Sunday, December 5, 2010

German Christmas Market: What Fun, What Learning

At the German Christmas Market this morning, it seemed as if the Who's who in Delhi were there. Of course, we were an exception:) The German Market had caught everyone's imagination, I believe. There were hundreds and hundreds of Indians in the queue, mostly with kids who seemed excited as if they were going to visit another country. To be honest, I imagined myself treading off to Germany myself, not knowing what to expect and not knowing why I felt so fascinated. There were foreigners everywhere. They had that hippy, badly dressed look while we Indians were decked up to kill..whom, i have no idea.

Women were dressed like Bollywood stars, so many diamonds flashing all over the place and of course, the most expensive sunglasses being sported by women. Indian women, I must emphasize. Well, believe it or not, there were more Indian women with kids out there who were really basking in the sun with pitchers full of golden colored German beer and drinking from it as cooly as I drink water.

Don't mistake me for a saint yet, okie? How my son percieves me is very important to me. I will never say or do anything that influences my son to think that a particular action or habit is acceptable because his parent does it. Therefore, I don't drink beer and never have.

The only time I do drink is when it is Christmas Eve and that too, a glass of wine, nothing more. I've always loved the taste of wine because my mother makes wine for Christmas though we are not Christians. At no other time, do I feel tempted or interested to drink anything that has alcoholic content. So, while I found myself wondering how these gorgeous Indian moms managed to look so damn cool drinking away to glory, I spend my time at the kids section. It was awesome. The hot dogs were tasty and served with some potatoes cooked in mustard sauce. I liked it though it tasted funny. There were hot waffles being made and several German bakeries that served German bakery items but I wasn't so keen about it. What interested me was the kids play area. There were German kids, Chinese kids and Indian kids and a whole bunch of other foreign kids playing together in total harmony.

There were two areas for kids. One had the typical big slide that kids love to play in  and the other had the really fun area - I would it call it the clay arena....fancy isn't it? Well, lots of clay, sand and mud were made available for kids to mix and match, play with, and stuff. It was amazing to watch kids who had come with fancily dressed parents in Rolex watches and sporting solitaires get down into the mud and play in the mud and come out looking no less than street kids...the only difference is they paid to enter:) The really interesting part is that Indian parents had that very cold, irritated and kept saying things like "hey, dont get that shirt dirty, those are branded stuff, darling" while the foreigners kept encouraging their kids to do what they wanted. So, if one of their kids fell or had a problem with another kid, they didn't rush to take charge. They let the kids learn and explore the social world. I admired that though I am not so cool as they are.

There was one boy whom Adi had a problem with. Adi went to play in the Clay arena as I call it and this kid said something bad to Adi. Adi didn't understand it but he knew this boy was being rude and he told me. I got mad. I went straight to this kid and asked, "Whats your problem?" He pretended not to hear me and then said, pointing Adi, "He can't play here...this is my side." I said, firmly, "All kids can play here. It is not your private property." I looked at this kid straight in the eye and was firm. He shrugged and gave space to Adi. Then Adi played for at least an hour and half and enjoyed himself.

I was not wrong. This boy was a complete bully. Two little very cute American girls, aged six and two years, came to play in the same area. Their parents were looking on. This boy pushes the girls physically to shove them away and frighten them from playing in the area he occupied. I wanted to rush to help those little girls but their parents were watching and I thought they wouldnt appreciate it if I interfere. It made me really mad that this boy took a handful of mud and threw it into the two year old girl's lovely hair. If I had been her mother, I think the cops would have had to put me in jail coz I'd have totally lost it. This girl's parents were calm and they took the girls away from where this guy was. And then, when  one of their girls behaved badly to another Indian kid, the American mother went over to the Indian mom and said, "I am so sorry she behaved this way. I am really sorry."

That was commendable. I didnt see any Indian moms displaying that kind of responsibility in owning up when kids misbehave. It was more like "If my kid behaved badly, your kid asked for it, I am sure." That was the general attitude.

The German Christmas Market was fun, expensive and not exactly an out-of-the world experience. What I liked was to see children from many different nationalities sit together and play and sing. It gave me hope that maybe the next generation will truly be global citizens and live without terror and enmity across boundaries.


R. Ramesh said...

i loved yr last para...globalisation...vasudeva kudumbakam...beautiful..nice to hear that u enjoyed the show


Hey, thanks for sharing this. Some good tips there :).

Murali said...

Very well written and Interesting! Sadly globalization has a different connotation in India. Yes it would be great to see a lot more ownership from we Indians!!!

chitra said...

Even I cannot tolerate the behaviour of children when they like to dominate a lot.Parents should not leave children unattended and must also guide them well. What you asked should have been asked by his mother.

Nimisha said...

oh! I so wanted to go too, but unfortunately was travelling that weekend.
good to hear it from the horse's mouth, nice read! :)

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

@RRamesh - thank you!

@Life_Refactored - Thx!

@Murali - yes, good point that you've shared there, thanks.

@Chitra - yes, but I guess parenting itself has become a dynamic space that there is no really rigid right or wrong and so much happens in real time ...I think the pressures parents face is as high as what kids face, at diff. find the balance requires constant effort....and I am not really proud that I had to be sharp with that kid but I was reacting in real time too...or else would have to had to see my kid getting bullied....not a gr8 situation to be in. I get your point too, thx for sharing it openly here.

@Nimisha - Not to worry, buddy, u didn't miss much. I am sure ur travel would have been more fruitful n productive so here's a cheer for you frm me!

Jean said...

"It gave me hope that maybe the next generation will truly be global citizens and live without terror and enmity across boundaries."

Nah, I suspect they'll grow up too...

Jothish Nair said...

I felt as if I was there!

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

@Jean - i hope not...i wish not...

@Jothish - thanks!


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