Thursday 12 March 2009

Parenting saga

Normally, I would not have read this interview. But the blurb – “I will spend every rupee I earned on myself. Let my kids fend for themselves” - caught my attention. It was actor Nazaruddin Shah’s response to a question if he had received his share of fame and money from the film industry. Answering in affirmative, he said he would not leave any of that for his children.

Shikha Sharma, MD & CEO, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, also has similar views about leaving an inheritance for her children. To quote from an interview, “They have to earn on their own. We’ll fund their education, but they are not getting any inheritance from their parents!”

I couldn’t but appreciate the detachment they expressed. Shah and Sharma would not have kept aside their dreams to support their children. But most middle-class parents slog their entire life to ensure a comfortable life to their kids. Their responsibility does not end with providing education. Daughters have to be married off lavishly with a hefty dowry. A host of other society-enforced demands that follow the marriage and birth of grandchildren have to be taken care of, which only translate to more expenses. Money need not be spent on sons’ marriage, but they have to deal with the expectations on their wealth – be it the house or that hard-saved fixed deposit.

Where is the end to the expectations on parents? Are they meant to live and die for their children? When will they gather enough courage to declare that their children would not inherit their money? When will they stop feeling guilty in spending money on themselves instead of saving it up for kids?

That expensive sari or much-dreamt-about vacation was rarely affordable in their prime years. At least, in the old age, let them live out their postponed dreams.

Wednesday 4 March 2009

So much I don’t know!

I went there to help them learn
And, I learned how much I don’t know
Or how much I am yet to learn!
I don’t know what to do…
When a kid refuses to respond
When a kid keeps fidgeting
When a kid says he/she hasn’t seen
The things we take for granted
I don’t know what to say…
When a kid stumbles at table of two
When a kid can’t read ‘tie’
When a kid says he/she couldn’t study
Because parents were fighting
I know I’ve failed to help them learn
And I’ve failed to learn
Still, I am trying…

(Thoughts from my volunteering experience at Akanksha, an NGO involved in teaching less-privileged children)

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