Godfather, Lolita, and the odd Playboy magazine comprised the entire spectrum of sex education for the Baby Boomers. Mandakini in Ram Teri Ganga Maili and Zeenat Aman in Satyam Shivam Sundaram would have seared many a triggered mind. Reams were written on the bold scenes of Rehana Sultan in films like Chetna and Dastak. And who can forget Lakshmi as the lush Julie against Vikram as the fervid Shashi Bhattacharya. Then comes Bobby in her ascendent dress and dewdrop face. Those were the “gapoochi gapoochi gum gum” days. So much was “Khel Khel Mein”. It took a simple finger on a fainting woman’s pulse to confirm pregnancy. Shame shrouded both private and public life like New Delhi’s asphyxiating pollution.
In retrospect, I am not so sure just this large-hearted, good faith benevolence is enough. It is important today to foresee and anticipate the twists and turns that are sure to come up ahead from the upbringing that the www and peers are providing each other. In this instance for example, is enough thought being given to junior’s game plan? Have some all important questions been voiced? Will Junior feel comfortable and be included in the unfamiliar Korean culture? Has the stress of “being different” been factored in? Do we know the inside mechanics of this international rage called K-Pop? What does the competition look like? What are the cultural values you will be up against? How well can you expect to fit in? And should you not make the cut, what is the coping strategy going to be like?
The tyrannical power of my grandma’s generation had given way to a watered-down and benevolent form of authority, a progressive model of parenting tempered with caution. There were no diktats but Dad and Mom’s involvement and active presence were presumed. The heavily authoritative tone of the earlier generation had made room for a moderate, accommodating acceptance based on the premise of the parent holding the superior position.
Though we picked careers of our choices and married people mutually chosen for us, we led our lives with our parents as our lodestars. They were there with us, in all of our life’s events and it was important to keep them informed, connected, and supportive.
Along with this shift in gender dynamics, we are in the midst of dialogues about the definition and meaning of masculinity. Toxic masculinity has begun to be examined and derided. There is an acknowledgment of the sometimes invisible and unspoken negative effects it can wield, not just societally, but on women in particular.
It is such a leap from my grandfather who expressed his love by acquiring farming land and buying the family a white-colored Ambassador MK III with the license plate PUK 1100. He barely spoke with his daughters, my aunts. The only physical display of affection was a quick and awkward, gaze averted, ruffle on the head! We graduated to a shoulder hug with my father from there. And today, it is perfectly permissible for fathers to bring their gentleness, their loving and demonstrative caring to this next generation. Not only do they get to model the strength that comes with kindness and vulnerability for their boys, they also get to guide their girls to look out for these qualities in their partners.
“You have everything. Good looks, youth, health, great education, opportunities…why the rage? What more could you possibly want?” Arjan whistle breathed through his mouth, his bewildered eyes locked with the defiant glimmer in his teenage daughter’s glare. The air bristled, their hearts raced and emotions ran riot. “This is your fault,” he turned his helplessContinue reading “Repression”