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Scariest Things About Growing Up in a Sri Lankan Household

2021 Oct 31

In line with the Halloween season, in true Sri Lankan fashion, let’s look at the top five scariest things about growing up in a Sri Lankan household.

The Questions

When you cross the line, your parents will hit you with, ‘Ayo! What will other people think?’  Have you ever suddenly found yourself having to answer the dreaded questions about what you are doing with your life.  ‘Putha, what are you doing? Where are you working now? How much are they paying you, ah?  So, when are you getting married?’ So before you start questioning, ‘wait, what am I doing?’ and start feeling useless, here’s a simple remedy. Don’t panic, stay cool-headed, and sneakily divert the topic if you don’t want to answer these questions.  Give a solid, genuine compliment about their attire, tell them how much they have inspired you, or quickly point to something or someone around. If none of these work, then it’s time to start running away.

The Expectations 

Sri Lankan families have endless expectations! How many do you think you can meet? Firstly, have you ever dreaded the comments about your figure/weight? Sometimes you just might not get it right for your family. For instance, they might see you in January and say, ‘Oh my god, Putha! You have gained so much weight’, and then, they see you a few months later and say ‘Ammo! Kotu kithaiyyek wage [skeleton figure]’, haven’t you been eating enough?!’ Then come the expectations of having a Sri Lankan approved career as an engineer, lawyer or a doctor. ‘Aiyo, putha, why don’t you get a nice, decent, well-paying job, as  a doctor or a lawyer?’ Never mind what you are passionate about. If you don’t choose these jobs, ‘putha, you are useless, I tell you!’

Ooh! The marriage pressure! If you are a girl and tell your parents that you are not ready for marriage or haven’t found someone, they will remind you about your biological clock. Well, if you are a boy, ‘you should marry a decent girl, putha’. Why? Oh, because their panditha [arrogant] son can only be corrected by a decent girl (we are not sure if this is a horrifying experience for the girl or the boy). Also, how ironic is it that a parent will place complete trust in arranging a marriage to a person they know nothing about. However, as long as he has a good job, or if it’s a girl, she is ‘Sudui’ [fair], you have found your ideal mate.  Oh, and once you do ‘finally hurry up and get married,’ you get hit with ‘Putha/Duwa, when are you going to have children, ah? I would like to see my grandkids before I die!’

The Punishments

Ever been threatened with a ‘thundering slap?’ Been smacked with a slipper? Or has your mother ever hit you with a broom? And then there is the painful experience of getting beaten with a belt by your father! If you have managed to avoid these, you certainly are one of the lucky ones.

The Comparisons 

Somehow, there will always be someone better than you. When you bring a friend over to your house, suddenly you get to hear ‘such a nice boy, did you see how polite he was? Why can’t you be like him?’ There will always be someone better. If you have a brother or sister, then you’ll be constantly compared to them (if you aren’t the favourite, that is). However, if your family does compare you to others: be yourself, don’t let it get you down and work on your unique qualities. After all, remember, all five fingers aren’t the same, right?

The Messages

Have you ever been at work, and suddenly got a message from your mother – and you could just hear the scolding? I mean, it’s like she’s shouting right at you then and there!

Let’s not forget the embarrassing and hilarious messages. It could be about your laundry, your room or the epic moment when they finally figured out the meaning of an emoji or expression.

No matter what, remember that your parents love you. They just might have different ways of showing it! Are you still traumatised by these? I hope you heal from the trauma. Don’t forget to share this article around, comment with your scariest experiences and tag your family. Share the love! What matters most is not the love we get but the love we give, right? Happy Halloween!