That Silent, Vacant Place

The Daily WordPress Prompt-

Write about something you consider “ugly” — war, violence, failure, hatred — but try to find beauty, or a sense of hope, in your thoughts.


When we’re small our parents try so incredibly hard to protect us from things we shouldn’t be seeing- war, death, violence, rape. Isn’t it a shame that the world is such that we cannot tell our children certain things because these things will spoil their innocence and expose them to things that are too painful, horrifying for kids to comprehend? How can we let our children realize how unhappy most adults are in their day-to-day lives, when they go around wanting to be their parents, dreaming about the wonders of that sweet freedom which is denied to them! Adults can sleep as late as they want, they can party, they can drink, they can drive, they can go places. Children don’t know how utterly disturbingly, sickeningly depressing life can be and they can’t imagine the need for life to ever be that way! Most of our children don’t know hunger the way poor ones do, they don’t know what its like to sleep without a roof over their heads. They don’t know how devastating wars can be. They don’t know what its like if their dad leaves one day and never comes back in the evening.

And we feel its important for them things to stay this way!

How can we explain to our children something like death, which all of us must inevitably face one day when we ourselves do not know what lies beyond! As children we are promised heaven after earth but the grown-ups making these promises haven’t been there, done that themselves. But children don’t need to know that.

How can we explain to our children what assault and violence and rapes and murders are like? We can pray our children will never face the likes of Jack the Ripper or be exposed to the sort of domestically abusive conditions we read about in newspapers. We can hope our children’s drivers or lovers or best friends or colleagues won’t go paranoid enough to want to murder them when they’re older. And these are the hopes on which we teach our children to grow, despite our thousand fears to the contrary.

Because our parents will always fear for us. They love us and they want us to love ourselves and not go through life expecting the worst. We’re supposed to expect the best, but we know that so were those people in the towers of the World Trade Center when it collapsed.

How ironical it is, therefore, that our parents refuse to touch on one topic which has the highest probability in the world to scar us, break us, tear us apart. And yes, that topic is love.

An Indian parent will die before they give you the Talk. For an Indian parent, their child’s love life is simple. It is non-existent until they’re in the ripe age group for marriage (25-30 years) which is when slow teasing turns into a full-fledged search for a suitable match for their precious son or daughter. Once the parents have gone over the preliminaries, the lucky couple is allowed to meet and talk, maybe have coffee and go on a few carefully supervised dates, all the while reporting back home. Then when you’re married, its all a closed book once again.

Well, they need to wake up. Admittedly, many have. But its not just about accepting that your kid will one day meet the perfect match and bring them home and you can work on the rest of the fairy tale together.

Lives are complicated. Isn’t it ironic that parents who shield us from physical harm and mental break down by hiding the details of death and war from us, may go far enough to chip away at the Stork Myth but they won’t go further to talk about love, shield us from the songs and movies and books that detail love lifes both successful and devastating?

Shouldn’t a parent have a Love Talk as well as a Sex Talk with their children? What is love after all. We know as little about it as we do about death; but every third reference in popular culture takes us back to the topic of love. Love in all its varied forms does exist, then why do we perpetually ban one form from conversations and discussions?

Why is everything else considered radically modern? Why will people raise their eyes and think that this post is too out their and even those who think its not will still walk down the same battered path!

Children WILL figure out their own truths. Like anything else, pretending ignorance about this silent, vacant place called love will help parents shield their children until Google opens their eyes but songs ain’t gonna hold the truth back no more. Like everything else, love stories take their martyrs but those who can still swim emerge stronger, more careful and better armed to put aside their adolescence angst and take on the world!

7 thoughts on “That Silent, Vacant Place

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