If you’re an Indian who rolls on the regular and can’t imagine a better way to end your day than to unwind with a nice, fat doob, chances are your parents probably don’t know about it.
Weed has always been a pretty important part of Indian culture; in fact, people have been sparking up for several centuries. There are even mentions of marijuana in ancient Indian scriptures.
However, it remains an illegal substance under the Indian law, despite a concerted effort by weed activists who stress on the medical and industrial perks of the plant. But even as the conversations around cannabis appear to have evolved, we wonder: Has the culture evolved too?
A typical Indian kid is more likely to be afraid of getting caught by their parents, than the cops. Dealing with the parental unit when you’re blazed out of your mind can quickly turn into a BT, one you can't always talk your way out of. But as VICE found out, that isn’t the case with everyone. While most young people have to resign to a life of endless eye-cool drops and pretend to have starved all day to justify uncontrollable hunger pangs, some are out there, getting really, really high with their folks.
How did these young Indians convince their parents to put aside societal taboos around the dangers of the “drug” long enough to last an entire smoke-up session? How did they overcome the awkwardness of it all? Most of all, did this session bring them closer to their creators?
We asked some of them who smoke up with their parents, and here’s what they had to say.
“I convinced them by giving selective information, and it worked”
I’ve smoked up with my parents thrice. It was entirely my idea but it took some convincing. I started by telling them all of its benefits—from its ability to kill cancer cells to help calm anxiety and how it’s way more harmless than alcohol. This selective information meant that I skipped details about the fact that some of the stuff you find in India is spiked, that smoking up still fucks with your lungs, and that extended and heavy usage can damage brain cells. What helped the most was my dad’s college friend, who also smokes up, and who told them that having a beer is more harmful than a doob. Thanks, uncle, my heart goes out to you.
So this one Sunday evening, I rolled a hash joint for a sesh in their room. Since they were new to this, I gave them instructions on how to inhale properly so they wouldn’t mouth fag. They coughed anyway. Afterwards, I switched off the lights and played some music on speakers, turned on some trippy lights and we watched some psychedelic videos. Instead of feeling awkward, my folks described feeling light-headed, loose and relaxed. Dad even found the music nicer, and they both experienced time dilation. At the end of the trip, dad said that this was nice, and that we can make it a regular Sunday evening feature. While that didn’t happen, it was still a nice bonding time and I think it made them cool with me doing it as long as it wasn’t too frequent. Now, even my friends smoke up at my house since my parents are the only ones in the circle who are cool with it.—Kunal*, 22
“I smoked up with my dad and went for tuitions, then got a panicked call from him saying he was sinking into the bed”
The first time my twin brother and I smoked up with our dad was when we were 17. He actually walked in on one of my friends crushing for a bong hit. Surprisingly, while he usually condones cigarettes, this time, he asked if he could give it a try. And so, we all got really high and haven’t stopped since. Every weekend, we take bong hits together, and it’s created this sense of camaraderie. We have amazing and in-depth conversations, order a shit load of munchies, and just chill the fuck out. I also feel like him being a part of this has helped me be in control, and be more mature about the whole thing.
It took my mom some convincing though. At first, she didn’t know what was up. But then once, my dad smoked up with us and then I left for tuitions. Midway through, I got a panicked call from him; he believed he was sinking into the bed. My mom assumed he was drunk. Then this other time, my brother and I made pot brownies and forgot them in the fridge. My mom has a sweet tooth so she devoured them, passed out for 8 hours, and later said it was the best rest she’s ever had. After that, she has smoked up with us a few times, but still doesn’t know how frequently we do it.
To convince your parents, you have to just tell them the truth. They may get pissed off at first, and probably shout at you or even ground you. But you have to just take it, and keep stressing on the positive aspects of it. It’s always better that they know.—Rahul*, 22
“My dad cheered me up when I was having a bad day by pulling a joint out of his pocket”
My dad would smoke up with my brother, but I had never been a part of those sessions. In fact, my initial experience of smoking up were only with my college friends. But last year, while on a family vacation to Lavasa, I mustered up the courage to ask my brother and dad if I could join them for a joint. We had a great session and, now, my dad and I smoke up together quite a bit.
Perhaps the most memorable time of us smoking up together was when I was PMSing; I was having a terrible day and snapping at everyone around me. But when I angrily asked my dad to leave me alone, he pulled out a joint from his pocket and ushered me to the balcony. That joint completely calmed me down.
My dad and I have had the best heart-to-hearts when we’re stoned together. My mom knows that we smoke up, but she doesn’t like the smell of it so she doesn’t indulge in it herself. However, she has tried CBD oils on herself. This experience has convinced me that if they’re so understanding of something that’s generally so frowned upon, then I can share anything with them without feeling scared or being judged. However, they’re also clear that it shouldn’t be a daily thing. This attitude of trusting us instead of restricting us has, in turn, made us more respectful towards them, and helped us maintain control. On their part, they’re more secure about us smoking up with our friends, because they’ve seen how we act when we’re stoned and know it’s not something they need to worry about.—Neha*, 21
“I think our parents’ upbringing, friend circles and understanding of the substance really affect their views on weed”
I’ve smoked up with both my parents, but I feel like my mom enjoys it more, whereas my dad just kind of mouth-fags. We smoked up as a family for the first time along with my sister and cousins in New Orleans. I was 22 and honestly a little apprehensive about involving my parents since I’d been hiding that I smoke up since I was 18. But they were surprisingly really chill about it.
Our parents’ upbringing and friend circle play a big factor in how cool they can be about this. They’re probably also more liberal because they are clued into the legalisation movement and know it’s part of our culture before the British ruined everything.
We usually only smoke up together at parties or other social settings. If they see my friends rolling up, they’ll be like, “Mujhe bhi de do (Give it to me also)." Of course, they don’t know the frequency with which I smoke; if they did, they’d be kind of worried!—Siddharth*, 27
“I ate space cake with my husband’s parents and laughed uncontrollably for hours, which made them realise it wasn’t my first time.”
I haven’t smoked up with my own parents, but recently I went on a 15-member family get-together with my husband’s parents and cousins. We were camping on a farm in Bengaluru and it was my husband’s aunt’s birthday. His cousin called us all out at 7.30 AM—before we had even had a chance to brush, take a dump or bathe—and fed us what was later revealed to be space cake.
While I had the most amazing trip, my husband’s aunt started dancing wildly. I erupted in uncontrollable laughter. People began to slowly realise that something weird was going on. One uncle even started to believe his head had broken into two parts. All the while I was cracking up, my mother-in-law, who was barely hit, was just staring at me and she had clearly noticed how comfortable I was with the trip. I was telling them what to do to make it a good experience, so it was pretty obvious that this wasn’t my first time getting high. Towards the end though, this brought us closer to each other.
By the time the high wore off, most of my husband’s family members were pretty pissed off, mostly because it was all so non-consensual. But by the end of my trip, I blurted out that this was the best one I’ve had, and, I swear, both my in-laws flashed me a sneaky, knowing smile.—Shrishti*, 32
* Names have been changed to protect privacy.
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