Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mothers

Watching him in the two minute dance sequence transported her.... ever since the doctors had told her at his birth that he would never walk or talk, she had been just imagining such a moment. She watched mesmerised, her son, on the stage, a part of the brightly dressed group of children, all swaying to some music. Her eyes teared up at the normalcy of the scene in front of her.All the gruelling sessions of therapy and her constant repetitive effort had not been lost.She Took some quick pictures to mail to her parents and her in-laws. Not everyone was always in step with one another, but 'the best show on earth' as far as the parents are concerned, she thought. After all, who could resist the spectacle of their child on such a platform. She felt bad that it was over. There was always next year!

There was so much pending work and with her son at his annual day function, it meant that she could go home later than usual. The maid could also leave at her normal time and she would not call every few minutes to whine about never going home on time. She felt a small guilty niggle. She had promised him she would come and see the small two minute performance, but with over 250 sets of parents, he would not be able to tell..... she had arranged for a friend to pick him up and would tell him that she had to run out for a meeting after his performance. She could just tell him how much she enjoyed the show and even offer that he could snuggle up with mom and dad for the night as a reward.. That with the pizza for dinner and the ice cream for dessert would do the trick. He was too young to suspect anything. There was always next year!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Are we regressing?

A younger man fearlessly courting an older educated woman, a lecturer, no less, openly. A show that allegedly talks about the problems of child marriage (It even has a moral that appears at the end of each episode). A young woman crusading against female infanticide.. Just the images that warm the cockles of our progressive hearts. But cut to a few months later and the lecturer is waiting for the young man to masterfully fill her 'maang' (hair parting) with the sindoor in a temple ceremony before looking beatifically happy. So what happened to the image of the independent young woman? She got lost in the quest for the TRPs. The Child bride whose sister- in -law, a child bride too delivers a baby boy and everyone is happy that it is a boy! There is not even lip service to the dangers to becoming a mom so young. The young woman crusading against female infanticide falls hopelessly, irrevocably in love with the chief villain's son and forgets all about the poor infants, concentrating her energy on the hero who was stringing her along just for his mom's benefit. She turns into a house maid, forgetting all about her education and looks longingly at the very man who betrayed her. So much for liberation. All these shows claim to be on the side of the woman and are supposedly different from the regressive Saas- bahu shows. Really??

It is not just women alone who are the brunt of superstition, a recently started show has a the heroine appealing to a snake, 'Naag', to consume milk and leave them alone....and the wonder is that the snake goes against the laws of nature and does just that. You can expect a lot more snake charmers this 'Naag Panchmi' forcefully dipping poor snakes into milk, just to earn a quick buck. The least we can do is leave the poor animals to live with the laws of nature!! Looks like mankind is lost to the TV screen!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why?

I was at a birthday party for a thirteen year old when my mother called. Instead of her standard greeting she asked me where I was and whether we were all ok. Rather surprised, I assured her that we were and then asked her why she had asked. "There has been a bomb blast in Pune at German bakery" she said. It took the zing out of the party but the adults there speculated that it must be just a cylinder or some such. Three frantic 'are you ok?' calls and some web searches later, we had all accepted that this was a 'first' we did not want for Pune.

Then again, no one wants this, but it still happened. This one was just too close. It was 'Home'. The city we all love and crib about. The great education, the culture, traffic, the polllution, we talk about all those with passion. Now this. I discovered one thing last night though.. people fall silent when it is so close. They seem to introspect. Maybe they think of the times they were at the site and wonder 'what if?'. And yet though they look inward, they also look out for others. I got two offers of escort for my car ( I was a woman alone) and that was reassuring. Reassuring to know that while there are those who do inhuman acts, there are also those who show humanity and concern. As long as the latter outnumber the former, there will be hope. On this Valentines day, all I ask for is that hope.

Party Pooper

My son has a birthday coming up and we have been making lists and talking about the food and generally doing everything that soon to be thirteen year olds do around their birthdays. Last night, back from a birthday party, he was full of ideas and I coaxed him to bed. Just as he was nodding off, he suddenly perked up and said "Amma, I am telling all my friends to leave their cell phones at home." Mildly curious at this strange and seemingly undue dislike for cell phones, I prompted him to explain. " You know Amma, today we did not have much fun. Most of the kids had cell phones with blue-tooth and they just sit exchanging games and stuff on the phone. The worst part is they do not even play those games. We can do such stuff anytime, but when so many of us meet at one place, it would be great to play outside. I want to play on my birthday. Not be stuck to some phone. So I am banning cell phones" he declared.

Social scientists have been shouting themselves hoarse about how technology is making us progressively anti social, but here was the proof from the mouth of a young child. He might or might not get away with the ban because his friends are not old enough to take offense. Imagine though, what fun we could have if we did the same. I know of concerts, conversations and even funerals that are interrupted by the teeny cell phone. Dare we follow a young one's example the next time??
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