This is the transcribed conversation I had with a friend of mine from Pakistan about what is essentially the Pakistani Bogeyman.
E: What can you tell me about the Old Man?
A: Throughout my childhood I would be frightened by the “Budda Baba”, which translates to “old man” in English. This was an icon in the childhoods of many Pakistani children as their parents would use him as a scare. An example from my life that happened the most was that my mother would say that this “Budda Baba” would come if I didn’t go to bed. I would immediately go to bed and hide under my blanket, trying to hide from this fictional man, and by doing so I would eventually go to sleep.
E: Was there any narrative or tale associated with Budda Baba?
A: None that I know of.
E: Did any of your friends experience similar of instances of being told Budda Baba would appear?
A: Many of them, but most instances were when they were misbehaving.
E: Around what age did you first hear about this and until what age did you believe it?
A: My parents first told me about Budda Baba, in the prior example, when I was around 7 years old. I believe it till around 12 when I figured out what my parents were doing.
E: Is it as relevant today?
A: Yes, my younger sister is ten years old and my parents and extended family still pull the Budda Baba on her.
E: What value does this still hold for you, if any?
A: I was never a very disobedient child but it did overtime reinforce the idea of parental authority. Although it is a pretty good way to get your kid to listen to you.
I found the concept of the Budda Baba intriguing. For one the threat of the old man is rather vague, the only information is that he would appear and is visually menacing. I feel as though one of the factors contributing to this fear is how ambiguous it is and the possibility of how morbid it could be. This reminds me of Scandinavian folkloric tales of monsters who would kidnap, torture, or kill misbehaving children, though those stories have more grim endings. I also believe the translation of the monsters name should be noted. Since it’s an old man rather than some horrific beast, I think it reflects a sense of respect for elders and double as a parallel of a patriarchal society.