Last year, I had read an article in TOI – may be a Sunday glossy edition; how having a baby is a matter of public discussion in India. It was like someone wrote my words in the paper. The author discussed the age old topic of having a baby right after your marriage; relatives & neighbors & pretty much anyone is allowed to invade our privacy by asking, “So when is the good news? When are you having a baby?” The author correctly said that it is incorrect to discuss my personal bedroom information out in public. And really what is the rush to make a baby right after you marry. It must have been the case in previous generations where women stayed at home, cost of living was affordable, not all the kids born will study etc..Today our generation is so much different even from that of our parent’s! As a matter of fact I see vast level of difference in thinking and ambitions even with the generation of my cousins who are just 2-5 years younger than me.
Today, there are number of factors that we might have to consider before having a baby. The cost of living in the big cities has sky-rocketed. Needs like a house, a car have become a must and they are really expensive too. Education in India has become so expensive with private schools charging a huge sum of money starting from kinder garden. In these times, when I have a baby I want to be sure I have enough money to raise it in a descent safe environment with good quality food, clothes and school. All these factors were not such a big deal in the past. Even the number of kids is important. I believe to have one kid and provide it all the facilities than have 3 or more and then run out of money, patience and end up frustrated with the situation. Moreover, being an Indian I think we have to do something about the population control, right? It is our kids who will have to face the competition of large number of kids at their times. When our parents studied they probably had 15-20 students per class, my times we used to be from 60-90 per class. Imagine what it will be in 2025! Either we pay lakhs of rupees to make sure our kid is in a school with less number of students per class or go to regular cheaper affordable schools with 100 students per class, where the teacher barely knows 20 names in her class. Let alone be personal attention!
Beyond this, there is personal interest too. Our generation is much more ambitious than our parents with respect to career and education. Forget 10th or 12th grades, even the Masters Degree has become too common now. I have friends doing PhD! Friends trying for better jobs, better locations, better companies, better salaries, better life! Remember the old hindi movie dialogues “Ladka padha likha hai, sarkari naukri hai etc etc”. (The eligible groom is educated and has a Govt. job). How many of our generation actually look forward to Govt. jobs in India?
I do face the ‘good news’ question once in a while; but not as much as I had imagined when I moved to India. When you stay away, the question is not on your mind. But the mere thought of moving to India, makes us think of answers to the social question of, “Any good news?” I have to mention that I have very broad-minded in-laws and parents to support us in letting us decide our lives. It is a very big factor in India, where parents dominate in decision making even after your marriage! I think the trends are changing and we do see more career-oriented couples these days. Basically there are many more levels to consider in our generation. Again I know the ‘you don’t have to put so much thinking blah blah’ kinda comments people would make. I think it’s quite ok to think, plan and move ahead. Being Indians we all HAVE to have a child, there is no escape from the society and relatives etc. But what is wrong, if we think ahead of time for a better future of our child?