There are two sets of calendars in Sushmita Verma’s house. A blue one, with tiny elephants, hangs on the wall in the children’s room where the kids strike out days waiting for their summer holidays (long lazy days full of eating ice cream, watching cartoons, playing with friends...). A dark red calendar hangs in their mother’s room, where each day in the month is circled. Ever day, she strikes out the date and climbs into bed with a “One more day over. A few more to go”.
Long summer days with her sons, aged eight and three, jumping on her bed, making demands for pizza for breakfast, and ice cream for lunch, are nightmares for Sushmita. So deep is this housewife’s fear of her children’s holidays, that she ropes in her friends and cousins to live with her for a few weeks.
“My sons want to go out for picnics and excursions. They wake up late, want junk food all the time and trouble me because they want to watch television and play on the computer. It’s no wonder that I dread my children’s vacations,” comments Sushmita.
Though fear of harm, danger and illness are embedded in the subconscious, the list of things that scare people is ever-expanding and evolving. Vanessa Chang, a young microbiologist in Auckland, comments, “I have a persistent fear that all my hair will fall out”. Ayesha Shah, an interior designer based out of Mumbai says, “My nightmare is that all my teeth will fall out. I would hate to do anything artificial to my body and somehow this fear is stuck in my mind”.
Women have to worry about so many things. “I am constantly afraid that I will cut the dress I am wearing, when using a pair of scissors. Dropping nail paint on the floor is another fear, as removing it is difficult,” shares Falguni J.
Who says living with in-laws is free of care? Tasneem C points out, “Every time I open my piggy bank, I look over my shoulder, as I am afraid my mother-in-law will enter the room.”
Motherhood brings with it a new set of worries. Tasneem C, says, “I have a one-year-old son and when I have a lot of work, I am terrified he will wake up from his sleep. All work comes to a standstill when he wakes up; so I am constantly at my wit’s end, ensuring that the baby sleeps, while I get some work done.”
Fears come in all shapes and sizes. While some dread putting on weight, others see nightmares where the refrigerator has run out of junk food or worse a world which has run out of ice cream, chocolate or cheese. Sara S and her group of friends made a pact that they would smile less often and ensure that they did not make too many expressions as they were afraid they would get wrinkles while they were still teenagers.
Ask them where these fears originate; they respond in unison, that they are inherent. Every man (and woman) must face their own fears. But, one thing is for certain. It sure isn’t easy to be a girl!