Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine


 JAMADI-AWWAL / JAMADI THANI
JUNE 2004
Volume 17-06 No : 210

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Muslim Perspectives


Its My Life!

Its My Life!

Many Muslim Youngsters are now opting to live on their own indicating a shift in lifestyles

By A Staff Writer

*Tahir, 29, after studying and then working abroad for seven years, had a tough time adjusting to living with his parents again.

* Farooq, 26 an IT entre preneur moved to Mumbai from Nagpur in search of better job prospects. He found the greener pasture, but having lived on his own for almost 18 months, he says he had to pay a huge price for a better life.

Tahir’s, life can be best summed up in one word: chaotic. From the moment he awakens at 7:30 to the time he falls asleep, usually around 2 am, it is “one roller coaster of a ride”, he says. His work is high pressure and, he says, demands that he socialise within “the fraternity” which means long working hours.

Farooq works from around 9 to 8, six days a week and goes out about three times a week, sometimes, with friends or with relatives,” he says. “I try to come home as late as possible because I hate the thought of being on my own. On Sundays, I stay home and watch TV all day or maybe go to the beach with some friends, but that’s not a regular event. I might go visit an aunt or uncle and try to meet up with friends for dinner because I don’t like eating at home alone. I’m bored living on my own.”

Shahid, 28, says that after studying and then working abroad for four years, he had a tough time adjusting to living with his parents again. “I had no choice but to come home when I was laid off from my job in the US after 9/11,” he says.

Tahir’s friends have also returned to India and all had problems adjusting to life back home. “It’s not that life at my parents was hugely unbearable but I couldn’t deal with my mother’s incessant queries about where I was going, when I’d be back, if I’d eaten breakfast, etc. At 29, no matter how much I explained to my mother and my father that I needed my privacy and space, they continued to behave this way. After a year or so of this headache, I just told them, “I love you very much but I can’t live with you anymore.’ And then I moved out into my own place.”

Despite having found an ostensibly sensible solution, actualising it has proved to be difficult for not just Tahir, but also for Mehmood, 25 whose decision to live away from his parents created a “war like” situation at home. Like Tahir, Mehmood returned to India after having spent 3 years working in Europe but unlike Tahir, Mehmood made the conscious decision of coming back to Mumbai to spend more time with his parents, whom he missed. “The people I’d moved back to be with ended up being the people I wanted to run away from,” he says, adding that their “constant interference in my life” made living with them “an absolute nightmare.”

Mehmood says that while life in Europe was “difficult, as I always felt homesick”, he didn’t realise that he would crave that independence he sorely lacked when he returned to India.

Things came to a head when Mehmood’s parents started pressuring him into marriage so much so that he started fearing coming home from work because there was “inevitably some girl my mother had over waiting for me to meet. It was really painful and it just came to a point where I said enough is enough. I went from having a lonely life in Europe to having a tragic-drama life in Mumbai and I knew that the only way to maintain sanity was to move out.”

Mehmood’s decision to move out caused a lot of problems at home because his parents could not understand why Mehmood had returned to India if he was going to live on his own. His mother, particularly, worried about, what other family members would say, given that Mehmood’s elder brother and family lived with them.

“I find that although I live alone I still manage to spend a lot of time with my parents,” he says. “When I was living with them, I was spending more time trying to be away from them.”

Dr Shahida Baig, psycho logist, had many patients of varying ages who lived on their own and were suffering some form of depression, mainly from the lack of human interaction. “ I think a simpler way to categorise it would be to say that there are some people who can cope living on their own and some who cannot, but even within the latter, there are ways to learn to overcome fears.”

The fact that many people are opting to live on their own is also indicative of a shift in lifestyle and shows how single people have more money to spend on themselves.

There is greater accepta bility now towards men, and they are independent, which may not have been visible 20 years ago when it was expected that children live with their parents.

Many of these people are earning more than the generation before them and so can afford to live on their own, despite high rents. “Parents must have faith in their children and respect their privacy. What really pays in the long run for the parents is the morality, values and ethos they have taught children by their own examples” said Dr Shahida.

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News Community Roundup Editorial Letters Trends Karnataka Polls - Commentary Elections-2004 Muslim Perspectives Fast Forward Book Review Features Children's Corner Just For the Young Miscellany Quran Speaks to You Hadith Our Dialogue Question Hour Religion Facts on Faith Quran and Science Role Models Reflections Crossfire Journey to Islam Matrimonial
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