Fam­ily myths

How par­ents al­ways stud­ied into the night and were ge­niuses in school

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - An Epiphany Of Ideas - Bikram Vohra

It is a fact that all par­ents tell their school-go­ing chil­dren how they were ge­niuses in class and al­ways came first and maxed their math and were on the dean’s list or its equiv­a­lent. And since chil­dren are trained from the day they are born to be­lieve that mum and dad never lie the im­age of their pur­suit of ex­cel­lence is suit­ably in­grained and this gam­bit is used to in­tim­i­date the kids into do­ing home­work, study­ing hard and not wast­ing time play­ing video games or chat­ting on so­cial plat­forms.

The myth con­tin­ues through the teen years and is re-strength­ened through rep­e­ti­tion till the par­ents them­selves be­gin to be­lieve their own de­cep­tion in­clud­ing that bla­tant lie about study­ing into the night for the fi­nal ex­ams.

Fa­thers are, by na­ture, big­ger fib­bers than moth­ers and tend to ex­ag­ger­ate that much more. The trick lies in hav­ing en­sured that all ev­i­dence to the con­trary is de­stroyed well be­fore the chil­dren are born. Re­gret­tably par­ents can be a tri­fle short­sighted in this mat­ter and child­hood school re­ports and grades are of­ten re­tained in some trunk or cup­board and hap­pily for­got­ten.

It comes to pass one day that wife de­cides to get rid of all the stuff we do not need be­cause she has read in a book that if you haven’t used some­thing for six months you can cheer­fully get rid of it and also it is good Vaastu to open up the block­ages.

The whole fam joins in and there is much nos­tal­gia slosh­ing about as old snaps are pored over, child­hood toys spot­ted, bric-a-brac lam­i­nated by a re­call of their his­tory. At one point your daugh­ter picks up a dusty folder like my daugh­ter did and says, hmmm what is this, mi­good­ness it is your old school re­ports, what fun.

You try to snatch it back but she dances out of your reach. You said you used to come first, she says, this show your bring­ing up the rear, there is a whole army ahead of you. Wow, says the younger girl, show me, show me, what did he get in math, lookee lookee at this will you, dad got two red lines un­der math and physics, won­der what that means and here is an­other re­port that says you have to ap­ply your­self more, naughty naughty, you didn’t ap­ply your­self.

There is one here, says the older one, rec­om­mend­ing you for spe­cial tu­ition, aww, poor guy, more stud­ies af­ter school, tchtch.

Ev­ery­one can have an off year, i say with as­per­ity. But the cat is out of the bag. Thank good­ness their stud­ies are over and they have kids they can fib to.

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