Friday, March 06, 2009


Calvin: I wonder if we can refuse to inherit the world.
Hobbes: I think if you are born, it’s too late.

For the past few years, I did not bother about government decisions on second language in schools, entrance tests for 3 year olds, or board exam regulations. Why? Because it didn’t matter. I was done with school and college and all this was not part of my reality.

Today I have vehement views on Marathi as a third language and am incensed that 2 year olds have to recite names of vegetables to gain admission into a crowded class of 60. Why? Because my kids are in the race now.

When did all this happen, I ask? Why didn’t somebody do something??
Answer: because Somebody did not care too. Somebody’s children had passed out of school long ago.

It is a harsh reality we all need to accept. The only legacy we will leave behind our children is our short sighted vision.

Unless the heap of garbage lies outside my window, unless the broken pipeline floods my street and the power cuts are in my neighbourhood, unless the footpaths are unpaved outside my building, unless the job cuts are in my industry or the terrorists kill my kin, only if the women molested are city dwellers like me, unless the water dries up in my well: I will not be moved into action.

What did our children do deserve us, I sometimes wonder? Is this all we have come to, after all those management degrees and seminars we have so proudly hosted and attended. Will our children only remember us for the movies and popcorn and restaurants that we took them to? Will they measure the success of our parenting in the number of toys, or computer games we bought them? Or birthday parties we hosted for them? Is being a ‘cool’ parent so divorced from being a responsible one?

Or is it that we don’t know what to do? Are we just clueless this time and don’t now how to admit it? Especially to our kids? Or is it pure laziness to take the first step.

I ask questions only in the hope that in the midst of all this, answers might emerge. I want to think well of our lot. I really do. But in all honesty, its getting difficult, wouldn’t you agree?

How else can we explain our silent joy at a million dollars being spent on acquiring simple rimmed glasses at an auction last night in New York, when not one of us has the audacity to bid for the vision the eyes behind those glasses had the ability to see.


  1. Research has pointed that teaching a second language to school-age children are beneficial in comprehension and in their vocabulary skills, but I dont agreethat this should be mandatory esp in a diverse country such as India....Hindi is good enuff. ..It should be a decision that's up to the parents and the child...

    Compulsion..not happening...

  2. Nandini, I am reading this only now. Great blog. I agree entrance exams for 3-years old are nonsense. Personal experience has shown me that while many parents do not want entrance exams, they want the children to perform miracles in class. In short, teachers have to perform miracles. Also, many times there is pressure from the school that the children do very well otherwise the teacher is labbeled ineffective. Even children who cannot speak rudimentary English. Somehow, magically the child should become a mini-Englishman within a year or two. There is basically too much of pressure nowadays. The parents applying the pressure are the very same people who as children enjoyed their childhood with minimal academic pressure. I think parents are passing on the anxiety of the current times onto the little children.