Yes, I Am A Coward

My daughter is writing for India’s largest web channel. I am proud and thrilled with the response to her articles. Yet I am afraid. Afraid that if her voice is too strong, the backlash may be too much to handle. I keep advising her to dilute her pieces but being a chip of the old block, she needs to voice her beliefs. I am trying to analyse my fears, fears that I do not feel when I write in a similar vein. In fact, I want to share her words. Words that speak out on behalf of her generation, on issues that affect all of us. Yet I am afraid.

Youth: Being a young girl, I feel the need to protect her from the inevitability of negative comments which are part and portion of a writer’s life. One needs a thick hide to absorb the criticism.

Safety: In this very public world connected by social media, I worry about her personal safety. She wrote an article on a popular singer’s lack lustre concert and some diehard fans threatened her. Trolling, social media shaming, all this new age jargon for cyber terrorism. It’s scary. Obviously, my mind went into overdrive.

Perception: I am not sure if the perception of women with strong voices goes down well in our culture. Strength in a woman is tantamount to aggression in our society.

Career: Writing as a career, is one of the most fulfilling yet frustrating ones in the world. Success is rare and the struggle is endless. Ironically, as much as I love writing as a profession, it is not a choice I would recommend easily to others.

Are we, the parents of today, far more afraid than those of the previous generation? Is all this media exposure a good thing or a bad thing? Is the world a much crueller place now? Can we express ourselves with freedom? Are we constantly living under a cloud of fear on every level in our lives?

So many questions. So many fears. And so much pride.

Alisha “Priti” Kirpalani is the author of “A Smattering Of Darkness: Short and Shorter Twisted Tales,” (available on Kindle Unlimited) a collection of short stories of varying lengths encapsulating the grey shades of the human psyche. Her new novel will be released in early 2018.

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