2006-06-16 16:10:23 UTC
Or how to get thrown out of the kitchen and other places
By Cecil Pinto
The 33rd President of the USA, Harry S. Truman said, "If you can't stand
the heat, get out of the kitchen". I have taken this advice literally and
avoid all kitchens as much as possible. Every few months when my wife
insists on my helping with the kitchen work I deliberately make such a mess
that she begs of me to get out. This technique works in other areas of
family life too. Check this out.
Early one morning last week while simultaneously checking my e-mail,
surfing the web, reading the newspapers and deleting forwarded jokes from
my cellphone, I decided to feign a concerned interest in my children's
education. I do this every few months and am always quickly relegated back
to my correct place in the house - at my PC surfing the Net! I turned
around to Beatrice - who was simultaneously dressing up Fabian, making sure
that Desmond finished his breakfast, and getting both their tiffins ready -
in addition to other sundry household work that included making my tea.
"Honey, does this NCERT text book thing affect our guys?"
"If you could get your nose and head out of that computer you wouldn't need
to ask me that. Of course Desmond is effected. He's in the First Standard,
in case you're not aware. Fabian is in Lower KG."
"I knew that. How come they have school uniforms for Lower KG too?"
"It helps to build discipline at a young age. It gives them a sense of
belonging. It builds character. It builds..."
"It builds clones! Why can't kids be allowed to express their individuality
and their identity through unique clothes? Other than service staff, who
need to be identifiable, only inmates wear uniforms - prisoners,
patients... Are children sick or prisoners that they have to be herded and
stamped with a uniform? Who should decide what children wear to school? The
children, the parents, or some school management made up of elderly fogies
who can't think beyond their trust funds? This is a post-colonial
mentality. We follow the stupid English school system. Most schools in the
USA don't have school uniforms."
"What works in the USA might not work here. I think a uniform is good. It
brings some equality among un-equals."
"Sure. So that rich brat who is dropped off in a chauffeured AC Mercedes,
wears the latest designer Nike shoes, carries a mobile that costs more than
my PC, and has a dedicated nanny and two tutors, becomes equal because he
wears a uniform? Get real!"
"Pushpa bought readymade uniforms that cost much less than buying the
material and getting uniforms stitched. You should research such practical
information instead of that nonsense you discover on the Net. They should
stop this birthday takeaway gifts thing too. It's getting more and more
competitive and ridiculous. Last week Imran's daughter gave each of her
classmates an expensive compass box and a box of pedas. Thanks goodness
both ours have their birthdays in the holidays."
"There see? Just a uniform cannot bring about equality. And among uniforms
too there is a variation. See Amanda's son. Every year he starts off with a
uniform two sizes too big, which he floats in. By the end of the year, when
it's just starting to fit perfectly, it's too faded for him to feel smart
in it. And what's this I hear about salwar kameez as compulsory school
uniform? Won't our boys look like pansies in salwar kameez?"
"It's only for girls, you dope. I think it's a good thing, specially now
that they're giving cycles to school girls. Thanks goodness they're
allowing these new pre-covered exercise books this year."
"There again. Why do kids have to have their books covered? What's the
point in buying exercise books with pictures of Bollywood stars or Disney
characters on the front if you're going to re-cover them all the same
boring brown? Why can't they use bright coloured paper so the kids can
distinguish one subject book from another without having to read the
labels? Stands to reason."
"There's a shortage of cursive writing books this year."
"They're teaching them cursive writing now? Wow! We had to learn to curse
from our older classmates! Just kidding dear, book shortages are part of
the Goan education process. But coming back to uniformity, what about pens
and pencils and rulers and whatnot. Maybe they should specify a particular
brand and colour and size so that everyone is equal. Huh? Is this a school
or a factory that's trying to churn out colourless individuals who are
duplicates of each other? Get my sons out of school. I will teach them
about life at home. Pink Floyd said, 'We don't need no education, we don't
need no thought control!' Give me the phone number of that Principal. I
will give her a piece of my mind. They're throttling individuality and
submerging personal identity. I don't want my son to be just another brick
in the wall. Either of them! I'll tell her to leave my kids alone. I will..."
"Right now can you at least help Fabian put his books in his bag?"
"Ok. Hey! Why does 'X' have to be 'xylophone' in all the 'abc' books? Most
people go through life without seeing a real xylophone. Why can't those
guys at Oxford and Webster coin a few nouns starting with 'x' to make it
easier for the kids? There's so many new products being invented that are
now regular household items. Why don't they just call it a xellphone or a
XVD or a xodem? Xylophone of all things. Bah!"
"Honey, don't you have something more important to do? There's great World
Cup coverage in today's papers."
"I want my sons to be International football players. Do you think Ronaldo
earns so much because he has neat cursive writing? And while we are on the
topic let me tell you what I think about reservations for backward classes.
I think reservations..."
"Darling, you're frightening the boys with your shouting. Why don't you be
a dear and check your e-mail or something?"
The humour column above appeared in Gomantak Times dated 15th June 2006.