“Dear Aamir Khan,
Stop scaring parents.
(A family of four sit in front of the television at 11 am on a Sunday morning to see a show that is supposed to take the country by storm.)
Father: Come on! Change the channel. It will start any moment.
(A boy changes the channel with great disappointment. The father and the mother watch the television with their eyes wide, they looked like Mike Teavee. The topic that is up for discussion is rape. On hearing this both the parents shift awkwardly.)
Father: Why don’t you go to your room and study?
Mother: Yes beta, don’t you have a test tomorrow.
Son: Mom! I am eighteen and a science student.
Daughter: No, no you should go beta. You need to be protected.
Mother: Enough, we are sick of your jokes.
Father: Can we just watch please!
(The family watches the programme with awkward stares, some “Hahs” and “Hos” from each one of them and the mother sheds a few tears when a cruel case is narrated. An emotional song marks the end of the show. The presses the power button once the show is over and takes a deep breath. There is an awkward silence in the living room. Then the father turns to the daughter.)
Father: Beti, so how that internship search going for you?
Daughter: It’s great dad. I have applied at a few companies and two of them have already replied to my emails saying they liked my C.V.
Father: Where have you applied, in Mumbai only right?
Mother: No! No! I told her to do so but she has applied in companies that are in Pune.
Father: why? I told you keep it restricted to Mumbai only.
Daughter: But dad you said it’s okay if I apply.
Father: Yes but that was before and look what the world has come to. There are women getting raped in every nook and corner. It is very unsafe. I refuse to let you go. What do you say son?
Son: Yes, you are right dad. She should stay at home.
Daughter: Don’t smile like that! (To the son). Dad this is unfair! You are really not letting me go because of this stupid TV show.
Father: Don’t blame the show. It is a very good show and it has made me more aware today. And now I have changed my mind and you are going nowhere.
(Meanwhile the mother goes to the kitchen and the son quietly goes to his room.)
Daughter: Dad! This show is a more expensive version of soaps. This what the producers want, they want your sympathy and trust. And to gain it they have added a masala of tears and sad background score. Please just let me go!
Father: You are just saying that because you want to go and we are thinking about your safety.
Daughter: But the show also said women should be stronger.
Father: Yeah, but that is unreasonable. And besides you are not strong. So you are not going.
(The father walks away.)
Daughter (in a whisper): Stupid Fucking Show.