Okay, so I’m going to just come right out and say it — Indian kids annoy me. Let me rephrase that before I get lynched — Indian kids whose parents let them run amok in restaurants, airport lounges, airplanes and movie houses, annoy me. Yeah, yeah. I know we Indians love our children. And what I’m saying is blasphemy is some parts of the country. I run the risk of FIRs and PILs being filed against me. But, I do want to start a group called SPOILT — Silence Parents Of Irritating Little Terrors.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against bratty kids per se. It’s their ‘benevolent’, ill bred parents who I’m targetting. So, even if each one of these raucous, rambunctious kids is a pint sized Hells Angel running riot, spewing popcorn all over a multiplex theatre, we will smile beatifically and say, ‘itna pyaara baccha”. He can frighten the goldfish in a mini aquarium, splatter veg chowmein soup over the white safari suited uncle at the next table, And mummy looks proudly at her son and implores, “Dinesh beta… aisa nahin karte… what do you say to uncle?”
Time stands still. Mother has her finger pointed at Dinesh the Menace. Uncle waits for an apology.
And, pyaara beta interrupts his Muhammed of Ghazni rampage for a second, considers his mother’s question, then replies in a terrorising tenor —‘Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!’. And promptly attacks a waiter.
Mother smiles at ravaged uncle and shrugs her shoulders with that nonchalant ‘kids will be kids, kya karega’.
You want to yell at the lady, “Madam, this is a restaurant, not a recreational area.”
Last week, I had an opportunity to engage with a member of KGB — ‘Kids Bash Destroy’. I’m at an eatery. Little Kokila, screams behind me, “Papaaaaaaa…I want ice-cream.!!!!’
I go partially deaf for 30 seconds. I glare at the child and let out an aggrieved, “Sssshhhhhh”. The father comes up to me. I expect one of two responses. Either:
1. “So, so sorry!” 2. “I realise you’ve lost your hearing, so can I pay for your annual ENT check up? It’s the least I can do.”
Instead, he thunders, “What’s your problem? This is a public space.”
We’re in an airplane now — brat Babloo standing in the centre seat decides he enjoys the air vent above. “Chalo, let’s destroy the damn thing,” he says. “In any case Nareshbhai doesn't own the plane, he’s renting from Etihaad. If I destroy a new sockets, no biggie, he’s paying EMI on this.”
Big mama in the window reads her film magazine, not at all concerned.
When his mother doesn’t respond, he runs up and down the aisle chanting a terrifying gibberish, like the hijacker from Neerja.
I stop the yelling kid. My instinct is to wring the parents’ neck and bid farewell to the kid via a parachute.
But, I’m a law abiding citizen so I refrain. Instead, I ask the child, “Beta, what would you like to be when you grow up?”
He looks cheekily at me and then yells….
Well, he didn’t really say that, but you get my point, yes, dear reader?
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org