Woes of parenting

Woes of parenting

There was a mild flurry in my first class compartment, as a young mother and son with assorted pieces of luggage tumbled in. He was an overweight child, 5 or 6 years old, with glasses thick enough to serve as a lethal weapon. My sympathy quotient was just leaning towards him when I heard him yell ‘give me my noodles I am hungry.’ My misplaced sympathy sprang back and went to the mother who in the middle of grappling with luggage placement, disappeared into a large bag to emerge with a huge tub. What looked like a meal for four was proffered towards him with a placating sound only to be met with a loud, ‘where is my plate and fork?’. Her head disappeared once again into the bag and a little rummaging later produced the two items. By then Lord Fauntleroy was engrossed in his latest X box game and commanded, ‘I am busy, feed me.’ I could barely restrain myself from jumping up and thumping him! Pity the mother didn't feel the same. Instead, she emptied all the noodles onto the plate, moved to my berth from theirs, and began feeding him from the overflowing plate, while he played with his Xbox and abstractedly wolfed down the noodles.

As the train began to move a young man in the ubiquitous jeans and tee entered our compartment looking rather ill tempered. Judging from the girth and glasses it was the brat’s father. He irately informed his wife about the TT’s inefficiency in confirming their tickets then took in, what probably was a common place scene to him;and demanded some food.She stopped feeding the son and once again buried her head in the bottomless bag and produced another container with its complement of plate and fork, and dished out some of its contents. Tubby Two Shoes deigned to look up long enough to ask for what his father was having and returned to his game. Without a murmur she dished out a sizable portion on to his half empty plate and continued feeding him as though he was doing a PhD on Xboxes.! Observing the father and his uncouth demeanour I realised the child was not entirely to blame for his behaviour. I wisely decided to bury my head in my book to avoid any fury related incident on my part.

When I looked up a couple of chapters later, crockery and cutlery had been put away, the father was slouched opposite me playing with his fancy multi tasking gizmo, the mother sat at the other end looking out of the window and murmuring into her nifty little mobile, while the apple of their eye was assiduously trying to destroy property belonging to the Indian Railways. My glare of disapproval deterred him for a fraction, before he continued his attempts at ripping the seat. Defeated, I took in the desultory scene before me and thought: welcome to 21st century parenting in India.

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