Desperate Public Parenting

on Apr 14, 2012

The other day, Mylo parks the car, nods, and stretches his seat to catch a wink in what would be a half-wink chore for me - withdrawing money from the ATM. There was just one guy waiting and I with none of life's pressures on me, strolled to join him. Just then, a scooter stops somewhere behind me and I turn to find a mother-daughter duo. As I watch, the daughter jumps off the scooter, shares a look with her mother, and runs to take position behind the guy, while I was just two feet away from my destination. Now, that creature didn't have a purse, didn't look like she knew the full form of ATM, and was hardly half as tall as me. And as she was cementing two footprints, the mother casually parks her scooter, picks her handbag, and with the slowness of new born baby elephant rummages to find her ATM card.

As she reaches, what has now thankfully become a queue, the daughter energetically invites her and they share the position, casually waiting for their turn. Which-would-have-been-my turn! My turn! I stare at the mother to get an adult connection - nothing. As I was about to shape a retort in my head about queue etiquette, that two foot nuisance turns to give me a smirk.

I roar, "Hey, that's my place and you can't hold positions for your mother in a queue - like throwing a book in and reserving a seat on a busy bus! What are you, refugees? Oh, you need a dictionary for that, don't you?" 
"And you, you are being proud of your daughter cutting into a queue like that, when you clearly saw I was next! Shouldn't you be telling her what's wrong and what's right? Especially in public, towards strangers? You are setting a bad bad example for her. So get behind me or I'll chop her bloody ponytail off and kick your scooter down! "

But I didn't. Maybe it was something in my school anthem or the fact that I didn't have kids of my own, yet. So I waited my turn as I saw that two footer insist on entering the PIN and pull out the money. But as they exited towards their scooter, I glared at the mother's receding shadow wondering how our parents did it.

6 thus spoke:

Anonymous said...

what is this post?? nanasense

Prathibha Rajkumar said...

Poda Mylo!

Moo said...

Dear toothless, lovely post. Sorry you got upset by the two footer.

There is a Hokkien Chinese word that describes the fear of losing something (time, a good deal, a coupon, a discount etc), its called Kiasu. Things like hoarding goods, skipping queue, barging etc fall under a larger description of the word. I've noticed this to be a very Indian thing as well. Gone are the days where we used to say, pehle aap, nahin pehle aap. Its more about getting in front and getting things done sooner, quicker and before everyone else.

I'm sure the kid got a pat on the back from mommy dearest for coming 2nd in the line and not 3rd. Would you say our blind competitiveness has left behind our social etiquette? And if so, how do we revive social etiquette in the world that is moving so quickly.

Prathibha Rajkumar said...

@moo then kiasu is the word! More than the blind competitiveness, it's the small 'wins' that parents perceive to be 'getting ahead in life' or probably even 'maturing.' Just as charity begins at home, a simple 'thank you' to the dad when he gets home with a chocolate is a start. But then, life has become so exclusive, and every moment has become a struggle for survival, even being first at an ATM.

Arch said...

Times I see parents like this, I am so thankful to my own. Kids are given too many things too fast.I hate to sound rude and usually keep quiet too. May be because, I am too young to talk on these things.

Prathibha Rajkumar said...

yeah Arch, too materialistic an upbringing.
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