Monday, September 14, 2009





Why do people have children?

I don’t know.

In our case it was just a simple natural process. We got married [She, 21; I, 25], followed our biological instincts, let nature take its course, and in due course of time we were blessed with a delightful little bonny baby who became the cynosure of our life.

This was almost a quarter of a century ago.

Now it’s different.

I’ll tell you a story.

There’s this “successful” couple. Accomplished, ambitious, and competitive, they [She, 33; He, 35] are both software geniuses, exceptionally brilliant IT Professionals. Their hearts passionately in love, their heads fervently in competition, each trying to outdo the other.

They got married five years ago, after both had established themselves in their careers. They planned everything. First they would focus on their careers for a few years, strive for new zeniths and realize their dreams with their quest and passion for excellence, and then when they were successful and reasonably prosperous, they would plan their first child, so that they could give their kid the “best” in the world. Doesn’t matter, if this plan entailed periods of separation and long-distance marriage from time to time in the nascent years of their wedded life!

Their planning was perfect. They have just been blessed with a bonny baby. Just like we were, a long time ago. But here the similarity ends.

For he, the father, is flying off to the States, and she, the mother, is off to Singapore, to separately pursue their respective professional dreams, material ambitions, and achieve new pinnacles of success.

And their bonny baby will stay right here in their luxurious apartment with her granny who will shower her with all the “motherly” love and look after her with loving tender care.

And, of course, they will ensure that the baby gets the “best” in the world – the best comforts, the best toys, the best schooling, the best docs, the best nannies, the best care – the best of everything, except motherly and fatherly love.

Why is the mother depriving herself of the bliss and joys of motherhood? And why is the father distancing himself from the baby’s growing up process? I still remember the supreme joy and happiness my wife experienced when doing simple things like massaging, bathing, feeding, tending to and nurturing our baby. And I can never forget the matchless delight and fun I felt taking an active part in all facets of the baby’s development and growing up process.

Nothing can even remotely equal the unique joys of motherhood and fatherhood, and there is no substitute for it. And if they didn’t want to fully experience it, why did they have the baby?

Was it to just to prove to the world, or maybe even to themselves, his manliness and her fertility?

And what about the poor hapless darling baby? Will she never know what true motherliness and fatherliness are like?

Can a proxy, however compassionate, be as good as the real thing? Why go against nature?

That brings me back to my first question. Why do people have children? When their priorities lie elsewhere, and they don’t want to cherish the sheer unadulterated joys and thrills of parenthood and parenting.

Dear Readers, will you please be so good and enlighten me?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Karve,
This is an excellent column. We are also a couple in our mid-30s expecting our child next month. However, unlike the couple in you article, I am planning to stay at home for at least a few years, and my husband is going to cut his work hours. I know some couples will get defensive because they say not everyone can afford taking time off, but we are by no means rich or privileged. We are just willing to live a more frugal lifestyle until the child is more self-reliant and then we can save for her education. Until then we would like to see her grow up. I also wonder if people who are so materially driven have a child as something to check off on their to-do lists, to prove to the world they "have everything" but I don't see the point of achieving the goal if you don't enjoy the process of getting there.