The mad rush to get in the rat race trumps the one to the banquet hall.
Recently I attended a wedding reception that more or less looked like a showcase-your-talent day for school children!
After the emcee spoke about the bride and groom, he announced that a delectable treat awaited the wedding guests. Half the guests, including me, turned their gaze toward the banquet hall with anticipation. But the emcee was referring to the bride’s 10-year-old cousin’s violin performance. Not to be left behind, the groom’s side sent a 12-year-old boy to the stage and put a keyboard in front of him. Someone whispered that the boy’s father had carried the keyboard with great difficulty, all the way from Salem to Chennai by bus. It was followed by a dance by a chubby girl, a song by an 11-year-old boy, a group dance by little girls, shaking their leg to a Tamil song that went, “Daddy and Mummy are not at home…” By now the wedding guests’ patience run out and some make their way to the banquet hall only to be stopped by the bride’s uncles, who bark that the food will be served only when the programme is over. Soon many parents started to send their children on to the stage!
In one corner, I saw a mother coaxing her six-year-old daughter to step on stage and dance. When the shy little girl refused, the mother started the comparison technique. “Look at Ajay! He danced so well. Look at Nisha! How well she sang.” The little girl started to cry and the exasperated mother started to shout at her. I felt sorry for that little girl. Scolding and comparing the child with others is surely not going to help her overcome stage fright. So what if the child refused to dance on stage? It’s not the end of the world. But sadly, many parents, like that mother, get paranoid and start to steamroll their children when they hesitate to take their first step into the mad rat race!
ANJOO SHARON NAVIN
B.A. (Lit.) graduate. Freelance writer