April 20, 2006

And Now Banks Take Over Piggy Banks

Filed under: India n Me,Random,This Gets To Me — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 12:18 pm

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.

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  1. I wonder if you have seen the ad for a condom, where a kid is bawling, rolling on the floor, arms flaing,fists clenched….bnasically acting like the brat of the first order because he wants something and his young harassed looking father is looking more and more embarassed by teh second. and the ad ends with the line, those who don’t use …condom…happy father’s day
    a very dear friend of mine who is rasing her daughter singlehandedly rather well has just spent 20000 rs on her b’day gift, one of which is a fancy cell phone and the b’day girl is just 12!!!
    now that i am 27 and not looking at things that i don;t have with envious eyes as i used to when i was a kid…i am kind of glad that my parents did not buy me each and every comic that i demanded and we were the three sisters who made khadi gramudyog and fab india a rage in our college…
    the love and the desire that i have for books and respect has been fostered by my mother’s No Means a No, wait till your birthday.
    and also don’t compare your clothes with this one and that one because i can show you 50 more girkls your age who can’t even imagine having half of the dresses you own…
    my mother bebing a sanskrit lecturer was constantly in conact with students who more often than not were struggling to get that degree, were doing all household chores before coming to college unlike us who woke up at 8.30 for an 8.40 class….so i know that my mother was not making up stories to shut my demands…
    i also think all these kids who have got everything so easily…what do they have to look forward too…
    won’t they get bored of all these things one day soon?

    Comment by silbil — April 20, 2006 @ 2:16 pm | Reply

  2. So true silbil..making fab India and khadi gram udyog famous is what I am talking about. It was ingenuous of you girls to have thought of it and today you are proud arent ya? Less inspires us for more while simultaneously cherishing the less,I guess is the lesson here..Haiku?

    Btw congratulate your mom, she has done a great job.It is very visible.:)

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 20, 2006 @ 3:15 pm | Reply

  3. All the years that I fought with mom and still do ,in fact, was for the things that she refused to give me. I still find it unreasonable at times, but not as much, now that I know , how unreasonable I was being. When I am a mother I know that to a large extent, I will be strict too. It is so easy to fall prey to wrong habits at that age and with money at your disposal.

    I think one needs to pity these kids since they dont really know what to do and whom to follow.

    Comment by Neha — April 20, 2006 @ 3:31 pm | Reply

  4. Dhirubhai… yes… but look what he created – Anil bhai.. Check your mail for his conversations with AS.
    But your post has made me nostalgic.
    I miss us as children, starry-eyed and naïve. I miss those days when that one mile cycle ride from school to home was filled with a hundred dragons to slay and house after house of consequential stories. I am so sad for the loss of these things. Once upon a time we were pimply teenagers eating samosas in a dingy halwai shop in an obscure market and exploring the worlds of our minds without inhibition, without selling ourselves out to the highest bidder. We entered adulthood that way. We entered adulthood intact.
    And now that all seems so far away. So very far away.

    Comment by Chameleon's Karma — April 20, 2006 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

  5. My mom said..You want it and you dont get it..Welcome to the world buddy!It made me a fighter I think..began with her and then others. But I grew up.

    Comment by doublebarrel — April 20, 2006 @ 7:22 pm | Reply

  6. Please read this blog post by this boy Manish called I really miss these things…
    the list is so sweet and so so apt it made me weepy…
    and it sure echoes the sentiments that we are going through
    glance through the other posts too…he writes well!

    Comment by silbil — April 20, 2006 @ 8:44 pm | Reply

  7. Neha,

    What u said, was so dont really know if they want something coz they truly desire it or coz the peers ruke their thinking and dictate what the next best ‘cool’ fad is. And that is what is scary. One has constantly be in touch with your kids thinking and subtly guide him/her.

    Ck, that was so nice.. ‘we entered adulthood intact’..for all its various connotations.

    The question is that do kids necessarily feel they are losing out on anything? all they have seen is this.And wheres the problem..’chillax’ like my kid says. It is us who are pining for the days of simple wants and innocent desires. To them an ipod is a simple enuf thing..’its just music Mom, the way I want to listen to it’..It is isnt it?

    double barrel.

    i simply loved what your mother said..I tried saying that to my son too. But he is a smart one. He knows exactly what buttons to make a go at with me. His answer was ‘ I know its going to be difficult. so why are you making it so already? you’re my mom..if I dont tell you, who will I say it to? ‘..whimper..whimper


    yeah I went to the link..It was real cute. But at the beginning of the post he said this was a forward he had received..all the same , only goes to prove there are plenty geting nostalgic, irrespective of age.:)

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 20, 2006 @ 10:07 pm | Reply

  8. As a wise man once said:”Raising kids is part joy and part guerilla warfare.”

    And everything I learnt about parenting was from a book called Parenthood by Bill Cosby!

    Comment by Chameleon's Karma — April 21, 2006 @ 10:25 am | Reply

  9. As a wise man once said:”Raising kids is part joy and part guerilla warfare.”

    And everything I learnt about parenting was from a book called Parenthood by Bill Cosby!

    Comment by Chameleon's Karma — April 21, 2006 @ 10:25 am | Reply

  10. The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard. ~Sloan Wilson

    Comment by Chameleon's Karma — April 21, 2006 @ 10:31 am | Reply

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