Changing Times

It was the first Saturday of August. I was leaving my office a bit early. It was a much-needed break, after a strenuous schedule to adhere to the deadlines of filing of the Income tax returns.

As I started my car for the long drive ahead of me, a car had stopped at the curve on the road in front of me. So, I too slowed down. A couple of ladies opened the back seat door and settled down in the car which then moved off.

As I slowed down, I noticed a smart lady in her thirties on the opposite side of the road, taking a brisk evening walk. Her hair was well trimmed, with her goggles perched on her forehead and a small bag across her shoulders. She was talking animatedly over her mobile, but her eyes were very watchful on the road.

On seeing me slow down, she stopped, turned around and nodded her head.  I noticed that a maid who was pushing a pram had also stopped. There was a sweet looking child on the pram, with loose fitting colorful dress and a cap over the head. The child looked so charming that for a moment I felt like picking up the child from the pram and cuddling the baby. I guessed this must be her child because of the concern, writ large on her face and her immediate reaction.

My mind rolled back to the earlier decades, when either the parents or someone from the family, carried the child, placed lovingly across the shoulder, close to the body, with warmth and affection. When tired, another in the family took turns to joyfully carry and cuddle the child. Baby carrier or baby carrying bags soon found takers in the next generation. It reminded me of the primitive cradles that the gypsies straddled across their shoulder to carry their child along with them. The pram came in handy for the child to be put to rest at home or to take the child for a stroll, with the support of a family member.

And now the fast-paced culture has led to childcare being outsourced, in the guise of multi-tasking, not realizing that the primary prerequisite for a growing child is emotional bonding and care.

With the changing times, it will not be surprising when very soon childcare gets to be handled by AI.

Are we in the right direction? Time alone will answer.


More by :  Sundar Rajan

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