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Mezze is widely served in the Greek and Middle eastern world. An assortment of little dishes and tasters which accompany a nice ouzo or a glass of wine. So when you read mezze moments you will have tasty snippets of life as I live it, India for four years and now Brisbane Australia, all served up with some Greek fervour and passion.

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Child rearing in India

I am going to give you two examples, both widespread, but clearly there are others in between.
The one is a wealthy middle class family with three children. The family has four servants for the children alone, one child, the youngest, has two as he is a handful and needs ayas on a shift basis. These kids are woken, dressed, bathed, fed and taken to school, if they are of school age, and collected from school by the servants. They come home in the afternoons to a host of tuition ranging from music to tennis to maths. They barely see the mother or the father and I suspect that since they are not around much and the servants are not allowed to discipline the children there are not many boundaries set for them. Some children, by the admission of their parents themselves, are unable to feed themselves as they have always had food shoved into their mouths by exhausted and badly paid servants who for the most part are extremely loving and loyal to these kids.

The other one also involves three children, but this time the mother works on a building site and the three children, a child of about 8, looks after the toddler and the baby, while the mum carries bricks on her head and large bowls of cement. It is so labour intense. She earns probably the equivalent of 100 R ( $2 a day ) and brings the children to the building site every day. The kids barely have any clothes to wear so much so that in the winter months I was horrified to see how thinly dressed they were and I went out and bought them all warm clothes.Clearly they will not have the opportunity to go to school. The toddler plays in the heaps of sand and stones on the edge of the site and the baby is quiet and seemingly content in the arms of an older sibling.

Both, you might say, are lovingly reared within their own means but I see the seeds of complacency in the one and a certain hopelessness in the other. Or in reverse hopelessness in the first and resignation in the second. Whichever way you choose to look at it and there may be several , what I can say is that it is hard to build solid lives from such shaky foundations in either case is it not ?

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