Growing up in Bangladesh, one thing I was scared of were thieves. I used to hear stories from family members, neighbors - how someone broke into their houses late at night (or in broad daylight if no one was home) and took clothes, food, toys - what not. I remember, I used to wake up at night and would be terrified to open my eyes thinking, what if I open my eyes and see a thief in the room with me! What am I going to do! I also have this vivid memory of waking up one morning to a lot of shouting from outside. Our watchman had captured a thief who was trying to get into the kitchen at the middle of the night. He was tied up in the front yard of my Grandfather's house. As was customary, he probably got beaten up by the watchman and then let go. After all, everyone understood why someone would come to steal from your house - they were dirt poor. To a small child though, that was incomprehensible and they were some sort of monster to be scared of. Watching "Top of the Lake" on Netflix the other night, I was reminded of this memory.
The story of "Top of the Lake" revolves around Tui - a 12 year old who tries to kill herself because she is pregnant. While the police department tries to figure out who the father of the child is, the town unravels around pedophiles, gang rape drugs, teenagers being introduced to free drugs so their addiction can later be used to lure them into prostitution. It was very disturbing. While I really enjoyed the acting, the cinematography, I was also really shaken to the core by this award winning mini-series.
My childhood was so much simpler in a way - all I had to be worried about were thieves. Nowadays, kids had to be warned about so many things! Now that I have Zoya, anytime I see any news or movies about little girls, I just want to break down and cry. I don't ever want her to experience any of the modern day monsters. It’s not just thieves nowadays - it's random people with guns, pedophiles, random people with crazy ideas in their heads, terrorists, drugs. What would I not give to live in a world where little girls stay innocent longer; they play with their friends out in the backyard without being worried about some stranger abducting them; they walk over to the community pool without being followed by some creep in a van (that happened in our neighborhood); where they hang out at the mall with their with their friends without worrying about losing their life because a random person decides to show up with a gun.
And little boys are not excluded either. You can't send them to any activates without worrying about what they are being exposed to. It’s not just the drugs, guns that you worry about, there's also Peer Pressure, Bullying to worry about. What were innocent rituals of growing up, have now turned into weapons of destruction. I crave the innocence of my childhood for my kids, I try to protect them as much as I can, but then I wonder by sheltering them, am I preparing them to face the world out there.