The 1970s 80s and perhaps 90s in India.
A nervous husband walks up and down the corridor in front of the labor room. The nurse comes out smiling and says ‘Congratulations! Here is your little one!’ – Hands over the new born to the brand new father.
The man holds the baby carefully and asks the nurse ‘Sister, How’s is my wife?’
Father holds the baby close to him and says: ‘I will give you everything my baby. I will make you the biggest engineer/doctor/civil servant.’ – The aspiring dream of every middle class Indian back then. ‘You will make me proud won’t you?’
The baby opens his eyes in horror and starts crying – obviously not for the need of oxygen into his tiny lungs but at the misery his dad has thrust upon him – and then they wondered why he cried all the time!
Present day India.
Most of the then babies have grown through their misery to fulfil their parents’ dream of being a doctor/engineer etc. Well done people!
And for all defiant few who thought of something different like say being a stand up comedian, I salute you guys for daring to dream beyond what was fed.
Back to the hospital scene in India today:
The husband accompanies the wife to the labour room, stays through the delivery, voluntarily becoming a part of his wife’s trauma.
He is overwhelmed when he takes the baby in his arms for the first time and exclaims: ‘I will not put you through the kind of torture my parents put me through. I will not. I will assure that I give you the freedom to explore the world. Do what you want in life. Pause. I would love it if you become one of those bottomless pits of talent they showcase on TV – pleeease , pretty pleease! You see that’s the in-thing now.’
Bottomless pit of talent?!?! Really? Wonders the baby. Doesn’t sound too good eh??
Imagine coming back from a luxury cruise to be greeted with heavy deadlines and no real route map.
Then the baby starts crying desperately wanting to get right back into mummy’s womb. ‘Just put be back in there and let me go into my slumber!’
I am certain the baby almost accusing: ‘Atleast you just had to become what they asked you to become. I have to make you proud the talented way?? Mozart, Michael Jackson, Picasso…Damn! Should have trained under you guys before I came down here!’
And the cries get louder and louder!
If you are born with it, good for you, if you aren’t, then we’ll make sure you get there. We’ll make sure we manipulate the ‘I will give you freedom to explore the world’ bit to make you feel like you have it all but slowly stirring you to the goal we want you to reach.
Enter all the food supplements with Vitamins A –Z which ensures that the little one is enthusiastic to dance to your expectations. Enter endless coaching camps and talent hunts to gauge the child’s potential.
So if the schools back then said ‘Send your kids to us and we will churn out intellectual machine you’ll be proud to possess’; now they say: ‘We ensure the overall development for your kid; his ‘talents’ will be brewed to perfection so that you can showcase them with pride!’
Just let them be. No we won’t. Not 30 years ago, Not now, Not in another 30 years! Make me proud my baby – c’mon I know you can do it!