As I walked my daughter to school and came out, I heard a few instructions being given to older kids during their morning assembly.
Avoid talking to strangers. Do not accept anything from them. Be alert.
AVOID going out ALONE.
All sane advices, I should think, as a modern day urban parent. But damn it. What kind of a world have we created for our kids; a world, where they can not go out alone – and chase butterflies; fly kites, and run after the cut ones; spin tops, and split those of your opponents; play cricket on the streets; surreptitiously jump into the backyards of locked houses to retrieve the ball hit there by an aspiring Srikanth, alright, Shikhar; climb trees, and pluck fruits, or gather neem leaves for Bhogi, or just sleep on a cushy intersection of branches; go to the library; cycle; explore; discover; learn. Alone.
And we dare to deride this generation as loners, couch potatoes, computer game freaks and nerds.
Of course, I can hear you – they can do some of it and a lot more…within the protected walls of your posh apartment complex, if you stay in one: under the watchful eyes of security guards and caretakers. Of course, they have their private swimming pools. Of course, they travel to one new country every year; and they have their Disney Worlds. Stuff, many of us couldn’t have dreamt of.
But I dare say, a child will trade all these for that wee bit of freedom, if she knows of its existence.