About Me

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The meek shall inherit the earth after i'm done with it! I was a bored Brahmin bschooler who ended up marrying another one :) and now here we are enjoying the natural progressions of life....traffic, inlaws, bosses, kid, electricians, plumbers and money matters.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I worry which half.

I have always preferred one on one conversations to large gatherings. So I pick up conversations with people whenever I get a chance. Parties, airports, trial room waiting areas in shopping malls. Also, as a part of my job, I get the opportunity of going into people’s homes and spending time with them. Thanks to the dissimilarity this country has to offer, I have got chances to peek into homes of different strata, religion, culture, language.
While I do take notes on what is relevant for my category, I am human, and can’t help but compare my life with those I meet. Recently, I have had a chance to meet a lot of children because of the part of business I handle. I’d be lying if I say that some of my experiences have not left me wondering if I am out of date and too similar to my mother.
I grew up in a middle class joint family in Jaipur where I was the eldest daughter and my father the only working member. I have a sister and a brother& we lived in a beautiful bungalow facing a park. There were 3 bedrooms in the house but the kids didn't have one to themselves for a very long time because it was a joint family with frequent guests. Or maybe the concept of having a room for kids never existed.
My maternal grandma’s house was close by so whenever I needed some study time before my exams I was dispatched there. The need for some space never occurred to me! I found the concept of being alone futile and boring. There were two places in the house which were mine, the corner in which I put my school bag and a cupboard which had my dolls and a piggy bank.

It was only when my father got a job in Indonesia and I went to an international school, that I realized the concept of space. I was 12 then. While the house had enough space to host a gathering, our mother insisted the ‘girls’ share the room as too much privacy could spoil them. I wonder where she got all these ideas when she herself was brought up in a joint family of 4 uncles and 3 aunts and their kids and spouses and second and third cousins.
When I meet young kids today, I get slightly perturbed. 
An 8 year old boy recently told me that Saturdays evenings are meant for parents but Sunday afternoons are for friends so that he can unwind before he goes to school the next day. Apparently, a 12 year old girl speaks to her mom more on whatsapp than in real conversations. Reason? She has 5 tuitions (Maths, Eco, Hindi, Engligh, Science) and 3 hobby classes (Swimming, Badminton, Dance) in a week and meets her mother only for a few hours in the day. ‘I can choose to neglect some parts of the conversation if it is on a message. The phone gives me freedom to choose my thought and answer as and when I feel like.’ She likes contemporary dance because it gives her inner peace. (wtf!)

I stand speechless. I didn't understand words like unwind and neglect and inner peace till very late.

Another horrifying epidemic is the need to look awesome and up at all times. The number of accessories that kids have today are probably equal to what I wore on my wedding. While schools have strict uniforms, kids find a way to prove their fashion consciousness through neon earrings, watches, kohl eyes, wrist bands, pendants, temporary tattoos and even hair color. An 11 year old girl once told me that show enrolled for swimming class so that she could force her mother to take her to the salon and get a body wax.

All these conversations happen in homes where cupboards are stuffed and chaotic like overfed roosters in a coop. You’d pull out a handkerchief and a huge pile of clothes would fall on you. The bedsheet has infinite creases where they are sitting surefooted, happily BBMing. The computer table which they use everyday has coffee mug stains. Stains so old that there is a thick dust lining.  A number of times, I attend interactions where I don’t get a proper chance to look at their faces. Because they are looking into their phones while answering my queries. 


Dear parents, where are you ? You just can’t keep the kids busy in numerous hobby classes and feel satisfied? Where will they learn cleanliness, respect, honesty and other virtues?

I can’t help but recall my mother’s jingoism for cleanliness. Each time our family had to go for an outing she’d make us clean the house before we’d leave, set the cupboards, wipe the kitchen slab. I could never understand why but funnily, I follow this principle till date. 
She said (and still says) that the bathroom floor needs to be dry at all times (At all times!!). She made us clean the computer with a dry toothbrush and the combs with boiling water. When on a bed, she’d constantly keep removing the creases from the bed-cover. She taught us the 4 steps of putting the bed and how to use Brasso polish on metal statues.The sequence of setting a dinner plate (salad, chutney, subzi, dahi, left to right) and books (height-wise starting left. If the width is more than average put it flat). When a guest comes, offer atleast 4 snacks with tea because 2 is too less and 3 is an odd number.

Unfortunately today, I don’t follow half the things that I learnt from her. I’m a working mom and probably don’t spend the required time with my child. My son is 2 years old and I’m already shortlisting hobby classes for him to keep him busy and ensure that he has something to talk about when he grows up. I’m pretty sure that he will start using words like privacy much sooner that my generation did. While he watches me put the bed and clean the book shelf, he also watches me faking a response to him while I am surfing internet on my phone. He also watches me order pizza when the cook doesn’t turn up. Like me he will also imbibe only half the things he sees.
I’m worried which half.