The country is in a furore over what Aamir Khan’s wife, Kiran Rao said: she wants to leave the country because the atmosphere is turning unsafe for the kids.
There have been pot shots galore at the couple with one lot supporting them and the other throwing brickbats. Then there are jokes afloat in Net sphere. Each neta is taking sides and proving points at the expense of the harried couple.
Amidst this national chaos, I got thinking. Now the actor’s family is among the privileged few in India. Their kids are escorted by drivers and maids to elite suburbs. But what of the common man? His kids have to slug it out in Metro trains and buses, running to and fro from school to coaching center to game practice grounds.
Skipping back to two or three decades, I tune into my childhood. Being a small town girl, the essential mode of transport was my trusted bicycle. It was dutifully dragged everywhere. Just after completing college, I took a stint as a guest lecturer to fill in gaps. So there I was riding merrily on my bright red cycle to teach students who towered over me menacingly. My siblings and I all rode it, to school, running errands for mom, meeting friends whatever.
The flashback cuts abruptly and I am in the present Mrs. M is hailing me.
Mrs. M: – Where are you off to?
Me: – Dropping Darling Daughter to her coaching class, tennis lessons, dance class et al.
Mrs. M: – Doesn’t she go alone?
Me: – Of course not.
Mrs. M: – Why not?
Me: – Are you crazy, the place is not safe. Don’t you read the newspapers? They are full of misdeeds and horrors. I tremble just to think of them. How can I leave the little batcha all on her own?
Mrs.: – Oh. Did your Mom cart you everywhere?
Me: – No. But the world has become so depraved.
Mrs. M.: – Were you living in Ram Rajya? You don’t look that old. I rest my case.
Well, the world is more or less the same. Criminal beings must have lurked back then too. Then what is the difference? Was my mother made of sterner stuff than I am? Has all that extra education only made me softer and more timid?
That said, being a parent is the toughest job in the world. Parents undergo on-the-job training all their lives. The trick is to let the child go free without letting go the reins of control and supervision.