KS, is a middle schooler and lives with his family in Johns Creek, Georgia. He shares his thoughts on his family, his middle school life and India – his parents’ home country. He even has some tips for me as an interviewer. Here’s the transcript of my face to face interview with him.
Heart: Sit here, I want an interview.
KS: OK. Don’t ask me political BS.
Heart: Tell me anything.
KS: Um, I really like this fidget spinner. OK, start asking real questions, because I’m getting bored. Also, don’t ask me any political BS or anything that involves emotions. Because, I hate people getting all sappy with emotions. Thank you.
Heart: So, what’s life without emotion?
KS: Boring, but its hard to describe emotions and stuff. Yeah, you know those essay passages where they ask you, “Tell me about your feelings where you once felt bored or sad or something.” And you have to explain. Its just annoying to me. I don’t know how I’m supposed to describe how I’m feeling. Its complicated, I don’t like to describe my feelings.
Heart: OK, fair enough. I think a 12 year old boy can only talk about his feelings so much right?
KS: Yes, sadly, you know a little too much.
Heart: (Laughs) So, what now?
KS: Like, what?
Heart: I mean, what are your hopes for the summer (holidays)?
KS: I don’t know. One thing I know for a fact I am hoping, no math worksheets or textbooks or anything boring like that in summer. Coz, I don’t want that.
Heart: So, emotions are boring, worksheets are boring, what excites you?
KS: Playing with friends outside, playing chess or something, I don’t know. Doing something that’s fun and educational. Except worksheets. Educational at the same time, it challenges your brain. But, not boring daddy worksheets. (sic) Like, the math problems that daddy gives.
Heart: What’s your relationship with your brother? How is it?
KS: Meh. I mean, sometimes, he beats me up. No, like sometimes we get mad at each other because he’s annoying me or something, and I’m taking away his fidget spinner or something. OK? Other times, its for cool and stuff. The other morning when you weren’t there and had to go to your friend’s house and we were playing Monopoly, we were all cool. He cried, yeah but, I kept persuading him to play and didn’t give up. I gave him seed money. He stayed upstairs when I was taking a bath and I stayed up with him when he was taking a bath.
Heart: That’s nice.
KS: Yeah, I think we’re pretty good.
Heart: How’s your relationship with your parents?
KS: They are OK. Sometimes, they ask too many ques… I’m not saying questions are bad, but they start asking personal questions or too many questions that are totally unrelated to what we’re talking about like, my dad he’s probably like the kind of guy who likes to find out every piece of information about something. I think he’s working for the FBI. No, not really. So, that’s just weird.
Heart: So, that’s just an impression you have right?
KS: Yeah, but, still.
Heart: OK. What are any of the huge milestones?
KS: Of the moment?
KS: Getting good grades, um, maintaining a love life.
Heart: (Trying hard to keep a poker face)
KS: Are you going to say something, mom?
Heart: Nope, no comments.
KS: Nice try. OK, so owning a dog. What else? Um, so its only May in 2017, not much has happened. Yeah.
Heart: How do you think the day has to be structured in school, like, can a typical day at school be better planned?
KS: One thing, I really want is recess. Coz, honestly, I don’t like the part where there’s no recess in middle school. I want it to come back to middle school.
Heart: Wait, there’s no recess at all?
KS: The only time you do go outside is if there’s nothing else the teacher can teach, or the teacher is nice and we can do an outdoor class or if you’re in PE or AQ. Or if there’s a special field day.
Heart: What’s PE and AQ?
KS: Physical Education and Adventure Quest. AQ is PE but with more stuff on how to survive the woods, or how to start a fire (in camp), etc.
Heart: Would you’ve survived an Indian childhood?
Heart: Your mom survived it.
KS: Um, if I was born there, and lived my entire life there, of course I would. If I was taken like at the age of 10 or something and put in India for the rest of my life, no way would I survive. Coz, I’ve heard stories from you guys, and from memes and jokes and other people that Asian parenting, including Indian parenting is kind of harsh. They want good grades and stuff. And as much as I’m all in for that, I’m not going to dedicate my entire childhood for that. I want to do other stuff.
And also in India, they don’t have basketball courts. I mean they’ve basketball but its not common, I won’t see it in my neighborhood. Basically, the only sport that kids normally play is cricket. I’m not good at that. So, I think I’ll be a bit bored and stuff.
Heart: When you see kids in your school, how do you make friends with them? Do you approach them to talk to them?
KS: I’ll look at the group from an angle, like literally from an angle, and observe them for a few minutes and then maybe I’ll talk to some of them there. Of course, I suck at making conversations. So, yeah.
Heart: So you think you’re not good at small talk?
KS: Nope, I’m not good at small talk. Not at all. Like to boys I can talk, but out in the open to start making small talk, its not my way. If I see them playing and that’s something I like, I might approach them. Or if they’re talking about a topic I also enjoy, then I too will start talking about it. And that usually leads into something else. This is possibly my one and only conversation starter strategy.
Heart: What’s your general opinion about girls and boys? Who do you think is better?
KS: No comment.
Heart: Are you sure?
KS: Nice poker face mom. No comment, coz, I watched a lot of brain games on this one, and I’ve been to school enough to say that girls and boys are pretty equal. But, there’s somethings that boys are better at and there’re somethings that girls are better at. Girls are better at making slime. Other than that I won’t say anything because then I might sound sexist to other people. So, yeah, no comment.
Heart: How important is grandparents’ role in your life?
KS: They teach us important values and they like tell us funny stories of you guys as kids, and they teach us old people skills that you can use, like how to annoy people when you’re old. Of course, my nanamma (dad’s mom) doesn’t teach us that. If they’re religious they can help a lot with meditation and all that. That’s basically it. I mean, they’re pretty important and they’re family and family’s important and so they’re important.
Heart: Is there anything else you want to say? Are there any lesson? Do you look back in the past and regret about something you’ve done or look into the future and move on thinking you’ve learnt some lessons?
KS: I’m the type of person that doesn’t like to regret things. So, I think back and say, “OK, I “F”ed up, doesn’t matter, lets move on.” I try not to do it again and like in the finals (exams), I could’ve done better, I didn’t get a 100 on any of them. Last semester I did.
Another thing, every time you’re doing an interview, don’t ask random questions. Like, your question on lessons. That’s just too broad. I can give you possibly 50 different lessons. Like, green never goes with red. It does, but its not that good. Now, that can be a lesson. You want more lessons?
Note: Before you rate this episode, please consider if you would’ve been so open and authentic about your own life. Earlier episodes available at The Anonymous Manifesto.
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Balanced from both sides. It would have been more interesting to know about his dreams n ambitions. And about his teachers and hobbies as well. Interviewer missed this part of the 12 year old.
Wow, thanks for the feedback! It seems to me, I’ll have to do a round 2 on this one :)