Since they were in India, it was difficult, if not impossible, for the metro couple to identify the sex of the child. It was not like it mattered a lot to them about what gender the kid is, but you know, they were just curious. His parents were from Chandigarh and not-so-conservative, so they should probably be okay with any sex. But being the only son, he had his concerns. Her parents were based in New Zealand, and were not the traditional kinds.
So when 'Rhea' came into the world it was amidst a lot of confusion. Confusion regarding her sex, regarding her acceptance, and for the love she might get from elderly.Luckily, apart from cringing just once and counting the number of fingers and toes, and observing her feet, her grand mom did not seem too unhappy with her. Her parents beamed with joy and assured everybody it did not matter to them whether it was a girl or a boy; they wanted the kid to be happy and healthy, and successful. And that they were not gonna have another child in this expensive world.
Her birthdays were celebrated with style. On her 2nd birthday, She was gifted an expensive harmonica from her grand dad. A mini musical guitar from her nana-nani and swimming lessons from an extended aunt. Before she could even beam with joy or say "Wow" the harmonica was put in her mouth and it was tested whether she can blow into it and play some tune. The swimming lessons, which they started when she was almost 3, did not last long since she was too scared of water at that tender age. Her parents were patient, they said may be later. When she turned 4, the school she joined and the classes she attended left her no time to even sit in front of the TV for a few minutes or play in the mud. Rhea had already joined and left piano lessons, bharatnatyam classes, and some theatre group. Just within 6 months of joining, the teachers or organisers had told her parents, she just did not seem to have the touch or liking. Rhea was then enrolled for art and craft lesson. Along with her harmonium lessons and karate class, at the age of 7, she still could manage a little of staying at home time.
Rhea's parents did not think twice before enrolling her into the umpteen number of classes and workshops; they were just trying to find her forte. On insistence of their friends, they did leave Rhea free for one summer vacation. They travelled to Thailand, but she was asked or allowed to take snaps, just incase that's where her talent lied! Unfortunately, none of the pictures were 'good enough' to satiate their search of talent.
"Her 10the birthday is coming next week, you got any plans," her mother asked him once.
"Well, let's see if we can still enroll her for the Shaimak Davar Dance group, am sure she would it there. They teach all kinds of dance, like even random street dance can be converted in to a good number."
"Don't you think we should try if she wants to sing or something? Dancing may be too exhaustive for her frail body?"
"Yeah, you got a point. If she develops a good voice and music knowledge at this age, better chances of making it big sooner."
"Oh, I can only imagine what she will be doing when she will be 12. Apart from coming in higher secondary, I hope she also gets involved in the school activities. May be we should give her a separate activity room by then so that she can do her practice without any disturbance."
Rhea silently left the room. She overheard the conversation and could not hold back her tears. Her parents were arguing. And yet again, this was about her lack of interest and skills in any activity. Her nani was trying to make them understand that she is just another 14-year-old. But her parents insisted that she does not seem to have a bright and promising future. No glamour, no fame. And she was so average in her studies too. "What will she do when she will grow up? Just work 9-5 or probably marry and stay at home? Why can't she atleast do something else. We are not trying for too much, but something other than what a normal kid does? Look at the kids today, aren't they brilliant in all spheres of life?"
When she was 12 and lacked the concentration skills or talent to pursue any extracurricular activities, when she failed two of the exams, her parents gave up on her and took her to a psychiatric. After several tests and some uncomfortable questions, the doctor concluded that she is fine, and does not (as they thought) suffer from any brain disorders or development problems. Unfortunately, Rhea is just a normal child who likes to stay at home, play, and probably watch some TV, if she has the time.
This post is dedicated to all those children who's parents are, hopefully not, forcing and coaxing them to participate in reality shows. With the increasing number of kids show featuring 3 and 4 year old's dancing, singing, acting, cooking, and what not, it is scary to imagine how they might be persuaded to develop a talent, and nothing else. A simple kid with no such interest or ability might face regret and failures in life, at too early a stage. I sincerely hope am wrong, and parents are letting the kids just be. I mean how many of us even remember humming a song with all the musical notes at the tender age of 3. Yes, gifted kids exist, but do not pressurize them into taking up an activity and developing a talent. Luckily I haven't seen any of my relatives or my friends doing this to their kids, but then do they regret that their kids are just ..umm..normal? Do parents desire and dream of seeing their kids instead of the ones on TV. Do they force their dreams on the kids? Does glamour attract people so much? Or is it the money? I shudder with the thought when I think of the girl who has acted as a boy in a few movies. Were her parents this adamant of having a boy or was it that the role required her to be featured as a boy? Or when I see some kids who look good with the front tooth broken on TV maintaining the same look for like years! It is not possible logically and I hope that there are no other reasons for such an appearance.
And I wonder whether education will go for a toss amidst all this? 'No degrees will give you the money or fame that the media will.' Will this thought be ingrained in their mind since age 2? Imagine the plight of that kid who is not interested in studying or sports or any such creative activity. Will he be the target of everyday bombarding by his parents? Wisdom tells me that the average Joe makes big in life, and one should not ever think that the mud-eating and no-poem singing guy in school will not do well in life, but will the parents of today's generation accept it?
All hopes and queries are bundled in this post, and if you are reading this, stop expecting too much outta your child and just let them be what he/she is, a kid!