Monday, 5 May 2014

Parenting Style - Just Beat It

Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad.
                                                                                             – Parents

India, as a society, is peculiar. Every nation is, for that matter. But here, they range from illogically funny to outrightly strange. It will take a lot of time to delve deeper into explaining the previous statement, not that I don’t have it. So let me keep that as another topic for an article. The guru-shishya (teacher-student) relationship has been a long cherished part of our culture. One more such relationship is that of the parents and their off-springs, the peculiarity being the parenting style of some.

One fine day, I was at home watching one classy episode of Shaktiman on a Saturday afternoon. Suddenly, the TV was switched off and before I could recover from the trauma, I felt a hard blow on my cheeks which left me off balance for a moment. I had taken some extra rupees and bought some temporary tattoos which were a fad in those days. This was the reason I overheard while I lay in my bed, pretending to sleep, sobbing to cover up my guilt and recovering from the traumatizing slap. (To save me some pride, let us assume this was a hypothetical story just written in first person.)

Anyway, what I have tried to highlight here is a very effective and efficient technique employed by a lot of families in the country to keep their children in check during their early moldable childhood. A unique parenting style – just beat it. There is a law or something that prevents Americans from beating their kids. And for me personally, a couple slaps were my sleeping pills in those days.

Based on my observations of a lot of my friends, it is safe to assume this was a widely practiced method to discipline the non-suspecting kids. When a friend didn’t come to play in the evening, we knew exactly why. We observed a minute of silence, out of solidarity, for the fallen soldier. After the customary beating, we were treated with a warm glass of milk by the soft-hearted one in the family but only after an imposed let-me-see-if-he-learnt-his-lesson-first period of time. Guilt-ridden, a soft purring ‘sorry’ was forced out of our mouth and the lost love returned.
The very same principle was applied by the teachers at school until the government came cracking down on capital punishment. I hold a record of my own of being beaten up, in some way or the other, only once although at every school I have been to. Now that I look at those moments, they weren’t any less fun when your friends were alongside you. Itni khushi, itni khushi. I’ve been hit on the knuckles, stood outside in the sun, been barred from the class and other creative punishments, but never without a friend accompanying me :D

‘Go stand in the corner’, ‘stand up and keep standing’ were some of their favorite punishment templates, ready to use. The dreaded wooden scale was their go-to tool for the crime and some idiot always had one at his disposal, just eagerly waiting for the teacher to call out, myself being one sometimes. The wooden dusters were the backup. And I’ve tasted one from my own scale ironically.

I like to think that these physical hits toughened us up, kind of. It provided the teachers with the same thrill serial killers experience maybe. Just maybe. I haven’t been beaten up for quite some time, so it may be out of fashion now, I don’t know. The next generation will be a bunch of weaklings for all I could imagine.

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