Programmer vs. Artist – Small Shame vs. Big Shame.

The Problem:

I am a programmer, and I am glad that I am. Because if I were an artist instead, mom would throw me into a cauldron, add some mint, coriander, and a gallon of water, set the flame to high, and boil me until I was soup for cannibals.

She already hates the fact that her son is a programmer. According to her, she can’t look her kitty-party friends in the eye anymore, because wifey took a shiny glossy Engineer-MBA and changed him a…what do you call that thing….a programmer?! Her son who was once eyed by all her kitty-party friends as a prize catch for their convent-educated daughters, is now a buggy-eyed programmer!

The Situation:

Yesterday mom got a call from one of her kitty-party friends. I guess they are starting to miss mom’s dahi-bhalle, her biggest contribution to their monthly get-togethers. When mom’s cellphone rang, wifey was sniffling through pages of “Not Without my Daughter“, Dad was devouring the glamor section of The Delhi Times, and I was doodling on my sketch-pad.

The Conversation:

Mom took the call. After exchanging loud virtual hugs with the caller, She suddenly became very quiet. We could hear only her end of the conversation, which I am faithfully reproducing here.


“Poor Mrs. Mehra.”

“No, no. I understand.”

“Poor thing.”

“And her son was so bright as a child.”

“How sad.”

“What is she going to do now?”

“No no, but it’s really sad.”

“Now what can I say? One can’t stand in the way of fate.”

“Poor Mrs. Mehra.”

The call ended but for the next whole minute, she continued to make sympathetic clucking sounds with her tongue.

We were curious as hell, but none of us wanted to be the first to ask. Wifey caved in first.

“What happened Mummy Ji?” she said, marking her place in the book with a 3D-bookmark that she had bamboozled me into buying for her.

The Aftermath:

The moment wifey pressed the trigger, Mom shot off like a bullet.
“You remember Mrs. Mehra – the fat one?” she asked, helping us visualize Mrs. Mehra’s girth by spreading her hands a lot wider than what was warranted. (I think I must’ve gotten the genes of exaggeration from Mom.)

Dad neatly folded the newspaper and tossed it upon the center-table. Now all of us were waiting to hear the unfortunate story of a corpulent but poor Mrs. Mehta.

Mom dropped the bombshell. “Her son has told her that he wants to be an artist.”

Dad raised his right brow and allowed a sarcastic smile to play on his lips.
Wifey got bored, mumbled “Khoda pahad nikli chuhiya,” (You dig a mountain and find a female mouse,) and opened her novel again.
I revolted.

The Bloodbath:

“Mom, what’s wrong with being an artist?” I asked, smoldering inside.
Puttar (Son,) it’s worse than being a programmer,” she said, with a smug smile. Now, on the Successful Moms ladder someone stood a few rungs lower than her.
“What’s so bad about being a programmer?” I asked, trying to keep a lid on my anger that was about to boil over.
“Everyone is a programmer these days. Even our maid’s son is a programmer.” She bristled. The fact that even her maid’s son is a programmer, cut and bruised her heart like nothing else could.
Wifey signaled me to stop.
Dad signaled mom to stop.
None of us took the cues.
“Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the son of a maid, Mom,” I said, my voice rising.
“He is an exception, not a rule. Programmers are the rule these days! And you….my son, MY SON”, she jabbed a finger into her chest, “…an Engineer and an MBA – he finds nothing better to do than programming?!!!” She was now a Punjabin in her element, spewing fire from her mouth, fuming from her ears and her nostrils!

Wifey got up and murmured, “I’ll make us some tea.”
Dad picked up the newspaper and said, “Pressure aya hai,” and went inside the toilet.
(Dad’s dialog translates to “Pressure has arrived” – an Indian Euphemism for the need to go potty.)

Mom and I were left sitting, glaring at each other, across the table.

Then mom’s angry face morphed into a smiling one. She reached across the table, tapped my cheek and said, “Puttar, I am grateful that you decided to be a programmer and not an artist. Or I wouldn’t have been able to show my face anywhere. If nothing else, you at least work hard…what does Sonu do? Sits alone and draws. How shameful!” (You might’ve guessed this – Sonu is Mrs. Mehra’s son.)


I wouldn’t dare to tell her that once in a while I get paid to make funny pictures for a journal or a website, nor that some people pay me for pushing and pulling their features to make them look comical, because she might get a heart-attack wondering how will she ever face her kitty-party friends again – For what greater shame could be there for an Indian mom than to accept that her son has become…an artist.

If you enjoyed this post, find more of my Quirky, Snarky, Malarkey in The QSM Magazine.

The QSM Magazine - Humor, Satire, and Parodies - Desi Humour and Funny Anecdotes - Download your free copy.

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About Anand

Parodist, Humorist, Caricaturist, Nerd.
This entry was posted in humor, indian humour, Parody, Satire and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

87 Responses to Programmer vs. Artist – Small Shame vs. Big Shame.

  1. oneta hayes says:

    Love your stories with there fantastic somewhat exaggerated family characters! You noted that you have a tendency to exaggerate! Love it!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I like your sense of humor.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. maynotbesoanonymous says:

    I love this! Continue waving the flag of programmers and of course, artists too!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. lafriday says:

    As an artist (and a working graphic designer), my mother struggled with having an artistic daughter, so I am very simpatico to your plight. Very funny–your secret is dafe with me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Anand says:

      A young artist is an expensive preposition and I can understand how exasperating it must be for the mother. However, I don’t draw or color on the walls, nor do I eat crayons. So my mom doesn’t really have an excuse to castigate me.(Typos will follow me everywhere!)

      Liked by 2 people

  5. adsunsri says:

    Loved the humour in your post Anand! Thank God I am neither!


  6. !shita says:

    Dude… 😀 when are you going to draw a caricature and narrate a story with that 😀 your exaggerations has created a very vivid picture in my head 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  7. rosemawrites says:

    Am I allowed to laugh? HAHAHA. Your mom and your wifey have really really strong characters! I am glad that you can put up to those two. Patience. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Uday says:

    Oh Anand! This was hilarious! And sad. Because it is true. But my parents seem to be okay with programmers. As long as I’m working in AC they should be happy. Which is what scares me of the day I’m gonna have to tell them that I want to become a writer!

    But anyway, programming after MBA! Bravo man. When many people would consider programming to be below them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You really have an awesome family! Lucky you…inspiration right at home! 🙂
    Enjoyed the exaggerations on this post as much as the others! 😀


  10. Tut-tut! What a big shame! Please don’t give Mummy Ji a heart attack 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As always, you made me laugh out loud. Brilliant rendering of a typical, if exaggerated (maybe not) scene in an Indian household, na?
    Love your work, always.


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  15. Hello friend, I am not so sure if you get a ping-back, but I featured this post on my blog post.
    Thank you and kind regards

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ha Ha! That was hilarious Anand. Now I would love to be able to draw, let alone become an artist! At least your Mum can hold her head up high now 🙂


  17. Nadine says:

    This hilarious but at the same time very realistic. I love it when you write about your family 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Jackie says:

    Oh, my. Aren’t families fun?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. NJ says:

    ha ha 😀 Indian parents and their streak against anything artistic 😉 you are asked to be part of all extra curricular activities throughout school and college but if you decide to be a creative person for life 😛 …you are gone 😉 you are labeled as crazy and non productive child 😛

    Liked by 2 people

  20. BunKaryudo says:

    I’ve always thought being a programmer is a pretty good job and I’m impressed when anybody can put spread little bits of pencil lead around a piece of paper in such a way as to make a recognizable face (or a recognizable anything). I’d be a little scared to argue the point with your mother, though, I think I might adopt your father’s approach and run into the bathroom with a newspaper.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anand says:

      Dad’s approach works but only when randomized with other approaches – such as taking a call that never came, checking phone-messages, feigning a cramp, etc. Using the same approach every time will make Mom suspicious – and you don’t want to make Mom suspicious.

      Liked by 2 people

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