May 4, 2011

Babies, Kids and their Parents!

I was out one fine Sunday evening having dinner at Subway. There was this family at the next table having their Sunday dinner. I wondered what a family is doing at Subway because Subway is the sort of a place where bachelors go to eat when they are not in the mood to eat anything! Their choice, let’s not judge that. The Small family consisted of Mom, Dad and two kids – a baby and her five year old brother. Dad went to place the order; the five-year old was visibly excited; the Baby was crying and Mom did nothing to stop the crying!

For crying out loud!

First of all, why do babies cry? What are these babies crying about? They don’t have deadlines to meet. They don’t have financial problems or any relationship issues. In fact, their lives are so awesome that they don’t even have to move to poop and they’re still crying! They are living through what they would look back as the best period of their lives and still they cry all the time. Something is wrong with humans! You don’t see kittens crying do you?

I have come to accept that we can never completely do away with babies. But the parents – parents who board flights and trains with their babies; parents whose families cause mild-to-medium inconvenience to strangers like me; parents who take their babies to the movies or other places where I might be – they ought to be blamed.

Parents, we know you act all embarrassed, sport a guilty smile and wear an expression that says, “I have no idea why babies cry” but the thing is 90% of the time you are the reason the baby is crying. You take babies to dark loud claustrophobic movie halls and to bright noisy restaurants, to crowded trains and bumpy planes. You take babies to places they don’t belong to and then you wonder why they are crying. Your game is up – we know that you are the reason your baby is crying!

Mum's the tongue

Okay back to the story. The five year old brother of the crying baby was all excited about his meal. He was animatedly yelling instructions to his Dad on how he prefers his Sub knocking out a few things on the table in the process. Mom obviously irritated with his enthusiasm barks out simple instructions like “Chintu sit – Chintu no… Chintu don’t be a bad boy… CHINTU I SAID NO!” in a loud but hushed tone.

I don’t know how it is for you people but I find parents talking to their kids in English a little weird. Especially if the kid is 4 years old and the parent is not very comfortable in English! A conversation in English is totally fine but communicating with a four-year old involves barking a lot of mono-syllabic instructions and it always reminds me of puppies being trained! No offense but where I’m from, that’s the only time people use English! What can I do? I can’t change my past!

Finding it weird is my problem not the parents’ fault. But I don’t understand is why English is forced on little children as their first language – as their language of thought! I understand fluency in English is important but just because you work in a software company where you have to do the documentation in English doesn’t mean that your mother tongue has outlived its purpose! There is tons of inherent cultural knowledge your kids are missing because you are denying them their mother tongue. So young parents, you’re basically screwing it up for your kids in a big way!

Sanitize this!

Where were we? Yeah, Dad has now brought the sandwich along with some Lays chips and bottled water. Mom takes the hand sanitizer from her purse and instantly sanitizes everyone’s hands. Are washbasins “ssooo last century” now? What’s the logic in giving only tissues in a humid place like Bombay? We always end up leaving leave the place with sticky hands don't we?

I agree that as part of an “international chain” franchisees have to maintain some sort of consistency in the way the place looks but if stuffing paneer into a sandwich is allowed I don't see why putting a couple of washbasins is difficult. May be there is a bigger reason for the absence of washbasins. May be the only reason KFC is finger licking good is because they do not have enough washbasins!

Disclosure: I personally don’t have a problem with babies crying next to me in a train because it takes much more than a tiny baby with a shrill voice to disturb me from my sleep! After all I do have over 85000 hours of experience!

P.S: Have you seen lately?


  1. YOU ARE AWESOME! Waiting for the day you have your baby in your arms and I'll be the to point and laugh as you try to shut up the crying/pee/poo machine!

  2. totally agree with you on the mother tongue thing...

  3. yeah we will see who's going to be pooped on first!

  4. there is nothing more funny when you're around such yuppie mom talking english with the kid, tis more she's displaying her skills to gazers around

  5. Remember once you were a baby too and people tolerated you. It's payback time :-)

  6. hehe.. yes probably. Never looked at it that way :)


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