Ten-year-old Ishaan Sarin gets Rs 30 a week as pocket money. But needs a few hundreds more to indulge his passion — online gaming. His father Vishal, who is head of facilities at a media house in Delhi, willingly paid up the $10 membership fee for Ishaan to join Club Penguin — a ‘massively multiplayer online role-playing game’ (MMORPG) that involves cartoon penguins as avatars for players to play mind games in a virtual snow-covered space. “Whoever heard of these things in our day and age,” heaves Ishaan’s rapidly greying Dad.
Ishaan can fix computer glitches, and come to the rescue of his parents when they have cellphone problems. He can even fix fax machines. Girlfriends? “Nah”, goes the little one. “They’re not on my agenda just yet.”
But fashion certainly is. His jeans have to be Levis. Haircuts are a touchy issue. Gel and cologne are used frequently. Tattoos too, are a fad — “temporary ones, thankfully”, exclaims his father, who prods him to give me the low-down on the “chick scene”. “Tell the lady about the girl who won’t accept your friend request on Facebook.” The young gun will not tell.
Ishaan is no slacker. The 10-year old’s marks have never been cause for dinner-table rows. And yet, he takes tuitions in every subject. He has a very good reason: “If I don’t go for tuitions, my grandmother gets high blood pressure.”