Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cobbler, cobbler mend my shoe.......

Every now and then it is very common for my children to come to me with a complaint that the zip of their school bag has come off or the sole of their shoe has come apart or the watch has stopped working and so on and so forth. Each time this happens they ask me for a new one to replace any of the above mentioned items. I tell them that all these can be repaired and can be used for the next ten years and they stare at me amazed.

I realise that unlike olden times our children are getting used to the use and throw culture. Once some thing as small as a zip of the bag is not working they think that it is time to discard it and buy a new one. One cannot really blame them. I guess from the time plastic was invented mass manufacture right from toys to kitchen ware lead to use and discard practice. Over a period of time the children have therefore got used to this.

I remember when we were children and when we had to get our shoe mended we used to go to the cobbler and really enjoy seeing him deftly mending it. Similarly if our kitchen knives were to be sharpened there would be these people who would come and do it (I do not know what they were called) They used to have a metal wheel which they would rotate and hold the knife against it and we would enjoy seeing the sparks fly as they would sharpen the knife. There would also be people who would polish the zari on the sarees, or polish silver ware and so on. But over a period of time these utility professionals yet who were a very integral part of our lives have slowly disappeared from our life.

Just the other day my son told me that the entire sole of his football shoe had come off and he had to get a new one as he had an important match to play. Well I was aghast as it had been bought not so long ago. I told him that this could be repaired and  I took my very much sceptical son  to a cobbler whom I had just seen open shop close to my house and as we stood there waiting, I was once again mesmorised as his deft fingers nimbly sewed the shoe and within ten minutes when we got the shoe back my son was amazed to see such neat and perfect work and as good as new shoe. He was very happy. That day he learnt that discarding need not be the only solution. As we walked back I pondered sadly as to how long before will these people who have been an important part of our lives last in their specialised profession in this age of technology?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Our children deserve a better India

I always remember this sanskrit saying "Yatha raaja, tatha praja" (As the king is so will be his subjects). This might be a very old proverb but I should say it is more relevant in today's scenario than at any other time. Every other minute, there seems to be one scam or another tumbling out of this Government's closet. Values like righteousness, truth, honesty, hard work etc., seem to have got buried in the deepest recesses of the earth.

Many a time, I question myself whether this is the same India where we as students used to read about unity in diversity? Is this the same Bharat where the Vedas were born? Is this the same land where great sages and saints once lived to guide mankind? Most importantly is this the same  land where Lord Krishna once revealed in such beautiful words the Bhagavad Gita - a beacon showing every man the right path to live? 

I feel deeply distressed that our so called elected representatives are busy misusing the mandate given to them by us. When my children read the newspapers they ask me in a matter of fact manner if all the people representing the Government are corrupt? And if they are, why are they not being punished? Now as a parent there are several questions that revolve in my mind. As parents, we try and inculcate the right values in our children right from their impressionable years and follow it ourselves. We encourage them to be truthful and honest all the time. We teach them these values by reading out books like Panchatantra, Ramayana, Mahabharath and so on. We try and teach them about simplicity and austerity by telling them about the life of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda, Gandhiji and so on.

But in the current situation children are old enough to understand what is happening around them. They are more than ever exposed to a world which seems to be contradicting the very values that they are being taught by us. In such a scenario I feel at a loss as to explain to the children why things are so. It comes as no surprise if children have already turned out to be more and more cynical and remain completely unaffected by all the happenings around them, as it seems to have become a daily affair.

It troubles me as to where would all this lead to in future? Is it not a scary scenario? Isn't it a tragedy that our children are growing up in a corrupt India and more dangerously, believing that it's the way of life? Will our future generation be able to uphold the right values?