My two and a half year old is fascinated by guns. His elder brother likes the idea of possessing guns too, but he is just not in the same league as the younger one.
The younger one has just to see anything even faintly resembling a gun, for his face to light up like a mall at Christmas time. “Gaan” was one of the first words he learnt, and he played with the water pistol I brought him for Holi long after the cylinder that holds the water broke off and was swept up with the trash.
Often, he strides up with all sorts of things in his hands, points them at you and says “dishum, dishum.” Few thing have escaped being converted into guns – bananas, pencils, water bottles, even his Noddy toy – they have all done time as his “guns”.
I wouldn’t call him particularly violent or blood thirsty, and when he gets into a fight, it is his fists he prefers to use, or his legs. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen him aiming his gun at anyone, though he does often use it as a hammer to bang the TV when he wants the channel changed.
But as a pacifist at heart, despite all the shouting I do, I just did not approve of his taste. With so many things to choose from, why did he have to settle for guns? Couldn’t he have chosen engines, or construction material to obsess about? I secretly blamed myself for all the television I allowed them to watch just because I did not have the energy to say “no”. How long would guns continue to appeal to him, and will he ever outgrow this attraction?
And then I read about how even five year olds in Chandigarh want air guns so they can emulate the latest national hero. Suddenly, guns don’t seem so bad to me anymore. Why do I have to assume he will want to hurt anyone with them. Maybe he too would want to make a career with drilling holes in black paper!