Earlier this evening I was sitting in my living room with my 3 year old daughter in my lap and both of us were watching a cartoon streaming on my cellphone. My wife was sitting next to us and feeding my daughter and those 30 minutes or so were by far the best moments of my day.
As we were sitting there, I couldn't help but remember the time when my Father was a teenager, living in Madurai, his whole world view came from sitting next to an old radio in the middle of the night, tuning on to the scratchy radio channels from across the globe. I have a vision of him lying down in the middle of the night, on his bed on the floor next to the two foot long valve radio, with a faint green light of the radio helping him navigate the vast oceans he was crossing with each twist of the radio knob. I'm sure he still has that radio stashed away in his attic. I think, most of the things he likes to do were shaped during those idle hours, like his love of rock and roll or his keen interest in world politics, his fascination for any scientific thought and writing. Even today my Father doesn't throw away newspapers or magazines till he re-reads them (which is usually months later) and cuts out interesting articles for his library.
During this weekend, I had the opportunity of taking a road trip with my parents. And like in all our trips we ended up discussing many things under the sun. The topic veered on to education and my father was categorical that the quality of education now across the world was very poor compared to that which was available to his generation. As such he believes that children today are mislead with vocational based education that makes them specialists in one area or another in a quest for being a 'success in life' but he doubted if these kids got a well rounded education.
Honestly, I don't know the answer to that one. in a way I know that my daughter would have access to a form of technology and probably the best of what the educational system had to offer, things that my father could not have even conceptualized in his teenage years yet, it also could be that she would take them for granted and not use them to their fullest potential. I think it's drilled into everyone's head that they need to succeed, though they have a very faint idea of what that success means. I guess 10 years ago, I would have thought that success in my banking career meant a country level role but now that I've reached that I don't see what the fuss was all about.
I realize that whichever period of life you belong to, you are what you make yourself out to be. The benchmarks of success and failure are very personal, they need to be and as for me off-late being a father, a husband and a son seems much more important than any other role that I play in life & as such, my life is full.