Friday, June 15, 2012

Taiyari kiski?

So Bournvita has come up with a couple of ads like this, where the kid is taking part in some kind of sport, where he is testing his own limits by more and more practice.  The children are constantly practicing, either as a gymnast or a basketball player and their mother is looking on.  After falling or missing the baskets a couple of times, the kid would say something like to the effect of how they are not tired of practicing, because their mummy tells them how they must be persistent in practicing and should not give up till they succeed.

Now, this idea is a bit disturbing.  The more I see these ads on tv, the more disturbed I get, because a brown powder, which in my opinion just changes colour of milk and makes it taste little chocolatey and sugary, is talking how important winning is.  Being an average person is not acceptable in society, being an achiever is not good enough, and how everyone should be an overachiever.

Assuming grown ups are not fond of milk and how this product's target audience is children *and* their mothers, I think it is unfair to be asking for too much from children like that.

I did not have an exceptional childhood.  It mostly consisted of coming home from school at 4, watching tv till 6, finishing homework, watch more tv and sleep.  When I was a kid, our place was considered outskirts of city, and we had very few neighbours, and hardly anyone my age.  Sister had already discovered internet and I was just the annoying younger sister.  But I went cycling, played chess with grandma (where she let me win because I have always been cute, and no one wants to see a cute girl cry) and read "champak".  I have also been an average performer till 10th, and scored well in boards and have done better ever since.  But I don't remember my parents telling me how I *need* to excel in everything I do.

Yes, dad did get upset once when I scored 44/100 in social studies once in 8th, which I am not proud of, but after telling me, 'take care next time', he let me be, and I scored 71/100 in finals, because I tried hard. (in my defense, highest marks in former exams in entire class was 51, and our school was strict in that way, highest scorer hardly scored more than 65/100, because they wanted to keep us grounded. whatever logic)  I scored the highest in that term.  There was no pressure on me from parents to score.  I did it because I knew I could have, it was just that I was lazy.  C'mon, you are 14 years old, big deal if you score less, no? not the end of world.

Today, when I see my younger cousins I feel sad.  Not only because they are Hannah Montana fangirls and want to show cleavage at 13, and put on loud make up, but also because their parents want them to be the first in their class.  If the mother is expecting her daughter should score 90 marks in maths, and if she scores 84, the mother requests for rechecking of paper to class teacher because she believes that her daughter should have scored 90 only.  My parents never fought with the teacher, mostly because they trusted the teachers know what they are doing, and if i didn't get marks, it was perhaps because I was wrong.

Today, parents don't want to accept their child could go wrong, that way, they end up putting the pressure on the kid that they have to live up to their parents' expectations.

Is it that important to win, always? Is it so bad to fail? Is it that bad to be average?


Viju said...

There's a lot more to life than competition. It's called enjoying what you do. Sadly, a lot of us don't realize it for a very long time.

Fortunately, things have changed in the last 5-8 yrs wrt. the 'less glamorous' professions and the like, and that hopefully gives the kids of today who are 'mediocre' at something, a chance to excel in something else.

A very nice, relevant, and important post!

Shiv said...


Shiv said...


Shiv said...


Anonymous said...

Nicely done :)

I've always wondered where do all IIT toppers end up and what are they up to these days? I mean we see their pics in newspapers once they ace the JEE but what after that? Do we see their pics at all?

Academics in our country is fairly overrated, particularly the draconian emphasis on textual knowledge. Things, however, are changing, albeit slowly. Hopefully we progress into a society which truly nurtures people's passions and does not compartmentalize everyone into buckets of engineers, doctors, lawyers and miscellaneous.

Ajit (@ajit_bhaskar)

satish said...

you should see a movie called the big lebowski. dude prevails.