Rakesh Garg, an IT professional and a father of two teenage daughters, is an anxious man. Ever since the incident of the gang rape in Delhi, he has been having sleepless nights. “My daughters love to go partying with friends. I have had to put restrictions on this. I don’t allow them to step out at night, or stay over at a friend’s place.”
There are many like Rakesh, who worried and anxious about the safety of their daughters.
Nitin Desai, a banker, keeps a check on his daughter, who is studying in Pune, through the day. “She is living away from home and this adds to my tension. I used to call her only once a day. Now, I call her every couple of hours. I have even asked my brother in Pune to check on her. I have advised her to join self-defence classes and keep a pepper spray handy whenever she is out of the campus.”
Sanjay Gupta has gone to the extent of providing his nine-year-old girl a mobile phone, so she can keep in touch when she is outside the house. “Today, the stress levels of parents have increased. Reading newspapers gives me the shivers,” says this financial planner. “I have given a pepper spray to my wife, I have one in the car and another in the house. I have also installed a CCTV system at the door and ensure that the lights on the stairs and in the porch are fully functional at night.”
But Sanjay also believes that it is not right to be overprotective. “There should be a thin line between being overprotective and letting her do what she likes. Otherwise, there will be hurdles in bringing up children.” He has also been scouting for self-defence classes for the girl and has requested her school to make self-defence instructions mandatory.
Media professional R Sridhar and his wife try not to let their four-year-old go out of their sight. He says, “Society has changed. Childhood is shrinking and considering the times that we live in, I don’t think I will give her as much liberty and freedom that we enjoyed. I’m a paranoid father, who hopes and prays for all the daughters in the world.”