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Playing at being adults

For generations students have found their way around age barriers. While there is a thrill, there is also some risk. Sucharita Kanjilal & Jahnavi Sanghvi report.

mumbai Updated: Nov 14, 2011 00:49 IST
Sucharita Kanjilal & Jahnavi Sanghvi Sucharita Kanjilal & Jahnavi Sanghvi
Sucharita Kanjilal & Jahnavi Sanghvi Sucharita Kanjilal & Jahnavi Sanghvi
Hindustan Times

For most adolescents, very few experiences are more thrilling than a secret first drive or entering a club despite being younger than the minimum age limit. Flouting rules is no new trend. From sneaking into an A-movie or slyly sharing a cocktail with a friend, every generation has worked its way around restrictions to experience a slice of adult life. Pushing age boundaries may be a part of growing up, but comes with its own set of potential hazards. As fun as being adventurous is, it is may be pertinent to keep everyone’s safety in mind. Here’s a look at ways in which youngsters have found ways to get around age restrictions to experience things they may not otherwise be allowed to.

Twelve-year-old Aditi Shah (name changed on request) has a Facebook account, despite the fact that the minimum age requirement to be on Facebook is 13 years. “My brother had an account so I wanted one as well. He helped me create it and when I logged in, I saw, to my surprise, that many of my friends were already on it,” said the Kandivli resident. “I changed my birth year to 1991 instead of 1999. People make fake passports and other documents. So flouting rules for a social networking site is not a big deal.”
Shah enjoys being on Facebook, using it to share pictures and be in touch with her friends, and sees no reason why she shouldn’t use the social networking site. “I only add friends or relatives to my account, if a stranger sends me a friend request, I decline it immediately. My mother knows I am on Facebook, and sees no harm in it either.”

A common tactic for getting into A-rated movies is to “dress older”. Mohit Khanna, 14, (name changed) dressed in a smart shirt and gelled his hair before strolling into a movie theatre in Bhayander to watch Delhi Belly. “My five cousins and I wanted to watch the movie, but knew that it would be tricky for me get entry because of my age. My elder cousin bought our tickets, and because we were in a big group, I was allowed in without being checked for an age-proof.”
Knowing that such movies are aired on television a few weeks after they have been released, Khanna believes that he would have seen it anyway. “I know the reasons why the movie was A-rated, but nothing that it showed really shocked me or caught me unawares,” he added.

Krupa Iyer, 17, (name changed) and most of her friends have gone to a pub or club at least once. The minimum age to enter a club is 21 years and get a drink is 25 years.
“It depends on the kind of friend circle you belong to. There are some who party a lot, and some who might only try it once. I am in junior college and have seen my seniors going clubbing often, so I also wanted to try it.”
Getting in is never a hassle according to Iyer, especially if the student has the right contacts. “I have gone clubbing several times with my cousins and they could get me in easily because they were regulars at the club.”
Iyer has also had alcoholic drinks at the club and has never been asked for ID. In fact, lax regulations often contribute to underage drinking – a fact emphasised by a recent study conducted by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India which stated that over 45% of Class 12 students drink alcohol on a regular basis.

Driving a car or riding a bike is one of the most sought after forbidden fruits. In the case of 14-year-old Ryan D’Souza (name changed), driving is something he does as often as he can. “I learnt how to drive a few months ago with my driver.
I found that it was a lot of fun, and since then I have not passed up any opportunity to get behind the wheel.”
The Worli resident, who looks older than others his age, has never been caught for underage driving. He is keen on learning how to be a responsible driver. “My parents know that I drive, but I never take my car out without adult supervision. I also do not drive late in the night as this could be dangerous.”

First Published: Nov 14, 2011 00:47 IST