Times are fast-a- changing..for better or for worse, depends on which side of the fence you find yourself.
As parents, all is not hunky dory. Our brats are under focus, scrutiny and attack, if I may add. Close on the heels of a report that kids in Mumbai receive the highest amount of pocket money,they naturally earn the privilege of being the highest spenders. The ad gurus, fast to learn and quick to implement have decided to address their ads to the 'new entrants' on the block. The savvy young breed of decision makers, our kids.
Never one to lose an opportunity, there comes an anouncement by the ICICI Bank introducing the 'Young Stars Account' for ages between 7-18. What's sensational, you may ask.
Wait till you read of the perks. A personal debit card with daily spending/withdrawal limits of Rs2500.
Now thats a fire in the hay stack kind of matchstick thrown our way. One kid has it, and there the tantrum takes centrestage..''I want it too". No amount of cajoling and manipulation can really work at this stage. May help to delay the propensity of the needed reaction, if you are lucky. But act you will have to , one way or the other.
"The world is getting materialistic, by the hour" was a constant refrain of my Grandma, 20 years back Wonder what she'd have to say today.
Ahh nostalgia..takes me back to the time when in one of the absurd demands, children make, I threw a fit for an aeroplane, on a visit to the airport. There I was all teary eyed, hiccupping in misery, sobbing at having been told that I could not have one. My dad, a great one for masterminding ingenuous ways and means to turn the tide in his favour offered a deal . He explained that he since he was just a little short of cash for the aeroplane, suggested that I settle for the next best , which he would get me right away, while the aeroplane, was agreed to be momentarily kept in abeyance... I wiped my tears, fiddled with the kerchief, thought really hard, and settled for a Five star cadbury chocolate. Since Pa looked relieved, I quickly made it 'two'.
"Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built." James Dobson
The ad makers, banks are villains of the story, in the lives of our kids, cementing impressions on their impressionable minds.What they are in fact contributing towards is for one, exposing them to artficialities at a younger age than accepted, by equating acquisition of expensive gadgetry with happiness, secondly, depriving them of the simple pleasures of say, saving up rupee by rupee, in a Piggy bank, hear the tinkling of the coins in unbounded pleasure, seeeking to fulfill a simple and innocent dream, or better still , waiting to surprise a dear one with a gift, bought from breaking open the piggy and wide eyed unparallelled excitiment of counting up one by one the accumulated treasure of arduous sacrifice, and unswerving goals.
One is not against the practise of 'pocket money per se. In fact it is highly recommended as means to the quickest and most effective lesson in economics. Earn, spend, save. What is scary is the attitude of some folks to compensate lack of quality bonding time with perhps a debit card, now. With the coming of age of 'collarless crimes' from the Manu sharmas, Abhishek Kasliwals of our society, the fear of 'drugging' easy money is all the more pronounced. Too much too soon..then what?
Too much of pocket money, and its an invitation to misuse. Too little and its a thrust to criminal resorting to acquiring it. The underworld feeds on youngsters in the' get rich quick mode'. Therefore, just enough to keep the value of the rupee from getting undervalued. Buddha and his middle path is an advisable remedy here.
In a world already riddled and fraught with stresses of unsatiated desires and forlorn, meaningless existence, this is serving to perpetuate the miseries of modernity, over the raw freshness of untainted , simplistic life, some of us would want to present our children with.
We need more Dhirubhai Ambanis and Azim Premjis, self-made, enterprising and Legendary .
What I am certain of is that their pocket money was perhaps next to non-existent.