Bombay, Bombay, India
December 31
Icy Highs is the writerly alter ego of Tharun James Jimani, author of 90s pop culture novel, 'Cough Syrup Surrealism' (Fingerprint! Publishing, 2013). He has lived in Chennai, Glasgow, Dusseldorf, London and Singapore over the last twelve years, and is- in Animal Planet parlance- a 'serial immigrant', and averse to nesting. He writes to keep the moss from gathering.


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MARCH 21, 2012 4:00AM

Rent Boy

Rate: 24 Flag

"I'll just hang my PhD next to Black Sabbath." 

Seems I'm not the only late-20-something moving back in with parents. Most of them have reasons more logical than mine - redundancy, or a bad divorce, or cancer- but it's happening. It's a thingMore 28-year olds than ever are moving back home. As always, I'm at the cusp of something borrowed, something new. So contemporary and with it, me.


In other news, my parents still don't know I've moved back in. I suspect they suspect that something's afoot -I should never have bought that bedside lamp- but I think they think I'm just gathering up enough courage to make some sort of life-changing Announcement, and then leave.


I first got this impression when I overheard Dad's side of a phone conversation with Uncle Psy. They almost always compare notes on their offspring, because you know how women in prison supposedly synchronize their menstrual cycles? Well, Uncle Psy's boy and I almost always get in trouble at the same time. It's a thing.


We always outdo each other too. He gets caught with porn, I get caught with pot. He flunks a year, I crash a car. He joins a Satanic church, I quit my job and move back in with my parents at the grand old age of 28. So Uncle Psy is now justifiably worried if my showing up at home after seven long years spells some sort of repercussion at his end.



Uncle Psy isn't thrilled about the Church of St. Ronnie Dio.

"He just sits around," says Dad into the phone.

"Yesterday, I was reading the paper and he came down and sat across from me for two hours. No, didn't say anything."

"I'm telling you, he just sits. When I look at him, he smiles this dopey smile. Even attempts conversation."

"Oh, who knows? Probably wants some money or something. Yeah, call the terrible twin, he'll know."


Then, there was this little vignette from Mom, on the phone to my sister: "I don't know, honey. Honest. We don't think it's drugs or anything, he's way too lucid to be on anything serious. Your father thinks it might be a ... you know ... sexual ... thing." (That's when my jaw dropped and shattered on the floor. Luckily, that doesn't make as much noise as you'd think.)


I didn't stay to hear the rest of that conversation. It was clear what I had to: Man up, and allay my parents' fears. I would have to lie. I've decided to make a Big Announcement, it's just the kind of thing my family would do. We actually have a code of conduct too: if any of us is suspected of carrying an announcement-baby, everybody shuts the hell up and makes nice and gives him/her all the time and convenience in the world.     


They once waited seven days for me to announce that I had indeed failed to wean my goldfish off water. Poor Goldie's earthly remains waited three days in my drawer for a respectful burial, before they were carted away by a team of rowdy red ants. Watching their unholy procession over my chair and across the floor to their lair under my bed, I cried my hear out. But I couldn't tell my family yet, I wasn't ready. And they respect that where I come from.


My mom nearly cracked on the fifth day. She handed me Goldie's daily ration of fish food pellets, and seeing something broken in my face, lunged forward to fix me. She was about to burst, tell me it was over, that they knew, that I could mourn in peace. But Dad salvaged status quo, rushing to her rescue. "Here, let me get that for you buddy," he said and calmly took Mom in his hands. My sister started a slow clap, quickly joined in by Grammy. It was family drama gold.


All of which leads me to conclude I better be gay or terminally ill. After supporting me through addiction and depression and -most traumatically- an emo phase, no other announcement will be quite Big enough. I'm tempted to go with the man-love because Dad will probably want to see medical reports if I claim illness. But Uncle Psy's boy points out the danger of Dad calling my bluff - he may want proof that I'm gay.


Knowing my family, I may well end up playing out the charade of bringing home my 'boyfriend', pretending to be madly in love, never taking my eyes off Dad, both of us waiting for the other to blink. I'll have to cuddle with a man on my childhood couch, or fly a spoon-aeroplane loaded with Mom's apple custard pie into his mouth just to fool my Dad into thinking I'm gay. *Shudder*


Dad will no doubt raise the stakes, ask to meet the poor man's parents. And so on and so forth till I impale  myself on a strange man's cock on the living room floor, to the careful scrutiny of my Dad and rapturous applause from Grammy, all just to weasel free lodging and food out of my parents. I can just imagine my Dad consulting some sort of manual to make sure we're doing it right, and Grammy retrieving her dentures to congratulate us on a job well done.


The other option would be to saw off a toe, and announce I've caught a bout of leprosy.



Dear Twinky, I kind of have an Announcement to make....    




It didn't help that Twinky was also stinky. 



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ha! well written & fun! poor Twinky though...
Twinky had it coming with the damn toe jam. One bad apple and all that...
You can't just show them that male chromosome thing you have tattooed on your heart? Or did you use that already?

Funny post. Good parents, though.
I enjoyed the hell out of this. Congrats on the EP. It is well-deserved.
Witty, funny, entertaining and oh so true. And don't kid yourself. Most 28 years olds are moving back in with ole mom and dad for the exact same reasons as you, without the academic aspirations. Keep writing. You're good.
Haha, thanks jlsathre, kick a man (RAWRR!) when he's down! And true, my parents are ace.
This is hilarious. Do what you have to do but stay home while you can. It's harsh out there and you'll need to fortify. I did, seeming innocent and vaguely mentally unbalanced, and I don't regret a thing!!!
Writing like a SIR....job well done...all the best....
Spain's just five years ahead of us. You're not alone.
Cheers Miguela. As things stand, the EP is going on my tombstone!
Hi Mary T, Whitegirl and Lefty : Good to know I'm not the only one. You know what they say, misery loves company.
Thanks, Vijay.

Cheers Kate, that's the dream!
Great fun, reading this post! As one of those parents of 2 kids now in their early 30's, I've been known to have a whispered phone conversation or two of my own. Hang in there kiddo.
Holy, mother of ... you are hysterical!! (and my new fave and I am way too old for you, so don't even go there...)
Ha! Oh, damn. This is what I have to look forward to and double since I have two kids. I guess selling this old barn when they go to college is not in the stars for now...We'll need the floor space as they both prepare their "Big Announcements."

Very well done and funny.
Hilarious! I love it! Thanks for sharing.
This was sooo great.r
Heh, thanks you guys, much appreciated!
Hmmm ... you're a ... spy. You were ... on a deep undercover mission ... when your cover was blown by a mole. So ......... you're in hiding ........ in the one location the ...... whoever the enemy is ..... wouldn't think to look ...... because they don't know your real name....... The government has the house under surveillance ..... and the phones are tapped .... for your protection, so your parents can't mention that you're a spy to anyone. And you aren't getting a salary now ........ because the enemy could trace the check or the wire payment into your account ..... and that would put the whole family in danger.
Hi...err...Stim (or should I say "Agent Hunt"?)

I've been expecting you. Please teleport me back to the real world before I'm forced to sit through another terrible (and moronically-named) Mission Impossible sequel. I have a revolution to orchestrate.

Highs, I