Last night, I was involved in a heated argument with my school friend over the government’s efforts in containing the novel coronavirus in India. It started off as a healthy discussion as to what can be done to better the current situation but soon turned into a politically charged conversation. Now, that’s not us. Back in school, all that we discussed was cricket and WWE. Politics was never on the table. It was never meant to be but now that it is, learning to live with it is the only option left.

This is not the first time I have come across such situations. India has become a breeding ground of controversies since December 2019 when the amended Citizenship Act came into being. Nationwide protests, gruesome violence, student dissent took the centre stage. All this was followed by the worst riots Delhi has experienced in over 36 years. Escaping confrontations becomes difficult when so much happens so fast. I have had people agreeing with my opinions and others, discarding them. There’s always resistance, but when it is your friend opposing your point of view, it can be a hard pill to swallow. Why are we friends with anyone anyway? Largely because of the similarity in our thoughts and views. But when that common link seems doubtful, conflicts arise. You start doubting your friendship and it adversely affects you, mentally, socially, emotionally. All of this is accompanied by the urgent need to prove yourself right and the other, horribly wrong. A discussion that could have been fruitful turns unhealthy and violent. And to be honest, there’s no way to avoid these conflicts. Either you’ll choose friendship over your beliefs or vice-versa. Irrespective of the choice, you’ll be losing something valuable. So is there a middle ground? How do we deal with such conflicts?

Here are two things that, in my opinion, can put things into perspective:

Respecting Opinions

No matter how flawed their narratives may seem, you must learn to respect their opinions. Their choice of political parties/leaders/policies might not go down well with you but we must realise that everyone is entitled to think and process the way they do. That is exactly what we call a democracy, a concept that is not only fading away from India but many other countries as well. Our friends might support controversial judgements and legislations but rather than indulging in unhealthy and heated discourses, backing your arguments with logic and facts and presenting them with compassion is the way forward. And if this doesn’t work, try the next step.


One can always persuade the other into believing that his/her argument makes more sense but in the end, it’s always better to accept that people think and react differently. And those beliefs are a result of many variables, one of which, is privilege. The more privileged you are, more often than not, you’ll side with those in power. Privilege makes a man overlook the otherwise evident truth. In a nutshell, accept the fact that you and your friend differ in your politics and that consequently affects your bonding.

And all of this is not limited to friendships and can be extended to many other relationships as well. They might be your own relatives or family friends or boyfriends/girlfriends. So the next time you discuss politics with your dear one, do so with kindness and logic, the two cornerstones of a fruitful discussion.

Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Ayaan Khan is a 1st-year student pursuing a Bachelor’s in Statistics (H) at Ramjas College, University of Delhi. He’s particularly interested in Journalism and Poetry.

In a time when college campuses are becoming hubs for discussions on topics like LGBTQ and gender rights, how far have our parents come in terms of having open discussions about sex to their college-going kids? How far has the Indian household come?

When I was little, I had once asked my Mom- “From where did I come?” and she answered with a smile that she prayed and so it happened. The conversation could have ended then, but I asked her another question in return. “Mama, don’t the nuns pray all the time; why don’t they get babies?” That question remained unanswered, and it does so years later as well.

The elephant in the room that is never addressed is the way Indian parents see sex. The sad reality is that parents never discuss sex with their children, and yet expect them to have already known all this through various media-based platforms. The ambiguity about it is so well-maintained that we never expect them to tell us either. The relationship shared among the coming-of-age teenagers, and their culturally and traditionally submerged parents is so drastically aloof from the western style of parenting that a lot of sensitive topics are left unmentioned.

A silent understanding is reached where the latter expects the first to be smart and efficient in understanding such matters, without ever making sure that it so happens. Indian parents generally shush such matters, and when they do arise unintentionally, then these topics are manipulatively buried beneath the carpet so as to keep the kids away from it. We all must have experienced that awkward moment when a kissing scene comes on television, and we don’t know what to do when with our parents around us. Sex-based conversations are sensitive, often offensive, and have materialised into taboos.

It becomes all the more problematic with girls, where they are forced to hide their love lives from their parents, and live in the constant fear of being caught and may even experience guilt about hiding secrets from them. Most girls in the Indian society are given regulated freedom to the extent that they can study and build a life for themselves, but the basic decisions and steps in it are controlled. A matter as private as physical intimacy is turned into a monstrosity, a sin that unmarried woman must not engage in. She is told to suppress her feelings as long as a stranger is not arranged for her to get married to.

Indian parents have surely become westernised, with their almost-addictive tendencies towards their smartphones, but they have somehow stayed traditionally conservative on topics like sex. This lack of discussion is not only unhealthy for the child, but also vicious because the child is, at times, left without guidance and ends up in trouble. The vicious cycle then continues where it is never okay to discuss sex, generation-after-generation, no matter how modernised we become.

Certainly, that is not the case with all parents and the trend seems to be shifting with time. But it is still gradual beyond liking, and it remains something that parents seem to not easily adapt. The spine-chilling pieces of news of honour killings of couples to protect the family’s societal image, and forced marriages of youngsters when found having a lover or a partner are nothing new to us.

It is important that families communicate openly, so that children realise the boundaries of consent, contraception, and even intimacy, and it is important for the parents to understand that sex is natural and normal. Breaking the taboo around sex is not only important for larger goals like population control, but for better family dynamics as well. Sex may be a topic that parents and kids both may be too shy to put forward. But it is important as this would not only allow you to have such discussions in the future but would also allow them to see you as adults. Thus, it’s up to us as individuals to take the stand. Psychologically, certain discussions a mandatory to happen if one desires development and growth. Sex, if not in our parents times, but at least in ours should be a topic that the future generations aren’t afraid to discuss.

Image Credits: Netflix

Image Caption: Stand-up Comic, Hasan Minhaj, explained the communication gap and taboo of sex in Indian families.

Stephen Mathew

[email protected]