Last Sunday evening I was at my sister’s place, Changbangdu for dinner. Lisa, her 8-year old daughter was tellingly excited to have me visiting them. Each time I visit them, for, I always surprise her with sweets, cakes and gifts. She is alert and bright. And keenly observant.
My sister and her husband are not book smart. They are not widely read. So like any usual Bhutanese conversation, we set onto talking about our works and family.
Dinner was over. My niece, Lisa started playing toys with her three friends from the neigbour houses in her room. Oh, her room is full of toys, fairytale books, paints, teddy bears. And the walls papered with fairytale characters, super heroes.
Light went off. Suddenly. The children shrieked in noisy jerks. And frenziedly, they busted in the living room where we were seated on the couch, still talking. Their panic was further appalled when one child yelled, “Bhoot! Bhoot!” as if she was calling out for ghost. All I could sense in their eyes was increasing fear.
But to my pleasant surprise, when her friends were trembling in horror, Lisa was standing at the door, just aloof and unafraid. Only her eyes containing curiosity. The curiosity, understandably, to know why her friends were screaming.
She marched briskly towards me. Crawled onto my lap, she whispered in my ear, “Uncle, what’s bhoot?” I watched her, strangely shocked. Well, I found that she was not remotely aware of ghost. And of course of fear, of horror. I had the answer, but I was perfectly aware that to let her know about ghost at her age may cause her damage. Scratching my head, I answered, “Umm…bhooth is something…not good.”
I quickly threw a warm hug, though. Ah, a smart way to bamboozle kids. And how sweet, she looked entirely assured, convinced. Light came. She marched back to her room and resumed playing toys.
Lisa has been predominantly brought up in an environment where she was only taught to experience love, kindness, gratefulness, beauty, gentleness, happiness and discipline. Her parents have never taught her about ghost, fear, horror, anxiety and hatred. Creating a good environment, teaching them good manners and protecting them from the negative influences; however, we can shape our children’s life.
But as I returned home, I left worrying about with her inquiring mind, TV, friends and social media all around her how long can she be shut off from the reality. I left thinking about how she would react when she knows about ghost, fear and anxiety. I left imagining her as a beautiful fairytale princess sat sewing in her room and devil will devour her anyway.