Veena, 12 Sep 2017
My childhood was so much fun. I and my brother had the run of the neighbourhood and when we were a bit older, of the city. If they can’t find me in the house, the first place they would search would the sunshades, the concrete slabs above the windows. My favourite hangout. I would be there with a book and a plate of goodies. Oh and the only way to get onto to those was to hop, skip on the banisters.
I would get back from school, gobble something and say bye to my Mom, hop on to my cycle and set off wherever my feet took me. And this was before it could even get on or off from the cycle. I was in in the fifth grade and needed a stool or a ladder to get on or off the bike. The only condition was that I needed to be back home before sunset.
I have a young daughter and am wondering if I would ever let her ride a cycle to school. Is it because we read of so many bad things in the paper. Were these crimes non existent or just not in the news when we were growing up! We know statistically that there is much higher probability of being stuck down crossing the street, especially in India.
Why then, do we as parents, have such a tough time letting go?
And then I realised this is primarily a problem only with people who can afford help. Cooks, maids, drivers, child minders. We have so much help, we have all the time in the world to worry, imagine the worst possible scenarios and cling. The lower strata never seems to have this issue. Their kids run on the streets, wipe their shot in their sleeves, play in the mud without the parents constantly hovering shouting instructions on what not to do, the myriad ways in which they can hurt themselves. A little mud or blood never hurt us.
Let the kids be kids and learn by themselves without us directing every moment of their lives.