Tag Archives: parenting

An old friend: A story with a moral

I chanced upon an old friend in the Mall yesterday. He looked pretty chic in his tattered jeans and Benetton Tee. I suspected that he had a tattoo of a snake somewhere on him, though I cannot be sure – but what I could see was that he had one ear pierced, and a diamond stud shone smartly from within that hole.

My friend has struck gold, I thought, for the last time that I had seen him, some years ago, was when he was looking for a job, and then he had looked much older and frailer.

‘What’s up buddy, how’s life?’ I asked cheerily, coming directly to the point.

‘Ommmkkksyy,’ he mumbled, his mouth full of Baskin Robins’ butterscotch.

“Got a job?’ I prodded, brazenly.

‘Job? What job?’ he answered with a frown, after finishing his ice-cream. ‘I am into my own business, my dear,’ he replied sourly, and with great difficulty, and with much ceremony, he fished out a visiting card from a very fat wallet, and handed it over to me, with an expression that said, ‘Behold, and bow.’

The legend on the card said ‘Mr So-and-So, CEO and MD, Ace Travel Agency and Real Estate Brokers.’

On coming back home, I instituted a discreet inquiry into the affairs of my friend- in other words, I called up a mutual friend.

‘His father died recently,’ the mutual friend said, ‘unlocking, as it were, the treasure on which his old man was sitting. The old man’s property sold for a fortune, and with the money our friend has brought a swanky office, funded a Mercedes and a trip to Switzerland, and now lives the life of a king.’

‘Why did the old man not sell the property for so long, and live a high life himself?’ I asked.

‘So that his useless offspring could live decently, even if for a while,’ said my friend, in the tone of a philosopher.

‘He did not sell the property’ he added, anticipating my next question, ‘in his lifetime because he said he would not be able to see his hard earned money being wasted.’

The incident made me wonder. Was the old man right, to live a life less comfortable? Will the good days last for my friend? Does it matter, who deserves what? Should I save or spend the money that I work hard to earn? Is life fair, or even logical?

Frankly I find it quite difficult to draw a moral from this incident, but since I have promised one, here is what I propose: Parents can be pretty illogical.



A nursery rhyme…that makes no sense

Why should one and two
Buckle the shoe?
They are the best –
They passed all the test,
And still you give them
A task so beneath them?
Why don’t you let in three and four
Who have been knocking at the door?
It is quite chilly outside
They may catch cold, and beside
They have turned all blue
And will catch a dreadful flu.
My heart goes to the poor five and six
Who were sent to pick up the sticks
I think, with your care and devotion
And a little bit of attention
They will surely start to do well
Their grades will improve, they will swell.
But it was seven and eight
Who were just asked to lay them straight
That were such a disappointment;
Their work was crooked and bent
And causes such resentment,
That out of the decimal system they were sent!
However it was rude to compare nine and ten
To a really big fat hen.
They do like to eat
And never miss a treat
And bulge a little at the waist
But still, it was a comment in poor taste.

Understanding the Indian child (A crash course)

The sad misunderstanding that the Norwegians had over the matter of Indian children shows that it is time the world is told the reality about Indian babies. Lest such misunderstandings persist, it is essential to let the world know about this life form, which, to the untrained eye, looks like a miniature homo sapiens. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

All ye foreigners, you have to admit that when you see Indian families at the airports, at the beaches, at the bazaars.. or at any other location for that matter, you are little puzzled at the behavior of the children. They don’t seem normal. But have any of you tried to understand what is different? Sheer lack of effort on the part of the non-Indian world has left them totally clueless over the existence of this sub-species, and its unique traits. I shall list the five basic features of an Indian baby, just to tickle your curiosity, that you might venture into this uncharted territory and explore the ‘last frontier’ of human behavior.

1.   Indian babies do not grow up. They are not programmed to grow up, in the sense of becoming sensible and an adult. They just transform into non-babies at exactly the time when they themselves get a baby of their own.

Understanding this trait is crucial, because without coming to grips with this simple fact, you cannot get ahead in your studies about Indian children.

Human beings are said to be the most successful species because they take care of their young for a long time. Now this duration is generally defined as 16 to 20 years. Somebody forgot to tell the Indians about this. And dependence here means physical, emotional and financial. It is a situation that Indian parents somehow do not find irksome or burdensome.

2.  Indian babies do not feed on their own. It is not the responsibility of an Indian child to try to survive. In fact he is determined to test the loyalty of his parents, by showing an extreme aversion to behave in a manner that would ensure his or her survival.

The Norwegian authorities thought the Indian mother was force feeding her child – and held it against her. What the silly fools did not realize was this – that it is the only way to put something into them. It is a meal-time ritual with Indian kids that they will run around, not wanting to eat, and the mother, often with the father in tow, would chase them and force feed them. (If it is a joint family, the rest of the family will watch approvingly.)

3.  Indian babies do not sleep alone. The only place an Indian baby will sleep in is between his parents. Kindly note – between, not with.

It is difficult to say whether this is an instinctive ploy to prevent competition in form of siblings from appearing in their lives (in which case it is a failed strategy), or it is sheer cussedness on their part, but the Indian child would wail his head off if placed at any position other than the one described.

Some of the especially wicked kinds – there is no other word for it – like mine, actually sleep after ensuring that both parents are fast asleep. In that sense the natural order is slightly in the reverse here – and no solution has been found for this disorder so far.

4.  Indian babies do not sit in the back seat of cars. And no Indian government has tried to force them to. The right place for the child in a car, the babies feel, is in front, next to the gear box. Here they can distract the driver to the maximum, have the thrill of being in the gravest of dangers, can pull at sundry levers and push at sundry other buttons. Once in a while they would pop their head out of the window also. Try to prevent that, or to tie them with a seat belt – and there would be full scale revolt (rebellion, if there are more than one of them together.) Even the police would side with them in case you complain.

5.  Indian babies do not want to get education. Formally or informally, or through any system of education.

Superficially this situation may look familiar to ye foreigners. But it is not. Here the resistance to education is of a different class altogether. Indian children are not benignly anti-learning – they actively work against any effort by authorities to make them understand anything. Just try to take them to a zoo, or a museum or get them a glossy book – and observe. The ‘auto-learning’ mode is absent. In the zoo they would behave as if they have come to their natural habitat, and would start behaving like animals. In the museum they would want to touch everything, only with the intention of being thrown out. And most would avoid a book like a plague – after forcing the parents to buy them the most expensive one.

Shrewd, they are, at avoiding understanding of anything that may be of use to them in life.

Now I would take some questions.

Why do the Indian parents tolerate them, someone asks? For one, they have been like that themselves, only a few weeks before their child was born, and so do not know any better. It is how the Indian children are, we feel, and there is nothing that can be done about it.

How do they adjust to the world when they grow up? Very well, thank you. Just like ye foreigners, our children, when they do grow up, forget their parents also, and in that sense are normal.

How to make the foreign governments understand? Why, there is only one way- leave the Indian children with them. But this must be done under controlled and supervised situations, for otherwise these governments may go mad – and endanger world peace.

Are the Indian children cute and cuddly? Only to the parents. The biological design of Indian children is such that they look cute and cuddly only to the immediate family. This is an inbuilt feature to prevent them from getting kidnapped.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating – all of you are welcome to eat… I mean, to understand the Indian child in all its glory. Do visit my home anytime you feel like it. It would be a welcome diversion.


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