous trap.

Everyone vividly remembers the first time they fell for it: the big 10. Your tenth grade board exams is the first big test of your life and it’s hyped up like an end-of-the-world war which will determine whether you live or die. Teachers are blunt: “If you don’t score well, how will you ever make anything of your life?” Parents are a little more subtle. When you’re watching TV and a nariyal wala, a thelawala, or any blue-collar worker shows up, their response is, “Dekho padhai nahi karoge na to ye sab karna padega,” delivering a dual blow: One to your ego, and the other to the dignity of labour. Fuck Pokemon, WWE, and cricket, getting a good score in the 10th grade is treated with the same level single-minded concentration as Hrithik Roshan displayed in becoming a good soldier in Lakshya. After all, abhi mehnat kar lete hai, baad mein to aish hai.

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