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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014
Last orders: don’t spare Red Riding Hood, spoil the child?
Serena Menon, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, April 19, 2013
First Published: 13:08 IST(19/4/2013)
Last Updated: 16:23 IST(19/4/2013)

Last week, a group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America posted some perspective-providing ads on Facebook. One in specific, that did the rounds on social media sites, is an image of two kids seated in a library, one child holds up a book of Little Red Riding Hood, and another, a gun.


The slogan on the image says, “One child is holding something that’s been banned in America to protect them. Guess which one.” The point was rather clear. But on the post’s comment board ensued a longer chat, digressing from the gun issue. Decades after its occurrence, users were discussing the ridiculousness of two California school districts that banned Charles Perrault’s book from their reading lists. Why? Because in a version of the tale, the basket Red Riding Hood is carrying for her grandmom includes a bottle of wine, which her ailing kin later even takes a swig from.

A report published about the same issue in 1990, reveals: “If they (kids) should refrain (from alcohol), why give them a story saying it’s OK?” said Vera Jashni, assistant superintendent for instruction.” The debate on the comment board led to a discussion about various other children’s books that involve drinking (many do). And whether they influence kids, later turning them into raging alcoholics.

I was four years old when I saw my granduncle sip his golden glass of warm water in the evening. It was purely for medicinal purposes, I was told. I was curious, so I asked him about it. I was informed about it and even offered a sip. I hated it. It tasted terrible. I was, of course, well aware of its existence, having read the heavily booze-laden Adventures of Tom Sawyer. However, I didn’t go to rehab. A month ago, a friend’s son (5) insisted on having a sip from his mom’s glass of wine at a party. Initially, she was hesitant, but then she handed him a teaspoon. He tasted it and reacted like I had done decades ago. The boy continues to prefer his hot glass of milk over a chilled beer before hitting the sack.

That’s not the only exposure he’s got to this corrupting lifestyle. He knows his parents go to pubs occasionally. He’s informed and educated about these adult concepts. And till his time arrives, he’s happy watching kid’s films like The Smurfs; tiny figurines of them holding beer mugs are openly sold. But then, that’s okay, I’m guessing.


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