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The Difficult Times of being a Boy

The Difficult Times of being a Boy

All the characters in this article are fictitious and bear no resemblance to any person living or dead whatsoever.

Savitri is in the maternity ward of a super-specialty hospital, just waiting for the labor to start as her anxious husband and in-laws waited outside in the lobby. A couple of hours of curiosity ended with the nurse coming out and informing “Mubarak ho, beta hua hai” (Congratulations, it’s a baby boy). Her husband, Satya, elated with joy, hugged his parents and witnessed a melee of celebrations and rituals that are the part of a normal traditional male birth in Indian culture.

Just as Savitri was getting more and more involved with her memories, she realized, her son, Harsh, now 5 had gone to sleep. 5 year old Harsh was more than elated to know that his birth into the family was celebrated with rites and rituals. Little was the kid aware of what lay ahead of him, being a boy and a soon to be a man.

As Harsh grew up, he realized that his joys were short-lived and was slowly getting to know the agonies (vis-à-vis the ecstasies) of being a boy.

He could see the disappointment on the face of his parents, when he first failed in his mathematics internals and the words would always stay with him, “With these standards, how do you think, you can really take on the responsibilities as a man when you grow up?”

The tender mind of 8 year old Harsh was struggling to cope with impact of the blow of words. His young mind decided that failure was not acceptable from him, he being a boy. As he retired into his room, feeling sad, dejected and lonely, he was unable to restrain himself from entering into the nostalgia.

And he thought again about the words that were hurled upon him three years ago. 5 year old Harsh had fallen while playing and his head hit the wall. The pain was excruciating for the little one to bear and as he started crying, a slap landed on his face.  His mom shouted at him after slapping him, “Be brave like a boy; do not cry like a girl.”

These and many such incidents had a deep impact on the growing psychology of the young boy. He decided that success is the only way for him to survive in this world and as a boy he is not supposed to express his vulnerabilities and pains.

Harsh’s is not an isolated incident. Harsh is just the epitome of the difficult times that exist for boys of todays. Today, the expectations from boys and men have touched the sky with little or no room for acceptance. These expectations create enormous amount of psychological pressure on boys which slowly and invisibly erodes their emotional health.

The problem gets aggravated when these boys, as they become men, are expected to behave rationally in all kinds of emotionally disturbing and tense environments. Of course, all this with a mutilated emotional health and any failure to do so is viewed as nonchalance on part of the man and it is socially acceptable to deny basic human rights to such men.

The following news about a school boy committing suicide after failing in exams is an illustrating example of the social pressure that is put on boys and the same goes on without any acknowledgment of the same.

Schoolboy commits suicide after failing exam, clearly enunciates the invisible bias that exists against boys/men. In the news above, while the daughter had the liberty to stop her studies at will, the son was forced to study and as he failed to do so, the psychological pressure created on him was so much that it killed him.

This is not a suicide; it’s a murder as no one has taken into account the social pressure that was regularly created on the boy that ultimately made him take his own life in the event of a failure. As the boy was clearly aware of the reality that he would have no acceptance about his failure in the society in which he lived, methinks the time has come when the society thinks – “Are these times difficult for boys?”