Shruti Shah is not a regular partygoer. But even if she has to party five times a month with a 1:00 am deadline, the 18-year-old student has to "forcibly lie" to her parents and tell them she is "staying over at her friend's home".
"My mother thinks that partying it is not very cool and that it's all about drinking and getting touchy. Since I can't get over the generation gap, I have to do with lying. But anyways, I am partially telling the truth about staying over," reasons Shah.
Shah is among the increasing number of the city's affluent and nouveau riche kids who wear a "flash-the-cash" attitude up their sleeve. So while the world sleeps, college kids go pub hopping every night, drink till they drop and end up violating the law.
"The social environment is rapidly changing in the times of Internet surfing, pub culture and drug abuse. Since the exposure to a child is more, a double income family has to provide for all the increased demands. Moreover, the child's lifestyle reflects that of the parents as well," said Minnu Bhonsle, psychotherapist and counsellor.
With most middle class families comprising working parents, counsellors opine that as a result "extremely pre-occupied parents", have no time to impart values even if they have come from a family with strong ties.
"Children expect that parents must appeal to their logic. They are also looking for rational friendly parents. So parents need to be mature, initiating discussion about values and not be emotional babies," added Bhonsle.
Parents can't go everywhere and monitor the child's movements, said Lekha Prakash. "A parent can only go to a certain extent. Sitting at home, children can even watch pornography. If I am trusting my child and letting her fulfil her desires and needs,it is also my child's responsibility to stay within limits," said Prakash, a banker mother.
Added Persis Mehta, "My child has to be back home at 12 am. Or else I get very anxious. For me, open talk is very important since that helps me to be slightly lenient as well as trust him."
Academicians, however, believe that the Carter Road accident mirrors how education is taking a backseat. "The curriculum in schools and colleges must undergo change. Value education must be made a part of the curriculum. Also, there must be a trained psychotherapist in education institutions," said educationist Richard Heredia.
"Globalised world will extract its price and there will be adverse effect on the world, " opined Psychiatrist Harish Shetty. "Access to abundant disposable cash, lack of supervision, alcohol, need to enjoy and a failed axle is a bad combination. Added to this is a sense of omnipotence and power. We need stronger law and stricter rules on the road that will act as a deterrent."
Ruia College principal Suhas Pednekar said that parents need to pay more attention. "With youngsters getting exposed to foreign cultures, they ought to stay within their limits. Most importantly, all must learn from Sunday's incident."
Heredia suggested that for students caught violating the law, admissions must stand cancelled and a declaration must be signed at the time of admission.
Driving licenses for those caught in an inebriated state should be confiscated for two years. Parents must be held responsible and accountable for their wards. A well-devised compensation package must be worked out for the victim.
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