This happened at the neighborhood supermarket yesterday afternoon. The only other shoppers in the aisle I was in were a young couple and their young girl about 3 or 4 years old. The little girl was picking up tubes of soap and toothpastes and was trying to open them and smell them while the parents were busy looking at other things. I happened to notice that the girl had opened a tube of cleansing gel and was having fun dropping the pink contents on the floor in some sort of modern art. I gestured to her mother to turn and look. The next thing I saw was that the parents took the tube from her, replaced the cap and put it back on the shelf and quickly left the aisle ignoring my advice: “I think you should pay for that tube.” By the time I found a shop assistant and informed her of the slippery floor in the aisle and the reason for it, the family had disappeared from the shop.

Bad enough that they let the child do whatever she liked in the shop; it was worse that they did not have the decency to offer to pay for the mess. Now the second one explains the first. What kind of behavior can the child be expected to learn from such parents? Do these parents realize the amount of damage they have done to their child’s values by cheating the shop of those 40 or 50 rupees ?

Don’t get caught’ - That is the message the child gets from such behavior. It is ok to do anything as long as you are smart enough not to get caught – Cheat, lie and even steal perhaps.

I always thought that parenthood is good for everyone because we learn to strive for perfection once we have a child looking up to us. We go all out not to lose our dignity in front of our child’s eyes. We refrain from swearing, try to be less impulsive and more mature. This is not to say that all parents are perfect but every good parent tries hard to avoid passing their shortcomings to their child. But as I see so many educated parents trying to violate traffic rules, jump queues, litter public places, I wonder what their children learn from such behavior. How would they learn to distinguish what is right from what is wrong? Or would they learn that everything is right and getting caught is the only wrong thing?

In his autobiography Gandhiji writes of an instance when he could not copy even when his school teacher prompted him to do so. So impressed was he by the character of Harishchandra from our mythology. I wonder what Harishchandra’s rating would be among parents like the one I saw in the shop? Would he be considered a ‘loser’ for sacrificing so much and not being smart enough to tell a single lie? As for Gandhiji and emulating his values the usual escape clause is: “I am not a Mahatma. I am only an ordinary person.” I do not believe that we need to be a Mahatma to follow simple traffic rules or have basic honesty. In a lot of cases such behavior is due to the simple inability to distinguish right from wrong and lack of moral courage to own up to wrong behavior and all of this, in turn, can be traced back to the absence of proper guidance and example from one’s own family and especially parents.

There are some parents who are in denial. They say that petty corruption is a way of daily adult life today and children do not really notice it all. They are still in their own world of toys and fairy tales and all this doesn’t impact them. I wish it was true. I remember an incident that my son told me when he was in 7th standard. Their school had gone on an excursion to Mysore and Shivasamudram. Their teachers wanted them to see the hydro-electric power station but the officer in-charge refused permission citing some administrative issues. One of the boys in the class was a state minister’s son and he told the teacher: ‘Sir, please note down his name. I will have him take care of.’ It is not tough to guess where he got that from, is it? As a wiseguy said: 'Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you'

Unfortunately parents are a child’s first role models and parents like the ones at the supermarket are a threat to their own children. A child exposed to such parental behavior is confused between right and wrong and the circumstances under which certain behavior is wrong. And when they land themselves on the wrong side of law for a crime their parents wonder where they went wrong. Perhaps the world would be marginally better if each one of us could use one simple question as a reference for every action: ‘What if my child did this and got caught for the same?” This would make each one of us a better human being with some hope for a better world for our children.

It has been a while since this blog got anything by way of an award and so it was a great surprise when R's mom chose me in her list of awardees. Thank you.

I like the condition attached to accepting this award which is that I should state 7 facts about myself which I need to share. I remember that we used to have quite a few tags like this in the early years of blogging which actually let us know a bit more about the bloggers than what we gathered from their posts. Above all this came at a time when I didn't seem to find anything to blog about. So whether these facts about me or interesting or not, it would keep the blog breathing for a few days.
So 7 facts huh, let's see:

1. I have a constant fear of failing which manifests in the form of dreams where I am either prepared for the wrong subject, or I lose my hall ticket or I simply arrive at the hall when the exam is about to be over.

2. It makes me very uncomfortable when people have high expectations about me. I feel very pressured and the consequent stress kills me. I went through the whole of my bachelors' and post-graduate degree courses trying to meet the expectations of my professors which made me a wreck most of the time.

3.I do not respect people who do not contribute their bit as part of a team or in the house. I cannot stand lazy people, smart shirkers and passive consumers.

4. For me, meals with friends and family is about the company and conversation and least about the food. Most often I don't remember what I ate.

5.What I find most attractive in a person is their sense of humor, knowledge of their subject and the ability to speak well.

6. I find it tiring to have long phone conversations. After 5 minutes I get exhausted.

7.I get very annoyed when there is no milk or curd in the house.

I don't know if the world has become marginally more informed now that these 7 facts are out in the open.But it was a good exercise for me to think up something I may not have blogged about already.

So now it is time to pass on the award to 7 other Kreativ bloggers:

Suranga ( I know you don't do tags but I have to include you here because you are among the top creative bloggers for the choice of subjects).
Jane Turley (absolutely out of this world for the way she writes her posts)
Hiphopgrandmom (for blogging on unusual topics)
Hillgrandmom ( her posts are usually short but very thought provoking and I love her photographs)
Pam and Phil (both very creative people and have a wonderful blog detailing their adventures in this past year in India. The subjects of Phil's photographs are totally unusual )
Maami How can we talk of creative bloggers and leave maami out? Her subjects and style are completely awesome.
Last but not the least our beloved writer Parul who can make you smile about just about any subject she chooses to write about.

There is no pressure to do the tag but please accept the award. But if you want to do the tag, you need to share 7 facts about yourselves and pass on the award to 7 other creative bloggers.
Thank you.