Diploma in Parenting
With a not-so-heavy (compared to those college days) bag on the shoulders and heavy-eyes tired more from being bored than working hard, I was walking towards the lift of my current home. Waiting for a lift was a part of routine for the people living here. It is strange how things that keep occurring again and again become a part of our routines. This ‘waiting for lifts’ is more like drinking beer for me. That taste has just not developed yet. I’d often spend most of my lift journeys doing so important things like locking-unlocking my phone, clearing the cache memory or going a step ahead and reading the message in a family WhatsApp group that I did not even know existed with an assumption that my life depends on it.
As I walked, my eyes could catch on to nothing beyond the usual design— old women struggling to walk while on a mission to reach that bench where they could sit and gossip, quarreling kids enjoying their childhood at higher decibels, watchman attempting to get busy (or at least look) with some work, vehicles criss-crossing the parking area, a random — “E ubhi raakhjo! (Hey! Please hold it!)” shout from a random direction. I was so used to these daily rituals, that I more often succeeded with my act of showing that I notice nothing.
I pressed the button of the lift. The X-factor with this button was that it always left people in doubt, courtesy to the back-light in it which did not work. While the one who pressed the button and was left thinking — “Thayu ke nai aa? (Did it work or not?)”, the other person would come and for the sake of his satisfaction, press that button again and harder. Seeing the newcomer, the already standing folks think — “To ame su jakkhh marava ubha chhea ahiya? (What are we standing here for, then?)” Whereas, the newcomer might be left with that same thought again — “Thayu ke nai aa? (Did it work or not?)”. I was standing at one end, not willing to go through this loop again.
“Education is the only thing that we believe in quantifying using exams and results. Everything else is simply fine or not fine.”
In the gap between two iron benches, a little girl was dangling by the support of the armrests. At first, I thought she was simply playing. I was wrong. She shouted — “Mummy! Aaa Jo! (Mom, look at this!)”. I expected her mother to look at her and say something or smile at least. I was wrong, again. The kid shouted again and louder this time — “Mummmmmmy! Aaaaa Joooo! (Mom, look at this!)” She thought her mother was not able to hear her the first time. She was wrong now and I was right, though I wished I was not. Her mother was talking to the lady on the bench, not even trying to mask the expression that she was plainly ignoring her daughter’s shouts. With a long face, the kid gave up shouting and along with it also her zeal to impress her mother. The mother offered a stern look dripping disinterest and snarled at her daughter — “Padi jais Eyyy! (You’ll fall, hey!)”
I saw myself in the sadness on the kid’s face and my mother in that lady. Not only my mother, but a lot of other Indian mothers. Probably before women empowerment, we need to understand and have a term — ‘child empowerment’, if that helps. I am not commenting on the mother, or any other parent. But, the question that hit me like a brick is — “Could she have cautioned her child, in a better way?” A lot of questions came rushing to me, as a reel from the past started playing behind my eyes — “She is not bad, but could she have done these small things in a better manner?” The only answer that I could mutter is — “Yes”. Had parenting been a subject, I do not fear to state that most of its students (parents) would fail to get good scores. However, education is the only thing that we believe in quantifying using exams and results. Everything else is simply fine or not fine.
To make better human beings, we first need to behave better with our kids. Perhaps, parenting counselors are a more dire requirement than life coaches or career counselors. They can be moulded into becoming engineers later, kids first need to be brought up to be better human beings. They can only become good human beings, if they know what it means to be a good human being. How about if we show them in their early years? It may not show immediate results, but in the longer term it may as well eradicate a lot of our problems.
Diploma in Parenting is not a bad idea as well!