A father, teacher, personal counsellor, sometime journalist and reader, I keep reflecting on the world's pageantry, magic, comicality and pain...
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Dear SuvrodaThe places that appealed to me the most in Auckland were the Museum and the library. I did not expect that to be because in India, whenever I have visited a library or a museum, more than the place itself it was either my father or like in the case of our school library, you Suvroda have helped me to like the place. In India, libraries have ceased to be attractive places because of lack of notice.Having said that, any place develops when someone is really interested in it. Sadly, back home, very few would devote their interest on such developments. Perhaps it is due to the problem of our forced reliance on a career that gives us food, status, class etc unlike here where doing a job, is just part of life not all of life. I think this phenomenon is true in the entire spectrum of developing countries around the world where social development and economic prosperity has not happened hand-in-hand. In some ways, it has happened in diametrically opposite way.Here, on weekends you would find parents with their children in the library or in the museum. These places look more like the places for kids than for grown-ups (and self-acclaimed book lovers). I guess the Kiwi parents provide their kids with the options of whether they would like to choose books over everything else but do realise the importance of knowledge through books. That is why; you would find children collectively hanging around in such places with their parents. I don’t think everyone reads here but certainly everybody doesn’t spend so much time mugging course books. If not reading then perhaps they indulge in sports or may be both.Encouragement to read books in India does not remain a popular occupation and also encouragement to play sports which is sad. I guess only hobby that middle class parents approve of beyond studies these days is encouragement to participate in reality shows.I guess it is time, that they start having the “television reality show” on Spellings which I have seen on a certain channels. At least that would get some parents interested since that have the carrot of being famous dangling.
When we were talking yesterday, Sir, I remember calling the current generation of parents 'freaks' and you had reaponded by saying that it's an insult to morons even to call them morons! As far as I can see, well meaning though they might think their actions to be, they are more suited for breeding horses than for the delicate duty of parenting. What has happenned is that our young generation have suddenly found themselves tied, gagged and relentlessly threatened by a batch of totally ignorant, unethical, immoral and rash (I do mean the word - rash. Given the work that I have been doing for the past six months or so, I have come across quite a few parents by now, and I am yet to meet one who doesn't possess the the remarkable ability of aggrandizing the seemingly trifle everyday struggles into mammoth proportions. See through your problems with faith, patience and pluck, we all say, but how many follow?) cowardly beasts who call themselves parents. What a cruel joke of nature it is to put the fate of the nation in the hands of madmen masquerading as parents and teachers!To the young students (and I include myself in that) I can only say - Things are interconnected in myriad ways, so never think that you will not need to read history or literature if you want to make a career in science or vice -versa. So do keep reading, even in face of all efforts to keep you information starved (like they do in North Korea), and if someone tells you that you are wasting your time, do keep on wasting your time, and preferably do it deliberately right in front of the person who tells you so.Sayan Datta
And to those who might feel hurt or angered by whatever I have said - let me just say that whatever I have said, I have said without regret or remorse. And if you are hurt, I am glad that you are, at least I have been able to get those alarm bells ringing in your head!
I do hope, for your sake, that you would speak a little more mildly about this issue in public, Sayan: or else you'd get roundly abused, right as you are, for two reasons - a) parents as a rule are united in their opinion that whatever they are doing is right and good, and are only to eager to run down whoever says anything to the contrary, and b)most of the children, too, bridle when their parents' faults are pointed out, because, even if they vaguely feel that the parents are wrong and tyrannical, they identify with those parents pretty slavishly, and don't want to hear any criticism from outsiders.This endemic disease will need far more powerful reformers than you or me to cure. Your mention of parents breeding racehorses these days reminded me of Aamir Khan saying exactly the same thing in Taarey Zameen Par, and who cared? ... alas, if only they did succeed at least in breeding racehorses! Judging by the number of globally recognised young Indian achievers we are producing every year, it would be more appropriate to say we are breeding donkeys by the million, good only to be faceless mid-level executives selling soap for MNCs.
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