Today is Children's Day! We’re still in the middle of Diwali and as I hear the sound of crackers burst mostly by children and their parents, at timings which the High Courts and other courts have said no to, I wonder how well our children are growing up.

“Dad, you’ve given me crackers for Diwali?”

“Yes, my child now burst them joyously!”

“But the courts have given very strict timings!”

“Who’s bothered by what the courts say my child. Go to the terrace where nobody can see you and burst them. If you don’t get caught, who’s bothered?”

And this Diwali, all I heard was the sound of parents teaching their children how to break the law.

Many years back, a very popular song was, ‘Teach your children well!” I’m not going into all the words except the first two lines which say, “You who are on the road, must have a code- that you can live by.”

Do you have a code?

Because, without a code, without a law or a set of rules, you will not only see yourself go adrift, but more so your children. Yes, ‘you who are on the road’ as the song says, you parents who are on the road of life, must have a code that you can live by.

Well, the loud noise of crackers sure told me that many did not.

And parents be warned, today it was only the rule of crackers, imposed by courts that you broke, but one day when your child is caught by the police for breaking a road rule, and causing a death, or embezzling office funds, or harassing his wife, that it was you who home- schooled him or her.

I was in Bhopal a week or two ago, and decided to visit a museum of tribal art. The entry ticket was cheap but if you carried a camera, it cost you a hundred rupees more. Now, such rules must have been framed before every mobile phone became a camera. So, the man at the ticket window told everyone that if you wanted to take a picture with your mobile phone, you bought a ticket and hung a card around your neck, which showed you had paid. What I saw were dozens of dads and moms without a card around their necks clicking pics on the sly, with children grinning as their parent’s cheated.

I wonder whether those same parents will grin when their child is caught breaking a law, and turn to them and say, “It was you who did not teach me well!”

From this Children’s Day, remember to teach your children well...!

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