"How does it feel to be a grandmother?" This is a question I was asked very frequently after my grandson was born. How does it feel? Just Grand. Two now, he is an exploding package of fun. He makes total strangers fall prey to his charms. Even folks who don't particularly like kids find his beguiling smile and innocent eyes irresistible.
This very endearing quality makes me apprehensive at times. What kind of a world are he and his generation going to inherit? I mean, forget the global warming and all. Here I am contemplating the nip that has chilled sections of society almost imperceptibly. From media reports blasted at us daily, it would seem that no child is safe anywhere. A two year old is raped by a neighbor, sweet little things who can hardly pronounce their names correctly are molested by drivers and cleaners who ferry them between home and school. Children from rich and prominent families run the risk of being abducted and killed for ransom. Pedophiles are ever on the prowl.
Sexual abuse apart, the dice can roll against the bully as happened recently in a school here. Unable to tolerate his browbeating, his victims just went ahead and shot him dead. We had read about it happening in the USA but here in 'tolerant' India, whose renowned son gave 'non-violence' to the world? Before the shock waves had subsided, there were more reports of students being killed by their classmates!
Are these just stray incidents? Can anyone remain smug in the belief it won't happen to their child? Such dangers were there as we too were growing up but they were not so rampant. Am I being paranoid about the future of my grandson and kids his age? I'd rather be labeled that than complacent. No child can be confined in his home. He will have to go out and face the big bad wolves at every corner, but for his own security, we might have to teach him to curb his ebullience. We might need to teach him to put caution before trust. He will need to learn self-protection without subscribing to the 'eye for an eye' practice drilled into many children by their parents and teachers.
In our day, we came out into the dangerous world after graduating from college. Today the dangers have crept into classrooms and in extreme cases in playrooms, divesting our children of their innocence and childhood. This is becoming the scary and gloomy reality of their lives.
Then again, mesmerized by his disarming attitude, I am ambivalent. His artlessness could be his armor. I am hoping it will deter any one with an evil eye and heart. I hope and pray that all such little angels will have their own guardian angels, protecting them.