He couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. "Just another day of going out, Mom".... his face seemed to say. Oh! The sinking feeling of sending my baby out into the 'real' world without me!!
I accompanied him to his bright, loud class, where others anxious moms and dads from the same species were battling their inner demon of fear. The sight in that classroom would have looked comic for a detached watcher .... kids varying in emotions: from those howling at the top of their voices, to those seated determinedly in the seats they were parked at by their parents, refusing to let other scheming parents place their kids there. (Let me clarify here - We parents are a weird lot - we goofed away our entire studying years in the back benches of schools and colleges, but come the first day of our kids school, and we want them to sit right under the teacher's nose; or right on her table, if possible!!)
Well, my three year old is more determined than his mom - he walked straight to the last table in the last row and placed his prized possessions there - a water bottle, a toy car (which he refused to leave at home) and his bright red 'Ben Ten' bag. No amount of coaxing, threatening or bribing helped move him from the last to the fast filling seats in the front rows.
"Takes after his Dad" I muttered to a smiling teacher, who assured me she does not have eyesight or hearing problem - so my son would be taken care of even in the last row. Moreover, she clarified, they are rotated all the time.
I came back home, pacified. But what set me thinking was the attitude we all carry : the I-want-the-best-seat-in-the-room syndrome. We do it for everything in life, don't we? The best seat in the theatre, the best seat in the bus.... oh, did I say bus? What I meant was flight... NOT bus (See even the mode of transport has to be the BEST !!) The best room in the hotel, the best cabin in the office, the best car in the buiding, the best kids in the country... And we put Maslow's theory securely in the grave......
Maslow's theroy says (in simple non-doctorlike statement) that when basic necessities are met, we move on to the next necessity. In that order, we move from necessities, to luxuries to esteem needs, and finally to self actualization. (That, i presume is the stage when we become emanicated like the pictures of sages in Amar Chitra Katha, and we get a halo behind our heads!)
No, on a more serious note, our basic necessities have grown so much - No, its not enough that we eat good food, it also matters WHERE we eat it - the Taj or the Oberoi, or at least the most happening swanky restaurant in town!! In fact, we are so busy fulfilling "basic" necessitites, we never actually get to the self actualization phase .... Sad fact, considering how much greatness the human mind can achieve...
But getting back to all the 'BESTs" we aim at acquiring ..... that does wonders for our blood pressure, doesn't it? Not to mention what it does to our already honed skills in negotiation, bargaining and name-dropping to get unfair advantage in acquiring the best ! In the process, we teach our next generation how important it is to get the 'best' out of material stuff in the world. We teach them that only the smart ones, the selfish ones, the ones who fight the hardest, survive.