Saturday, 17 September 2011

The perils of peer pressure

The gut-wrenching  news of Ayazuddin's death after a bike crash brought back decade-old memories of the verbal duel between my brother and dad over a motorcycle. Dad agreed to give him his moribund Zen to drive to college while he demanded a bike, not the Yezdi variety, any bike for that matter. So much so, they continued to exchanged barbs for days and it greatly affected my mental peace. I was the pendulum who swung between dad's 'bikes are unsafe' stand and my brother's 'everybody gets them' cry. With great resentment, he did bow down to my father's "dictatorship".

Today, I wish Ayazuddin had demanded any other Eid gift from his father other than that ominous bike. More so, I wish he was made aware of  the perils of speed racing. Looking back, I so wish that peer pressure in school was as benign as having the same canvas PT shoes. It is dreadful to see young minds getting severely influenced by attitudes, behaviour and values dictated by their social milieu. College is a place where you need to constantly step up your game, unless you want to suffer from FOMO, the fear of missing out. Laser treatments, offensive tattoos, sophisticated gadgets, - all should be tucked under your Herm√®s belt.

This exhibitionist attitude can be easily seen in misguided children of the upper middle class. Parents have little time to care for them and get away by agreeing to their unjust demands. The individuality conscious parents want their kids to be better than their ilk. The world class schools mushrooming in every nook immediately laps up these potential customers who want to secure a bright future for their kids.Though parents do this with the best of intentions, many oscillate between middle-class norms and unabashed riches of the peers.

Signing up for this social register is not easy. It sometimes takes vulgar machismo to raise its ugly head. Whether it was that DPS boy who obtained fellatio services from his imbecile girlfriend or schoolboys gang raping juvenile classmate, they all suffer from a phobia of 'underachievement'. They are prodded by popular ones to display their abilities and performance by some adrenaline-packed action. Sigh, gone are the days when boys wooed girls with impeccable English and unbelievable scores.

If peer pressure among adolescents was not enough, it's now parents of kindergartners who are feeling the heat too. They take months to brainstorm over themes for their toddler's birthday party and "expensive" return gifts. It's simmering down to not what you want to do but what others are doing.

I remember going to birthday soirees and the notorious conti parties, in school, only to see 'lucky' couples dancing dangerously close to each other. With a Hitler mom at home, I managed only a few naughty things and woefully reminded myself that fools rush in. Today, looking back, I feel my parents, no matter how much we howled, were great at taming our unbridled whims and imparted us a more sorted life.

1 comment:

  1. Say no to such toys & I swear never to gift such a toy to anyone