The unreal world of reality television is robbing our youth of innocence and meaningful ambition.

They used to spend sleepless nights worrying whether their children would get into engineering and medical colleges. The only barometer they had to judge as to which side the wind would blow for their progeny's future was academic excellence. The season of entrance examinations for hallowed institutions was the harbinger of stress and despair in equal measure for midnight's grandchildren. After all, the future of their beloved offspring was at stake.

Not any longer though. Many of them start getting worried a little earlier. And the strain is not because of English and Mathematics. It is due to the trial their child has to face the next day to participate in a television show. India's best-known child actor, Avika Gaur, was reportedly taken for a hundred auditions by her father before she signed on to play the youngest bride on Indian television. They are trying to kill her on screen now to boost the falling TRPs and half the country is busy praying for her recovery.

Viewers were shocked witless to find a trio of young girls, not more than 11 or 12, gyrating on screen to the tune of bawdy adult lyrics in a live awards presentation ceremony recently. The function had been organised to felicitate women achievers from fields as diverse as banking to research. None among the esteemed audience found it incongruous that the entertainment lined up for the evening was this tasteless display of lost innocence.