Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Jana Gana Money

We were so excited for Naya's independence day assembly. She dressed in her pink lehenga that makes her look like a Bollywood starlet... Unfortunately, most of the morning was one big commercial interruption. A UK-based bank representative stood before us to remind us of the need to save for our children's futures. With black-suited men and women milling about, he directed us to a table outside for more information. He bumbled through a speech that lasted about 10 minutes. And then came the Vande Mataram and some other song Naya's class sang -- done in five minutes flat. It was hurried, contrived, a farce, albeit very cute when the focus was on the kids. We waited for family pictures, even though we knew exactly what would happen in the next few days: a bank representative will likely call us, saying he has the pic and can he drop it off at a time we are also free to talk about investments. That's what happened with the awful picture we have of Naya with Santa Claus--and the delivery came after New Year's!

I left feeling so sad that Naya's first independence day in India was nothing like that we celebrated in New York as kids--a parade down Madison Avenue, floats from all the different regions (once my mother danced on the Assam one), scrambles to lick our kulfis before they ruined our clothes. I understand that there's no need to celebrate in such an ABCD way here, but must consumption now define everything we do, even the sanctum of a children's school? Last week, Nitin warned the teacher to stop giving Naya toffees. On the way home today, we wondered if it was time to look for another school that fit into our style of parenting. At the morning meeting, my boss said, "That's what you get for sending your kid to such a fancy school." Another friend told me of another that is really wonderful but there's no air conditioning. I'll conveniently ignore that the India we spent summers in was never air-conditioned (and that was only for a few months at a time).

Today, I miss the parades and kulfis, for sure. And I definitely miss the options when it comes to schooling...

1 comment:

the mad momma said...

ouch. which place is this? shall i send you my list of schools?