08 September 2010
I had this conversation with my daughter recently. She told me since her class teacher hadn’t come, they were taken to some other class. She sat with her classmates in the front row but Rakshit called her to sit with him. She first refused, but later sat with him.
She is just 4. The boy, around 5 years old, is in UKG. Every time she talks about him, she has this smile. Some days back, he’d told her, “I like you”. Once, he’d even winked at her! I felt uneasy. I didn’t like what I had heard. It worried me. When I said, I’ll tell Sathya about this, she panicked & covered my mouth tightly, begging me not to tell him, eyes filling fast with little droplets. She had confided in me. Fearing she wouldn’t let me in on her life, if I “complained” to her father, I let it go. When Sathya had heard about the winking incident, he’d flown into a rage & had warned her not to talk to the ‘bad boy’.
In spite of all this, she had sat with him!
But why should that make me uneasy? What is it that, I as a mother, am afraid of? Can’t she sit with her schoolmate who happens to be a boy? What is there to fear in this seemingly harmless incident?
The fear is, growing up, what if a boy, any boy, touches her inappropriately? What if he touches her hand, her face? What if, later in life, she gets hurt, first physically & then mentally because of one bad experience with a boy? Deep down, in the darkest recesses of their mind, are parents scared that their girl may become pregnant & end up scarred for life? All that parents want is to marry their princess, so she can experience the joy of love within the secure environment of a marriage. The “good” boy, thoroughly scanned & certified by them, should be the only man in her life. Am I like one of these parents too?
Is this seemingly needless worry a passing phase? Or does this feeling stay with them till she is packed off to her husband? Do all parents go through this phase? Does the rich mother in America feel the same way? And the poor father in China feels it too? I don’t know, but my instinct says, “yes”. This must be one of those universal truths, transcending class, country & age. All parents must feel this way; more so the fathers. The difference is, they express their distress & go into a fit of rage in an instant.
In Heyy Babyy, there’s a dialogue where they say, “hum jaisa kameena koi iska boyfriend ho toh?” Is that what Sathya fears for his daughter? Is that why most men guard their daughters’ lives with extreme caution, almost remote controlling it sometimes? They fear she might land up with an ass-hole of a man like their own self?! Are they protecting her or trying to atone for their own sins?
We can’t let our love-born to go through an emotional hell. We can’t let a boy wreak havoc in her otherwise happy existence. We can’t let him take away her sunny smile. No, can’t let him to do it. We won’t let him do it. What can I do so my child is safe? How do I tell her to wait till she is married?
The last generation fell in love in their 20’s. Our generation felt the first rush of infatuation in our teens. This generation seems to be tuned in pretty early. I am about to have sleepless nights from now on.