Being an Indian parent
"Why? Even if your child is blind they must go high, there are blind IAS officers, Bank officials...yes, no ?!"
I stare at Monisha my friend, she is very worried. " Yes yes, ofcourse he must go high. He wants to also do music, have more time to play. We are homeschooling."
All hell breaks loose. Monisha is about to go into shock. How do I tell her the joys of being an average parent? My son still has to go through the throes of Openschooling, not that that is a dream boat moonlit ride. With all the preparatory papers ( I cannot begin to tell you the paper work involved for a Blind candidate/ scribe/ Medical certificate/ attestation/ don't you forget your Aadhar No. / date of birth docuement, all stapled in sequential order !) Nevertheless. We are Indian parents. We cannot ' waste a year ', we plough through reams of pages that sighted students might go through like a song. The Education department will oneday establish a system that will embrace our visually challenged among at least 11 other disabilities I see here. Parents, teachers, children. helpers, everyone accepts the challenge where all types of kids are collectively assessed. Or you have the creative option of Vocational courses that are Basket weaving, Candle making, carpentry, data entry, farming...)
I'm not complaining against any, except myself. I wish I had the guts to tell Monisha how much I enjoy Homeschooling our son, against all odds. He did not clear his Business Paper, no big deal. He has time. but try telling that to my Moni. Her kids are the most driven I've seen, almost enviably so. Kudos to her. I daren't tell her yet I've joined as Art Trainer at a local Talent Academy... sigh. My son loves to paint. He draws little circles in large mega circles. Picasso would have loved his work, his insane tangles that make me want to stand back and let him be a human being at his own pace. But yes, I'm a die hard Indian Ma too. What will I answer Moni when she asks when my son will actually finish his 10th and what will he do later? Yes we are concerned about his future. What will he earn, who will he be? As I write this, I wonder that we ever were human beings first. do we taste the morning air, do we stop our dizzy musical chair races, our rat races, to savour these growing years? Is there room for creativity? Will it pay his bills? Nah. but who knows. Maybe oneday our school curriculums will respect God given time that children need to discover their identities, not the ones stapled onto them with iron clad social dictates, not just at schools and colleges, but at domestic board rooms where worth is assessed by paper scores and certificated achievement.
Have we as parents missed out on so much ourselves, that we expect our kids to be the people we wished we could've been if we were kids today? Really? In a few ways, some times, now and then, I'm glad my son is blind and cannot see the way we miss out on their childhood, how we don't sit in the sun anymore, feeling the warmth of light, just sitting there getting to know one another. I believe with all my heart, Indians own some of the most loving homes and lives, but we as a society are changing so fast and hard, we have forgotten too much : why we got married and had kids in the first place. The future seems like a great big Alibaba cave and I don't have the password. Its like a blue collared Pied Piper has borne all of us away; we were those kids that got allured by the sound of the deadly music of our own fears. We are those - stuck in a time zone, between cultures, neither here nor there- culture vultures with little or no space for the romance with which we begin our Indian weddings, the real dowry is all our children. With all my heart I wish I wasn't so afraid of the future for our kids who maybe never were kids at all.... what kind of parents will they be? Oh this - what kind of grandma will I need to be, ... lets not go there. For now I need hold head high, against streams of dead habit.. into that heaven of freedom my Father, let my country awake.