25 Mar 2012

Potty Mouth

My parents are about as liberal and open-minded as you can reasonably expect Indian parents to be. While this is a blessing in most scenarios, you can't sometimes help wishing they were just a little repressed. Privacy, for instance, is a concept as alien in our household as democracy is in (insert whatever dictatorship is currently trendy to deplore). If my Dad were Osama Bin Laden (and alive), he would send out easily influenced youth to crowded malls and national landmarks in the developed world with huge quantities of Too Much Information strapped to their chests.

So the other day, we were just settling in to watch the video of Cousin Chaz's wedding. I fired up the Home Theatre system, set the surround speakers to optimum, made sure Grammy had her glasses and her Tweety Bird comforter, dimmed the lights and hit play. Being a Catholic wedding, it was considerably shorter than your average Bollywood 3-day affair, but I still couldn't share in my family's enthusiasm for watching videos of wedding ceremonies we had just attened a week ago. About fifteen restless minutes in, I decided I'd better sneak a cigarette now if I wanted to catch the hilarious drunken-Dad-dancing footage at the end.

I stood up as quietly as I could and made to leave.
"Where are you going?" came my Dad's voice, eyes still glued to the screen.
"Oh, just to the toilet," I said, in what I hoped was a dismissive tone.

Before I could take another step, the speakers died. The video paused in an ungainly close-up of the priest's jaws that reminded me of Teeth, the movie directly responsible for my irrational nervousness around lady-parts. There were audible groans and airs of discontent from Grammy, Mom, Cousin Chaz, his newly-wife Flora, her nerdy younger sister Fauna and their mother Florence. After much fumbling, the lights came on. Suddenly, I was awash in interrogative, zero-watt incandescence.

Dad swivelled around in his chair. "Why," he said- fatherly, predatorly, "what's wrong?"
I looked around the room. The newly-weds hastily re-arranged clothing and posture, while Mom looked away, eyes hinting at equal measures of indulgence and disgust. Grammy appeared to be cleaning her nails with a biro. Fauna typed furiously on her phone, while Aunt Florence quietly chastized her for her anti-social tendency to social-network in society.
"Nothing's wrong, just need the toilet," I said, fully aware that things didn't get much wrong-er than a fully grown man being asked to justify his ablutions. "Didn't we agree Fauna would stop live-tweeting everything once the wedding's over?"

"The site's gove viral," said Dad, "people want to know how the family's doing post-wedding. It's a human interest story now. Do we like the in-laws, do they like us, does Chaz's mother resent Flora, etc. She has 11,000 followers. But what I'm concerned about is," he paused and looked around the room, playing to the gallery, "are you feeling a little viral?" There was a tectonic shift in attention. I was now the centre, the core, the black hole, sucking it all in.

That familiar flush of embarassment under my collar, the bane of my teenage existence. Hello, Darkness.

"Wh-what do you mean?"
"Well, we all had a heavy meal. Now you're rushing to the toilet. Are you feeling a little... unwell?"
"I wasn't rushing. I just needed to freshen up. It's no big deal."
"Yes, but did you intend to freshen up with a Number 1 or Number 2?"

The room spun. Time slowed to a dizzying crawl. My eyes fixed themselves on Fauna's fingers, ready to telecast temporary teenage trauma to the Twitterverse. Inside, I wept. And just as suddenly, I snapped. I had contact! I could feel something, furious and molten. There was anger there, there was indignance, there was life! My testicles came plunging back, and re-established themselves in their rightful sockets for I was once again a Man!

"Dad," I said.
Do it man, be an adult, tell him it's none of his business, tell him you're going for a smoke.
"I think it might be Number 2."

Flora smirked. Chaz guffawed. Mom and Grammy looked down, let down. Aunt Florence studied the hem of her top. Dad just nodded; the nod of the all-knowing, almighty Shit Detector.

And then there was Fauna. Nerdy, bespectacled, pig-tailed, unrequited-crush-on-me, vindictive Fauna. Fauna tweeted. Merde, she wrote.



Sarge said...

I can only imagine. You think you have problems - my parents are 87 and both deaf as a stone without hearing aids which they won't wear half the time. Alive and kicking becomes frying chicken...
The sot brother of mine I wrote you about fell down and broke his fucking wrist - Not even a month out of a nursing home (loritab and vodka must give him a kiss-ass buzz).

So? Why are your bodily functions a family concern?


icyhighs said...

Whoa, sorry about your bro Sarge. I'm guessing you'll have to take care of him. Still there's always the Bourbon trail to look forward to, eh.

I'm not really sure why, but I remember bodily functions were always monitored and discussed with considerable abandon when I was a kid. Frequency, colour, shape, the whole deal - out of a sense of making sure I was healthy, not in some freaky perverted way. Never did get comfortable with it; not too different now.

abhilasha said...

I guess u r still somewhe in ur teenage .. Atleast in ur head.,, wat else cud be a reason for a constant reminder to urself that hey! I am an adult... They ask.. U answer ... Keep it simple silly !!!

mannequin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mannequin said...

@abhilasha: Lol!! :D

icyhighs said...

Damn Abhilasha, you're a straight shooter aren't you? I've never been caught out that quickly before.

Mannequin: You enjoyed that didn't you?!


Anonymous said...

I love your style of writing its hilarious. ;)

deviousdiv said...

Parents and their obsession with our shit begins when we are infants- as I came to discover recently, after overhearing my cousin discuss my 3 day old nephew's bowel movements with my mother.

They never grow out of it though- so just accept it, and tell them you need to crap.

Or you just need to do a little "Shit Stirring" like I did. Back in my 20s, I decided I have had enough.

So when my parents asked me, I manned up and told them exactly what I did- with details on color, consistency and even smell sometimes (Ya pa those asparagus sure smell funny).

It scared them off the question once and for all.


deviousdiv said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
icyhighs said...

Cheers Thoughts11, very kind.

Revacious said...

Nice toilet humour :P
So the newly-weds weren't interrogated for re-arranging clothes & posture, but your.. uhh, numbers? are a great topic of concern?
They LOVE you. 0:)

abhilasha said...

Cudnt think of any other way... Was it dat straight forward... I ll try to sugar coat it next time.... Damn!!! Yeah.. U r right.. Let me reframe it....

Awwwww!!! Poor u.., parents asking such embarrassing questions ... Not done... Tell them... I am adult and let me decide whether it's number one or number two ., wat if u go for number one and u get the number two sensation.., Tell daddy... Daddy I don't wanna lie to u... Until then daddy dear... Keep guessing.. Food for thought..,

abhilasha said...


icyhighs said...

Eww DeviousDiv, nearly lost my brunch there. Call me old-fashioned, but as far as I'm concerned, girls don't do number 2!

icyhighs said...

Hey Revacious. Can't really blame them, I'm very lovable!

icyhighs said...

Hey Abhilasha, calm down, take a chill people (do the kids still say that?)

And yes, sugarcoat,LIE! To paraphrase a certain Colonel, "I can't handle the truth!" I'm fragile that way.

abhilasha said...

Guess my Sense of humor has gone for a toss... I am waiting for it to come back.... Till den.. Keep it stylish!!!!

deviousdiv said...

So in your puerile universe, do girls just waft the shit out of their pores and mouths?



The Angry Lurker said...

My family never gathered like this at all, I guess I was just lucky but it still made me cringe and laugh to hear your story though!

icyhighs said...

No Div, they just don't eat so they can maintain their repressed stick-figures. Jesus, I seem to be pissing off everyone today.

Cheers Lurker, families are strange. I can never decide if I'd prefer a different one or not.

Anonymous said...

Mate, after reading a number of recent posts here on your blog - I must admit I'm "scared".

I am due to move back in with my parents some time in May/June of this year. I have planned for some building work at my house, which means moving out for 8 weeks (but I know 8 weeks is in theory, and I could be with them for months till Christmas).

After reading your accounts of living at home - it's brought back memories of my life-style when I was a student.

Dam, you should publish a user-manual for those mid-twenties dudes returning home, after many years of flying from the nest.

The title could be 'Dummy's guide.......'.

Jesus - I need a strong coffee.

icyhighs said...

Hah, its not going to be easy mate. Though if you've been away from them as long as I have, the first few days are almost charming. Then the RAGE sets in. Kidding.

I like the manual idea - though in my case it'd be a bunch of mishaps more than a useful guide! My only solution to all problems would be: LEAVE!

Rohit Singh Jain said...

Nice read:)

Workingdan said...

"Dad, I think it might be number 2." Great response! Too funny!

I couldn't live with no privacy and my every move is heavily scrutinized. Best of luck to ya!

icyhighs said...

Cheers Rohit.

Thanks Dan, I'll need it.