The Localist

(S)mothering to the core


Colombo at night

You know what I don’t understand? Overprotective parents.

No no, hear me out. Here’s a typical scenario when you are out with your friends (If you are a Sri Lankan girl living with your parents).

Phone rings.


“Putha*, where are you? You need to be home now.”

“Ma, it’s only 10.30, we just finished eating.”

“I know, I’m staying up for you. Something bad will happen, can you leave now?”

“Yeah, ok, I’ll be home soon.”

My friends sigh “oh, we should go then huh”. I’m 26.

In Asian countries, especially if you’re a girl, this kind of situation isn’t just about behaving in a respectful manner. You are supposed to be home at a certain time in order to be safe. We are supposed to “fear the dark” because it’s never a “good thing”, neither does it reflect “any good on you”.

Parents (my mother) often assume that “something bad will happen” if you are travelling by yourself at night. I usually drive myself around. Some of the bad things that could happen are:

  • You will get raped on your way.
  • A drunk person will try to hitch a ride forcefully or “jump in front of your car” to stop you.
  • You will get smuggled / kidnapped.
  • You will have a flat tire / some random vehicle issue and NO ONE will be around to assist you. During this time too you might get smuggled or raped.
  • You will have an accident.

Yes, this redefines paranoia. Can these things happen during the day time? No, it all happens at night, when you are girl, travelling by yourself.

You might say my parents are watching out for me, etc.. but it’s a little overwhelming don’t you think?

It’s sad during this day and age that females from my part of the world don’t feel – or can’t feel – safe, and it only results in parents becoming as paranoid as they are.  They often see it as this heavy duty responsibility that eventually they might be able to transfer to the future husband of their daughter.

Hence I love seeing parents sending their kids, especially daughters, to study abroad. They can get up to whatever they want, come home whenever they want and parents are ok with this because in another country they are “always safe” and they “can’t see what they are up to”.

Any other countries experiencing this?

* Putha – Sinhalese term for son. Daughters get called putha too. I personally prefer that.

P.S. If you’re suggesting I move out to experience freedom, don’t get me started on that. That’s a whole other story I’ll tell you later.





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One Response to (S)mothering to the core

  1. Kesh says:

    Haha… Word!!! And double WORD…

    Although, I do have friends who study overseas and enjoy limitless freedom there, only to get (S)mothered when they are back home for vacation..


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