A quick overview of Indian values
Neo likes to believe that his NRI friends are eager to visit Neo because they love to listen to his “Thoughts on Critical Issues that Really Matter” speech, the same speech that Neo has prepared in case he gets invited to TED.
The reality is, they visit to see how much the Neos have progressed towards pulling off the greatest Indian parenting achievement – raising a child with the perfect blend of Indian values and Western achievement.
Neo Jr could very well become that child. But right now, the only thing perfectly blended in Neo Jr’s life is his favorite milkshake (strawberry/banana).
So out of a small sense of guilt and a large sense of needing something to do during the half-time of the soccer game, Neo decided to study Indian values. Here’s a quick overview of his several minutes of intensive study:
1. Respect your elders
Unlike other cultures that may or may not promote selling the body parts of elderly people, Indian culture emphasizes Respect for Elders. Elderly people will have typically sacrificed a lot of the stuff that would have made them happy just so that you can be happy. And hence, you must now sacrifice most of what would make you happy in order to make them happy. This sort of circular ponzi logic might not make any sense to you, but don’t worry – when you become Elderly, it won’t make any sense to your kids either.
2. Focus on education
Having a strong educational background will make you a thoughtful, knowledgeable and articulate person; these attributes will enable you to clearly express your outrage when you realize that uneducated people have amassed egregious amounts of wealth and power while you have been busy amassing an egregious amount of educational debt.
3. Be family-oriented
Families are a critical Indian value, and you must study them in great detail: mostly by asking probing questions whenever you meet people with families. After intensive study, you will realize that many Indian families are actually severely dysfunctional, and you will naturally decide that you want to put off starting your own family for as long as possible. Once you decide this, you should start a family immediately, because it makes Elderly people happy.
4. Trust in the institution of marriage
As far as possible, get an arranged marriage. The main advantage of an arranged marriage is that a marriage that starts with near-zero love can only get better. If your marriage doesn’t get better over time, you should be ashamed because you really need to stop thinking about yourself and focus on your kids now.
Life offers you a series of choices. The Indian Value of sacrifice helps you to make the right choices, so you feel you did everything you could when you finally realize that for the most important things in life, you really had no choice.
There are two steps to sacrificing:
1. Acquire something of value – this step is sort of important because otherwise you would have nothing to sacrifice.
2. Perform the sacrifice – sacrifice something of smaller value to acquire something higher in value. (Note that other cultures may refer to this as Profit.)
Important: Make sure that in your eagerness to sacrifice, you do not sacrifice your Indian values.
6. Additional value for women: Avoid, at all costs, getting pregnant before marriage; after marriage, get pregnant as soon as possible.
Armed with this knowledge, Neo decided he would start inculcating these values in Neo Jr immediately. The first step would be to just memorize the list: “Respect”, “Education”, “Family”, etc. But just as he was getting started, Mrs. Neo violated pretty much every Indian value on the list: she picked up Neo Jr and said, “Don’t listen to your dad. Finish your milkshake and go to bed.”