Friday, December 23, 2016

WHOSE BABY IS IT, ANYWAY?







“So, what’s the latest news?” I asked my twelfth-standard (ISC) students.
“Kareena got a baby,” beamed excitedly Simran.
“Baby’s name is Taimur,” added Aditi equally excited.
“Who cares?” declared Gagan.
“Girls will be girls and boys will be always boys,” I smiled in my mind. “Tell me, what is your opinion on the controversy over the name of Kareena and Saif’s baby?”
“Why should any of us be bothered about that?” the voice was unanimous from these young-ones, “Whose baby is it, anyway?”

I loved that… “Whose baby is it, anyway?”
Certainly not mine… and certainly not yours. So, let us mind our own business. Let’s not sit on the judgment seat and shout, “The baby is given the name of a despot king… a mass murderer… an invader. Taimur!"

Till this Pakistani man – whoever he is – Tarek Fateh tweeted and polluted the peaceful atmosphere here, I did not know who Taimur was, or what Taimur meant. And, the moment this man made this holier-than-though statement, joined all the gullible for the reasons best known to them…

It is national pastime. Want to get some attention? Bash a celebrity… Or, bash someone who you think is not patriotic!

But, who are you to do that? Who gave you that ‘moral policing’… that ‘national conscience- keeping’ exclusive right?

My dad was a poor villager. Still, when he named us – his five sons – Franklin, Gerald, Herald, Ronald and finally Vivek… even he, with no much schooling, had done some research on his baby’s names and hoped that when his sons grew up, they would live up to the legacies of those heroes after whom he had named them. I remember, in the midst of his frustration, he would yell out at us: “I shouldn’t have named you after American Presidents or Swami Vivekananda… I should have named you after some criminals and traitors!”

Yes, like Judas Iscariot, Adolf Hitler, Charles Sobhraj… or, Veerappan… Haji Mastan… and such!

As kids, back in our village, everyone around us was a Peter, Paul or John… Krishna, Gopala, Govinda, Ram, Laxman or Bharat… Mohammed, Abdul or Akbar… But, these kids were exactly like us… They did everything which we did… and they grew up exactly the way we grew up… making their own conscious choices… Well, none of these – who were named after great souls – turned out to be any saints, kings or Presidents…

Poor parents… Oh that hope!

In life, a new-born is the purest of all pure things… Look at Taimur… How, even before this baby’s eyes have opened, you and me are hell-bent in poisoning his mind!

To me, that’s being criminal!

So, let me rest my case: Let’s not behave like some jobless, useless fellows debating over the name of this innocent baby, Taimur…

Whose baby is it, anyway?

GERLD D’CUNHA


Pic.:  Anil Bedi

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