Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Of Parents and Children

The news these days is full of murders and deaths and on any given day, I think 'bad' news items far outnumber 'good' news stories. Though one can never become completely immune to such bad news, we do get desensitized to a certain extent when we read the same kind of news again and again everyday. But then one story comes out of nowhere to get to us such that the feelings it evokes are almost physical. Today's news of the death of a San Francisco man in Oregon was just one such story for me.

To recap, the man, his wife and 2 kids aged 4 and 7 months had been missing for a week after a Thankgiving vacation in the Pacific Northwest. The wife and the 2 children were finally found 2 days ago and search continued for the dad, who had gone on foot to find help. Tragically, he was found dead today, 7 miles away from his family. Maybe it was the fact that I've been following the story since the beginning; maybe it was the fact that 2 children were involved; or maybe it was the fact that the wife and children being found alive led me to hope that the man would be found alive too. Whatever it was, the news story about the man's death made me feel pretty down today.

I, for one, can't even start to imagine the hardship the family went through to even survive more than a week in those brutal conditions. But in its own way, the story is an example of the bond one shares with one's family. Having only limited food supplies, the mom nursed her 2 children and kept them alive while the dad braved the cold to try and find help so that his family could live. That's what family and parenting is all about, isn't it?

May his soul rest in peace...

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And now for the other end of the scale... you all know that one of my pet peeves is parents bringing their children along to films unsuitable for their young minds (here's my earlier rant on the topic). My trip to see Dhoom 2 last Saturday night was proof that our North Indian counterparts are just as bad(or maybe even worse) when it comes to this.

Nights in the Bay Area these days are really cold and this was a 9pm show. Still, the youngest kid that I saw at the theater was probably 4 months old. He was bundled up and sleeping but is it really necessary to bring such a young one to the theater? When we're told that babies are not supposed to be exposed to loud noises, is Dhoom 2, with its techno score and heavy beats and loud music, really a good choice for a 4 month old?

But the worst was yet to come. About half hour into the movie, there a pretty loud and audible thud as a kid apparently fell to the floor. Having raised 2 kids, I'm quite sure that the noise I heard was the kid's head hitting either the seat in front or the floor. The child obviously started crying very loudly. But the mom did not take him out of the theater or even stand up! She kept consoling the child(while, I'm guessing, continuing to watch the movie), rubbing the kid's head and asking the child to stop crying. One of the first things one has to do when a small child falls is to check for bumps or bleeding. How the hell can she check for those in the darkness of the theater?! Is it too much to ask that she go out to the lobby where there is light so she can make sure her child is OK?

Sad...

22 Comments:

At 11:02 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Cellulars cover good area in US, but as mentioned in article it is difficult if you stuck in a remote site :-(

 
At 11:27 PM, Blogger Shanthi said...

everyone's wish ultimately in life is to grow up their kids in the best way they can...

i can very well understand ur thoughts and it is true that we see people of both the extremes !

wish those ppl who don't value their kids, realise soon : )

 
At 12:11 AM, Blogger Jam said...

In the first case, considering the sense of responsibility shown by both the parents in taking care of the young ones is testimony to the fact that this couple planned well in advance as to what parenthood entailed.

While in the second case, it sounds more like a case of accidental birth of the baby. The couple in question have absolutely no idea as to how to bring up a kid and it is a criminal offence if the kid has to suffer the consequences of their irresponsible actions.

Cheers........Jam

 
At 12:24 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

//While in the second case, it sounds more like a case of accidental birth of the baby..

Yes there are lot more kind and lovable parents with out babies :-{

 
At 2:20 AM, Blogger spk's blog said...

i think there are many places to go with the kids and spend good time. rather sitting silently and watching movies..

hope they realize..

 
At 2:23 AM, Anonymous Saravanan said...

The guy you have mentioned in the first post was James Kim, CNET's Senior Editor.
http://news.com.com/Wife%2C+daughters+of+missing+CNET+editor+found+alive/2100-1028_3-6140118.html

 
At 2:31 AM, Blogger skanda said...

In my place, Kids below 3 years are not allowed in the theaters as they may distrupt the show...it is a common rule in the cinemas..

 
At 3:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tho' we are in Blore, we followed the first story. Heartbreaking, really! I can only imagine getting lost in the Pacific Northwest. Tough to even have a sense of direction.

As for the 2nd scenario, well it is really a pity. If you can't forgo a few minutes of a (stupid) movie for your baby, I wonder if you can really do anything much really for him/her.

 
At 6:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly my thoughts Balaji, on the first one. The news about the death of the man came as a rude shock. Cnet has posted a tribute to him in their home page. It is so moving to read that. How I wish he had taken a different route to get back to SFO....

 
At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a contrast Balaji...

 
At 9:22 AM, Anonymous ram said...

The one abt the father who lost his life was very poignant...am sure his children will grow up to miss him but I also hope that the mother sows the seeds of gratitude in them really early...I think gratitude is a value that encompasses a lot of noble thoughts and genuine emotions...I hope the kids, as they grow up, never fail to recognize the courage and protective nature of their parents...

reg. the other theater story...well, all i can say is "what a pain in the @$$"

another shocking story that i came across recently, which is probably the polar opposite of the father who lost his life is this one...doesnt make a wee bit of frickin' sense to me...

http://wondernoon.blogspot.com/2006/12/unbelievable.html

 
At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tears for the first story:-(

It's touching to hear such humanity still exists.


-kajan

 
At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Both my husband and I were very touched and felt very sad last evening after I saw the news on the net and then on KTVU News later.. How sad for such a young person to lose his life over this unfortunate circumstance. I hope both his children will grow up as good human beings who appreciate what their father and mother stood for in life and how much they really love them.

Somehow, I am dead against travelling long distances anywhere during the winter (especially with a 7 month old!).. Call me conservative or narrow-minded or whatever.. But I didn't take my daughter on very many outings until she was after 1 year and 2 months old.. Maybe I was raised like that or something; still think a million times before I take her to a movie like Happy Feet (whether she'll find it loud or scary or.. or.. or..)

I saw a 5 year old and a 8 year old sitting in front of me at a screening of "Aaru".. If you've seen the movie and are filled with disgust over the parents' decision, I stand by you 100% and so did my husband(so much so he was very 'loudly' telling me how ridiculous it is for parents to bring their kids to a tamil 'masala' movie, regardless of whether or not it was violent).

 
At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI Balaji
I was also following the story everyday hoping that they will find him one day, alas they did but he was no more, it was such a heart wrenching story I was almost in my tears when I heard that. But partly his mistake too for taking an alternative route so that he can reach I-5 faster. He shdnt have done that that proved fatal for him.
Swapna

 
At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many a time we hear & read stories about the unconditional love of a mother ... from cradle to grave.
Sacrifices, sufferings, pains & joys of motherhood is much celebrated in celluloid and print. A father's love & bond is often depicted as slightly distant - a tough, firm almost regimental figure that looms with authority with subtle moments of care & love underlying the ruggedness.

The news of the father going in search for help and then giving his life in search for that help, tugs at our hearts. But I am sure his soul will rest now that his loved ones have been saved. His journey to seek help was driven by his will & commitment that many a father figure will surely do but without saying so much. A true father figure that gives fatherhood a warm glow...

 
At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A thought for the second part of the story about kids at Tamil movies...well at least they don't get to see the ultimate act of immorality on Indian moviescreens...KISSING :}

 
At 8:47 PM, Blogger naan said...

I was feeling pretty down too..I guess anyone could have gotten desperate after waiting for a week for help. I guess thats Life...it can be disapponting and tragic. We all are suckers for happy endings and we wish if things had played out differently and there are lot of "what-ifs"..what if he just waited out, what if he actually found help... But, God has his plans...

 
At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's quite sad indeed about James Kim. What a way to die though, frozen to death? Bah.

Several days back my coworker updated me on how they found the mother and children and she said, that she's got a gut feeling that the father prolly ended up dead. that came true.

~MErino

 
At 10:38 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

srivatsan, yeah but it was the cell phone ping that helped make the search area smaller...

shanthi, parents make so many sacrifices for their kids. not seeing a movie or seeing it separately seems like such a minor sacrifice. thats what is surprising here...

jam, nicely put. the kids will probably grow up just fine... but even if one is affected because of things like this, it is one too many...

spk, yeah i'd mentioned that in the earlier rant i think...

saravanan, thanx :)

skanda, thats a good rule both for the kids and the other patrons! but they probably wont implement something like that at indian theaters here since that may make the parents stay at home and that means loss of business!

chitra, thinking about what the family went through is just too horrendous... truly heartbreaking...

filbert, read quite a few articles about him. amazing what he did to try and save his family...

kk, yep :)

ram, couldn't even get through that article fully. can't believe there r people making choices like that...

kajan, though the story was sad it was positive and uplifting in its own way...

sandya, i fall in the same category too. stepped out to very few places when kavya was little and the same for karthik.

and i think we saw the same show of 'aaru'. still remember a couple of kids covering their faces in fear in that scene where some people are burned alive.

swapna, i think that hope that he would be found alive was what made this story extra sad for me...

anon, very nicely put :)

naan, yeah we can completely understand his motivation to step out and find help. he surely couldn't have beared to see his family suffering like that...

merino, yeah real sad. my gut feeling till yesterday morning was that he'd be found alive... too bad that didn't come true :(

 
At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the second story, What was the dad doing?

 
At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding your second story, we were in AMC watching the new Bond movie. An Indian parent got their 3yr old kid to the movie. The kid was quiet for an hour but after that he could barely sit in one place or stay quiet. It got so annoying that I got up and asked them to take the kid outside.
Just wanted to share this to say it is not it is not just Indian movies, its even in AMC.

 
At 7:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon at AMC:

would you have done the same if it was an american parent with their kid ?

 

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