Everyone around me talks about raising the girls right. I get it. That’s how it works in the country. For the record, I abhor the concept of designing girls based on a certain formula and moulding them into “perfect” specimen for the quality control department of the rishta committee so that they could be approved of, stamped, bought and shipped off to the highest bidder.
But while entire families dedicate decades to carving out “diamonds”, they forget us, the boys. You see, us boys, ever since we’re kids, are exposed to periodic bursts of parenting. Which basically boils down to our Ammi Papas realising their responsibilities of parenting us in inconsistent episodes.
We’re taught not to lie but then get forgotten about and are exposed to a tonne load of lying as our dads lie to their bosses on the phone. We’re taught not to swear and yet we watch our mums swear at the maids for not showing up for 3 days straight. Our adults strictly advise us against looking at the biscuits on the dasterkhuwan when guests are over and yet these same adults run over each other for the last piece of chicken boti at a local wedding.
“Khana khul gaya. Hallaa Bol!”
We’re allowed to play video games that have characters shooting other people and get screamed at for being begherat when the same game shows a picture of a loosely clad female. We see our dads disobey signals, bribe officers and refuse to follow rules in the mornings and get to hear them preach about honesty in the evenings.
While we’re still trying to figure out whether to choose the Madrassa or the Western principles of our English Medium schools, the door slams open and in comes puberty. Confused, acne infested and a little hairier, we’re met with a concept that our parents simply tend to skip over during our fostering period: Sex ed.
Bollywood gladly extends its arms of friendship and we learn that no matter what a guy does, he always gets the girl and ‘no’ in a girl/boy interaction always means yes. We’re taught that girls are shiny, tall and fair and that tan girls never get jobs. We’re also taught that unbuttoned shirts, spiky hair, cheesy dance moves and corny dialogues are the easiest ways to a girl’s heart.
The second wave of sex ed hits us soon as names like Rachel Roxxx, Nikki Benz and Sasha Grey populate our limited chat history. We’re taught that girls are dirty sluts and that it’s okay for the male sex organ to be displayed through doors, pizzas and walls.
It’s important to note that as we’re trained by the “best” and promised an incredibly fascinating future, our parents are busy hoarding up add-ons to attach to our sisters. However, our worlds come crashing down as we realise that the future promised in Bollywood and on PornHub is a myth and that girls do actually mean no when they say no.
Every now and then, our parents display a flash of responsibility and show some actual concern towards our lack of development. While some of us come to our senses, clean up and start leading relatively normal lives, several of us fail to do so. Broken, confused and with our insides raging with hormones we succumb to trying our luck out with girls at every possible avenue. We fail.
By this time, we’re rejects who lack confidence and personality. We make up for our hollow souls by gathering around in packs and convincing ourselves that the ‘bro‘ lifestyle of being loud, breaking stuff and disrespecting women is heroic. Our sense of right and wrong is completely haywire by this point and we often utilise violence to feel better about our insignificance.
Once our parents have shipped their perfectly packaged daughters to their final destination, they realise the kind of monsters we have become and try to fix that by getting someone else’s perfectly package girl delivered to our doorsteps. Reality hits us super hard when we realise that 45 minute long performances are mostly edited and normal girls aren’t as flexible as we always thought they’d be.
Disappointed, we fall back into the vicious cycle of salivating over brutally glamorised concepts of women on the screen and trying to look for them around us until one day, we find out that we’re fathers. We lock our baggage, put it aside and replace it with a box that’s filled with things and a plan on how to attach them to our daughters to design them perfectly so that one day we could send them to someone exactly like us.
It’s high time we realise that all this time we’ve tried manufacturing perfect daughters and not knowing what went wrong when their lives get torn apart, it’s the boys that needed the design plan all along.