This post was due on Children's Day. Better late than never.

Why do all people like children? Because they are innocent, they are non-judgemental, they are unbiased and above all, they are just lovable. The main difference in an adult and a kid (and which is why kids are kids) is innocence. The why's and what's that trouble adults, their assumptions, their mischievous smile - everything is based on the pure innocence. What if this main ingredient is taken out? Will you continue to like kids? I found that my answer to this is 'No'.

My niece-in-law, I mean, my husband's niece is 5 years old and she had recently visited us. She stayed with us for a fortnight and over these 15 days, my feeling towards went from love-like-ignore-dislike. I wouldn't use the word hate, but it came close to that. She compares herself with me, who is like her mother. She wants everything I want. I wear make-up, she wants it. I wear gold bangles, she wants it. She thinks looking beautiful is the most important thing in life.

Fairness is another obsession, which in fact is a side-effect of the first one. She wants people to tell her that she looks good and she is fair, which in fact, she is not. But, who cares? I would like the same even if she was pitch dark. She looks jealously at the neighboring kid and asks me, "Why am I not as fair as her?" I was flabbergasted. At her age, I didn't know fairness even existed, leave alone wanting it.

Gold. She wants to wear gold and feel important. She wants to decorate herself, admire herself in the mirror, walk the ramp in front of all the family members and won't quit until everybody gives her a nod of approval and a praise or two. She is god damn FIVE years old!

All this goes back to one main cause. Television. That's her biggest obsession. She is in front of the idiot box for as long as she is awake. And what does she watch? You name it and she watches it. Cartoons? Yes. Movies? Yes. Movie songs? Yes. Serials? Yes. Yes, you heard it right, she watches Ekta Kapoor serials. She adores all those saree clad, gold adorned, make-up smeared barbie dolls and that's the inspiration for looking good and looking fair (no, they don't go together. You need not be fair to look good and vice versa).

I tried explaining to her what kids her age should do. Didn't understand. I tried telling her how unimportant is looking good. Didn't understand. I gave up. This should explain the emotional wave of love-like-ignore-dislike, which almost reached hate. No, I don't blame her at all. Her parents, her care takers have made a terrible mistake for which she is paying the price.
This is the age where kids see a photo of Gandhi and say "Munnabhai". I won't be amused if people look at a photo of Bhagat Singh and then face a dilemma of naming that person Ajay Devgan or Bobby Deol.

People, please, don't deprive the kids of their basic right. Innocence.