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No 'kidding' !


Travelling by train, recently, I witnessed a little boy being coaxed into displaying his recitation skills by his beaming parents, sitting beside him. Indian parents in general find it rewarding to put up a show for any visiting folks, where the kid at home would be asked to display his various skill sets ranging from yoga poses to renditions of popular movie songs.

Partha Sinha, in his thought provoking article, 'Showcase Kids: An obsession with Indian parents' states,

'The Indian obsession of putting a child on display has its roots in the way we have culturally looked at our progeny. Children are new improved versions of the parent –– they don’t and can’t have an identity of their own. The expectation of ‘extended self’ is so much that most people don’t bother to make a pension plan. It’s almost a given that the child will take care of the parent because they are one and the same.

The display value has got nothing to do with the child––it’s got everything to do with their parents. Most metro urban professionals measure their success by two factors –– where do they live and which school their children go to. When the father, most probably taught in a vernacular medium, waxes eloquent about his child’s fees in a Cathedral or Bombay Scottish School, he isn’t talking of the child.'

It would be well for all Indian parents to read what Kahlil Gibran has to say on 'Children',

'Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.'

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