Sastang dandavat at your lotus feet Swamiji. I can’t thank you more for the insightful blog that you penned down yesterday. It has many takeaways like the question ‘why’ and an array of other guidelines regarding utilisation of time, energy, emotional investment, the art of saying ‘no’ without hurting the feelings of the person who approached with the proposal / query / request / order. Please bestow me the power to say ‘No’ to my boss at office and re-iterate the dialogue delivered by Amitabh Bachhan in the movie ‘Pink’ : ‘No means no. It is a complete sentence in itself!” and still not get the ‘Pink Slip’ from my eco-friendly (err. Read it as ego-friendly) boss 😉

Jokes apart, I have been running super duper fast since last one and half month. With two Mission Impossible Projects at office (why it so happens that Govt. Projects get delayed by all the agencies and when the items land in the hand of the Project Group, the pressure would have gone far far beyond any instrument can measure!). Running at a break-neck speed has torn my body and soul apart.

The month of January has almost got eliminated from my life. How days turned into night and before the sleep was complete and my batteries had recharged, I had to run to work. All I am now remembering is only readings, algorithms, Statistical Analysis, gazing at various User Interfaces, LEDs and other displays, waiting impatiently to get the ‘desired value’ displayed and a whole heck of trouble shootings. Both Physically and Mentally drained out days and quickly ending nights are what I remember. I will write a blog or two later on this. But oh Swamiji, please accept tons of gratitude at your lotus feet for handholding me in the entire Project, which ‘I’ could pull off.

At several instances, I could feel your presence and divine energy to bring more clarity to my action. The lightening fast response and trouble shootings were phenomenal. Problems were faced, but solutions were also provided. My team thinks that I have done wonders and have thought out of the box, but I know how hard you worked (especially in the tranquil Neutron Source Test Facility) for me in this entire time. To put in Layman’s words the projects which would have taken minimum of 4 months at normal pace, could be completed within one month and my team thinks ‘I am outstandingly fast, precise and intelligent.’ But you have been running on the background, which nobody else knows except for me. That’s why in the last digest, I chose ‘unlimited time’ as I was racing against time. Setting aside the entire storyline for another blogs and infinite gratitude at your feet for your unconditional support Swamiji, we will come back to today’s topic.

As I was having some breathing time after the hard work today, but I landed up with 2 assignments. The first one is about the IIT / NEET exam foundation course for our elder son Sahil. He is in class VI and the school he is studying in has tied up with a private institution for ‘early bird’ preparation courses aimed to prepare students for Engineering / Medical entrance exams right from class VI. The private institution held an orientation program for the parents regarding the offering. After waking up at 7:30 in the morning, I went to the Poori Vendor to bring the Sunday tiffin (it is a Sunday ritual at our home). Finishing breakfast, bath and nitya pooja, I joined the orientation program at 10 AM.

The Business director was going gaga about the product. He explained that how transformative would the course be catapulting our kids to great heights in their lives etc. He was stressing upon how they were different from others and how well they know our kids even better than us with live demos etc.! The 100 odd parents were listening to the presenter with dreamy eyes that their kids would be in the elite class after receiving the coaching. But the attention span started decreasing after about 45 minutes as the presenter was going on with the presentation while parents were engaged with their smart phones.

As the session ended, the only question remained was what was the fees structure and what the parents would receive in turn i.e. an IIT Engineer or NIT Engineer, an AIIMS Doctor or a Doctor from some other institution. Basically, a cost to benefit ratio was being analysed. And the common question was “Can we be assured of the seat in a premier institute for our kids if they get coached by the institution? We do not have time, we can arrange money. But the rest has to be ensured by you.” Even for this reason also I voted for ‘unlimited time’ ;). Just kidding!

The point is, we are treating our kids as an investment in financial terms. We don’t have the time to sit with them as we have more important work to do (binge watching Netflix as many-a-times pointed out by Swamiji ;). We are happy to outsource the process of growing our kids to some agencies. The parents were thinking for a solution which would in essence enable them to get rid of their kids (apart from the expenditures) and after 20 odd years of investment right from the birth of the kid, they should receive a Doctor / Engineer / Fashion Designer / Journalist (fill up anything you like!) upon maturity of the investment!

But where is the emotional investment? Where is the value investment? Where is the manners and bonding investments? Where are the Family value and morality investment? Where is the investment for sibling bonding? Where is the spiritual investment? This brings us to the very question asked by Swamiji ‘why’ are we doing something that we are doing? Is the ‘why’ answered? Or has it resulted in more numbers of ‘whys’ and ‘what ifs’? As you answer these questions, let me tell you the other tale.

As I previously mentioned that I had 2 assignments today, there was an evening session for Samil as his Day Care Facility is being taken over by another management. It has day care facility, play groups, nursery, LKG and UKG. As we joined the session, the lady presenter was going gaga about ‘Montessori Method of Education.” Just think about me: After a month long thermonuclear Project, on a day of rest I was attending IIT Foundation Course Orientation for my 11 year old son in the morning and Montessori Education System for my one year old son in the evening!

But the evening session was a bit more meaningful because of the presenter’s enthusiastic presentation. She was more transparent and was stressing on not over burdening the kids. But parents are parents! They were buying the arguments of Montessori Method (the kid does not hold a pencil upto 6 years’ age in this system of education) at the same time they were also expecting their kids to be a content writer in UKG;). Astonishing are we parents. Here also parents echoed the same thing: ‘if we leave our kids under your guidance, will we be free to do our own ‘work’ without bothering about them? Basically, can we get rid of their responsibilities as soon as we hand them over to you? We have to keep them engaged at home with gadgets as they are quite irritating (as they are eating our ‘me time’).” But we are conveniently forgetting that kids imitate what they see. If we are engaged with our smart phones, they also demand to be engaged in you tube rhymes. It is as simple as that! We want our whatsapp / facebook / insta / Netflix time, but want our kids to have minimum possible screen time, what a contradiction!

Such an uncanny haste of getting rid of the responsibilities of parents! If so, why bring them to the world in the first place? If bring them, why not plan time allocation for them? They are not AI Models to learn from vast digital data inputs. They are human beings, they can touch, sense, feel, feel the urge to be loved. They are not machines. But as parents, what are we giving them? i-pad instead of quality time? Hundreds of toys instead of playing peek-a-boo with them? What will they go on to become? How will they be useful to the society and what will be their contribution? How will they learn to know and address their feelings? What sense of morality will they have? How will they differentiate between a right and a wrong action? How will they socialize? How can they identify themselves? How can they be compassionate towards others? How can they think independently without ChatGPT? How can they fit the definition of  a ‘Human Being’?

I am leaving you all with lots of questions to ponder over. So if you are not feeling sleepy, you have a lot to answer and the questions are not of objective answer type. But negative marking is applicable for wrong answer, mind it!

Thank you all. Jai Shri Hari…