Friday, April 03, 2015

There are things money can't buy

Parenting comes with some tough moments. The worst in the list is what I call The Walk of Shame - when you lug the baby around the mall while the stroller moves unoccupied, or worse stuffed with shopping bags. As you take embarrassed steps around the squeaky floors, you can feel the eyes of fellow parents boring on you - those judging expressions, that look of disappointment. The unoccupied stroller is a loud public statement that you've made a poor purchase, you've not trained your kids well, you goofed up as a parent and lugging the baby around you are literally feeling the pain.

Note: Speaking of pain, my wife said that labour was harder than mall discomfort, but we agree to disagree on that.

The desire to give the best to your child comes in direct conflict with the gut feel which warns you of an uncertain, irrational purchase. But we ignore those signals and move forward. Strollers, Carriers, Cribs, Car Seats - lying unused, dusty like giant symbols of poor decisions.

Even the little toys, teethers, rattles we buy have a slim success rate - It's like as parents our life is the priceless mastercard advertisment on loop. Like last month we bought a Mini-Lego building set for our baby; the pieces are lost but the box is still alive and part of his playset.

When we make a poor choice for ourselves, it's easy to hide, forget or change the story in front of our peers - 'I actually like this shade'... 'yeah the mileage in fact is quite decent'... 'It's a fantastic role in strategy management...'

We don't know what the babies want. Neither do they. But they have no complex social constructs and happily choose to ignore what they don't like. Meanwhile Fisher Price and Leapfrog come up with the next Baby iPad telling us that babies learn every moment of the day and the latest gizmos are the best tool for that. That's like Apple asking us to buy iPhone 6 because it's bigger than bigger.

So I want to start a movement - uniting parents for joint introspection to help understand their LO (little ones) better. I'll call it called "Look at all the stupid crap I bought for the baby" movement. We are still working on the title. It'll be replete with Memes and hashtags like #stupidbabycrap

While things are tough now, I have a feeling that things are going to get better soon. Once the kids grow slightly older I am sure they will make informed choices - like choosing to study vs. fooling around on playstation, politely walking along in the mall with no tantrums, obediently going to bed at 9pm.... But I could be wrong..

Saturday, November 08, 2014

The Worst Time to Be a Kid in India

Dear Kids,

There was a simpler time for parents and kids in India, when a fond ritual was followed every day. Early in the morning Mothers would leave milk to boil, while trying to wake up resistant, drooling, sleepy kids. After dragging their bums to the dining table, moms would attempt to give the kids a healthy start to the day with milk. To camouflage the unpalatable stench of freshly heated milk, mothers would mix something chocolaty in it. Children would gulp down the glass and that was it.

Sigh...Apparently it's no longer enough for the milk to taste good; Over time the chocolaty thingies have morphed into agents of good, promising an unhealthy dose of competitive streak, making the world of kids closer to a rat race than it already is. This is grave warning for you - here are those terrifying commercials currently on air. For the sake of your future, if you see your parents watching these accidentally on TV, change the channel immediately!

First on the list is Complan (#KhaataKyaHai ).

The product promises to trigger abnormal growth and catapult you right to the front of the school drill,  where obviously as the school pet you'll get to wave an embarrassing flag while parents wildly cheer you. Consequently bullies will pick on you and the whole class will despise you for being a smug jackass. Where are the options for the lazy kids who'd rather sit raking up scores on Temple Run than run?  Thanks Complan - because of the disproportionate growth triggered by you all the Complan Boys are all going to have ruined childhoods.

Second on the list is Boost (#NoHashTag)
Boost was best known for squeaky Sachin Tendulkar, who etched the soprano tagline into everyone's brains -  "Boost is the secret of my energy". That's basically what we expected to happen: Kids getting an absurd shot of sugar high energy, and punching their friends, scraping their knees till their glucose levels would come crashing down. However with the new formula for Boost, you are signing for a long term plan - an unimaginable 120 days of hard labour, like a gym membership which causes grave regret after 24 hours. Anything less than 120 days of Boost consumption will lead to squat. On the 120th day, you'll get an alien like glow from within and grow in height. At least they are not thrusting a flag in your hands...

Last one is Bournvita (#TaiyaariJeetKi)

The scariest of the lot is Bournvita, which is meant exclusively for tiger moms who would probably lead agitations in India to make the JEEs 'more' competitive. As a kid, if you are included in the Bournvita group, prepare to become a hoodie wearing, rocky style boxer. You'll need to drop out of school and voluntarily get punched in the face. While other kids will be building sandcastles, you'll be punching the sand instead. As you face punches, your mom will have a content look on her face being reminded of the Thank you Mom P&G ad (The hardest job in the world is the best job in the world), not realizing that getting whacked in a boxing ring is way harder than being a mom.

Kids, I think you'll to make some hard choices right now - You may give up the whole sugary taste and resign to having just plain milk. Enduring those torturous few minutes in the morning is better than being unpopular in school, slogging for 120 days or getting punched in the face.

Or you could trust this Doctor, who otherwise is known for being a fool in the movie 3 idiots, and use what's being recommended in this commercial.

We are not clear on the details, but it does promise to make you Taller, Stronger, Sharper.

Horlicks Team

p.s: Dear Nestle, Cadburys, GSK - I may work for your organizations some day. Please forgive any transgressions.