As a teen in crime-ridden Noida, Manmeen Kaur Kohli knew that her parents were never going to relax her curfew.
So, at age 19, she moved out.
She still lives in Noida and studies there. In fact, her new home is less than half an hour away from the flat where she grew up with her parents, grandparents and younger brother. But she now comes and goes as she pleases, making her own decisions about her little household and learning to be independent and responsible.
“Though I respect my parents and love them dearly, I wanted to enjoy my life as a student to the fullest,” says Kohli, now 23 and a final-year MBA student. “Of course, I call them at least once a day and meet them once a week to let them know that I am safe and that I care for them.”
With youngsters enjoying greater financial stability from an earlier age, they now want to enjoy their independence by moving out, says sociologist Sarla Bijapurkar. “They don’t break ties with their family. They move out to assert their own individualism.”
So it was with Rudra Mallik, 27, a cyber-security advisor at Google.
The only child of working parents, Mallik spent most of his childhood in boarding schools, so he grew independent very early on, he says.
Eight years ago, while studying at IIT-Delhi, he began to chafe under his parents’ strict rules and curfews. So he began teaching at a tutorial institute and using his income to pay for his hostel accommodation.
After graduation, he joined Google and moved to California, his experience there further reinforcing his urge to stand on his own feet and live on his own terms.
Back home two years ago, he says he found himself torn between the independent lifestyle he had seen others his age enjoying in the US, and the cared-for life of Indians his age who still lived with their parents.
“But I decided to stay the course and go it alone,” he says.