One of the tendencies most Indian parents is to consider their kids to be too small and unable to understand the ways of the world. We either tend to pamper our kids too much, to compensate for the lack of time spent with them in form of goodies, gifts and gadgets or just think they are too small to understand the world of the grown up and ignore them totally to the extent of insulting them with disparaging sentences like
“You are kid, so don’t speak between adults”
“Arey, don’t worry, he is just a kid, he does not understand anything”
Or any other form, where we take the emotional and practical intelligence of kids for granted. I think most of us grownups are guilty of thinking that kids don’t know anything or they are not smart enough to analyze things in a logical manner.
Guess what? I have got noose for you. Recently for a birthday party in our society, I was the designated driver, and ferried kids to the venue and back. The journey was not long each way, but it was a good insight in to the mind of the kids who just like their parents thought
“Arey, yeh to Uncle hai, he does not know anything”
So here are a few things that your friendly neighborhood desi Traveler, I mean desi Driver over head from a bunch of 6-8 year olds while ferrying them to the nearby Junk Food Joint for a birthday.
Boy 1 – Why did Boy 3 has not come for the birthday party?
Girl 1: My mom called his mom, and she said they are going for his dad’s office colleague party and need to take Boy 3 also, and they will be coming back late, and since our party will end by 6 nobody will be there to keep Boy 3.
Boy 1: Oh, poor Boy 3, he will now have to eat all those mirchee wala food or remain hungry and behave like a ‘Robot in the party, and then he will even not get a return gift”
Boy 2: I never go to parties of my parents, they are so boring and everybody is smoking, I can’t tolerate smokers. My Dad use to smoke earlier, but he stopped smoking after my 3rd birthday.
Girl 1: So your dad does not smoke now at all?
Boy 2: I think he sometimes does, but never at home, as some time I can smell it, and then he and my mom fight also.
Girl 1: So when they fight do they talk about the “D?” (in a whispering voice)
Boy 2: Only once they talked about Divorce, but then my Dad said sorry to my mom and to tell you a secret we may have a baby soon.
Girl 2: OMG, you will have a baby in your home… WOW!
Boy 2: What wow, I wanted a puppy and all I am getting is a baby, who wants a baby?
Boy 1: Don’t worry first I also thought I will never like a baby but now I love my brother.
Boy 2. : Your brother is cute, but I want a sister, if I cannot get a puppy.
And they all laughed at his wish.
Now by this time I was totally engrossed in the conversation happening behind my back, and was driving real slow. Sneaky uncle you may accuse me of, but hey, god gave us eyelids to close our eyes but no ear lids to close our ears.
The conversation soon moved towards talking about their parents, but we soon reached the Junk Food Joint were most of the birthdays are celebrated.
In the return journey the group dynamics have changed and Boy 2 was picked up by his mother, and I had Boy 4 in the car and another girl, let us say Girl 2.
The conversations started from the return gifts received to who at how many French fries, as if it was a big achievement. But soon, it moved to the favorite topic of the kids, that is their parents.
It seems one of the new kids in the car Boy 4, (around 7.5 years) clearly with great perception powers and a would be rebel without a cause took the lead. He had a cell phone on him and was calling his mother repeatedly. After a few tries he mumbled, loud enough for all of us to hear,
“My mom never picks up my phone, and if I don’t pick up her phone in one ring she gives me a big lecture about why she has bought me a phone. “
So another kid intervened, “May be she is busy in a meeting or something?”
The Boy 4 snapped back, “What meeting today is Saturday she does not goes to office on Saturday. No she is not busy, I know she is always talking to her friends on phone, or to her sister, only when she would finish talking she will call me back, and if she is not busy talking she is busy on Facebook “
As I continued to listen to the conversation, with ear behind my back and eyes on the road, we reached the society gate. Now Boy 4s house is at the other end of our society, which is spread over 50 acres, and all the roads are one way. So I told him, I will drop him after I have dropped others and then come back to our apartment, which is right in the beginning of society entrance.
“Nothing to worry uncle, “he said. I can just walk from here, “No need to waste your petrol, I know all the ways in the society”
But I was not willing to let a kid go home alone even if this was within the society. So I said, nothing to worry, let me park here in the visitors parking and walk with you and then I can go home and we will walk to all the homes one by one, if that is ok with you ?
“It is OK uncle” , he said, “let us walk, but you know some of the aunties who come to our home, they tell guard bhaiya they are going to be back in 2 minutes, and they park in somebody else’s parking on ground floor instead of parking in visitors parking. One of these days, I will tell guard uncle that all these aunties are lying and they will not leave for 4 hours.I cannot tolerate liars, he told with a conviction that made me wonder, what anger this little kid has in him.
As we dropped each of the kids to their building gates, or lifts after talking to their parents on phone we finally reached the gate of the building where Boy 4 lives. He said bye and thanks to me and my daughter and wanted to know if he can come and play at our home sometime.
I was fine with the same and said, “We are ok with that if your mom and dad are OK to send you to our home”. Once again he was in his angry young man self, “Ok, I will check but they don’t care, where I go, as long as I pick up the phone”
As I walked back towards our apartment, I looked back at what all I listened willingly or unwillingly.
Just to repeat
- 7 years old know when their parents respect them and when not, and a simple thing like not picking their phone tells them this. Getting a cell phone at 7 is not a big thing, but mama not picking his call is the deal breaker
- They know when parents are talking about adult issues like Divorce
- They discuss with their peer group about such serious issues. It was clear that the D word has come in the conversation with friends in past.
- Getting a baby in family is a big thing. But getting a puppy is bigger, (may be communication gap here?)
- They know when adults tell lies, be it to kids or even to security guards of the society over small things like parking space and time
- They know when their parents really don’t care about them and when they feel loved.
- Kids don’t like to go to parties where adults ignore them.
Now most of this is already know to most of us all knowing parents. Right? ☺ You decide, I am just sharing what I heard.