Undercurrents and Undertones

"The intake by the senses are part of the food that builds the individual. The sounds heard, the sights seen, the tactile impressions sought or suffered, the air breathed, the environment that presses for attention, appreciation and adoption - all these are 'food'. " - Sathya Sai Baba

Undercurrents and Undertones
Our granddaughter trying to catch the smoke from the agarbatti

Recently, we were on a flight and my co-passenger was at her wits’ end because the boy sitting behind her was thumping his feet at the back of her seat. Despite all her angry looks, admonitions etc. the brat did not let up. She asked for her seat to be changed but the flight was choc-a-block, so the air hostess had to cut a sorry figure.

The exasperated lady told the prankster’s parents to discipline their child. The parents counselling worked for a few minutes but the boy was back to his antics sooner than later.

Sometime hence, I got up to use the washroom. I saw the boy playing a violent game on a mobile phone, while continuing to kick mindlessly. His mother was playing a game of crossword on her phone and the father was watching a movie on his iPad. Both parents had earbuds on and were completely unaware of their offspring’s antics. This antagonised my co-passenger further.

Well! The flight touched down and the affected lady finally came face to face with the mischief monger’s parents and said, “You need to take this young brat across your knees and give him a good spanking.”

Surprisingly, both the parents grinned. I wondered if they even understood what the lady had said. And then I saw what was written on the little devil’s red T-shirt in large and bold letters, “Women Aaaarrrrrgh!!! Ladies, you available?” My eyes popped out! I blinked and read it again … I couldn’t believe my eyes. The boy would be five or six years old and the T-shirt… I looked at his parents. They realised what I was reading and they grinned from ear to ear!!! I missed a heartbeat. Did they really think that their child was cutely dressed?

We deplaned but I could not get the boy out of my mind. If this is what the parents want their children to learn, whose fault is it?
Our children are our real wealth. This true for the family, the society or the nation. If our youth is misguided, how can we prosper?
It is important to ensure that children are exposed to positive thoughts, words and deeds. If parents use the wrong vocabulary, children pick it up. If there are obscene pictures on your walls, the children feel that these are normal things.

All things around us, that are taken in by the five senses are a part of our food… even if it’s a violent video game! They nourish our body, mind and spirit. It’s the parents job to provide the right food not only to the tummy but to the eyes, ears and most importantly the mind.

We as a family do puja together every Sunday. One such day, I was fascinated by my one year old granddaughter trying to catch the smoke emanating from the aggarbatti in my puja room. I smiled … these are the vibes I want her the catch … subtly but surely!

This piece is published as the Middle piece in The Tribune on 04.08.2023. It can be viewed here https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/musings/undercurrents-and-undertones-531870

(Dear reader, this is the sad state of our society today. And perhaps all of us are to blame in more ways than one. Please share your thoughts at the bottom of the page. Perhaps sharing of ideas can lead to some betterment in parenting styles.)