This is Ganapati time and we are all reveling in the festive season. No matter where you go we have Ganesh Pandals and the mood is joyous. While, I am not very religious, I enjoy all festivals as it is one opportunity to violate the diktat from Missus to keep control on the amount of sweets I am allowed to gorge on. On the other side, it is a good opportunity to click some pictures of festivities.
Our Society, also every year organizes a Ganesh Chaurthi Pooja and we all participate in the same. I was the unofficial photographer of the pooja. Our elder daughter was also a part of a group dance and I was feeling very proud clicking her pictures as she made various mudras with other kids in the entourage.
But what happened after the dance was more interesting, as I listened to some of the parents in the hall. While most of the grown-ups were very happy with what the kids did including some visible missteps in the dance, some of them were giving a feedback to the kids on how they should have performed.
I felt really bad for the poor kids who have worked really hard to prepare for the song and dance for Ganesh Chaturthi, and this all over and above their schools. A Mom was showing her kid the Ganesha painted by kids and telling him, why he could not win the prize in Ganesha painting competition.
I was thinking something that was supposed to be a fun activity for kids was actually not very different from a Dog and Pony show, where the parents were showcasing the talent of their kids. Our daughter also participated in the group dance and we were pretty cool about it and I clicked a few pictures to be posted on Facebook etc. So, we all have some degree of desire to showcase the talent of our kids to others.
It begins when we make sure, every single guest who dares to come home when our toddler has learnt to recite “Baba Baba Black Sheep” gets a double dose of it. The problem aggravates when parents start expecting kids to fulfill their own dreams of a failed Tennis star or Bharatanatyam dancer, forcing the kid to do something she does not want to do.
But in my opinion, the extreme case of showcasing the kids is with parents who make their kids participate in some of these dance and cooking reality shows on TV. I was recently actually annoyed to see some 10-12 year olds cooking exotic dishes on a cookery competition for kids. We empathize with kids of poor parents, whose kids lose their childhood as they need to work to supplement the income of their parents, but here most of the kids are from decent middle class families who are participating in the show purely to fulfill the dreams of their parents. It is tough for me to believe that a 10 year old wants to participate in a cooking show on her own sweet will. And then we have these dance reality shows for kids that make kids dance to obscene songs with pelvic thrusts that will make Michael Jackson pale in comparison.
While, I have no right or wrong answer for the same one thing is for sure most of these kids who compete in professional level TV shows lose a lot of their childhood. The winner may still have consolation of winning and getting 15 minute of fame, but the other thousands who are eliminated will live with the trauma for a long time.
Sasha and Prasad Np are proud parents of 2 girls whom they fondly call Princess and Pinkette. He wears many hats after taking a break from being corner office critter for a long time. He is now an entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, traveler and a potential investor in start-ups with unique concepts especially if they are in travel related business. He blogs at Desi Traveler, and can be reached at Facebook and Twitter.