Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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Did Kejriwal do nothing naughty in school that he would’ve liked to hide from CCTV cameras?

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(Mis)adventures are an essential and most fun part of growing up. Remember, no matter how messy the times, tomorrow these will be our good old days.

Some questions for Arvind Kejriwal and his brilliant (no sarcasm) party colleagues if they’d answer honestly:

  1. Was each one of you the ideal school kid, in the image of perfection your parents visualised from sperm-and-egg stage on?
  2. Did you never do anything that you’d rather your parents didn’t know about?
  3. Did you disclose all the scoldings, punishments, even occasional poor grades/marks truthfully to your parents?
  4. Did you ever do things you loved doing, but were not quite in your curriculum or syllabus?
  5. Did you read something more “interesting” hidden inside a textbook you were pretending to read?
  6. As you look back on your schooling years, would they have been less fun and memorable but for these juvenile misdemeanours?

If you are honest, your answer should be a “no” to the first four, and “yes” to the last two. If your answers are different, you are either lying, or still afraid of your parents, or you were truly the perfect child, with a good chance of rising as the next ‘maryada purushottam’.

Schooling has stresses. Ask any schoolchild, your own or your neighbour’s, or remember your own time. It will be hell with your parents watching: for the child and the parents. I am surely among those—not a minority—that often hid my mark-sheets from my parents. Those were eminently worth hiding. Today, my teachers would present video evidence of my jumping the wall with my mates and spending the afternoon gossiping and gassing at Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi’s grave, he whom Babur defeated in the first battle of Panipat. The grave—who builds a proper tomb for a loser?—was not too far from the back of the Sanatan Dharma Higher Secondary School in Panipat where I passed class 9 and 10.

I bet kids today have their own adventures and some misadventures. It’s an essential and most fun part of growing up. Remember, no matter how messy the times, tomorrow these will be our good old days. What stories will today’s children be left to tell if they lived in a fishbowl, watched by their parents?

A better description, in fact, would be, being locked up in a giant ‘Bigg Boss’ house with mataji and pitaji watching.

There is, in any case, hyper-parenting these days. The upper crust moms aren’t just soccer-moms, but soccer-cricket-tennis-judo-dance-painting moms, and are torturing their kids with one class after another. Nobody’s learning to catch butterflies, fly kites, coming home with dust in their hair. Premium schools don’t even let kids go to the playground if the SPM level crosses 200.

The less privileged have the curse of coaching classes for IITs, etc. Our children are already playing too little, having too little fun, chasing that Utopia of 99.9999999 per cent for Economics Honours in a decent Delhi college.

Please do not also inflict cameras and 24×7 parenting on these poor things. Remember, while you may be younger than me, but lines of Cat Stevens (later Yusuf Islam and now again Cat Stevens) span generations:

I know we’ve come a long way,
We’re changing day to day
But tell me, where do the children play?

Where indeed, when, as that brilliant commercial of a CCTV brand said: “oopar waala sab kuchh dekh raha hai”?

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  1. Why blame Kejriwal when the CBSE and the Haryana government forced every private school to install Such cameras in class rooms following the murder of a child in a school near Sohna?

  2. I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic while reading this sobering article on the unalloyed joys of childhood and school. But is it not a testament to the times in which we live that the vital civic and social choices that we are led to take are increasingly becoming undemocratic and arbitrary, a fascist superstructure notable by the gullible willingness with which it is being accepted by the people at large. God forbid! but from now on every unfortunate incident will be stripped off its human element and our sense of outrage rendered meaningless and out-of-place when the culprit will be identified as the proverbial flaw in the system?

  3. Totally agree Sir. Installing camera in classroom is a strict no no. It will take away the little bit of freedom the kids & teacher have to just be themselves in the school surronded by CCTVs everywhere. It’s a paradigm and reminds me of Jim Carrey’s The Trueman Show. Today we are caught in our own mess.

  4. CCTVs are fine but this is taking it too far. On one hand, we don’t have infrastructure in entire rural India–a teacher for entire school that comprises of several classes and no proper toilets or electricity, on the other hand, it is this sort of expenditure. It will lead to two Indias–one rural and semi-rural, the other METRO India.

  5. Must confess to something truly naughty at age 5, St Xavier’s Dhobi Talao. Was made to kneel before the class teacher on a couple of occasions, for trivial reasons. Third time, realised it offered an unimpeded view. Lady caught me in the act, blushed crimson, never troubled me again.

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