When children reach that peculiar phase in life called teenage, most are usually afflicted by a strange syndrome. For want of a better name, I call it Mallitosis. This condition usually affects the female of the species. However, in some cases, symptoms have been reported in males too. Although this malady is exhibited in the youngster and manifests itself through several symptoms, (chief among which is the constant mouthing of the refrain, “Can I go to the mall?” or its variants such as, “Can I hang out at the mall with my friends?” or “Can you drop me off at the mall?”) strangely, the affected person never experiences any distress – unless of course he or she does not get to go to the mall. All the pain, stress and trauma of the syndrome are suffered by the parents, irrespective of sex.
In the event that the afflicted youngster is denied permission to ‘hang out with friends at the mall’, he seeks recourse by turning the tables on the parents and having them accompany him to the mall. While this is seen as the slightly lesser of the two evils, it usually results in pure, unadulterated torture for the parent. Recent studies have shown that several terrorist outfits and intelligence agencies are employing this as a highly successful interrogation tactic.