Talking to kids in the time of Kyaa Kool Hain Hum-3 and Mastizaade

Of kids who wouldn't bat an eyelid when they see Sunny Leone promoting condoms.

 |  3-minute read |   04-02-2016
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"Do you know what a-ho means?" my neighbour's kid asked me. 

For a moment I was taken aback. The girl was all of nine, after all.

Then I looked at her and asked, "do you?" The discomfort on my face was palpable as she expanded the cuss word for my benefit. "Shush! That's a bad word. It'll make your mouth stink," I said, reiterating what my mother had told me when I was growing up, albeit to words that do not even count today (read: gaddha, buddhu, ullu, pagal).

I never questioned my mother, but this kid just smirked at me, turned around, twerked as if she was Miley Cyrus in "We Can't Stop" and went back to her work.

The fault was probably mine. This kid and many others like her belong to a generation who learn their cuss words right out of kindergarten (this one was taught the inappropriateness of showing a middle finger when she was all of seven).

It was only last year that she asked me the meaning of the word "gay" and I told her it was the synonym of "happy". She giggled like I was a fool and told me how a man interested in another man was called "gay". I looked at her wide-eyed as she described how girls in her class won't hug each other, lest the boys call them "lesbians".

Six months to that date, she asked me the meaning of the word "f**k", which she had heard her idol Justin Bieber use in one of his interviews.

When I refused to answer her, she opened her mother's smartphone and googled it herself. I questioned her about the word "swag" though, which she had picked up from older kids in her school. "We are going for a trip, swag!" I heard her say one time and then, "we beliebers got some swag, ya know."

Needless to say, I was the one struggling on Google this time, as one website defined it as: "secretly we are all gays", while another mentioned it as a word used by teenagers to describe anything that's cool.

"I am very open with my kids. There's no point hiding anything from them because if I don't answer their questions, they would go and ask other kids in their school," her mother told me and that too was an eye-opener.

So while my parents would still be found groping for a remote as soon as there was a kissing scene on TV, most parents and kids today don't bat an eyelid if a bikini-clad Sunny Leone frolics on the beach, promoting the use of chocolate-flavoured condoms, as if it were a bar of Dairy Milk.

"How many times can we change channels, huh?" the girl's mother asked me. "We can't watch news channels all day, and all the movies and music videos these days are full of sexual innuendos and elaborate kissing scenes. All this despite the 'sanitisation' by our censor board and all the talk about bhartiya sanskaars and parampara."

I couldn't agree more. Only last week the posters of Kyaa Kool Hain Hum-3 and Mastizaade had me wondering how Mallika Sherawat would not be an oddity anymore, nor her attention-grabbing antics. There are many others who have replaced her and this fresh lot is way more outrageous too.

Filling the gap are the song lyricists who have ensured that those very words we wished our kids should never hear are chanted by them with gusto. Just the other day I heard my six-year-old niece singing: "Bhaag bhaag DK Bose DK Bose". Got my point now?

As I sat mourning over the state of affairs and writing about it, the current generation was already a step ahead. I was sitting in my room and concluding this article when my ten-year-old nephew stepped inside, singing a song from Mastizaade.

"Don't watch it," he said to me in a candid tone. "It's a bit raunchy and you will not be able to digest it."

I gave a short laugh, wondering what next - a talk about birds and bees? Well, I hope it doesn't come to that.

Writer

Vani Vani @vani_author

The writer has worked as a business journalist and is the author of ‘The Recession Groom’.

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