how much should/can one protect our babies?
the front page of the today's TOI has the photograph of a six month old foetus abandoned in a garbage bin.horrible. sanah saw the photograph and looked peturbed and asked me( through gestures) why the baby was sad. i hurriedly turned the page. she caught on that i was not letting her look at the photograph and kept turning back to it. the photograph disturbed me, more because sanah saw it.
both g and i have seldom worried about all the dangers and evils we need to protect her from. right from when she was born we have carried her everywhere, ignoring the germs/ pollution/infections/crowd bogey. we went shopping/partying/to films/in autos/trains/ in short everywhere. we even took her to an hour long funeral mass and a burial. she did not disrupt, infact enjoyed the singing. i was worried about the burial- its impact on her and the fact that she might disturb the solemn moments. she was fine, though hassled about why everyone was crying.
but in all of these places and moments we are with her. in control. mindful of the dangers but eager to push her curiosity and expand her experiences. in short we are with her, mediating. but when she sees a gruesome photo like the one in today's paper how do i mediate?especially since we still dont have all the words to communicate the meaning of this photo.
my parents did not believe in shielding me from anything- not the world outside, neither the turmoil within. they fought in front of me, they made up in front of me, they discussed all worries and stresses in front of me. they discussed the world outside with me. riots, wars, accidents, elections, murders,films, books, squabbles, gossip...
and yet my first impulse was to try and hide the photograph. i could go on to a long rant about the media and its love for gruesome photographs and news. ( though i am divided on that issue- we need to be jolted by gore to begin thinking) To come back to our children- am i going to switch off the news because there has been a senseless shooting in a university ( i did that too) . Everyday there are hundreds of people being bombed in iraq, there are photographs and news clips everywhere. i think, until the time i can use language to mediate i will just hide/switch off. but then how do i explain the bawling baby looking into our car window at the traffic signal?