No, darling, you may not go out in those tight jeans. And you better cover up that clingy top as well. We live in India, a country where girls are assaulted or raped even when fully covered, never mind if they haven’t even developed a woman’s body yet, so I’m not taking any risks with you.
No, dear, you cannot wear high heels. It’s a sign of moral degeneration you know. Trying to look tall makes you a loose woman – and, anyway, all those foreign shoe brands are here to corrupt the minds of young angels like you.
No, my jaan, you cannot go out tonight for a movie at the mall. The night is a dangerous tool in the hands of the depraved. I cannot bear to think of something happening on the way home.
No, sweetheart, you cannot go for a male friend’s party. What will people think? And wipe that lipstick off your face; I don’t want people calling my daughter a harlot. (Kajal is okay. It wards off the evil eye.)
No, my lamb, there’s no need at all to have your own phone; you can always use mine. It’s with dad. And there’s no need for that computer either; it just puts silly thoughts in your head. And what on earth do you need a TV for? Saas-bahu soaps? Okay. Those are alright.
No, honeybun, you cannot go for higher education; what use is all that for a pretty thing like you? Degrees are for girls with subversive ideas in their heads. Good girls like you get married and have babies. You don’t need a B.Com to cook biryani.
Now that we’re on the subject, beloved, I don’t think you even need to go to school. It’s better for you to learn how to manage the home since that’s your future, and anyway school puts you at risk of all those dirty gazes on your walk there. No, you don’t need nice clothes; it only attracts the wrong attention. (Those mullahs who cover girls up in burkhas are on to something.) And you don’t need that extra egg for breakfast; it makes your breasts grow faster and your brother needs the energy more than you. And don’t get me started on going out with your friends for chaat and chai. There are wolves at every corner.
Do you know what I’m thinking, angel? That we’re so lucky to be born in a democratic nation with one of the oldest civilizations on the globe. Our philosophy is so deep, you need to study it for decades before you can even understand its basics. We’ve got the most diverse set of languages, cultures, and folk art than anywhere else in the world. Some of the most erudite thinkers, leaders and doers have been born here. I can’t help thinking we’re an advanced breed altogether.
No, you cannot criticize the prime minister on Facebook. Happy Independence Day, baby.