A group of young parents drops their precious children to Don Bosco, Matunga for sports practice, between 6.00 and 7.00 in the morning, before school. They are all affluent and drive swanky cars. As with everything in life, the 80:20 rule works, such that 20% of the parents behave the way mature adults would, while the other 80% are just pests.
The entry is through a side-gate on a road used in the morning by walkers and runners and by school buses and by trucks and tempos that supply produce to Sahakari Bhandar nearby.
These pest parents
- Park their car on the wrong side of the road next to the side school gate, so that their precious does not have to cross the road to enter the gate.
- Block the road, if there is another car already parked and stop their car in the middle of the road, irrespective of who is in front or behind, so that their precious does not have to waste a single second getting out.
- Honk incessantly, if there is slower car in front or if there is a person walking or running on the road.
- Stop the car on the opposite side as a normal non-pest parent would, but then turn into pests by continuing to park there forever at the corner, making it almost impossible for large cars, buses, tempos and trucks to turn.
A pest parent as you might have figured out by now, is typically in their late 20s or early 30s, and like Gollum from Lord of the Rings, considers their child, the “Most Precious” in their world, and exhibits atrocious behavior towards others in their quest to fulfill that child’s asked for or unasked for demands.
They are everywhere.
- Like the pest parent who jumped the queue outside Jaipur airport in the morning with their precious because they did not want the precious to wait in a queue of about 10 people when it was neither raining nor cold nor hot nor crowded…
- Or like the parent whose precious interrupted a conversation between me and another friend in the aircraft and when after a couple of minutes of saying “Hi, how old are you, what is your name”, we asked him to go back to his seat, he refused, wanting to keep talking to us. When we looked at the mother indicating to her that she should ask her son to come back, she just turned her head and pretended to sleep, hoping that her precious would keep troubling us, while letting her rest. Finally, we had to ask the air-hostess to take care of the situation. Clearly, their own rest supersedes their precious’ preciousness…
- Or like the parents who let their precious play cartoon videos on a tablet during dinner, at the restaurant of a resort hotel, at full volume without headphones. Their need for a dinner without being disturbed by their precious, evidently superseded their precious’ preciousness even though the noise from the tablet was ruining everyone else’s composure…these pest parents had probably trained their own ears to disregard that noise.
Pest parents insist on showing off their precious’ talents, which are usually so hidden that only they seem to know where those talents are, making them sing and dance in front of whoever they can catch in a party or function, knowing that unlucky people like us have no hope of escape.
Pest parents are the ones who during the first birthday party, will insist on showing a video or Powerpoint of their precious’ photos, at the rate of one set of photos per week, which over 52 weeks, even at 30 seconds per photoset takes an unending 20-30 mins. I guess you could cut them some slack given their enthusiasm to want the whole world to know that their precious is the only one who has learnt to walk or do potty, not realizing that these are just like pre-wedding shoot photos that no one during a sangeet or wedding has any interest in looking at except for those who have just got married or are about to get married and that too only because of Instagram FOMO.
Pest parents are…just pests everywhere, buzzing and hovering around in malls, in theatres, in restaurants, in hotels, on the roads, in schools, in playgroups, at the airport, in flights, in trains…and there isn’t much we can do, because in this crazy, politically correct world, you can’t even say anything to them, and if you do make the mistake of pointing out their foibles, they are quick to take umbrage, immediately creating a scene and making you feel a worm in front of everyone for daring to say anything against them and their precious…as happened with me outside Jaipur airport.
Hopefully one day, we will have the human equivalent of an electric mosquito racket that we can use to just swat these pest parents away. Until then…sigh!!
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