Why Indian Mothers Are the Best Momsplainers

Modern Family

Why Indian Mothers Are the Best Momsplainers

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza

Bollywood’s rosy filter of “maa ki mamta” and its portrayal of Indian moms conveniently leaves out an important fact: Desi moms are notoriously savage. From a nagging knack for detail to a whole plethora of politically incorrect things she can say in front of your friends to embarrass you, Indian moms’ intrusive nature and staunch refusal to cut the umbilical cord well into their kids’ adulthood (in some cases, even their 30s and 40s) is something that has been unjustly unaddressed for far too long now.

The most significant of these desi mom salient features is their ability to patronise you over even the smallest things… or momsplaining. Given my experience with my own mother, I’ve managed to decipher what some of these slices of maternal savagery translate to.

1. “The Speed Limit is 60km/hr on this road.”
Translation: You’re going above 30km/hr in a 60km zone?! This isn’t Khatron Ke Khiladi!
No matter how old you get, your mom will never tire of treating you like the wailing, helpless four-kilo mass of human flesh you were when she first saw you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been driving down the exact same stretch of Western Express Highway for years on end. If your mom is in the car, you best be ready to take twice as long to reach your destination. By mentioning the newly installed speed guns and stricter traffic police laws, she will cleverly disguise her absolute lack of trust in your driving skills with motherly concern.

Solution: Next time, just Uber it. Enduring a long-winded lecture on why a Share would have been more convenient than this Micro is better than being reminded how fourth and fifth gears are alien concepts to your mom.

2. “This is healthy food. You can buy it at Big Bazaar’s produce section. You know Big Bazaar na?”
Translation: I know your staple diet is instant noodles and beer. Eat a fucking fruit, you hedonist!
There’s really no winning this one. Every time you feel like you are adulting just fine, there’s nothing quite as humbling as having your dietary needs momsplained to you. The worst ones begin with, “I know you kids party a lot these days and that’s great but…” What usually follows is advice on what kind of food to consume/avoid for the rest of the year. “Please avoid eating outside in the summer. Or Monsoon. Or around Shravana. Winter is fine though,” conveniently dismissing your argument of Mumbai having no winter.

Solution: Try changing the topic to who got eliminated last in Big Boss before she brings up how having empty beer cans and rotting food in every corner of your apartment is unpleasant.

3. “Beta, you know na there are many benefits of finding a life partner before 30?”
Translation: Seriously dude, those grandkids aren’t gonna make themselves.
“Mummy sab jaanti hai” is more relevant in 2018 than any other time in history mainly because sabki mummy is on Instagram. Did you think she hadn’t noticed how a frequent face on your stories isn’t even on your friend’s list anymore? Rookie mistake! Mommy dearest probably spends more hours stalking your ex per week than you spend at the gym. This versatile momsplain also allows her to effortlessly flow into two other favourite corollaries: “Right time to settle down” and “The biological clock is ticking away.”

Solution: Nip it in the bud and exclaim, “Fine! I’m okay with having a Shaadi.com profile.” Unless you want brazen accusations like, “Your Tinder generation doesn’t understand the value of companionship” hurled at you.

4. “This is an off switch. It would be great if you used it now and again.”
Translation: Remember that time 10 years ago when you left the geyser on? Never letting you live that down.

While your peers regularly gawk at how responsible you are about spending wisely and cutting corners, your mother will likely guffaw at how you can’t figure basic electricity-saving hacks like keeping your AC on timer mode and drying clothes outside instead of in the washer-dryer. After she’s done pointing out that you once accidentally grilled your own finger in the toaster, be prepared to watch her reteach you how to correctly fold bed-sheets, pillow covers, and even your chaddis.

Solution: Mention how there’s a new Whatsapp update. And that you won’t help her download it unless she promises to quit momsplaining.