Published in One India One People magazine, November 2016
When someone smiles nicely, a tad bit too sweet and says, “You’re such a lovely mother/father”, all we feel is throwing up our hands in desperation. If there is something so difficult as deciding Trump or Hillary for President, it is deciding who the boss is, at home- the child or the parent.
Gone are those days when we had to cajole and coax our parents to buy a new shoe during mid-term. Our dear children just have to screw up their faces to get a PS4. It is as simple as that. The more gadget friendly children, the tougher gets the parenting. Pampering parents never understand the fact- the needs of a child are basic. I would personally love to snatch every charger of every electronic device and sit back, watch the ‘near-desperation’ with which gadgets are handled. Cruelty factor- infinity! Money can never be traded for parental care and it is high-time we understand that as parents. The best way to discipline a child would be to- be disciplined. Children emulate their parents and it is imperative to place your shoes right on the rack and not at the bedroom door.
There is this lot of control-freak parents who wake the child, feed him, send him to school, feed him when he is back and put him to sleep. The routine life of this child would be like grandfather’s clock in the living room. A child is a child. He needs parents’ quality time. Words come free, when wi-fi is not! We would rather talk to him on anything about the Universe than sit and watch the same old soaps where the sixth heroine plans to murder the seventh mother of the fifth hero.
Our next parent will be the ‘bindas’ parent. Nothing worries this parent- not the stock market crash, not the vegetable market crash. The person is Mr.Cool that the only worry he has is his manager’s pet puppy that needs his petting. Indifference can kill a child, dear Mr.Cool, the manager’s puppy can find a bone on its own! When the child says, “Dad…I got second in potato sack race today”, this couch potato wouldn’t bother to wag a finger and say, “well done, son”. I specifically say the Dad here as our sanskar and sanskriti has taught us- ‘father works in office, mother cares for children”.
In addition to these, we have the com’pare’nt. The only fruitful job this type of parent does is comparison. “See, Mrs. Gupta’s son is so intelligent and smart. Why aren’t you half that smart?” Dear mother, if you had been so smart as Mrs. Gupta, your son would have gone places! Again, I have made ‘mother’ specific here and you know why! Each child is different. Each child is unique. It would be a sin to compare a rose with a daisy. A rose is a rose is a rose!
To me, the worst third degree torture isn’t the one devised by the Police or military forces. It is being the single parent. The name ‘sin’gle parent by itself is the punishment for all our sins that would be cleansed away in this lifetime. Parenting is a tight-rope walk already and being a single parent is rope walking like the proverbial nomad on the streets. Something as trivial as a whiff of air will blow you down the drain of self-wallowing and self-pity. The pressure of a single parent obviously ends up on the shoulders of the little one. In addition to the routine troubles, the kid has to ride on the roller-coaster of life hanging on to a single bare thread, the parent, who is already a superman/superwoman with the red cape.
Our society trains guns on all parents, irrespective of how the child fares in life. Accomplished son- “he is so dull”, adventurous daughter- “she is a pain”, gypsy streak one- “like parent, like child”. Even if you are Mother Mary with Jesus, the society will lay your parenthood bare saying you failed. Our success as a parent isn’t what the society thinks we are or we should be. It is what we feel right to our own conscience. Raising a toast to all parents alike- “let’s enjoy parenthood, for we get only one life and one or two children”, nah, two is a rarity, make it one!