Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stereotypes – Parents


And here is another one on stereotypes... This time it is the parents who will have to take the flak. The idea came in the form of a friend saying how her parents are not letting her go to a wedding and that got me thinking.
Warning: A long post!!!


OH-MY-CHILD-IS-SO-DELICATE-SO-HE-WONT-DO-ANYTHING: Also known as being very over protective (yes I know hyper exaggeration but these are stereotypes, aren’t they?). They are typical examples of how you SHOULDN’T be with kids. Typical examples can be seen in Bengali household when come cold (which for Bengalis means as soon as temperature falls below 40 deg C) they will take out all their winter clothes, including monkey caps and the works; and force their kids to wear it. I mean it is really a fun sight to watch a Bengali kid all decked up in gloves, muffler, sweater, warmers and monkey cap while all others roam around in T-shirts. And mind you, it is not restricted to the young ones only. Yet another variety comes in the form of parents who won’t let their children have any practical exposure such buying bread, or going to a chemist shop to buy medicine or god forbid if they have to buy the stationary. No. Their kids, they feel, are much too simple to have these dangerous experiences at the tender age of 25 years.

I-LET-MY-CHILD-DO-WHATEVER-THEY-WANT: On the other hand of the spectrum to the over protective parents are the over liberal parents who couldn’t give two hoots about what their child is up to. Most of the parents that fall into this category have loads and loads of money. So whenever their kids want something, they just give them another platinum card with no ceiling just so that they stop bothering their parents. That’s when the various incidents like the BMW-Hit-And-Run cases happen. But hey…the parents still don’t sweat because they have another set of platinum cards just for these purposes and funding the lavish lifestyles of their children. The children, following the examples of their parents, then evolve into two very different categories – One: The likes of Manu Sharma etc who, in the intoxication of their wealth, end up killing one or more people with guns, or BMWs or may even bore the prospects to death with unending talks about what their daddy does or how much money their mommy make. Second: The likes of people who, when have too much money, will spend all of it on high end ecstasy products like meth, cocaine, liquor etc and then die at the age of 25-30 years or drive their BMW over some innocent pedestrians. You get the idea.

SHOWOFFS: These parents take immense pride in whatever their child is doing and never, ever, ever miss an opportunity to one-up the other person when they are talking about their kids. Their sample conversation with other parents having kids in the same age group would be:

“Parents A: Did you know that Arun won a painting competition in the school?
Parents B: In the school? (With disdain written all over their face) Arrey that’s nothing. Our Noni won an inter-school dancing competition this year.
Parents B: (Not wanting to be shown down) I say that’s beginner’s luck. Arun has been winning that for two years now.

Meanwhile Arun and Noni and wailing in the background for their feeder which the ayah then brings to them.”


I-WONT-SHUTUP-TALKING-ABOUT-MY-KIDS: Aka too much proud parents. Did you know that their kid starting walking at the age of 2 years? Did you know that when he was three, he drew a map of India on their drawing room just with his drool? Did you know that he is so healthy that he poops ten times a day? I don’t really care about such parents. It is one thing when the parents actually have something to boast about. It’s another thing when you start obsessing with every breath and sigh of your kid. It gets even more irritating when these start posting each and every such thing on their twitter and facebook networks in addition to detailed visual representations on their blogs and flikr.

I-WONT-SHUTUP-TALKING-ABOUT-MY-NEPHEWS-AND-NIECES: Aka too much proud uncles and aunts. They are a sub-category of the showoffs and not of the too much proud parents. Not having done anything worthwhile in their entire lives, and having children with the talent equivalent of a wooden log, they find contentment in the achievements of their nephews and nieces, however distantly related they may be. Of course, like all the aunts and uncles, they try and act all derogatory in the face of these children just so the kids don’t get any wrong ideas like they are loved by their aunt and uncle or that they are even needed in this world. In the face of the parents of the child they will always, ALWAYS, criticize the parents for the upbringing that they have given to the child. Examples could include instances ranging from child’s drools all over the drawing room wall or his capacity to poop ten times a day to the child being a voracious reader/student. People don't really need much effort to find faults with others. Given any day, their wooden log of a child is always better than other's poop factory.

THE-ARGUMENTATIVE-PARENTS: They are the single biggest pain that any child is inherited with, even including congenital birth defects. These people single handedly, ok not single handedly but with four or more hands amongst themselves (considering any pati, patni aur woh type of cases are involved), are responsible for the destruction of a person’s childhood and emotional scars so deep that grand canyon compares to be a scratch on the surface. Often, it is with parents like these and lack of social development that you get the people belonging to the mentally troubled genre such as psychopaths, stalkers etc.

CRIBBER: The parents in this category have two further sub-categories and in order to do justice to them, it would be better to explain them separately. First category is of the parents who are never satisfied with whatever their child does. Even if the child studies for 25 hours in a day, they will not be satisfied with them. Not only that, they will also crib about the fact that their child doesn’t study “as much as he should” whenever they are around other parents and especially around teachers. They will always want their child to do more. If the child secured 90%, then instead of applauding them of the feat, they will always bugger them about the rest of the 10% and push them to get even higher marks in the future. It is with these parents that the children find themselves falling short of targets set for them and often provokes them for unwarranted extreme actions such as self inflicted injuries for the fear of disappointed their over-expecting parents. It is a different matter altogether that the parents themselves can even spell “SACHET” but they will still expect their children to win every damn thing that comes in to sight. The second category of these parents is the ones who are never satisfied with whatever they have. They will always crib about how costly the education for their child is, how they are barely able to make their expenses meet and how they have to make cut backs just so that their child gets proper education and how self-sacrificial they are. All while they are packing for a trip to Maldives (See they wanted to go to Mauritius but due to their sacrificial nature, they decided to cut back a little and go to Maldives instead).

POSSESSIVE: “Mera beta/beti sirf mere hain” (My son/daughter are mine only). Different from the Over-protective parents, as the category head suggests in itself, these parents are extremely possessive for their children. They themselves may work their children to death, as if in a hurry to depreciate all their net worth in one go; but they can’t tolerate their child even lifting a finger to help anyone else. Ironically, they also want that other’s children should always be willing to help them out in case of any requirement, however small it may be.

COMPARERS: These parents are never satisfied with whatever their child does or however hard he/she is trying. For them, their perfect child would always be some other than their own offspring; perhaps someone from an unknown planet in a galaxy far far away where, as the stereotypes go, he would not be the perfect child for his parents. Come what may, if the child comes to these parents and says “Hey dad! Know What? I scored a perfect 100 in Maths.”; in all probabilities the parents, instead of patting him on the back and giving a warm hug, would instead ask him “What about Rohan? He also got 100 in Maths didn’t he? And to top it all he also got 100 in Science when all you got was a lousy 98. What good are you for?” Of course, it is these parents who, more often than not, end up killing their own children (both metaphorically as well as literally speaking). With such a pressure on the children, the child forgets how to enjoy and instead starts slaving towards better marks or higher achievements to satiate the unquenchable thirst of their parents. This if the child is lucky. If the child is unlucky, the continuous contempt and the disapproving stance of their parents and fear of any activity with which they might end up disappointing their parents often drives them to retaliate against the society and become unconcerned, non-productive members or drive them down the path of death.

CONTROL-FREAKS: You would have heard all about these parents from your friends and secretely all think that their parents belong to this secret cult. Yes… they aaaaaaare the controoooooooooooooool freaks. They like to control each and every aspect of your life such as when you eat, when you sleep, when you wake up and when you work. Their sole purpose in life, other than your “goodwill”, is to be an overbearing presence in your life and be the force that guides all your actions.

CELEBRITY-PARENTS: The likes of BranGelina couple, Sushmita Sen like people who, now that they have gained as much as they could from the conventional media; are now focusing on non-conventional media to get some recognition and/or moolah for them. Then, there are variations of celebrity parents who were (or at least are supposed to be) stars in the iron age and are now planning for a launching pad for their off-spring. Please note that it is forever a launching pad till the offspring themselves become a veteran of the industry and looks for a “launching pad” for their own spawn. Famous for various movies wih their off springs in the lead, they used to be typically found in the Hollywood arena. This, however, has changed now with newer species rearing their heads in places such as cricket and reality shows.

WANNABE-CELEBRITY-PARENTS: Talking about reality shows brings us to our next set of prental stereotypes… wannabes. They are more typically the parents of some B or C or Z grade star who try and hog the limelight as much as they can. Case in point – Rakhi Sawant and his her mother. As the legend goes, Rakhi Sawant was a hard working, dedicated item girl who got into the business of remixed old songs itemized to current flavors to fulfill her obligations towards her brother, her mother and towards her family in general. She was forced to dance and Jejus (Yes. No spelling mistake there and if you have heard Rakhi you know what I mean) knows what all. But at some point, she got disowned/cheated/tortured etc from the family. This was after the BigBossSeason1 era, which incidentally got her a lot of publicity. Subsequently, the BigBossSeason3 era began with Rakhi’s mom coming into limelight and her ruing the spoilt relations in the family. Yet another species of this sub-class of parents are the ones who have their child (however young or old they maybe) participate in one of the umpteen numbers of reality shows on the Idiot Box (Now literally so). These parents then try to get maximum sympathy votes from the junta (in case of public voting) or judges by reciting a prepared script of how bad they have had, how difficult their lives were and how their child is just short of being angelic by reaching this far. They cry and sob, or make allegations over the decisions and try and create limelight for themselves and their child.

PERFECT-PARENTS: I hate to do this to the lot of you but someone has to bust this myth once and for all. THERE ARE NO PERFECT PARENTS!!! Whatever parents there exists; they are always a convoluted concoction of one or more of the above categories. In some parents, one particular traits would be very significantly observable while in others some other traits. Though, all of the traits are present in all of the parents, at all points of time, in however miniscule proportions. Even god Ram could not be a perfect parent… what are we but mere mortals?

PS: From the post, you might have gotten the idea that all BMW owners are bad and are prone to hurt someone or other. But that’s not true. Some are dead and some behind the bars.

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