For a child’s smile…

We just got back from one leg of our holiady and were discussing how different our holidays these days are.

There was a time when we went on marathon sight seeing trips. During the pre-daughter days, we used to be up and out the whole day. Grabbing a sandwich when we get hungry, walking around little towns, without even thinking of the time, on our feet the whole day. We used to step out with a map of the place, and would try and get to as many attractions as possible.

These days, our holidays are structured around daughter. Playing in the sand , for what seems like eternity πŸ™‚ Splish-splashing in the sea, eating at her meal times, looking out for child friendly restaurants and waiting for her while she is busy playing in indoor play areas – until she is too tired to play… And funnily enough, we seem to have a lot of fun doing all this too, infact, her screams of joy at building sand castles or entering the sea or sighting ‘Nemo’ at the sea life centre is worth a lot more than all the exploring that we did earlier.

Knowing how our life revolves around our daughter, in the sense that we try to make plans that will involve her and everything we do, is keeping her best interests in mind, it amazes me is how parents can voluntarily sign up their children onto programmes like ‘Pati , Patni aur Woh’. I can understand that the makers have only the TRPs on their minds, but surely, parents would have better sense.. How can any parent let their child be part of a programme like this, where their child is left in the hands of couples, who have little or no experience of handling children. The promos make me shudder.Β  I know, it will be argued, about how different is it from children acting in movies and serials.. yes, but then I have my reservations about children acting in them too. And will this impact the children in any way? We would probably never know..

I cannot for the world imagine, how any parent can sign up their child for something like this. Is it worth the money, fame or are the parents trying to get a bit of the spot light through their children? Is it all that different from child labour?


Edited to add : Honored to be linked at BlogBharti for this post! Thank you so much BlogBharti!


http://www.blogbharti.com/shantanudutta/india/children-as-merchandise/

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56 thoughts on “For a child’s smile…

  1. welcome back Smitha πŸ™‚

    Not completely back πŸ™‚ Am taking a break from the break πŸ™‚

    i too can’t understand how parents can put their children thru something like that…it is definitely as bad as child labor to me.

    I know.. That’s how I feel too..

  2. True Smitha… lives of everybody changes once they get a child… and they are happy about that… after reading many of your posts I could understand that πŸ™‚
    and making a children to act in any kind is really horrible… but I dont know whether its right or wrong

    Kanagu – everytime I see those promos – I feel like so sick! I can’t imagine how the parents did that..

  3. Neither can i! Why play with a little child’s life for the sake of being on TV? Sometimes people act crazy just for getting some attention on prime time.

    I know.. I can’t imagine how..

  4. I know what you mean by structuring holidays/outings around one’s child…

    To some parents, money and fame are everything – there’s no point in even trying to understand the psychology of such parents…

    You are right, Bones.. there is no point.. It’s just that it shocks us everytime we see a commercial for that reality show..

  5. I know, sometimes back I think Pixie also blogged about it, but its a very complex issue. for newborns I think it can be avoided, but totally if children are not there, how can we have any advertising, serials or movies?..dont know what is ideal?

    I do understand that children need to be there.. but in reality shows like this one – it just feels a little cruel. As far as the filming is done to ensure that the child is not exploited in anyway, it is fine. But in this case, I have my doubts..

    This is the big irony of our life that parents plan everything according to the children, but children feel pressurised when they have to consider anywere the convenience of their parents.

    I guess, you have a point.. But then, we parents bring a child into the world – so it is our responsibility to do our best..

    BTW you have been tagged.
    Will jump over and pick up the tag πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for tagging me πŸ™‚

  6. I have not watched that programe u mentioned but I guess its some sort of a reality show. But yeah unfortunately we are currently in that era where no body asks what a child wants. But they expect child to deliver happiness by getting them fame and money. This trend is dangerously growing too!

    Yes, it is some sort of a reality show.. And I agree.. Sad, and scary, if you ask me..

  7. hmmm… glad to see a post from u! πŸ™‚
    Happy to know that your vacation is turning out to be so much fun!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    πŸ™‚ Yes, Pixie, am still on holiday – and it has been wonderful so far πŸ™‚

    And yea, TV serials and kids… πŸ™‚
    I guess they need children in their shows to make it more “real”
    but, they need to make sure that small kids aren’t taken and maybe have an age limit for this?
    Not too sure…
    I agree.. we do need children in shows.. but surely reality shows like this can be avoidable..

    But, yes, it is almost child labour! Some parents do get a bit crazy about money, fame…
    I know.. Just makes me sad to think about it..

  8. Smi, I can totally understand. It is so much fun sometimes to just go crazy with kiddo digging mud or throwing a ball.

    I knew you would understand, Sols! It is so much fun, isn’t it?

    I read about that other show on GM’s blog. Seriously! what kind of reality shows are people making? Some losers from TV industry are given someone’s child to take care. Now even babies are for sale officially. On one side when people are demanding a ban on small kids’ reality show singing competition, here we have babies and toddlers on the show working 24/7. 😐

    I have to hop over to GM’s blog – haven’t had a chance yet.. They seem to peddle anything, in the name of reality TV. I don’t understand, how they parents can go ahead and do it.. Children participating in singing and dancing competition is bad enough.. and little babies and toddlers working 24*7 is crazy..

  9. I see the poor kids on the promos and I feel absolutely disgusted. Sometimes I feel they let the kids cry just to shoot that expression. What kind of parents would do that to their own children?

    Same here! Yes, highly possible – anything for TRPs, I guess..

  10. Indeed. Everything gets built around what the child wants, and the joy that one gets in it cannot be measured…

    I know.. It is so different from life before children..

    Coming to parents whose kids are in the serials, though difficult, we must try and understand that some of them badly need the money, a few genuinely to get out of a grind and others who want to get off the bus and get into a cab. Don’t we hear of parents going to the extent of parents selling their kids when their very survival is at stake? Some also give them up for permanent adoption. It takes all kinds to make the world, I guess.

    Yes, I certainly understand that monetary difficulties are certainly one reason.. But not all children on that show will be there out of necessity.. That is the sad bit.

  11. So nice to c a post from u Smithu in b/w ur vacation!

    Well, just sday we were discussing abt this pgm too when the promo came up in b/w something I ws watching! Its just ridiculous! I can’t bear the sight of hw Rakhi ws trying to hold that child or put the child to sleep! Wonder hw the parents cud subject such a small child to such treatment! Over my head 😦

    I know – I find it disgusting! More than Rakhi – it is the parents of the child, I don’t understand..

  12. Indeed there is a huge difference in everything before and after a child. About Pati, Patni Aur Woh, the less said the better it is. I posted on it too you know!

    Yes, there is , isn’t it?

    You posted on this too? I will jump over to your blog – haven’t had a chance to catch up on so many posts!

  13. ayyyyee welcome back πŸ˜€
    Even i used to asked my sister and her husband ,like y they are planning trips only to kids specific areas always πŸ™‚ .
    between U guys had a rocking vacation ahha 😎
    @ reality show….. have u seen the dance programs and singing competitions in tv, These so called judges make very rough comments at these tender kids.
    What i feel is, these all are the modern form of child labour (i had a dicussion abt the same topic with my sis and bro in law sometime back) 😐 and parents should realize fame and money is nothing compared to the negative impact on kids due to the harsh comments of these idiots.Probably when they realize it,it will be too late 😦

  14. Yes aur life changes so much-from which shows to watch, to where to eat, where to go-all choices are now so different, and yet so much fun.

    As for the child actors-I was watching a promo of a new show-a celebrity couple with a howling baby and felt so bad about the baby.

  15. Its a horrible Idea.. I just learnt about it from here… !!!!!

    We saw it on NDTV imagine- the promos.. It is shocking to say the least!

    I hope you are going to not provide it any encouragement by watching it… to criticise it… like the Rani ki Shaadi… πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

    I am certainly not going to add to the TRPs. You know, people made so much of a fuss out of Sach Ka Samna – surely, this is much worse. This involves little vulnerable children! I don’t understand – is this alright ‘morally’??

  16. I am with you about structuring our holidays around our kids πŸ™‚ And it’s been a delightful experience, somebody once said this might spoil a child, but I feel children who are loved learn to love back.

    About children working in serials (I haven’t seen this one), we are a very ambitious nation, if it looks like some hard work today would result in a good career for the child, then they see working in serials as no different from asking a child to work hard for getting half a point more then the neighbour’s child. It is probably seen as future planning.
    Not sure how to look at it Smitha…

  17. Oh yeah I totally agree with the sudden change of holiday rituals after having a kid and I guess somehow all of us become kids and suddenly start to enjoy rolling in the sand building castles, looking out for pebbles to throw in the water, eat burgers with sauce oozing out onto our hands and worse yelp in joy if we see someone dressed up like SPONGEBOB 😦 (whatever happened to the joy of seeing a Johnny Depp lookalike?)

    Ohhh India has started airing such pathetic shows too? I don’t watch TV much so totally out of sync about these reality hell called shows. I think it is really insane to give your own child to someone who you don’t even know….even with the camera on 24/7. It beats the hell out of me how can they do that? I fidget and become restless for that 3 hours my son goes to school :(. I know that’s mad too but I think I need a little more time to adjust to the fact that he is a big boy now…sobs!!!

    Btw I hope those who are sending their kids to such shows are not parents who are diagnosed with chronic blog addiction…heeee

  18. and my parents think with all this blogging and orkutting, Im a lot over exposed πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Before it was “Kids, I tell you” ; now its “Parents, I tell you” πŸ˜€

  19. I know what you mean..well partly – only because i see my sister and her husband do it all the time – to plan weekends and holidays around the lil one. And I often wonder if I shall regret not living the carefree/impulsive life I do now, when I have a baby of my own.. From what I gather, I guess not πŸ™‚
    The show`s outrageous! I cant imagine who these parents could be really!
    I`m visiting after a long time.. how have you been Smitha?

  20. I have not seen promos and i have no idea about this show, so i can not put my 2 cents in. But i agree that our world revolves around our child. And you know, if you observe closely, child’s world revolves around parents too….

    I have observed many imaginary/pretend play of my son …him not knowing about it …and i made that conclusion.. πŸ™‚

  21. Came to know about this from ur post.I will never watch a reality show done by kids,i just hate kids singing and dancing on the stages that too as young as three years old.Let them enjoy there childhood rather than learning the film songs and dances.I heard parents put pressure on the kids to by heart the lengthy songs.

    Once sandhya wrote about tirupati where kids are given on rent to people who want to have quick darshan,i wonder how can they give kids to a stranger just for money.

  22. And funnily enough, we seem to have a lot of fun doing all this too, infact, her screams of joy at building sand castles or entering the sea or sighting β€˜Nemo’ at the sea life centre is worth a lot more than all the exploring that we did earlier.
    i had a smile on my face while reading this. poohi is lucky to have parents like u πŸ™‚ truly…
    becoz i also know of parents who – in spite of “taking care” of their children – pretend they are a separate entity from their kids. the attitude is: “look-at-us-we-are-a-couple-then-come-the-kids” 😐 cant stand that kind of stupidity!! family is a unit, dammit!!!

    as for this show, i m learning abt it for the first time. remember hearing it abt vaguely somewhere, but it didnt register. but anyway i m not surprised. this is the age of reality shows. if they can choose whom u want to marry thur television, then the next step is naturally something involving children.
    and no i have never been able to understand the mentality of kids whose parents give them for tv serials and films… they are robbed of their innocence and childhood so early… its sad 😦

    • β€œlook-at-us-we-are-a-couple-then-come-the-kids” – I k now exactly what you mean! Seen way too many of these around recently, and their tribe seems to be increasing. Granted your life should not revolve solely around kids, but to treat them like excess baggage! Even I keep wondering why parents would want to expose their children to these reality shows, the pressure makes adults break down. Imagine what it does to kids!

  23. Ohh I totally agree with you….every time I see the ad of that stupid serial & I see the way these idiots are handling kids I wonder how cud their parents do this to them!!!

    But sadly in todays world Parents are more interested in Instant fame!!

    Good to see u back πŸ™‚

  24. I can’t agree more, Smitha! Holidays are indeed visits to the park and zoo, rather than a romantic spot! Sigh! And these kids will grow up and tell us to stay home while they go gallavanting (is that the right spelling?).

    Been reading about 5 posts of yours, and realised we think alike on so many things. Loved the part on ‘hubby-sitting’ at the shop πŸ™‚ We must meet.

    Let me know which weekend is good for u.

  25. I can imagine you enjoying your kid’s company, Smitha! Enjoy to the fullest and keep writing about them and have as many photographs as possible. It is going to be a treasure for you and her in later years!

    I watch ‘Balika Vadhu’ and the main character Andandi acts very well, but at times my mind comes out of the story and just think how the girl will feel while acting like a wife, a bahu etc. at this age and going through so much trauma. ‘Saregamapa li’l chams’…the kids who run the show are too talkative. When do they go to school and study, I wonder. 90% of the kids sing very well… schooling and other entertainments in their lives must be a nil. One child/participant’s father said that he has got 8 children! I haven’t heard about ‘pati, patni aur woh’, Smitha.

    You must have heard of Sarika’s story. She had written a lot about how she was compelled to act as a child artiste and how she lost her childhood completely. Too scary…these things. Just money and fame rules and the parents’ greediness.

  26. Awesome…kids are really blessing from God…You are right..every thing in life is planned around them only…

    My heart goes out for the kids who are in others hand…i dont even trust family members…no one take care of kid .except her own mom..

    And this is also true that ..using kid for earning is not their absolutely necessity…these parents are not from slum area or below poverty line ppl ….its for earnign extra bucks, fulfilling their greed..

  27. In my ordinary life, I think about my children 24/7, even my dreams are about them:) Being the protective mom I am, I do no think exposure to such programs is good for child’s development. Then again those parents seem to know what they are doing!! It might help them to look at how young celebrities turn out as they grow up(say Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan).

  28. πŸ™‚ Its all about fame and money..

    Rakhi and Elshe needs something to do and so does channel-walas.. I read that Rakhi’s BP shoots up when she hears the baby cry.. I don’t watch the show,but read reports on that …

  29. I so agree with you,Smits.Its so amazing how our interests and priorities change when our children come into our lives,isnt it?

    Oh yes I saw the promos of the new TV series wherein Rakhi Sawant in her eternal ‘rakshasi’ avatar was trying to look all hassled up with an infant to handle.sometimes these channels and producers can really go overboard.

    Actually I feel the parents are to be blamed fr involving children in such things,Smitha.In the effort of making superkids out of their children,they fail to realize they are putting their little ones’ innocence at stake!

  30. Smitha I saw this video on Survivor’s blog (http://lifeunwinded.blogspot.com/2009/09/regressive-indian-television.html) and realised what you meant… this is horrendous!

    It is, isn’t it? It shocks me every time they play it.. I cannot believe it that parents could give their babies to act in such weird and possibly harmful reality TV shows.. Can’t believe that nobody is worried , I hear no politicians talking about this 😦

    Will hop over to the blog you have mentioned.

  31. welcome back! πŸ™‚

    Thank you Indyeah and welcome back to you too πŸ™‚ It is great to see your comment after sooooooo long πŸ™‚

    You guys had a lot of fun with Poohi πŸ™‚ ((hugs))for her πŸ™‚
    We sure did πŸ™‚ It was a fun week!

    the pati, patni aur woh thing?
    gah! dont even get me started on that!

    It is horrid, isn’t it?

    there is a whole debate thats coming up on this matter and I hope that it gets serious attention …
    such shows are such utter rubbish!

    I certainly hope so.. It galls me that we had politicians of all sorts protesting against reality TV like Sach ka Samna – but they seem to be totally quiet now?

    using babies!

    gawd! what have we come to?
    I know.. So sad, isn’t it, to see little babies used like this..

  32. hope u are enjoying ur holiday smithu!!!!! hugs!!!

    We did have a lot of fun πŸ™‚ Hugs to you too! I saw your post today but haven’t had the chance to read it yet.

    now, i will say this now and for a million times over – we need more parents like u guys! seriously!!!
    More hugs for that! There are plenty of parents like us – we are no exception, believe me! It’s parents who send their children into programmes like the one I mentioned you are the exception ..

    when will ppl stop treating kids like commodities or their ticket to get thier own dreams fulfilled!!! 😦

    I wonder too. So sad, isn’t it, when the people use their innocent children as a pawn of their own ambitions..

    poohi is a luck kiddo! ummas to her! is she having blast???? her pic is still my desktop pic! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    She is having a blast πŸ™‚ She played in the sand for hours, got all wet in the sea and had a blast.
    hugsssssssssss!!!!!!! have a sooper time and me expects pics when u return!!!

    Yes, yes, loads of pics πŸ™‚ We still have to upload them , will post them soon. We all had the bestest time! Hugssssssssss to you too!

  33. Oh my god! Just saw the vid. Which parent in their right mind would give their kid to a Rakhi Sawant and her hired hubby? Where are the moral police? Why is no one protesting? Don’t these little ones have rights?

    The moral police is worried only about Sach ka Samna! It is disgusting, to say the least..

  34. I personally am against these parents who send their sweet-kid to such places for foolish-fame and some money… it’s like pre-maturing your child and taking away his childhood…

    True..it is like stealing their childhood, in a way..

    I know someone can be a child-prodigy but not an actor by the very next day to his/her birth… please let your kids breath the fresh air before getting in touch with filthy people and profession (you get the point?)

    Makes sense, and welcome here!

  35. A couple of months back I had read about a child artist being kept hungry on the set for some insane hours like 10 or 12 and then the mother said she will sue the producer. Some child-welfare association should actually sue the parents.
    Crying babies in the hands of these strange people, I am not sure how do parents have the heart to stay and watch.

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