Friday, March 20, 2009

Look Ma, 10 hands !

“My son can count 1 to 100 – backwards – in Latin,” said 1 proud mom in the park.
My son thinks Latin is the next action hero. I gotta do something NOW… so I dashed around picking up info on how to make my kid into Superkid. Surprise – there are tons of classes offering to turn Neel into Tiger-Bill-Gates-Barrack-Obama-Woods !

Where I live, every kid goes to math genius class, soccer genius class, Art genius class, reading story class (takes a genius to start a class for that), music genius class…. So I enrolled my 4 year old in music, badminton, swimming and dance class – all of which he lasted a week in.

Anyways, so we’re going to have, in the next 10 years, every child who is brilliant, comes 1st in class, is a tennis pro, a swimming champ, wins the Oscar, Nobel and Pulitzer together, plays 6 instruments, speaks 16 languages, and builds a submarine with his bare hands, while doing backward somersaults on the trapeze bar.
Or they’re gonna land up to be very bad losers (because no one wants to come 2nd !). And pick up a gun and shoot everyone who’s done better than them.

Learning : So – me ! I’m going to find something my son is really bad at, and then train him to do even worse. We’ve all gotta learn to come last – I did in the marathon – even after taking a taxi half-way ! He’s going to land up as a loser-hippie-rock n roller on the beach (hmm – should I send him to Rock music class?)


  1. It seems that you have a defeatist attitude towards this topic. Surely, it is a parent's duty to ensure that his child is exposed to as many opportunities as within his limit. It is a question of your knowing better than your child at this stage, what is good for him.

  2. funny blogs Jane:) as always great penmanship

  3. sure, ved. mera blog hai, mein nahin khelti. ;-)
    for a more unbiased opinion on this topic, hear out mala at

  4. i loved it!!!!!!! knowing you and the boys trust me they will be winners!!!!!!!! and yes by just getting your children involved in so many activities doesnot mean your child will be a winner.. love.. care .. helping them being better human beings is all it needs...

    and one has to know you to understand your writing ;)

  5. iam proud of...
    -came home shouting to my mom saying i got 31st the 4th highest rank in a class strength of 35 students...not single digits like my neighbours..
    - 22/100 in maths
    - my music teacher said she will pass me if i promise not to sing...or play the drums on my stainless steel lunch box.
    -my drawing teacher asked me if i was carrying a cutter...when i enquired why? she told me to take it out and stab her...'cos she didnt want to be known as my art teacher.
    -was put in the school cricket team 'cos my brother was a master blaster...thankfully i was always the outstanding member (literally) of the cricket team..memeber 14
    - same with the school football team...atleast there i was asked to be the corner flag referee.
    -when it came to science and practicals my teachers told me that if anyone should learn "the big bang theory" they shud learn from me...
    - my dad had to report to my school more than he reported to work...
    - he was asked how come he had a elder son who was number one in all the academic stuff and sports as well as extra curricular activities...and i was the exact opposite.
    - crafts class S.U.P.W...was according to me SOME USEFUL PERIOD WASTED.
    -was made to sit between two girls in class 4 so that i would be shamed and disciplined ..and my naughty activities wud be controlled...little did my class teacher know it was heaven to be between two girls...later they had to bring their parents and show off their sore bums where i pinched...and sorry my dad had to report again to the principle..
    -was considered a looser by everyone.. thankfully... now they are all eating their words....
    -proud of my dad that not for once he scolded me beat me or even tried to compare me with my bro or others who did well..thank you dad miss you.

    Well Mr.Ved my humble condolences.

  6. kichu, if you did half those things in school, you must have been one helluva kid... loved reading it !

  7. Well Jane, I am not sure I can be as funny as you are and as true to your statement. But I am surely for the fact that we need to let our kids be kids. Weighing their strong points and give them the right positive reinforcements. For example, S(4.5) is not a sport as much as P(3) is who is too much of one. But in my view I had to have S play some sport, knowing that he is not a team person put him in Tennis. Third day of tennis, he says my raquet is not powerful. S is a numbers guy. Told him he uses Nadal's raquet. He was thrilled. Then after class I told him, he was hitting 10 kms/hr. "Uh", "you wait, I will hit "1000km/hr"". So there it goes, a special case, but numbers works with him. So in the court, he is constantly running numbers in his mind, as to what the other kids speeds are and compares. Works! I ask no more and tell no more. Its been 2 weeks now, so hoping it goes on like as if he is going to school. Letting him know that its like brushing teeth, you get to play tennis as a part of routine!! Positive reinforcements is the key with not too much pressure to succeed. As IRA said "love.. care .. helping them being better human beings is all it needs..."

  8. I was always an underachiever - a kid who didn't live up to his potential (and he could, if he would only try a little bit harder).

    I never figured out what that potential was, and spent life convinced that my time would come.

    It hasn't.

    I watched all the kids who did better, the bullies in the playground and everyone else thinking I'll get ahead one day.

    I didn't.

    Kichu, no one ate their words.

    Am I bovvered?

    As for everyone else, they're still holding their breath for me to hit my potential. All I am hitting is the sack.

    Ved, please make a generous donation to me as your new favourite charity, since you understand so much about how easily this all goes tits up.

  9. I thought I'd come back and share my growing up angst and how my parents messed with my head. Again, an appeal to Ved to donate generously. Long comment warning.
    My father was a sailor. Until he retired. I lived at home and rarely saw him.

    Never crack sailor jokes at home when your father is a sullen sailor who will never take over the helm.

    My father saw to it that I never slept on a hungry stomach. He'd fill up my bottle with Rum when I was a few months old, and let me feed from it until I dropped off. One way or another.

    I knew he had hit the shores of his hometown from the smell of his rough tobacco. I had asthma. Never breathe around your sailor father if you have asthma. He'll get the hint when you start turning blue.

    My father took a shower everyday. Even twice a day. This was a constant source of embarrassment to me because I had always thought that sailors were rough men who never had to do these boring things.

    Never interfere when your parents are beating each other up. You could get killed. Losing your siblings and attaining the status of sole surviving child is good enough for you.

    You can forget about school when he is around. You're busy learning to fish, smoke, drink and cuss. What's good enough for your father is good enough for you.

    That's the whole sob story. I think I had a good childhood.
    Despite everything.


    I lived in a haunted house. Never look in the mirror in a haunted house. The mirror looks back at you - and it doesn't blink.

    My mother was a witch though she never used her broom. Never travel on a broom without a pollution-under-control certificate pasted on the handle.

    My mother never beat me up when I was a kid. She had a doll and plenty of pins.

    I have spent many full moon nights looking for vampire bats. Their eyes glow red when they hear the blood of the son of a witch pumping through slim, scared ventricles.

    Use a butterfly net to catch bats. Never shoot them with a catapult. The wings get torn and there goes another pin into that doll.

    When my mother celebrated her 300th birthday, she had the ghosts of the who's who of world history over. Never offer coke to the ghost of Napoleon. He's always watching his waist.

    If one of the guests asks for a drink, expose your neck and let him feed off the jugular. That is the hospitality rule in the family.

    Doppelgangers exist only in the movies. Try not to smile when your classmates in school say they were scared by the movie. Any movie.

    Break the habit of wearing black all the time. Especially when you are walking on dimly lit streets at night and there is no speed limit for the automobiles.

    That's my childhood. I too would like to get the whole painful story off my chest.

    My parents always wanted a girl. They had me instead. They never complained. I just wore frilly skirts till I was twenty three.

    When you aren't in the clothes that suit your gender, you can get quite confused about your identity. For a few years I thought I was a bowl of butter chicken masala. You never take a shower if you think you are a bowl of butter chicken masala. You just squeeze lemon on your head and sit waist deep in gravy.

    I had long hair which I wore in plaits. My favourite movie was "The Madness of King George" and anything else of that period were men looked more like me.

    I love Scotland, though even there, I was treated with contempt, and sometimes, pity - when they heard my story.

    Barbie was my most expensive toy - including the accesories. I had an imaginary friend with whom I would play house.

    I played doctor with a neighbour's boy once.

    I never had to go to the gym.

    I got taken out by the boys once a week. My father would come along as chaperone, with a sawn off shotgun.

    I was always 20 lbs underweight and still insecure.

    When you are a guy in a girl's clothes, you don't worry so much about puberty and subsequent developments.


    I grew up in the intensive care unit of my father's nursing home. My father was a paediatrician.

    I have seen children suffering from everything from erasers in their noses to diarrhoea. They would come in and see my father and he would welcome them all with equal warmth - almost like the warmth of a hot water bottle placed on the lower back by Rosh - my dad's most attractive and expensive nurse.

    My dad never let me out of the intensive care unit. He figured that maintaining the ICU was a fixed cost and it was a small variable cost to let me live there. The cost of medication and his time which he would spend on me if I fell sick would far exceed his variable costs.

    Rosh would look me up when I was a kid. As I grew up she started looking me over. I would reciprocate. I grew up. She grew old.

    Never play with the incubator. It is the first cousin of a microwave.
    And babies get upset very easily.

    When one kid starts howling, all the others in the waiting room follow suit. Pick up the one that started the howling, smash him against the wall, by that corner, and open the door on him. If he lives, he screams more - just remember that. The others will shut up suddenly.

    Maternity wards are slippery from all the water that's broken.

    My father's detox center for 3 year olds was the greatest. They covered it on TV. Some of my best friends were from that ward. They would come into intensive care very often. We would push wires into each other and turn the knobs.

    Sometimes, the ward bullies would find themselves in the ICU. I loved to play with the oxygen valves when they were around. Sometimes, when they snuck a smoke, I'd turn up the oxygen in the tent and the whole bed
    would go up in a fireball. Rosh never lost her job despite all the accidents in her domain.

    Never try the green pills. They make you sick. Most thermometers are for oral use. The pink oblong pills give you a kick but you can OD on them.


    I grew up in a house with a cheap library. All the lessons I learnt were from books I did or did not read.

    From Wodehouse, I learnt that shimmering was cool and creaming policemen was how the aristocracy spent their time.

    For a long time, I thought that Shakespeare's Twelfth Night was a pornographic text, and Hamlet was used in miniburgers.

    I could never pronounce "Puck of Pook's Hill" properly and always got slapped by the librarian for requesting it.

    I was under the illusion that "Prometheus Bound" was the sequel to "Of Human Bondage"

    Thanks to Enid Blyton, I learnt the hard way that if you jumped off the top of a tree, you don't land on a cloud.

    Despite what Thurber's books say, adjectives are not animals.

    Some of the tourists who visit India should not scare you. They are not Medusas. They merely need a shampoo.

    Jughead's craving for food could be Freudian.

  10. srini, you should launch your own blog with this masterpiece ! ;-)

  11. Srini, enjoyed the reading really and everyone else's this blog post does really bring out the bottled emotions in me as well..

  12. hi srini...well just to be clear this is a comments seemed to have mistaken it for a blog...write comments yaar...ha ha... looks like you have lotsa time in your hands...anyway loved it you have a good career in can write whenever jane falls sick...:-)

  13. wonderful, loved the post and Srini post aka comment too.