Our one of a kind mr popples spent one night at home on his way back to school after Diwali holidays with his mom at our brand new women centre. As usual he was the proverbial ray of sunshine capable of lifting any sagging mood.
As we sat in the evening watching a film on TV, my daughter asked him what he would like to be when he grew up. I want to be a pasha was his answer. Little perplexed, I set out to ask him what the word pasha meant. He looked at me with his huge eyes and simply replied: a hero!
Not satisfies with his answer I egged him on as to why he wanted to be a hero. He again looked at me, this time in an slightly exasperated way and stated what he thought should have been the obvious: because a hero never dies even when he is shot.
So said I, would you like to be a pasha doctor, or a pasha pilot. He simply replied: yes. The important thing was not to die.
Popples is just five and I wonder what not dying means to a child. Difficult to decipher for someone my age.
It is amazing how children assimilate what they see and hear and how candidly they applied it to their won lives. It thus becomes very important to ensure that the right messages and images are given to them at that tender age. Unfortunately it is not easy as today's kids live on mind boggling diets of images way beyond our control: TV, films, advertisement and peer knowledge. And they interpret what they see in their won way. What looks candid at 5 may become dangerous at an older age.
A chilling article in a national daily reveals the lifestyle of aaj ka bachalog - today's children - and makes us wonder as to how to stop this infernal spiral for which we are responsible. In our rush to give the best to our children we have stopped giving the essential.
Popples at 5 can want to be a pasha as he watches Bollywood heroes battle and win. What is important is to slowly redefine the word for him so that it assumes new and more relevant meaning and makes him a good human being, in other words a true pasha!