Little kids are a joy as long as there is no gun-toting paranoid set of parents close behind. Someone I know calls them “the army of new mothers”. A particularly volatile set who view child-rearing no less than a military drill. They make sure that the child gets the vitamins and minerals and all the other essential nutrients in the prescribed measured doses, that meals are served by precise clockwork, that all visible and invisible germs are kept at bay. Uptil now the list is seemingly harmless. But one has to be there to see the rigourous execution of it all.
One young couple made sure that the child was always covered by a mosquito net of 1 ft height irrespective of the location of the child. No one was allowed to enter the room with shoes and sit on the one particular bed where the child was stationed. Yet another proud mum made sure that the kid was never taken outdoors (not even to the balcony) for fear of pollution and germs. Another household made sure that their daughter’s feet were always clad in woollen socks, in case she accidently steps on the floor as she was learning to walk at that point of time.
Such cases are often seen in regular homes. For any visitor it often results in an embarrassment when the mother reluctanly offers the child to be picked up. Sometimes it is better to just play with the child from a distance so as not to offend the over-protective parents. But what becomes of such children who are shelled like a box of eggs. They become reticent for fear of rebuke. They are brought up with strict regimens andy live life by the terms set by their parents. They eat, drink, sleep, study, make their carrers according to the chart planned out. And when it is time to face the world they fear to leave the cocooned safety of their parents’ home.
I often see kids of 13-14 going to or returning from school. More often than not one of their parents carry their school bags and they follow with the water-bottles. I remember when I started to go to school at the age of 3 and half years a small school bag was made for me. And till the day I graduated I carried my own satchel and so did most of my classmates.
Probably in their ignorance of “scientific methods” of child-rearing the mothers of a generation ahead did their children a good turn to grow up by themselves.

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