I have to say that despite all the negative stuff that's written about the Internet -- vis-a-vis children and the dangers of unsupervised surfing -- this particular technology has brought about some welcome changes to the relationship with my parents.
I've always felt that in the Indian scenario at least, there's always a certain distance in the parent-child relationship.
A congenial formality that does not have room for completely open discussions. Perhaps it's different now, but when I was growing up, parents were not your friends. They were well-wishers, your best interests were their foremost concerns and they did their utmost to give you the best upbringing, but they were always your parents. You loved them, respected them and you never told them about your latest crush. Or shared a dirty joke. In my home, you did not discuss Bollywood, you did not swear and you most definitely did not answer back. Even if you had a valid point.
Big surprise then that I ended up reviewing Bollywood movies for a newspaper, still swear a lot and often answer-back even when I don't have a valid point. Oh well. My mother had cursed me long back that I'd have a daughter "just like me". And frankly, I am dreading Mia's teen years. Anyway, if I'm still blogging then, you'll hear about it. Of course if you're still reading then!
Since moving to Australia, I find that I am talking heaps more with my folks. Sharing more, asking more and strange though I find myself saying it, I confess I actually look forward to advice from them. It started with my dad getting an email account. I find writing to him much easier than talking to him. Or with most people in general. If only I'd done that with some of my bosses, I'd have had a better working relationship.
The one facet that remains unchanged despite email conversations, are Dad Jokes. They're still groan-worthy. And now my dad has discovered the forward button on emails. And each time I read one of the forwarded jokes, I can see him laughing. He has a gorgeous laugh, spontaneous, loud, straight from the belly, head thrown back, often accompanied with a wink. And sometimes, particularly when he's narrated a joke, a laugh that needs to no companions, ie, he'll laugh the loudest at his own joke. I've found Partner's dad doing the same thing as well. And they all look so pleased after the telling of a particularly bad joke. I suppose it's a dad thing; I adore my dad.
This is the latest forward from dad, read at own risk:
A man enters a barber shop for a shave. While the barber is foaming him up, he mentions the problems he has getting a close shave around the cheeks.
"I have just the thing," says the barber, taking a small wooden ball from a nearby drawer. "Just place this between your cheek and gum."
The client places the ball in his mouth and the barber proceeds with the closest shave the man has ever
After a few strokes, the client asks in garbled speech, "And what if I swallow it?"
"No problem," says the barber. "Just bring it back tomorrow like everyone else does."