First and foremost, please don’t feel like I’m attacking you. The problem with digital media is that sometimes you can’t decipher the tone of voice correctly. So, just to spell it out, mine is totally friendly! I only have a few simple things to say really. And to be honest, I’m pretty certain you will understand me. After all, you were a young girl once. Agreed, your times were different. Back then, love was a privilege afforded by few. But truth be told, things have changed a whole lot since then. So if you find your son talking to a girl, which - let’s be real - he most likely is...just let him be. Don’t make him feel like he’s doing something wrong; he’s not. He probably hasn’t even thought of her in any particular “way” - so your glaring yet inquisitive look will only make him feel like he’s doing something bad. Suppose he is, in fact, dating a girl, don’t assume she’s “fast”. She’s as fast or slow as your own son is. We women wax eloquent about society and Indian culture and the mangled perceptions of women; but the sad truth is, prejudice, much like charity, begins at home. Watch what you say about her in front of your son. He is learning things from you, every minute of every day. Watch what you let him believe. He may be the centre of your universe, but he’s not the centre of the universe. And no intelligent, self-respecting and sensible girl will want to be with a male chauvinist pig today. So please don’t raise one. But he’s taken after his father, you say? Umm… But unlike his father, you get to raise him. So do it right, please?
On behalf of girls everywhere I request you to teach your son the virtue of patience, for someday he will marry a girl like me who will take time to reach home after work and get ready for a family wedding. His constant complaining will not be appreciated. Teach him kindness, for someday that’s what my parents will look for in a son-in-law. Teach him persistence because, like for all the good things in life, he might have to wait a few years for me while I achieve my dreams. Teach him to be hard-working, because we are both going to have to build a life together, and there ain’t no fairy godmother who’s going to do that for us. Teach him respect, because he will receive it only if he gives it. Teach him how to be a positive person, because each of us face our own storms, but we must learn to dance in the rain. Teach him how to honour women, because that’s the need of the hour. Teach him how to be supportive, because marriages today aren’t based on sacrifice but on how supportive partners can be to each other. Teach him to be nurturing, because no, that’s not only a woman’s job. Teach him life skills, like cooking….well, if I’m expected to know it, why can’t he? Teach him equality, for I’m not inferior to him – never was and never will be.
Teach him all this now, because you know what? You can’t shape your son in a day. The clay is wet and the mould is in your hands. Make that masterpiece now.
Indian girls still struggle to achieve perfection in everything they do. But the real question is: why should we struggle? We are breaking glass ceilings every moment of every day while all you need to stop doing is asking your son to marry fair or marry rich or marry thin.