Celebrating birthdays of young one’s no longer the same

While we were growing up, did any of us ever come across the concept of outsourcing the planning and execution of a birthday party? I am sure to most of us and our mothers this concept was  alien. While it may have existed in very niche pockets, the concept today has grown tremendously in popularity.

In hindsight our parents obviously went through a lot of trouble to give us great and memorable parties. Right from hand crafting the invitation cards, to decorating the house with streamers and balloons to concocting interesting games for entertainment to planning return gifts and baking the perfect cake, not to mention rest of the ambitious items on the menu –  all done singlehandedly  in house, largely by mothers.

Today, organizing a birthday party is all about a visit to the nearest fast food restaurant of choice…deciding the menu, return presents, birthday games and you are done! All you have to do is to arrive ten minutes before the party begins and enjoy … easy as a walk in the park!

In fact, party planning and execution is a thriving business going by the number of specialty shops that have sprung up with multiple offerings to make your child’s birthday special.

I too have been guilty of falling prey to this convenient offering in the market…but there are many brave heart moms out there who still take the pains to organize everything little detail personally at home…involving the kids in every step of the way thereby possibly imparting huge learnings’  for the future …hats off to you ladies.

Sports should be an integral part of growing up and beyond

Sports should be an integral part of growing up and  however lack of infrastructure and skew towards academics usually pushes sports to the back-burner.

Sports is just not in our DNA and neither is it a priority…going by the yet another dismal performance by India  in the 2012 Olympic games…other than cricket…there is hardly any other sport which enjoys mass popularity.

I guess the skew we have towards academics in India is a possible reason for the above…and the fact that during my time and my son’s current school life…the entire week has only one period of sports…a pity indeed. The way cut off percentages for under graduate courses are going through the roof…I’m afraid this phenomena unfortunately is here to stay

For those of us who were inclined towards sports, it either meant coming in early or staying back after school to pursue your choice of game…or in the case of some lucky souls like me…a lot of our growing up years was spent playing in the colony park. Whatever sport was being shown on national television  used to be replicated in the colony park…so the Borg’s and the Connor’s would transcend to the colony park where the telephone pole would hold up one end of the net and the other would be tied to the railings.

Badminton was a special treat…with one donor house providing electricity… and play extending till almost dinner time…

Marbles, Frisbee, Tag, Kho-kho, Football, Cricket were all learnt and mastered in that one piece of grassless garden which we were fortunate enough to have in our colony. A lot of us did not become professional sportspersons…but we did go on to represent our school, college and university in some sport or the other…that besides the inter colony competitive matches….so I guess the numerous broken window panes were worth it.

But today colony parks have robbed the kids of that great learning opportunity called sports…they have instead become walking parks with pathways and benches for the elderly to sit and catch up on gossip. Effort has gone in to spruce up the flora and fauna to make it visibly appealing to the eyes besides contributing to the green cover…important but with a huge trade off…

All this at the cost of not having enough playgrounds for our kids to grow up playing, learning and becoming tough from sports, without having to rely on professional coaching classes which we find by the dime and the dozen… alas wait for a lot of Golds in Olympics is a distant dream than reality…