"Bete, har cheez ki ek umar hoti hai", parents used to say.
There is a time to focus on studies.
A time to build your career.
A time to shoulder responsibilities.
But in the Indian scheme of things you are never 'old enough' to really live your life the way you want to.
Until ultimately you are old and telling other - "Bete, har cheez ki ek umar hoti hai..."
Philosophy aside, there is a very real dilemma facing parents today. My ten year old daughter (if you ask her she'll say, "11 in 3 months time!") wants to join Facebook.
Now officially you have to be over 13 to be on Facebook but you know how simple it is to circumvent that rule. Her point is, lots of kids in class have Facebook accounts.
I have no way to verify that - and neither should be the basis of my decision. So what do I do?
This is but one example. There is the 'when can I get a cellphone' question.
When can I go to the mall with my friends - and no adult escort?
Recently I was stumped by when can I get a manicure (just want to try it once).
My standard response is:"When you are in class 10". But I doubt I will actually be able to hold out for another five years.
So what are my concerns, why stop her from 'having it all' as soon as possible?
Well, like all parents, I want to protect her. From the big bad world out there. And yet, I do not want to spy. And I do not want to worry when I don't spy (and therefore don't know what company she is keeping).
The hope is, the older you get, the wiser you get. But is there any such guarantee in this world?
At best, you are postponing the inevitable.
I've let her read the 'Twilight' series (it's supposed to be teen fiction but hey.. it's a rage among kids her age).
I switch off 'Desperate Housewives' when she is around but she's just discovered 'Friends' and funny as it is, the storylines are definitely 'adult'.
I've handed down my ipod to her (but strictly forbidden taking it out of home).
Yes, kids are growing up faster - physically and mentally. But you know they're still kids when they ask you - can we do this or that?
The day they 'just do it' is the day they have grown up.
Har cheez ki ek umar hoti hai. The question for parents is, when will be old and wise enough to let go?