Friday, October 26, 2007

Deep thoughts

My kids are off to Mysore tomorrow on their own. All of 13 years and 10 years of age respectively. They're growing up, I know, but they're still such babies! Who will take care of them on the flight? Not that anyone needs to, nowadays. My kids are smarter than I was at that age (indeed, they are of the opinion that they are smarter than I am NOW) but they are disarmingly innocent in certain matters. They were lobbying me to buy a plasma TV, which I felt was too expensive (it costs about 100,000 rupees) and anyway, television is so stupid. And we already have a big fat TV. Why do we need a big thin TV? But they wanted it. When I used the economic argument, Vyaas brushed it aside telling me that money was no problem because his granny had given him Rs. 500 and I could use it to buy the TV.

And they are still little boys, for all their man talk. The other night we saw a Hindi movie named Bhool Bhullaiya. The plot is a bit sinister but there is a lot of comic relief in the movie and consequently rated "U/A", a bit like PG in the US, I guess. A good movie, by the way, especially considering that it comes from Priyadarshan who has made some of the more disgusting movies of recent times, for example an abomination called "Garam Masala". As I was saying, the plot is a little scary though not really creepy. But at night, both of them climbed into our bed, on the grounds that there were mosquitoes in their room. Both steadfastly refused to accept that they were even the slightest bit scared. Typical guy behaviour.

Some of the things they like do distress me, of course. The chief among them is gangsta rap. We do almost all our listening to music in the car because at home they're either studying, playing football or watching TV. Or reading the newspaper (I'm not kidding. Both these guys read the dailies with great interest, especially the sports pages and the comics, more typical guy behaviour). So if we go for a long drive (in Mumbai, thanks to our traffic situation, any drive is a long drive), the lads begin the Great Battle for the Car Stereo Remote. The U.N. (in the form of their mom) intervenes from time to time, threatening to impose sanctions which involve chucking the remote out of the window and assuming totalitarian control over the stereo. Peace is then signed and the only music they both like is rap.

I don't know if you've heard much of what Dr. Dre or Snoop Dog have to say but it is almost entirely comprised of the f and allied words. Sheela, god bless her soul, is completely unfamiliar with this kind of stuff, especially when intoned by African Americans, otherwise the lads would certainly be missing a few teeth. As it is, the three men in the family understand the lyrics perfectly, two of them delighting in the discomfiture of the third. Consider my predicament. No father can accept such language in front of kids who, contrary to their own view, are mere toddlers. But if I put the topic under discussion, the crown princes will surely get their butts whipped and their father the king will receive a substantial earful. So I have to deliver a lot of circular threats and artful bribes and get them to switch to something less offensive. Gautham calls Dr. Dre "the American Shakespeare". He'll say things like "Dad, can we listen to the American Shakespeare?" to which Sheela raises an eyebrow and inquires as to who this might be. Luckily, she has not pursued this line of inquiry too far till now. There are some things a woman can never understand.

And these half men-half children will be traveling in a plane unrestrained by the wisdom of their parents. I fear for the stewardesses. On the other hand, serves them right for raising their eyebrows and telling me to fasten my seatbelt.


Maddy said...

hey man..

first dont buy plasma, go for LCD
two - your car stero has a remote?? well well that is new for me.
three - same here, i have given up, both sons are rap fans and one even shows those hand actions with the beat..i gave up ages ago..

narendra shenoy said...

I finally lost the battle of the tv and bought an LCD (I was warned about Plasma).

The car stereos all have remotes here. Yes, does sound a bit ridiculous, come to think of it.

And actually, I quite like rap myself, though I would never admit it in a court of law.

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

Just back home. I'm sure both of them will do fine. I mean, they are tougher than you, can take the roller-coasters in Universal Studios without getting smile and wave them off to Mysore! :) I saw Bhoolbulliya too. Loved it. Another blog called 'Green Indians' to which you have linked is a very nice blog--I love animals, and it was wonderful reading that one, thanks for introducing me to it. I am honoured to have my blog linked as well. First time I'm seeing the 'concerned daddy' feel to your posts, I like it! I'm sure Gautam and Vyaas will return saying they had loads of fun! :)

Nataraj said...

I must be the one who is ancient. I never failed to notice that Indians like the modern entertainment gadgets, and of course plasma/LCD TV which has a recognisable brand name. I and my family live comfortably in Europe, we do not own car, certainly do not have a plasma /LCD TV, but a radio not a DAB digital but an analogue one. My son goes to a very good university. The few luxuries(?) that we have are a few laptops for our business use cell telephones (not the latest) and a high performance desktop that my son uses to work on DNA sequences in genomics. Noticing the trash that Indian TV stations spew out, I wonder about an LCD TV worth 100 grand. This sum could easily feed hundreds of poor Indian souls. Is an LCD TV a status symbol in India these days?

Anonymous said...

Nataraj sir,

You are more than ancient, a fossilied entity. Sure, LCD TV and branded consumer items are status symbols in our land which is going to catch up with the West as Kalam quite often says. This emerging giant of country with over 25% of its population below the breadline, has a core of middle class citizens, politicians and officials who would like BMWs, LCD TVs and like cash 'given under the table' becuase they want to send their sons and duaghters to USA and Germany for studies. Do you think the business operating have 'a moral bottom line'. Listen to the story coming out of the West which says that there is proof that intense child labour is in operation in sweat shops that bring out designer goods. this is the land of Shankara, Buddha and Gandhi! Who cares about the poor any way.

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