| AHMEDABAD, India
AHMEDABAD, India Parents in western India are
hiring private detectives to spy on their teenage children
during a nine-day Hindu festival when late-night dance
celebrations attract tens of thousands of youngsters.
"It is strange to pay someone to keep a night watch on my
daughters but it is better than regretting later," said S.
Doshi, a 42-year-old mother of two girls, aged 17 and 19.
Doshi used a detective agency to keep a vigil on her
daughters, who dress up in revealing clothes every night and
hop across several dance venues, eat and go for long drives
with their friends.
"Children can do anything. Drugs, unprotected sex and bad
company are my main worry," said Doshi, a resident of
Ahmedabad, the main city of the western state of Gujarat.
Detective agencies say they are the only solution to the
parental concern during the Navratri festive fervor which ends
Garba, a traditional Indian dance, is performed to pay
respect to Goddess Durga and it is on a grand scale, with
visits from Bollywood stars and music troupes.
"We follow the boy or the girl to make sure that they have
gone to the dance venue and report to parents if they leave the
ground or spend time at a friend's house instead of dancing,"
said Sanjiv Thakkar of Mission Detective Agency.
Parents provide a photograph of their children and even
details about their friends to the detectives who charge 2,000
to 4,000 rupees for snooping around every night.
Detective agencies say anxious parents have meant business
is booming during the festive season and most are forced to
hire freelance detectives to cater to soaring demand.
"You cannot stop your children from going out with friends
but you can keep a check on them," said Neeta Vashist, a
gynecologist in Ahmedabad who conducts workshops for teenagers
before the festival.
"Every year, I get caseload of unmarried girls seeking
abortions after the festival is over," she said.
Gujarat, thought to be a conservative state, also sees a
sudden rise in condom sales during the festival, according to
Rajan Gupta, a member of the Gujarat Drugs and Pharmacy
"Freedom for nine nights is what children enjoy but parents
have sleepless nights," said Gupta, who has a 16-year-old son.