“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 had 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. Her homework/lack of it notwithstanding, she had given me too much homework by way of hard to digest generational differences.
The little girl was now busy with her cellphone. I subtly checked to see if it was a plaything. It wasn’t.