Random Thoughts

Parents' Pressure or Clueless Children?

Many times, in the present day milieu, I am really amused by the parents’ over indulgence on their children. It is well known that every dream they had about them are thrusted on their children so that they could fulfill their ambitions. Or sometimes, I wonder whether it is the overzealous parents’ wish or the clueless children’s whims. Whatever, I will share a very interesting experience I happened to come across with one of my friends’ family. 

Janakiraman and his wife Malathi are both employed and earning good salaries by present day standards. They have just two kids, a daughter who is elder and a son who is younger. The daughter Indu is a pretty girl but very average in her studies. That does not affect her behavior much. She is a well groomed kid with pleasing and soft manners. She was initially in the CBSE School where she could not secure more marks in the subjects. So, after tenth she was shifted to a state board school so that she can do better in academics. In addition, she has been attending dance and music classes in the evenings after taking coaching in badminton. (This is a common phenomenon nowadays, of course!).

Once when I met her I asked what she was learning in dance; she blinked for a moment and replied some thing called Jathiswaram. I was surprised because she had been going to the dance school for nearly five years. When I questioned on when most of the children try to go for arangetram by that time, why she had been stuck with jathiswaram. She smiled and said that her ‘guru’ being very strict and will never allow going further if they don’t perform well. ‘Good’ I said and asked her what was the jathiswaram she had been learning. She hesitated for a moment and replied it was something in Kalyani. I did not go further. Then when enquired about her music lessons, she dismissed it that of late her teacher was not well and she was not taking classes. ‘Whatever she had learnt so far’ were nothing but a few small songs and geethams. On weekends she added she had to go for swimming classes. 

By the way, I have never evinced interest on her progress in badminton or swimming as I know nothing about both. 

Unfortunately, Indu secured only 68 percent in her plus two. Knowing that they may have to shell out more capitation fee for an engineering seat, the Janakiramans have decided to put her in B.Sc Mathematics. I wondered how she could manage since I know she is just an average student and Maths is quite tough. Janakiraman replied that Indu always liked Maths and she was poor in chemistry only. By that time, Indu stopped going to dance and music classes but started with computer and French lessons. ‘Why French?’ I asked Janakiraman for which he replied proudly that Indu likes languages. 

After three years, Indu completed her B.Sc with some arrears to be cleared. But, by that time she discontinued her French classes but progressing with her computer courses. On another occasion when I visited Janakiraman’s house I found a brand new veena kept in the corner of the hall. I was just surprised and asked Malathi whose veena was that. She happily added that they have purchased that recently since Indu started attending veena classes conducted by a ‘Mami’ in the neighborhood. ‘So what else she does? Has she gone to computer class today?’ I enquired Malathi; Malathi replied ‘No. She had gone for contact programme for her correspondence course’. I was shocked. ‘Correspondence course? In which subject?’ Malathi beamed and said ‘She is studying English language and literature’. ‘Oh, I see.

Why she wants to do English after doing Maths?’ for which Malathi’s cryptic reply was ‘Indu always likes to learn languages’. I recalled Janakiraman’s words earlier and I probed about her French course. Malathi replied that she had completed it. At that moment, Malathi’s son Raghu intervened and added ‘Indu is also going for learning western dance classes now’ and guffawed. I didn’t reply. 

After that incident I happened to meet Indu with her parents in a wedding. After the usual pleasantries I enquired about her new veena class. Indu sadly replied ‘What to do uncle, that teacher fell sick and moved to her son’s place in Mysore’. I too felt bad and said. ‘You can find another teacher’. Indu replied ‘I am looking for one’. Raghu who was by her side replied ‘She will never find one’ and smiled. Then suddenly remembering, I asked about her correspondence course in English. ‘Oh..that..it was quite taxing uncle...so I left it with the first sem.’ I questioned ‘I heard that you are going for western dance, Raghu said’. She smiled and replied ‘Yes..I am learning Salsa now’ since I didn’t know what is ‘Salsa’ I kept mum. 

But, with all these Indu’s marriage has been fixed recently. It is a love marriage with arrangement. The groom was her computer class teacher who is now working in a famous IT company. So through one of these classes she attended she had relieved Janakiraman and Malathy the trouble of searching for a groom for her. The marriage is expected to take place sometime in the month of August this year. 

Very recently, I ran into Indu the other day near Adyar. After the usual exchanges I asked her where she was going. ‘Oh, now I am going for cookery classes here, because I am getting married, you know..’ said Indu and laughed. 

The Janakiramans have taken every step to make their daughter Indu a jack of all trades. I am sure most of the parents. Who said life is listless? 


More by :  G Swaminathan

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