You have to be paranoid about your daughter’s safety when she is a young girl.
My mom was, and her mom before that. It is almost alright to think that the big bad world is out to violate your daughter and you have to protect her. Especially when she is becoming a teen and in the early teenage years.
Since as early as I was seven, my mom used to tell me that nobody should kiss me on the cheeks or be overtly affectionate as people are with little girls. Of course, most people do it lovingly and don’t have any ulterior motive, but kids have to be given black and white rules for them to be able to follow them. I might have missed out on getting tickled by an adoring uncle, but it definitely saved me from a lot of uncalled groping for sure.
I remember one of my father’s friends and his wife used to come home often after dinner for a cup of coffee. He was nice guy, extremely fond of me, but insisted on lifting me in his arms and putting me on his lap and smothering me with pecks on my cheeks. My dad told him to stop once or twice, but he didn’t. And it is not a surprise that we saw less and less of him over the coming years.
In fact me and my six-years-younger brother were even told to not let anyone inside the house when alone, except my parents (of course) and my grandparents. I have offended many an aunt by asking them to come back after some time as mom and dad are not at home. They would say my mom was unnecessarily strict, but she stood to her rule. It is impossible to make kids differentiate between whom to let in and whom to not, and hence a blanket rule of not allowing anyone inside when they were not at home was a better suited one.
Despite being so careful, I had a couple of “uncomfortable” instances. But I reacted to them very wisely, if I say so myself, because of the awareness my mother had created in my mind. Once at a hiking summer camp, we were all sitting around a campfire and had blankets on our lap as it was cold. A ‘sir’ or a hiking instructor came and sat besides me. Soon, his hand was crawling under the blanket towards me. I squirmed, became restless. He kept on. But within a minute or two, my brain kicked my legs and I abruptly stood up. And went back to the girls tent to sleep. For several years after that I could not articulate what happened, but it stayed in my head and I knew for sure that what I did was right.
One evening when I was eighteen, and had recently started riding a scooter motorcycle, a relative asked if I could take him for a pillion ride. I was proud to show off my riding skills and agreed immediately. Once out of sight of my parents, he started moving his hands up and down my chest. I was angered and I brushed off his hand. He said he wanted to hold me to prevent from falling off the bike. He again started grabbing my waist and my boobs. At eighteen, I obviously knew what was his intention. I turned around, came home and proclaimed that I will never take that uncle with me on the scooter again. My mom understood, and drove him away. I still see him on family functions, and I want to kick his arse, and may be some day I will.
Thankfully, that was the extent of those awful experiences I had. And I am glad I had these minor incidents, because of which I was sensitized to the issue of child molestation. I was aware of what is a good touch and what is bad touch. I think that helped and prevented any further mishaps.
Whoever is reading this, it is my sincere request – “Talk to you daughter and be paranoid of her safety. And believe in whatever she tells you. It may be slightly exaggerated because of the highly imaginative brain, but believe what she is saying. That it.”
P.S : If you wish to share your experience or add some more to the word of caution, drop a comment, it would be good to know.
Meringue : Oh light and merry meringue
Last Sunday, I participated in a bake sale organised by The Bake Collective for raising funds for a municipal school for special children. In three hours, 12-15 volunteers sold the delish home-baked goodies and collected Rs. 30,00 which went directly to the Urmi foundation. I made these colorful meringues drops and packaged them in 30 smiley boxes (the yellow smiley boxes in the first picture), and they were gone in 2 hours :) What a delight it is to see people buy something you baked.
Colorful Meringue Cookies
(No oil, no butter, no egg yolk.)
This recipe makes 60-70 meringue drops.
What you will need
- 240 gm castor sugar + 1 tablespoon for mixing color
- 120 gm egg whites
- Vanilla, lemon, peppermint, strawberry essence (any one or all)
What to do:
- Pre-heat the oven to 100C.
- Separate the egg-whites and the egg-yolks. We only need egg whites for this.
- Take the egg-whites in a bowl and start whisking the eggs till foamy and till it forms very soft peaks.
- Take the tablespoon of sugar in a separate bowl and mix in a few drops of the flavoring essence and a few drops of food color.
- Gradually add the remaining sugar to the egg whites, a tablespoon at a time (or in a slow, steady stream) until all the sugar is incorporated and it starts developing hard peaks.
- Incorporate the color and essence mixed sugar and whisk with an electric beater or a stand mixer for 5-6 minutes till the egg whites stand stiff and become glossy.
- Transfer to a piping bag with nozzle 8 or 10 and pipe drops of meringue on a baking silicone sheet or parchment paper lined on a baking tray.
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes till the drops detach easily from the baking sheet and feel light. Break open a meringue drop to check that it is fully cooked even at the centre, or continue baking for 3-4 minutes more.
- Cool completely before eating.
- 1 egg generally weighs 50 gm. 20 gm yolk and 30 gm white. So for this you will need about 4 eggs. And the thumb rule is that sugar should be generally half the weight of the egg whites.
- I used strawberry essence for pink meringues, lemon for yellow, peppermint for green and vanilla for white meringues. The meringues look lovely when pastel colored so use food color sparingly. Or you can skip it altogether if you wish.
If you wish to be a part of the Bake Sale which is organised 2-3 times a year, go on and like their Facebook page, or just go and show some love :)