indian mama's boy

Indian Men Are Mama’s Boys and How To Stop It

Can A Mother’s Love Cause Harm?

If you’re struggling in your marriage with a tough mother-in-law this article might help you too ladies.

The modern Indian man is an interesting specimen.  

A good portion of us fit very nicely into a neatly packaged box.  

We grew up humble, studied and worked our way to a stable lifestyle, had a girlfriend or two, and now checklist our way through life’s remaining milestones.  

Listen if you don’t want to read.

We each also have families that are far from perfect, but typically have far tighter bonds thanks to those same imperfections.  One family might have the alcoholic uncle, another the shady businessman relative while another the drug-abusing nephew.  

But regardless of each family’s “oh that thing they’re known for in gossip corners”, Indian culture, for the most part, is built on very strong family ties that stand the test of time to raise some pretty awesome people.  

And one of the staples of Indian family dynamics is, as you might have already guessed…the Indian Mother.

I remember growing up in California and having friends (aka white people) come to sleepover. Their moms would drop them off at 6 PM, we would eat Cheetos, play video games, and then their moms would pick them up at 10 AM the next day while the smell of Aloo Puri would be happily escorting them out of our house.  

Enjoy your pizza, Jason.

To them, it was a fairly routine hangout.  To me, I was shocked.  

  • How come their moms hadn’t called 50 times during the night?
  • Where were their snacks from home they might need in case our food wasn’t good or a tornado struck?  
  • Why did I call Jason’s mom “Carol” instead of “Auntie?!?”

As a kid, this constant looking after and affection was something I first resented (“Stop embarrassing me mom!”), then grew accustomed to (“Where’s my socks mom!”) and now in my 30s, is something I’m sort of juggling with.  

Desi Moms are the best and I have grown to respect and admire my own exponentially each year.  She loves my brother and I to death.  She treats her sons with a firm hand but only because she cares about us more than we can imagine.  

But how does one find their place in the universe after being treated like the center for so long? What do these “grown men” do when they enter the world and nobody cares?

That’s sort of where I am in life right now, and I’m curious if you are too.

ALSO: TOIT Owner on our relationship with Alcohol and Ourselves.

Why do our moms yell at our fathers for drinking too much, but think our girlfriends/wives are just stressing their precious boys if they think the same?  

How much love is too much, and how much is not enough?

It’s an interesting dilemma, and I wish I knew the answer.  They’re so many times when my mom stays with me (and I know I sound like a spoiled piece of shit) that I get upset she’s enabling me to take it easy because this is the age I need to get my ass in gear.  

Indian Mothers Hypocricy

Breakfast? Sure, but I should have made it myself.  

Oh, you’ll take care of the dishes? Thanks, mom, I’m gonna go relax and do important stuff like check Facebook.  

Or Tinder.  You’re the best.  

ALSO SEE: Who Enables Your Mediocrity?

While this is awesome (can’t lie), it indirectly enables a habit in each of us that may present problems later.  I unknowingly yell at my mom all the time about lost things around the house or “Yes, for the 50th time, I’ll eat outside and don’t make anything!” and she has never once pointed out this shouting.  (After which I’ll stumble home drunk, having forgotten to eat, and luckily she hears my cupboard banging and whips up something quick to eat).  

It’s nothing malicious and more out of our loving-shouting- communication habit, but good luck speaking in that same tone with your future partner.

How to Detach a Husband from His Mother?

You don’t. You simply show the husband that being a good son and being a good husband are two different things and it’s his job to balance both.

A girlfriend or wife who looks at you on your phone while the dishes are still sitting on the table isn’t gonna tolerate things the same way your mom did.  She might have also just sat in traffic, struggled at the office with her own politics and wants to veg out in food coma just like you.

But alas, that’s not always what beloved mama might think. In fact, the modern Indian mother in law is also, well…not so modern.

In fact I’ve seen couples where the guy stumbles home drunk and the mom looks at her daughter-in-law and says “How could you let him drink so much?”

Da Fuq?
Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 12.40.26 PM
I made this meme in 2016 but I feel it’s still apt here in 2048.

Learn to See Mom’s Bias

There are obviously 600 other things we could talk about, for the sake of simplicity, as you mature through life just try to keep this in the back of your head.  

I’m no psychiatrist but I’m assuming whatever Freud alluded to had merit for him to be so famous that I randomly cite him now.  None of us want to date our mom’s doppelgänger, but I think we can all fairly assume moms subconsciously program a certain expectation of how a woman “should be” that plays a part in our next phase of life.  

Will it repeat with our girlfriends/wives for the next generation and the future sons, or is the new modern family dynamic going to change that? Time will tell but recognize this as you get older.  

Your moms love you and you love them.  They love being there for us (it’s probably a need that goes both ways) and I’m so happy I was raised in a culture that instills family values I’m only now coming to fully appreciate.  But again, keep things in perspective as you go.  

Life is tough, and while you’re a rockstar at home you’ll eventually need to learn how to be a rockstar outside of it where Mom is not enabling you to be king of the castle.

hypocrite woke indian son
Mom material always works in India.

Mom Spoils the Son, then He Goes to Work and Realizes He’s Nothing

I remember at an office meeting years ago, a few clients were visiting from Canada and we got a last minute email that the client’s CEO was going to be joining.  

All of a sudden, ties were required.  No big deal.

One of the 40+ managers runs into my cubicle (I think I was 26 at the time) and he is visibly shaking.  Like Palms sweaty, knees deep, mom’s spaghetti. (Hey! Eminem Mom Pun!)   I look at him, sort of laugh (cause he looked like Milton from Office Space) and asked him what’s wrong?  

Sumukhi Suresh Mother Bias
Mothers can go from loving to sinister real quick.

He said he had no idea how to tie a tie, because (and I quote)…

”Mummy always did it.”

40 Year old IT Senior Manager

Tied his ties.

At 40.

So me, being the smart/suave US educated independent man I was, naturally did what any NRI who thinks he’s better would do.  I grabbed the tie with my American swagger, smiled at little bunty/puthar crying in the corner about his incomplete Windsor and saved the day by doing what I had been trained to do since college:

I googled it.

Hungry? What wait…grab a Punjabi mother.


There is nothing wrong with a family that cares for you, and caring for them back.  

The unwritten agreement in most Desi communities is the parents take care of you into adulthood, and you take care of them the rest of the way.  And that’s completely fine.  

But a lot of times we sort of overlook the major part of life that you and I are now headed.  I know many people aren’t fortunate enough to have parents that love them as much as some of us, and I will cherish my mom till my last breath.  

WhatsApp forward LOL. (Comment if you know source).

But I just wanted to discuss this because it’s something I see people dealing with.  (Also ladies, those of you who call mom or dad on every little adult problem, even at 40…we’ll get to you another day.)

As always, if you have something constructive to say please do so below.

Hugs to you and your mamas.  

And to my mom who raised us alone since I was 13, if you figured out your MacBook and are reading this, I love you.

And I’m hungry. But I’ll help myself.  

If you want to know more, we went straight into it at the thirty second mark a few years back.
How To Get Onsite Opportunity

Want to Quit Engineering or Hate Tech? Wait.

I grew up in what I’m going to assume are similar circumstances to yourself.  

I enjoyed playing games, hanging out with friends and checking off each milestone in life as it came.  

I wasn’t begging for food, but I wasn’t 16 with an Audi on my first major birthday either thanks to a rich family who “did business.” 

In fact, now I despise those people.  

At 20 my goals were simple

  • I wanted to do well in high school so I could get into the right college.
  • Then I wanted to do well in college so I could get into the right job (not career).
  • Eventually, parlay that into the right graduate school.
  • Be successful and have fun with romantic interests and international travel and onsite opportunities.
  • Rinse and repeat, and then hopefully settle into cruise control by the age of 25.

The problem with that approach was that only once I was stable and settled, riding along the highway called life that I got the faintest idea of where I wanted my life to go. 

The happier you do the boring tech work, the quicker don’t have to.

I didn’t know what to do with my life, but I knew I wanted to do something. 

I mean once you have the time to enjoy the drive rather than finish the race…you tend to look around.

Unfortunately, a lot of people get off the highway at 25 or 30 years old… right when the ocean was about to come into view.

I Hate the Tech Industry


Why would you hate software engineering or hate coding or development?

Does a race car driver hate physics and mechanical engineering or an astronaut hate medical school, Ph.D. papers and studying astrophysics?

A lot of wall street bankers hate spreadsheets and pointless powerpoints, but we all need to swipe our visa’s and transfer money between accounts.

You might hate your current role in tech, the same way the foreman and team who haul cement probably hate construction but the architect loves it.

In which case, for a lot of people who hate their tech job or hate computers and code…you ironically speaking of finance…hate wanting to pay your dues.

You also aren’t patient enough to see where those dues take you. Why do most software engineers hate their jobs? Because they call them jobs in the first place.

Do you want a job or a career bro? Because a job is something you do but a career is something you make.

Even if you’re in a dead-end job with a horrible boss who is taking advantage of the current labor market…you’re being blessed to innovate and learn how to side hustle to find your way out of it.

We have to learn the ABC’s and multiplication tables so we’re equipped to make creative things later with those same boring skills…and all that boring BS you deal with in tech is eventually something you need to crawl in the mud through.

Somebody has to test that software anyways right?

For example let’s say tomorrow you embraced tech, wrote a killer app or blog or game and then had 100,000 users in a week.

Chance are you’re gonna need some staff to:

  • reset passwords,
  • fix bugs
  • help with your accounting/refunds/whatever.

And isn’t that 22-year-old kid you hire is going to hate you the way you hate your boss?

But you’ve been through staying late at night trying to understand what happened to someone’s transaction and how it all got messed up, so you’ll do the extra leg work and make sure processes are in place because business is so predictable and you’re covered for every situation even though you built that app in your bedroom without event commenting code properly.


I’m a Comedian but I loved Corporate Life

This is not some article about follow the arts or how corporate life is so boring and stupid.

On the contrary, as I’ve said various times online, I’m a huge fan of going into the corporate machine and recognizing the pros and cons of that lifestyle.  


Rather, since I get a few messages every week from jaded engineers and people who are curious why I am (or appear) to be so happy and joyful about my software industry experiences, I thought I’d jot them down here.

So if I grabbed your attention with the headline let’s get right into some explanation and tips on why you’re a twenty or thirty-something with a decent salary, great professional and social prospects and still…miserable.

My Job is Not What I Thought I’d Be Doing

Most tech jobs will have a cool-sounding job description like:

“Ability to work on cutting edge enterprise technologies.  Innovation and Leadership required to interface with senior management professionals across a set of global clients.”  

This makes you think you’re gonna be hacking away some revolutionary big data code while on a private jet surrounded by the attractive person of your choice like Hugh Jackman in Swordfish.

Hey I liked that movie.

In reality, you’ll spend your first year getting to know Microsoft Office and googling around to figure out the little software stuff they trust some kid out of college to do.  

When I was 16 at birthday parties and the aunties would say “Oh look at Suman’s son Tarun, he is an engineer at Sony.”

I would imagine Tarun working with some NFL quarterback on motion capture for the next Madden game when he was probably writing the index pages on the PDF manual.  

In Spanish.  

This is completely fine, normal and expected. Since you’ve chosen the safety net of a stable job/company (as did I), nobody is going to hand you the keys to the kingdom on day one.  

It’s normal to hate your job, realize it’s not what you wanted, and even asking yourself at 25 “WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?”

While you fight those weekly demons please remember one thing.

In order to put them at bay for good, get to know your area, master it, and then grow from there.  

Whatever clunky piece of software or testing or developing you have to do it…push through it with a smile on your face the way you had to eat your vegetables.

Others will come to take your place and it’s up to you grow beyond it rather than get complacent, miserable and simply resent it.  

You might be:

  • the guy raising tickets to users have access to a system,  
  • testing software and filing bugs,
  • or you might actually be out of your comfort zone coding away from the get-go.  

Either way, it is completely normal.

These days with sites like Udemy or other India equivalents that can teach you Big Data for the price of a beer you have nothing to complain about.

You can honestly up-skill yourself instead of that biryani for lunch, walk into a company or project at your office, showcase how much you know and slowly the right opportunities will present themselves. When I was working in IT we had to wait for some manager’s manager to give us permission to take some training and even then we may have just wasted a week.

Now, you control your destiny even within your own company. If your internal resume has all these skills you self-taught, I mean…if project is open, why wouldn’t you get it?


Everybody Else Seems to Have a Better Job

One of the major reasons I worked in consulting over any other profession earlier in my career was because I cared way more about traveling, hotels, airline points and talking about those things than the actual work I was doing.  

In fact, the second you leave school the rat race truly begins.  

We all have that one friend at Facebook who will start sharing photos from all the cool things he or she is experiencing, the other creative friend who might get a role in some TV show or movie, and so on.  

And we look at these things, on our phones, during our lunch breaks and continue to build a heavy case in our minds of how what we’re doing is so much worse.  

The good news is that eventually, this will stop.  The bad news is it’s not gonna happen any time soon.  

The only solution I’m afraid of is to look inwards again and ask yourself…

What the Hell do I Really Want? And Why?

I’ve had so many people in various companies, both while working in India and the US tell me things like “Sir I want to be a Business Analyst” or “Sir I want to go Onshore.”

These are generally kids in their early twenties who don’t really have an interest in what they’re doing, but they’re more interested in job titles, travel experience, and financial incentives which will eventually steer them towards the things they really want to do.  

Most young people don’t want to “do” anything. They just want to “do” whatever gets them to live overseas or earn money staying in hotels. And how can you blame them, who wouldn’t?

I’ve been in the same boat, and how to get that onshore role is a whole other article, but only once you’re honest with yourself about what you want will you start making moves (e.g. Turning down projects/jobs which might not get you there) that will help in getting those things.  

And secondly, when I ask these kids “Why do you want to go Onshore?” or “Do you know what a business analysts does?” the answers are typically some fluffy thing about “building solutions and requirements” but not: “chasing down stakeholders to get them to give details about how the new tool should work, scheduling meetings, driving home decisions, etc..”

The majority of freshers I see at most companies come into the machine, get placed into a project and then get lost into the ether from there.  Some leave after a few years to find something else.  

Some get married.  Others stick it out.  

But NOBODY in a large company is going to come down and give you what you want if you don’t know yourself.  

And ESPECIALLY if you don’t make it known.

You Code but Don’t Develop

Lastly…most engineers lose track of something in their boring day of sifting through Eclipse or whatever IDE they use.

Do you just cut carrots or are you making a salad for the president?

Coding, Engineering, Math…all of that stuff is meant to build products that people buy and use.

  • Nobody would give a sh*t about big data if it didn’t let them find a YouTube video in half a second.
  • Nobody would care about SEO if it didn’t help them get their advice
  • Why would I care about compression unless I could download 2GB movie in 5 minutes?

If you’re in a tech job you hate, it’s probably because your working for a tech product you hate. But even a nice company like Facebook or Snapchat or whichever hot startup there is tomorrow is going to need someone to sift through lines of code and reset passwords.

In Deployment Conclusion

People who work in technology are special.  We tend to be of the mindset that we could do any job, but not anybody could do our job.

It’s kind of like “I got a computer science degree buddy.  Marketing, Sales, HR? That’s child’s play.”  

But not respecting the pros of those fields tend to hinder our own progress.

  • We don’t speak up or learn to communicate properly.
  • We don’t look internally to figure out what drives us aside from being good at the jobs/software/tools that depend on us.  
  • We think just because we can code in Python the world owes us something.
  • A good chunk of us are unhappy and always hunting for that “next thing.”  
  • And the majority of us (myself included) do absolutely nothing about it.

Ask yourself, if you spend even 5% of the time you spend complaining about your situation on actually trying to fix it (e.g. learning a new skill, speaking to your manager, working part-time elsewhere in a new field), would you really have anything to complain about?

This is an excerpt from Sanjay Manaktala’s book “My BETA DOES COMPUTER THINGS | Your Guide to Love Success and Rock and Roll in India’s IT Industry.” You can also listen to Sanjay on his leading podcast about creativity called the Birdy Num Num podcast, inspiring the creative minority.