Last year, December of 2012, a young girl in India was brutally attacked and assaulted by a group of six men in a bus, the youngest of the brute was just 17 year old. The 24 year old brave heart succumbed to her injuries within a fortnight. The incident jolted thousands of people to take to streets to protest and for the first time the issue of lack of safety for women and the numerous cases of groping/ staring/ leching  and assaults on the streets of India was being discussed openly and globally! Of course, there were lot of discussion on what causes this? People talked of the 'item' songs in Indian movies, the influence of western culture, the more 'provocative' clothes that women wear today etc., etc. So what's the solution? Yes, the government has to take full responsibility of making the streets safe and making the justice process against the perpetrators quick and severe. Yes, the Indian Cinema has to stop showing song sequences where men are literally touching and leching over a woman. What about us? What can we do? The question kept nagging me. I felt as mothers, we should look straight into the eyes of our sons and tell them what kind of men we want them to grow up to be. Its not enough that their they see their father set a good example that we hope they'll follow.

And that is what started the conversations between me and my 10 year old son.

My daughter and son were having a fight over her lap-top. He tells me didi said I could use it and then changed her mind and now she HAS to let him use it. I let him use my lap-top and then when he was calm and we're just hanging around reading this is what we talked about-
Me: You know, it's a woman's prerogative to say no.
My son: Are you talking about didi changing her mind about letting me use her lap-top.
Me: More like using that as an example and taking the opportunity to teach you this important lesson in life.
My son: So what does that even mean?
Me: Just that a girl can say 'Yes' 10 times, but if she says 'No' the eleventh time, then that's her final answer and you have to respect that. Promise me you'll remember that as you grow?
My son: I can do that. (Thniks for a while) What about me? Is it my perogative to change my mind?
Me: Always! And also remember, don't say yes, if you want to say no.
My son: OK (goes back to reading)

Recently during a car ride, finding him alone with me, I told my son, "Rohun, when you grow up, I want you to be the kind of guy that opens door for the ladies, pulls their chair before he sits himself and generally be very mindful of good gentlemanly behaviour." He seemed to be listenning, but didn't make any comment. I dropped it too, didn't want to pursue the topic if his mind was elsewhere. This was about couple of months back. Then during our recent trip to California, we all went out for dinner. As we headed for the restaurant door, my son runs on ahead, opens the restaurant door for me and says, "Mommy, see I'm already doing it." I could have cried then- he was listenning!