Friday, January 27, 2017

cashless crap

What was money to start with ? You bartered your goods/services with someone elses and that had its limitations. So we ended up with 'money', which was just a tool to help simplify those exchanges. It was small, portable, standardized ( sort of) , didn't perish , etc etc.

Then we had overlords, which fulfilled various needs , practical, emotional, psychological... We called them governments, or kings, or gods. At any rate they needed to take their hafta, again for various reasons, administrative, status definition, power, consolidation, protection, just because i can , etc etc. They also usually minted, printed, managed the 'money'. So we had taxes, that went to our chosen overlord.  So far so good ( or bad) .

But now we have reached a stage where we say we will do away with physical money altogether! So who pays for the systems who will move our virtual money through the maze ? Why we do of course! So this time, we are paying our hafta to icici, citibank, sbi, airtel, jio, iphone  IN ADDITION to the old hafta to our overlords. 

Maybe I choose the convinience of airtel and icici, thats one thing. but when you give me no choice, and present me options like 
1. pay 2% + tax for credit card, 
2. pay 4% plus tax for debit card, 
3. pay 20 rs for demand draft. 
4. go live under a rock in the himalayas and meditate on the goodness of our fifty six inched kaka, or his more choti soch ke bretheren and sisteren who have had their own time in the sun for ( as we are frequently reminded) 60 years...

Sigh. Deep breaths. Glass of water. 

So the new resolution is to simplify life as much as possible. Minimize all purchases, all spending of money. Declutter. Reuse. Recycle, AND USE CASH WHEREVER I CAN TO SAVE! Yes, that is my little rebellion. 

On the plus side, those are things we should have been doing anyway. Instead of falling for the commercial crap, buying endless mountains of junk, buying the insecurity the giant corporations keep selling: your wall paint is crappy, your face paint is crappy, your life is crappy unless you get this. I had been taking baby steps for the last few years, trying to break free. This year should further that journey by leaps and bounds. 

So maybe I was premature in judging the situation. Nothing is good or bad.. thinking makes it so. 



Friday, January 20, 2017

Please Touch - Susan Striker

Having already read 'young at art' , I found it quite useless.

Far too thick, repeating the same ideas over and over again, and perhaps for someone who is already on board about the broad idea of letting children explore and create, I find it too strident.

I guess one of her books is a good introduction to the ideas, but subsequent ones are just repetitive.  This one might be a better one to start with because it covers broader ground than young at art, but I don't think I will be reading any more by her. 

Young at Art - Susan Striker

Interesting read, but far too long.

This is a book by a hard-core artist. The aim is to guide your child from the age of 1 to 7, along the artistic journey while encouraging creativity and independence. I don't think I have even half an artistic bone in my body, so I can't say I instinctively 'get' the art side of it. But what I do get is the very visible effort to encourage exploration, and discourage the imposition of the 'correct' way, the coloring book driven approach.

In general that reflects my own parenting approach. I have always been keen to let s try things on his own, rather than urge him to do things the grown up , accepted way. Whether its the approach to food, ( eating roti with water!) or slides ( going head first right away) or drumming on pans instead of cooking in them.

Is it easy ? Well no, there's a strong urge to tell them - no , you have to sit up on the slide, not go down head first.  No, you eat roti with curry, not dipped in water.  No don't go near the fire.  And we often convince ourselves that we are looking out for their safety, or their skill development. But a little bit of introspection and RCA soon tells me that its not that at all. Its more that conformity seems paramount. For another it helps us feel like we are fulfilling our parental obligations by 'teaching' them something. And a big part is that it makes life simpler for us, more predictable controlled children,  less mess, less oversight , less active engagement required from our side.

I had not logically extended my laissez faire attitude to his coloring, and thats something that I have tried to change after reading the book. Some other tips seem to make sense. Encouraging them to explore different ways of coloring early on ( crayons, water colors, glue, cutting ) .  Encouraging scribbling rather than constantly asking 'what is it' . Introducing 1 color or limited colors at younger ages. Finger painting. Edible paints.

There are very detailed charts about the type of materials , sequence of colors , mixing, song and book suggestions to go with them, all of which are way to detailed for me, perhaps someone with a deeper love of art would get more out of it.

The book tends to get rather repetitive and I feel it could have been shortened. But still interesting.