I was chatting with my parents today and mentioned that the husband and I recently had some really good pizza. Appa immediately asked Amma, “Shall we get pizza today? It has been a very long time since we had pizza.” Amma agreed. I heard Appa pick up the landline and call Justdial asking for the phone number of the nearest Pizza Hut. A few minutes later, he was confirming with Amma on what toppings to put on the pizza.
I was still on the line with Amma and I said “Not bad ma, Appa has ordered the pizza”. She laughed and said, “With you kids not around, we have to figure out how to do these things ourselves.”
Suddenly, I was overcome by a feeling of nostalgia. It was during my teenage years that ordering for home delivery became popular. And somehow, right from the beginning, this was my responsibility. Right from convincing Appa to let us order food from outside, to deciding where to order and what to order, to calling and giving the order – I was always the one to do it. The same thing happened when the call center concept came up. Neither of my parents had the patience to call and punch a hundred numbers before you could speak to an actual human being. Without any of us intending it, I started making these calls. Calling call centers about credit card charges, calling the Tata sky guys about setting up cable connections… all of these jobs became “my thing to do”. I’m not complaining at all – I loved it. I loved that I was considered responsible enough to handle these things and I loved being able to help my parents out with the million other things they already had to do.
But when I got married and knew I was going to move away from home, a part of me wondered how my parents would manage. Who would take up the responsibility of calling these call centers? Would my parents continue to get the occasional home delivery or would they lose interest in eating out all together? Was there any way I could handle this from where I live in the U.S.? So many things were on my mind.
But, happily, we all learn to adapt. Now, when my parents go out for an unfamiliar cuisine, they text me and the sister telling us their plans. One or the both of us look up the restaurant menu online and give them suggestions on food that we know they would like. Appa calls a call center to place a complaint, with Amma giving him the information he needs to make the call. Appa occasionally still grumbles and complains that he doesn’t like doing these things himself, and that he isn’t interested in shopping or trying new restaurants without his girls around. But most of the time, we are okay. I take a deep breath and smile. My parents are growing up! 🙂