For children of many conservative Indian families, Navratri means getting the licence to do what they always wanted to – partying, smoking, drinking and making out. While on a regular night, a traditional family (Gujarati or otherwise) wouldn’t dream of letting their daughter go out clubbing, these nine nights offer the young one an opportunity to taste freedom. But with parents increasingly resorting to private detectives to snoop on them, the festival of nine nights isn’t always fun. Many private agencies have over the years provided succour to parents by tailing children and reporting on their whereabouts. Now this season, private agencies and parents are better armed with the 4G/3G technology services available to them.
Dr. Swapna Patker, Psychologist and Counsellor explains that it is not a right step to hire detective as parents should interact with their children and by hiring detective they are only offering new ways to fool themselves.
“Children today have found out options to free themselves from parental control. Instead of hiring detectives if parents communicate with their children then it would be a better option. Why to involve outsiders into your private matters? Use of technology is right but it should be for a good cause. Today, there is a lack of interaction between parents and the communication gap can be bridged through communication only,” she added.
Do youngsters this season of Navratri have trust issues with their paranoid parents? Check their wallet or purse for the business card of a Private Investigator. The city parents worry about their children staying out late as the joyful Navratri celebrations driving under the influence and having unprotected sex. This season, however, many private detective agencies are better equipped with 4G/3G technology that enables them to beam a live feed of their progeny ‘having a good time’ at the swinging dandiya parties. Parents are now tech-savvy and have hired several detectives that use latest technology and services. The techs are known in some cases to be considerate of parents feelings when they see obscenity, and record it to show later to the parents. Regardless of the fact that some of the Navratri parties include kids/adults in their 20s, parents want to keep a check on them to make sure they are safe.
On the condition of anonymity an Investigation director commented, “We get hundreds of calls from parents who fear for their kids and want them to be spied on. We’ve handled cases involving infants and teenagers and we’ve performed surveillance everywhere from suburban streets to dance parties. The undercover operatives followed children to and from school, on public transport, in shopping malls, at the movies and during weekends.”
The trend of concerned parents wanting to know what their young wards are up to during the nine-night festival is an old one. Unlike most Indian festivals, which are a daytime affair, Navratri celebrations begin way after sundown. During simpler times when Mumbai used to be known as Bombay and a far safer place, these celebrations would go late into the night. But why are parents suddenly opting for a detective’s services? What has happened to trust and faith in one’s child?
A city parent Sudhakar Berade expressed his concern saying that parents are hiring such sources not because they don’t trust their kids or they want to keep eye on their privacy.
He further stated, “Whatever we do is out of concern for our children. Industry insiders say children as young as three are being followed and photographed at daycare centres and schools. Children should respect whatever their parents are doing to protect them.”
Dr. Harish Shetty, psychiatrist said, “Spying on children has been going on for a long time. The world has become very scary. Parents want to ensure that their children don’t fall into a bad company and they hire private detectives. It is necessary for parents to improve communication with their child. Parents have lost faith in the world nowadays.”
Coupled with the fear of children giving in to temptation after the death of a 24-year-old Bijal Joshi in 2003 during New Years’ party getting gang-raped by her Delhi-based boyfriend led to this major cause of parents’ concern for their children during the festive season. Detective agencies are flooded with requests from parents, who want sleuths to follow their children at the Garba ground and report if they go astray. It’s easy now with mobile cameras coming in handy. However, the young lot believe that with just one incident not everyone is to be considered guilty and worth spending a huge amount on keeping an eye on them.
Divya, a 17-year-old student commented, “If you find such parents, phone your family doctor and tell them your parent must be suffering from a mental illness featuring paranoia and that you want them to get tested out when they come in for a check-up next time.”
Rohit, a Mumbai student asserted, “Yes, I’m worried about the mental health status of the parents doing this. It is not normal! Some parents really have problems with their children staying out late in the night. They are so conservative that they don’t even want to understand the lifestyle of their child and by assuming everything wrong, they spend money over wrong things such as keeping eye on us.”