Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Coquettish Angels


November. The leit motif of the month is children.

I must confess that I am somewhat envious of anyone who was born after 1984. By the time they had gathered themselves and by the time they could make sense of what was happening around them, the intellectual infrastructure was up and running.

The internet, which has revolutionized the way people LIVE today, had become popular – by the time these kids reached 15.
Google which has empowered one and all, indiscriminately, by providing access to a world of information at the click of a button and has made it so easy for people to get smart, was operational - by the time these kids reached 17.
Cable television. Cable TV had just been born when I was 13 or 14. Anu kapoor’s Anthakshari was gaining popularity. Reality shows were yet unheard of.
But in just a few years, there were multiple news channels, more sophisticated, smarter and sharper than ever before.
The talk shows, the debates like the Big Fight on NDTV, the Discovery and Nat geo were only few of the many stimulants packaged and available already to the 85 borns by the time they reached 16.

It does not matter anymore whether a child today is born with a silver spoon or not. The intellectual infrastructure is incomparable to any other blessing a child has received before.

But,……………But the child of today isn’t quite a child.

Even as I begin, I don’t know if this is pointless ranting, if this is the same old recurring, nagging complaint by the older generation about the ways of the new generation; but the fact remains that there is a huge gap, somewhat blatant, somewhat flagrant and it is but inevitable for the more observant of us to discuss this gap and make those unavoidable comparisons.

Children of today are tending to reach adulthood far earlier than they are meant to. Whether this is fortunate or otherwise, is debatable.

For one thing, they are way too smart and independent. They can operate with ease a number of gadgets like the remote control, the television, the computer, the music system…etc.
The pleasure of teaching the child, all those things it is curious to know, from the very beginning, is no longer savoured by the elder whose privilege it has been to condescend to guide a blinking innocent.

The pleasure of being that all-knowing-big-brother is taken away by a smart kid who already knows more than you.

That shy, apprehensive kid, afraid of unknown people and needing handholding is extinct today.
It renders you, the elder, somewhat useless or redundant.
In some cases, their boldness and confidence receive so much encouragement and praise from proud parents that they become somewhat impertinent. I find this rather irritating.

The very fact that they don’t need you anymore makes them less deserving of your sympathy if not less deserving of your love.
I personally preferred it when they needed me, when they evoked my concern, my protective instinct, when they asked too many questions and knew too little, when they needed to hold my finger firmly in their tiny fist to explore the wide wild world. The assurance, that whether or not somebody else in this world needs me, a child definitely needs me is now taken away from me.

I also observe, somewhat poignantly, that the child of today has lost a certain innocence. Parents are responsible to a large extent. Most of them do not see the fine line that separates smartness from impertinence, exposure from over exposure, ignorance from innocence and independence from detachment.

A colleague, a mother of a 7 year old who had left her kid behind in India as she traveled to the US and stayed there for a few months was telling us all with pride that the child did not miss her or wince about her absence even rarely, that he was taking care of himself very well, that he called her up only to remind her of all the fancy toys he wanted her to bring him and that he did not want her to return to India if she failed to bring him those toys!

Such detachment! I would have been deeply pained if I learnt that my child did not cry for me even once! And the mother found it very convenient as she was spared of a big headache and could move on with her career.

Have you been watching all the reality shows on television? I am talking about those in which children sing and dance.
I can’t stop shaking my head in utter disbelief at the endless pretences, shameless lies and rigged up, staged disputes that are made part of the shows just to help the program get better TRP ratings!
To hell with the director of the show, to hell with the judges and to greater hell with the celebrities whose livelihood solely depends on such lies and pretences and whose most important means of getting visibility is farce.
What about the children? Does anybody spare a thought for them? Lying, pretending,……Is this what we want to teach them? Is this the kind of exposure we want to give them during their formative years? Alright, they have talent and they deserve a platform to exhibit them. But why does nobody, not the government, not even the parents of the children protest against such loathsome practices as staged brawls? Why such effortless acceptance of hypocrisy and deception?

And the dance competitions. Ah! What a gory scene! Have you ever watched this show called Boogie Woogie? A machine of sorts that has an incredible capacity for making every participant – boy, girl, child, man, woman – don a whore like disposition.

I have had the good fortune of watching a few episodes where the competition was exclusively for children. All of them must have been below fourteen years of age. The girls were wearing plunging necklines (already!), performing gyrating hip movements (already), jiggling their breasts (even before they were fully developed!) and giving suggestive looks and winks to the judges even before understanding fully, the meaning of those looks (I hope so…the matter would be worse if they already understood the meaning of those gestures!) amidst cheers from the audience, judges AND parents!

Some of the children were just six years old. Cheeks sucked in, mouth protruding. Coquettish expressions on angelic faces! The younger the daughter, the prouder the parents! I haven’t seen anything as disgusting as this. How can any mother bear to see her daughter trying to look or behave like Bipasha Basu and Mallika Sherawat, leave alone feeling happy about it?

And when a fourteen year old girl consented to have sex with the son of a Goa chief minister, the parents kicked up a big fuss about the guy raping a minor and all that.
What the hell was the fourteen year old doing, consenting to have sex when she should be playing with Barbie dolls?
What kind of upbringing has the mother given her? And why is she accusing the boy instead of whip lashing her daughter for sleeping around?

As I said, the fine line is blurred… the fine line that separates smartness from impertinence, exposure from over exposure, ignorance from innocence and independence from detachment.

Let us keep them away from the race. Let them be innocent. Let them depend on us a little. Let them walk to adulthood at a leisurely pace. Let us not push them towards adulthood. They are not fancy show pieces at display for neighbours to admire. Let them be dumb. It’s alright. Let them know, when it is time for them to know.

Let them be the children of Tagore’s world…the children Tagore’s dreams were made of…

On the seashore of endless worlds children meet.
The children meet with shouts and dances.
They build their houses with sand
And they play with empty shells.
With withered leaves they weave their boats
And smilingly float them on the vast deep.
They know not how to swim, they know not how to cast nets.
Pearl fishers dive for pearls, merchants sail in their ships,
While children gather pebbles and scatter them again.
They seek not for hidden treasures, they know not how to cast nets…


The greatest gift you can give your child is childhood. A prolonged one.

When my friend Pramod, a creative man in the advertisement field, was asked by his friend to suggest a suitable name and tag line for a kindergarten he was opening, Pramod rightly said…

INFANTASY
Because First Steps Last.

17 comments:

xunz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
xunz said...

I 100% agree to this. Being a teacher I don't find it surprising to discover that 13 or 14 year olds searching for porn sites on google or a kindergarten kid singing movie songs instead of rhymes or 4 year old girls wanting to be hannah montanna. The age of innocence is so over!

*~*Pooja*~* said...

Hey Aditi!
I truly agree with you... I cant for any good reason see how can parents be okay with this kind of a behaviour let alone encouraging it! I hope someone who is responsible for these reality shows sees this post and does something to change the scenario.
At this i have to appreciate some programmes like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa on Zee Marathi have kept the sanctity and innocence of these children performance alive while giving them a good platform to display their talents... I think other shows must learn something from shows like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa!

Sowmya said...

Hi Pooja,

Firstly, I am sowmya, not aditi :-)

Welcome to this space and thanks for stopping.

What amuses me is that all of us agree with the right thing and still, the wrong things continue to happen... donno how!!

ChAsMeBadDoOr said...

nice thought.. but thanx u stopped.. im very impatient when it comes to reading , but then i liked ur post.. evry fact u mentioned is fair..

Krishanu said...

This is perhaps one of the most expressive posts I have read in quite a few weeks!
Sowmya da you quite bring out the blot on the society...impressive hand...use it well!!!

ananya chatterjee said...

yes the content seems real but dont u think this generation they are simply beyond the control of their parents
i m one such by product...and i gues if u think deeply enuf ul find urself sharing my league

future mantra said...

Nice blog. Only the willingness to debate and respect each other’s views keeps the spirit of democracy and freedom alive. Keep up the good work. Hey, by the way, do you mind taking a look at this new website www.indianewsupdates.com . It has various interesting sections. You can also participate in the OPINION POLL in this website. There is one OPINION POLL for each section.

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Kindly go through the entire website. Who knows, it might just have the right kind of stuff that you are looking for. If you like this website, can you please recommend it to at least 5 of your friends. Your little help would help us in a big way.

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future mantra said...

Nice blog. Only the willingness to debate and respect each other’s views keeps the spirit of democracy and freedom alive. Keep up the good work. Hey, by the way, do you mind taking a look at this new website www.indianewsupdates.com . It has various interesting sections. You can also participate in the OPINION POLL in this website. There is one OPINION POLL for each section.

Kindly note: The comments section is having problems so you may not be able to comment right now but it will available in a few days. We are also planning to get Live Cricket in our website within this week.

Kindly go through the entire website. Who knows, it might just have the right kind of stuff that you are looking for. If you like this website, can you please recommend it to at least 5 of your friends. Your little help would help us in a big way.

Thank you,

The Future Mantra

Showmen dev said...

Hello writers,I am an writer too.We must write for our life.What I have to say is easy we must work for life also.How we do ? We may plant some trees for the environment as an start.Its not that easy but plaese rememeber its for our chieldrean.Thank you for planting a tree.

nameera said...

nice one ;)

rahul said...

I agree , kids in these reality shows aren't kids anymore, they have become actors,dancers,singers and bearer cheques for their parents!!

anamika said...

I agree with you to some extent..Indeed kids looking browsing porn sites at such tender age where in our times i don remember if i knew the meaning of porn as well...
but there caliber ,there inteligence and talent is something which is incredible and competition should prevail but in a right spirit...
There was a time when we inspired kids but now kids inspire us with their exemplary work.
Parents needs to know which way they want to take their kids..
like making them eat burger and cold drinks ,smoking in front of them..was it there when we were young....if some thing wrong i happening then of course because there is wrong from both the side.

But i truly appreciate your concern and must say yur writing skills are exemplary

Sachin_Gandhul said...

Agreed with you.
.
wat r we lossing while earing something dat sud be measured.
.
i am remember a quote of Martin Luthar King .
.
"Our Scintific power has outrun our spirictual power,.. we guided missiles & misguided men"

sFunn.com said...

neat one.
wud completely agree.
good work.

---
The Fun place.

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parithi said...

Just i remembered my father, after seeing all the sayings.

In 80's TV was the only distraction to the age of innocence.

He was a college lecturer and totally involved in saving the childishness.

When friday or sunday evening comes he automatically took us to the marina beach in chennai (to avoid seeing the tamil movie and oliyum Oliyum). The whole sunday he sat with us for cricket,shuttle,making food and assisting our mother,learning cycle,Maanja(the thread for kite) kite,for charlie chaplin films,the bicycle thief (i enjoyed very much).

Now i am in 38 years of old and having a kid of 3 years boy.

He knows how to make a call to my cell from her mother's cell.

He knows how to open my laptop and goto games.

He knows how to put poggo channel in TV channel.

Believe me, we didn't teach anything all he remembers only through visual pictures. He doesn't know '6' but he knows if he presses the shape of '6' he can go to poggo channel.

So simply what i do on sunday is just simply taking him to the mountain (trecking) with lunch.

It was amazing ! He sees everything with great surprise.
(
The trees, the different leaves,
the stones,the rocks, the insects,
the fallen sun,the rain,some animals.
)

Nowa days if i ask him,
"Kavin do you want to come to mountain or do you want to see poggo"

He immediately switches off the tv.

I bought a rabit for him. most of the time he spends the time with it instead of cell phones and poggo.

If parents are seeing all the bloody duet songs in front of their children, surely their children will see porno sites at the age of 10 to 12.

So, All dear elders please find good distractions to bad distractions.

(Simply i followed my father)

premsuriyan