On a Goa beach, one lazy evening, with the sun in its glorious best, displaying brilliant hues, the sea energetically washing frothy waves ashore, a soft breeze bringing in refreshing salty spray ,life seemed calm, harmonious, almost perfect..when all of a sudden I heard the loud wails of my 6 year old son ( this was many moons ago). Hubby and me rose from our comfortable love seats, rushed to find a Japanese girl, maybe 10 or so, literally mauling him, throwing sand directly onto his face targeting his eyes.
We gently removed our child from the scene. Walking away we noticed the girl rush up to her parents who we realised were occupying the table next to ours. They seemed unaffected at the behaviour of their daughter and also to the cries of my son. Thinking that its best we distract him, clean him thoroughly and take him for a dip in the sea, we decided to ignore the issue.
Perhaps our lack of proclivity to any malevolence, the Japanese mother came up to me and in a effort to logicalise her daughters behaviour simply said ” You know the school she attends, there are bullies around so we have taught her to fight for herself”. Quite taken aback, I reminded her that a 6 year old boy playing with his beach toys was hardly a bully or a source of aggravation for such uncalled for violence. Her response ‘ The area in which he was playing was hers since she was there first’ !
Instinct has taught me to keep mum on occasions where the person inflicted on me is light years away from my thought process. Since converting/ convincing each other is a futile exercise or more like spitting at the moon..all that would occur would be slush on your face.
The point is, around us today, whether on television reality shows, schools, dance classes, colleges, all we witness is this sense of competitiveness, often unhealthy in spirit. The need to succeed is perfectly acceptable. What is objectionable is the resorting to pulling down another to rise. This crab mentality where more time and effort is spent in being a nuisance to others and for others, instead of diligently pursuing ones talent to reach the top, is the curse of the times we live in.
It completely negates any semblance of education in its literal sense. What projects forth is Neanderthal man , wild on the hunt, this time with his laptop..
Survival of the fittest has achieved bizarre connotations.
How much are we as parents responsible for drilling our children with the new ‘ Success at any cost ‘ mantra? I am afraid, wholly. To be ‘hot’ is ‘cool’… to be ‘aggro’ ( aggressive) is hip!! To be calm and composed, moral, upright is to be namby pamby..’sad’.. ‘not happening’.
The flip side is all the more flummoxing. The loud mouth braggartish variety seem to be riding the crest of glory. Our era is distinct in the whole hearted acceptance of a nebulous moral code where borders between the righteous and downright evil is blurred and I daresay leaning heavily on the side of the amoral, with abslutely no conscience pangs that throb violently in protest.
So how right are we in declaring vociferously to our children the philosophy of ‘ Karmanyu va adikar aste maa phaleshu kadachanna”.. You have the right to action but not to the fruit thereof or even extolling virtues of Buddhas middle path and Right conduct? We assure them that keeping to the virtuous side of life is always a blessing? Is it? Will goodness be met with success and abundance?
Not so sure any more. My experience has taught me that the one on the path of Good has a longer, more difficult struggle. Sometimes it seems that even the Gods are with those who flaunt their lack of integrity and sincerity yet luxuriating in untold wealth. Is the road to fairness any lesser than that to perdition? Is it right then to teach our children to be the odd ones in a world that is falling over itself bettering each other in vicious games and betrayals?
My heart prompts me to aver’ Yes..the meek shall inherit the Earth..Satyameva Jayate” But my mind speaks quite a differing dialogue. Will one have to wait till ones last breath to know the answer? Will good be rewarded? In the next life, in the after life? But then what does one teach ones kids? Go ahead and ape the vast mulititude gasping for fame, success. riches even if it means silently killing the last shred of a dwindling conscience left in you?
It requires guts to set your children on a wrong path. To guiltlessly condone the kind of competitive spirit that speaks of ‘cut throat’. TO make them feel comfortable in duping, usurping, betraying all in the name of material success that is in any case temporary.
I certainly dont have the quality that can make my children into ruthless fighters, devoid of ethics. We will fight it together. Not sure of victory but definitely of a good nights sleep for them and me.