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Bringing Up The Next-Gen Baby

07/09/2015 8:15 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Bond between mother and daughter

For the economy's sake, mind you!

No, I am not about to take a stance on whether or not women can have it all.

We can all lean in or bend back or sway like the reeds on the banks of the Limpopo in the face of migrating hordes, the Berg, visiting shooters, what have you.

(And permit me this phoren visual imagery -- after all, the reeds on the banks of the Ganga have long been swamped by tons of human excrement).

But, in the meantime, I am totally marvelling over how we are raising the next-gen baby, as opposed to the next-gen baba, if you get my drift, and what it means for our economy.

The mantra comes from Gucci-carrying mummies, who exude disdain with every toss and winkle of their diamond-dripping chandeliers, debating the sanctity of motherhood and the demands of Perfect Families, thus leaving me to comment instead.

"The baba must eventually learn how to become the next sugar baron or land baron or china teacup baron... But baby clearly has more time on her hands."

Recently a mother of two college-going sons commented that she was teaching her strapping boys to toast bread. Because all the coiffed girls who hung around them had never even made tea! Whatever would happen in the next generation of families, lamented this formidable woman who has balanced career, single motherhood as a widow, and ahem, her kitchen.

That got me thinking of the many young women I have met of late, all primed for success through attending coaching classes, soccer classes, dance classes, ikebana classes, and more. They carry the mantle of parental dreams, and carry it well. Of course, they and their mothers would never do anything as dreary as a cooking class! Ergo, you have women who have graduated college without ever having had to pour a glass of water for themselves, let alone beloed rotis or chhiloed matar. These are cultural self-references wasted on an entire generation. And, I am not just talking of the misses of the now-renamed Aurangzeb Road or the earlier renamed Nepean Sea Road, but girls from middle class families in Barrackpore and Muzaffarnagar, who are aiming high and looking to storm into corporate bastions. Kitchen Confidential is but a stumbling block to be razed down on their road to success.

It seems to me that, somehow, the fancy folks swimming in venture funds and splashing it on local ecommerce have caught onto this trend before mere mortals. Tiny Owl, Food Panda, Just Eat, Tasty Khana and others might very well be the key to the survival of the next-gen baba and baby log. Time to dig out our wallets and invest in these ideas, if not start our very own, and either way, wad up cash for the future!

Hard work and all that may be the panacea for the bourgeois soul, but the arrivistes shake their heads. Wait, wait, there is more.

"Baby will hit the mall and the boutique, thereby spinning the virtuous circle of growth from mall owners to boot makers to every yarn dyer in the middle!"

It's the week for hearsay. In that spirit, I was struck by the story of an up-and-coming mother who makes sure baby splashes designer duds in designer digs or on designer days-out in Dublin or Dallas or even apni Dilli, so that the babas she meets understand the standard of living she is accustomed to. It isn't as equitable as you may think when you swipe all bored and spoilt progeny of the rich and successful with a single broad brush. The baba must eventually learn how to become the next sugar baron or land baron or china teacup baron, or how to invest in the next wave of new age applet baron. But baby clearly has more time on her hands.

Now before you go all tchahh, think.

Given all we hear of our soon-to-be growth rates, which despite the mini thumbs down by the good folks at Moody's, seems to be the buoyant hope of the Modi world, this is the time for designers and brand kingmakers to thrive. Festoon a thing with oomph as our expert start-up soon-to-be gazillionaires suggest, and fashion the sell-out "it" item of the nation. This, perhaps, also bodes well for all those posh degree-holding, door-to-door wealth management peddlers who had been axed in the last wave of cost cutting. Clearly, for parents of baba log, needing to save the cash for future missus baby of the house, their stringent advice would be much needed.

Now look at what macro-economists have been preaching since the days of baba Adam (not the Biblical one, darling, just Mr Smith) -- high savings to bankroll the future and high spending to spur economic activity and eventual growth. Seems like with the new age baby and her mummy, we have hit the right spot! After all, parents of baba log must save, thereby accumulating their billions of paise. Banks and investment vehicles will thrive, regardless of the fears Mr Kotak has for the banker of the future. Meanwhile, baby will hit the mall and the boutique, thereby spinning the virtuous circle of growth from mall owners to boot makers to every yarn dyer in the middle!

So, come on baby, we love you loads. Together with you, we shall strangle the naysayers and take on Moody's!

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