-“Oh, I’ve received such good news! I’m so happy!”
-“My son! He’s finally bringing his girlfriend to meet me- I think they’ve decided to get married! I’ve been so worried about him… you know, that he would never settle down…. But now I think it’s serious! Oh I am sooooo happy…..”
This little exchange reminded me so intensely of my own grandmother, bursting into tears whenever recalling the un-married status of her youngest son, now well over forty, that for instant I felt she was in the same room us, with me and my Canadian friend. Then I snorted, mentally. Mothers! Obssessed with the private lives of their children! Obssessed with who their son is marrying or not marrying! All over the world, the same! Whole civilisations, whole cultures built around parental obssession with their children’s partners! When, where, who, how, and why?
I have not had the privilege of interacting with many Canadian families up close and personal, my occasional dalliances with Canadians being of the studenty-professional-non-family-sort. And so, I had more or less received the impression that turned 18, the young Canadian would launch their wings and fly out of the parental home, returning occasionally when broke, out of a job, recently dumped, or at Christmas. Civilised, you know. Not like us third-worlders, forever hooked on the umblical cord, pining away from depression if forty-eight hours pass without seeing or calling our mum.
But now, as I gradually spend more time with `real` Canadians, I think, perhaps they are not so different from us after all. The style is different, you could say, but the content is more or less the same. Expressions are different, emotions are the same. My grandmother wears a chador, and has recited well over a million rak’ats of prayers over the years, my Canadian friend has naked hair, and celebrates the news of her son’s possible marriage with a glass of wine. Yet they are both paranoid about one thing: what is their son up to now?