No kidding, it’s serious

Bikram Vohra

By: Bikram Vohra

There is nothing more satisfying for a writer than to get a response from a reader. It makes it all worthwhile.
So, when I got this call from a reader reacting to the piece on the complete lack of respect for fire drills in offices, I am naturally intrigued.

This lady tells me that I have left out the most important part of the story.

She says there was a fire in a flat recently and as everyone milled about cluelessly and thought it a bit of a romp the firemen came and brought some order into the place.

Their biggest problem was children.

That’s right. Young children. Locked in the home by working Mums and Dads who can’t afford nannies or sitters.

So, what do you get. A situation ripe for tragedy. If the fire had not been contained it would have endangered these little lives because no one could get in through the locked doors.

The lady tells me she stood below and looked at the frightened faces in the windows.

How can parents leave their children locked up in the house?

It is a question one can answer even if one can’t justify it.

Money. Earning power. Getting those reluctant two ends to meet.

Easy to judge but what can one do to keep things going but take risks.

Yes, but with little children locked up in the home and no one can get in or out.

Are things that difficult or is ambition and the need to buy more so invasive in expat circles that logic and good sense is given a bit of a sideswipe.

I wouldn’t know if this is a common problem but jeopardizing children’s safety cannot be justified on financial grounds.

And it is hard to deny a certain cavalier attitude to children where laziness, carelessness and even indifference are explained away or covered up by pinning the ‘working parents’ label upon oneself.

What can I do, I work, I am only human.

Yeah, sure but you had the children and you owe them.

So no way that going to work can explain weakbrained parents who allow their children to sit in their laps when they drive or lock them up in the care with the A/C on not realizing that a child can switch off the machine and then suffocate in the heat.

Parents who leave superglue tubes where children can reach them and then are surprised to find the child needs emergency treatment for sealed lips.

Drano crystals. Pesticides. Electrical appliances.

Available to children locked in the home.

We believe we have built a workable defense. The kids know our office phone numbers. They have the mobile connection for Dad. The neighbors have been informed that the kids are alone. We even leave a key with them.

All of this very fragile indeed.

And if you do belong to the group which has convinced itself that leaving kids locked up in the home while you work is acceptable maybe you should think again and rework the system in your home.

I won’t suggest you are playing with fire but you are certainly drying the tinder.

Because it is only a short step to moving from leaving the children alone for working purposes to deserting them for a late night party.

Don’t knock the thought, it has had its share of victims.



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