A Bit of Unpleasant Homework

“Don’t you have summer vacations?!” a little girl quizzed me the other day. She seemed utterly amazed by the idea that I had to go to work, same as always, in the months of May and June. “How will you complete your holiday homework then?”

“We don’t get any.”

“Oh, then that’s why.” She now seemed content. “I have loads! Models and things to be made. I will get started with it on Saturday.”

She set me thinking. Was it indeed fair to not have summer vacations considering we weren’t assigned tasks to do? Didn’t the late hours spent at work, the e-mails that never ceased arriving and the multitude of personal engagements that hadΒ to be attended to count as homework enough? Well, it seems they don’t.

I remember the fun Mom and I had with my holiday homework, many moons ago. There were charts to be made with pictures of people in different places and costumes. We made working models of solar cookers and volcanoes and I would be awed each time lava emerged – fresh and sparkling. We pored over our books in the hot afternoons, completing spelling lists and Maths problems, looking up only when the sun was down. Then, the badminton rackets would come out.

“I am sure you will have fun. What models do you have to make?” I smiled at the little girl.

“Oh, I will have to check. Mom has outsourced it to this model-vendor in our street. Only 350 Rs. per piece.”

Whew! Times have indeed changed. Here were little children already experts at delegating work and not thinking twice before giving up the joy of creating for other arguably ‘modern’, mechanical pleasures.Β Her homework/lack of it notwithstanding, she had given me too much homework by way of hard to digest generational differences.Β 

The little girl was now busy with her cellphone. I subtly checked to see if it was a plaything. It wasn’t.

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14 thoughts on “A Bit of Unpleasant Homework

  1. I was one of those kids who did not like summer holidays, but I still did it and Mom made sure I did it well. And now I look at it such fondness. What will kids remember when they grow up? Cellphones and iPads and outsourced work?

    I despair just thinking about it all 😦

    • Exactly my point Comfy. Today’s moments, if so mechanized, will form but mechanized memories in the future. Past times always seem fonder in retrospect, yes. But I am afraid this may not be so for the coming generation. 😦

  2. Sheesh! :-/ I am so saddened to read that!

    I fear thinking about what’s held in store tomorrow, when we have a kid. My childhood is something that I will go back to even now, if given a chance. It was so much fun! The holidays, the playing on streets, getting hurt, making those models. I remember Dad and me had got together and made a beautiful house model for a school project! It was so beautiful that a neighbor had asked if she could borrow it for her son’s project submission in a different school (Trying to outsource his job. :P) We told an outright no!

    The learning is something for the parents to inculcate in the child. I am surprised with the attitude of parents who think money can buy anything!

    • That house model sounds perfectly delightful, Arch. πŸ™‚ I remember a pollution diagram Mom had once asked Dad to make, to explain to me the workings. He drew in great detail but the result was so microscopic that Mom said we needed to use a magnifying glass to decipher. πŸ˜› Those were the days! You are right – working hard over all those creative deliverables was so much fun! For all the things money can buy, it can’t buy the satisfaction of an afternoon well spent or the delight of memories in times to come.
      Thanks for sharing your experiences, Arch! πŸ˜€

    • Dhanesh, that is quite a compliment. πŸ˜€ Delighted you liked the post. And yes, I miss the summer holidays so much! I especially miss my family’s customary trip to the hills.

  3. Somehow it always makes me uneasy to see how mature and grown up the kids behave these days. There should be a time for everything, but with the overdose of gadgets and information around, maintaining innocence is a tough task.

  4. The wonders of the modern age.
    Although then I hated home work. .but now thinking of it .. It was fun time too..as yiu mentioned making models and charts and what not..

    How much the things have changed..aand delegation wow..

    I wish I was born now 😊 yeah I know I am making contradictory statements. ..😊

    • Haha I can understand where you are coming from, Bikram. Life is full of contradictions. In retrospect, so much seems more beautiful than it did back in time. But, on the whole, the ‘progress’ of the world scares me.

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