As a child it is difficult to realise that one's boundaries are being crossed as there is no concept of the same. Forcing kids to hug or kiss relatives even when they don't want to, teaches a child that they have no bodily autonomy, and refusing to do as asked of them will upset people. This is especially difficult to navigate in an Indian context, where kids are usually seen as an extension or byproduct of the parents, as opposed to being full human beings them- selves. And any kind of deviation from ‘doing what you are told’ is often met with disdain.
This repeated violation, which on the surface may, to many people, seem ‘harmless’, teaches kids at an impressionable age that their needs and boundaries are irrelevant. The child learns to put others’ needs above their own. This has far reaching effects in adulthood, where a person struggles to establish boundaries and respect other peoples’ boundaries, in all aspects of life. And especially in intimate relationships where one has been taught that any kind of affection will always be at the cost of their own comfort.
As this is a sensitive topic, that in an Indian family system often evoke strong reactions, I wanted to create a narrative that gives the audience a soft launch into the subject. That could make an audience welcome this discussion with an open mind, as well as provide some sense of safety and comfort to those who have traumatic experiences in this regard.