Mehak, 17, lives a very busy life in a mega metro, a city her parents detest, but she happily calls her home. From juggling effectively various sim cards at her command to being gainfully logged onto Facebook 24x7, her action packed schedule would be the envy of a successful chief executive. She aims to live life today as if there were no tomorrow. Nothing less than a perfect 10 would make her proud: be in the examination hall or on a date or two.
Living life in a fast track has forced Mehak to embrace a universe she fiercely guards as strictly personal where parents are strictly prohibited! Not without reason though! She has grown from a tiny tot to almost an adult without much of an opportunity to truly connect to her parents.
As a tiny tot her she grew up being escorted to the play school by a maid not much older to her. For her first few big baby steps in life, the firm clench of her nanny was the sole emotional support. She endured her first big shock los
ing a race in play school alone, save the assortment of Barbie dolls she collected from her parents ever so keen to shower gifts on her.
But in dolls she found support but nor true love she missed from her parents. All these years she has got everything possible money can buy. As a result she is today perpetually logged onto a world she swears by even as her parents rue the irreparable loss: Mehak does not belong to them for all the money her parents showered on her could buy everything but love.
Mehak is the rule rather than the exception in the unending rat race most working couples at mega metros voluntarily jump into. Consequently time spend with children by working couples is constantly under the hammer. Worse, quality level of whatever little time is spent is also suspect. A family dinner over a weekend is welcome but cannot substitute the value of a heart to heart chat with your teenage son or daughter on an early morning stroll.
On last count the average time spend by a working couple in a mega metro was 30 minutes a day and this was inclusive of the time spent together on the dining table. This explains the ever growing divergence today in the lives of children and parents.
A NCAER study for top metros said 98 minutes is the time spent by youth on television every day, 44 minutes on magazines, 32 minutes on newspapers and 70 minutes surfing the net. All these are truly external influences and always take you away from your parents. But these cost money which parents anyway are keen to shell in the hope that it would help them stay connected to their kids.
This is borne out in a recent Assocham survey as well which pointed out that inflation has had no impact whatsoever on parents mantra of ‘money will buy you love’ with pocket money rising 10 fold since 2005 in top metros, especially in Delhi and Kolkata, and peaking up to Rs 12,000 a month for the 12-20 age group.
On the flip side the booming cash flow keeps the relationship between children and their working couples going if not growing. Welcome to the world of new age Mummy Papa happily being the mobile ATM machines where cash disbursal never ends. A small price perhaps to ensure Mehak returns your smile!
(The views expressed by the author are personal)