The Evolution of Innocence.
Happy New Year 2015!
Another new year is here already.It seems like yesterday that my younger daughter was a newborn, but it's already been five years. I've been thinking about the innocence of children in this generation and it never ceases to amaze me.
One of my first experiences of our cultural quirks was during my stint at Singapore in 2003. My elder daughter was all of two and we used to visit the park in our neighbourhood every evening, where we had the opportunity to meet families of different cultural backgrounds. What struck me was the Chinese and Malay mothers pointing to my toddler and training their sons : See, that's a girlfriend! It would be vice versa for the girls of course, mine included.
I was instantly reminded of my own childhood in Bangalore. From the time I could speak, I've been taught that all the boys in my neighbourhood were my 'Annas' or 'Bhaiyyas': Brothers. There were no two ways about it and the innocent me accepted the same with no questions asked. A few years down the line, my teen-aged friends asked me incredulously how I could call such hot guys my brothers. My reaction would just be an embarrassed shrug, followed by silence.
I have now relocated to Bengaluru for good and am one of the few lucky ones who lives in an apartment. It's now my younger daughter's turn to play in the park and she enjoys reciting interesting stories about her friends, most of them who are in her own age group. Just the other day, she returned home with an amused expression on her face and told me the latest 'story'. She loves playing with one of the little boys in the neighbouring block and that day a smart adult in the gym asked her seven year old friend whether she was his girlfriend!
"I was very shy, mummy" she tells me innocently with her reddening cheeks...
How much the Indian way of thinking seems to have changed, evolving from one cultural quirk to another...our perception of innocence has evolved. (although I should mention that my husband was far from amused at the child's experience, especially with the adult in question).
At this point, my elder daughter, who's now a teenager, adds her valuable inputs when she says "Mum, our daily pledge makes no sense, I mean, how can all Indians be our brothers and sisters? Most of my friends laugh at it in school and giggle when we're are made to take the pledge...are we supposed to marry foreigners then?" She has an 'innocent' twinkle in her eye. Of course, I didn't tell her that I'd wondered the same thing in school too...
I ponder the cultural evolution we undergo everyday in our lives and tell myself that this must be the only way for us to bridge the generation gap between us...
Until the next time I feel the overwhelming urge to share my thoughts...thanks for reading!