Yesterday RD picked me up from the station and we had a romantic ride on the bike from the station to R’s daycare which is about 5 minutes (Well in mumbai romantic rides are only that much long!, unless of course to want to get stuck in traffic but that you would prefer if you are in an AC car, not on a Activa holding hubby for dear life as he weaves his way past the horrid rick-clad-traffic-coated road) and then we went in to pay R’s fees since she was in the dance class (She is yet deciding whether to go or not! Well I digress)
anyways so we went in and I paid the fees and then RD asked the coordinator there, “Teacher, how did R win the fancy dress prize. There were many kids who seem to have fancy dressed better than her” and the teacher looks very perplexed and went on to say ‘well ah well hmmm’ and then the owner of the daycare cum school walked in
He started explaining to RD how they decide based on how innovative the theme is, how the child has performed on the stage, how much less money you have spent on the dress, etc etc…
They got into that discussion and then RD told him that Sir I need to tell you something as a well wisher of this place..since my child had really bloomed here…
sir: sure sure tell me
RD: Sir, I have studied in Calcutta where most schools are managed by an Anglo Indian trust and the most important thing I have learnt there is punctuality. If a program was to start at 8.15 the doors would close at 8.16 and you would be allowed a 5 minutes allowance. After that you would be sent back. In this school, for all the culminations and programs which we have attended, it has always started 20 minutes to half an hour late. We can understand a 5-7 minutes delay..but half an hour is too much right? and I often notice that RM and I are the only parents who are on time or before time, rest everyone is kinda late…dont you think you should be a bit more strict about this..and lemme tell you its just a suggestion. I am telling you as a well wisher
Sir: RD what you said is very very true…I wish I could do something about it..
and then he went out to tell instances when people have made his wife cry initially when he started this daycare cum school because she used to insist that the program started on the designated time and they would be late for it.
He told of instances where parents would fight with the teachers for not letting their kids into the class because they were late and where parents would tear off the pages of the diary where the teacher would have entered late remark.
Can you believe it..parents tearing off the pages…how could they..what are they teaching their kids..that its okie to do it?
He told of an instance which happened three days ago..in the other branch of the school, they had put up new playthings and had written a notice on the walk saying that kids should play after taking off their shoes so that there wouldnt be any scratches on the new surface..despite that he saw a lady making her son play with his shoes..he went there and requested her to make her child remove his shoes and play and the reply he got was ‘Hum ne fees to bhar diya hai na, phir aap kyon kuch bol rahe ho’!
He was shocked at this attitude…he tells RD ‘people feel that if they pay the fees, they have bought us..then what they do is correct and if we insist on any kind of discipline the only answer is we have paid the money’
Its so sad, that a guy who has been running a successful daycare cum playgroup for over 12 years now has to put up with such things…RD told him why do you put up with such things..he says ‘ we try our best not to, but you must understand that we are a small school, we are not like a big school who can throw the kids out, so we try and adjust’
Later the discussion went on to how we are aping the west but not aping the right things…we smoke, drink everyday, etc etc but do we have the sense of punctuality as the Westerners, the sense of following rules anywhere, or their fitness levels…RD tells of incidents where Australians come to his office, arrive at the meeting room 5 minutes before time and leave exactly after the designated hour…if the meeting time is 8.30, they come at 8.25 and expect the meeting to start at 8.30. but the Indians usually start coming in at 8.30, settle down at 8.35 and the then do small talk till 8.45 and the meeting starts after that..so obviously the Indians are running late forever…
This post is not to demean Indians or to even say that we are better than the others or anything…
I am just trying to find out where are we going wrong…what is wrong in our upbringing that we dont respect other people’s time, we dont bother to report on time and we think that once we have paid money, we owe the whole world?
Is it okie to let your children learn this..that you can be late and just laugh it off as ‘arey yeh to Indian Standard Time hai’ or that once you pay money, you become the boss and the samnewala had to provide his/her services to you no matter how you behave or what you do?