For the past two weeks, a bunch of us have been planning to get out of office in time to catch the 7.20 pm World Cup match at a nearby watering hole. The fact that we ended up watching all the matches here in office is irrelevant to this crib. The point is, every time we made plans, our editor, Sonal, counted herself out. Not because she’s not a footballs enthusiast, but because her four-year-old daughter eagerly waits for her at home.
For young parents in the Capital, spontaneous evening plans are impossible. Unless, of course, they’re living in an exceptionally understanding joint family. Anuj and Manisha, who have a two-year-old son, returned to India from San Jose a few months ago. While Manisha is happy to be back home, her one regret is that she no longer has a life.
“There, we could call trained babysitters at short notice. Here, teenagers think babysitting is beneath them. The only option is cleaning ladies, which I’m not comfortable with.” Manisha’s last outing with friends was over a month ago. Believe me, she’s not exaggerating. You will not believe how difficult it is to make plans with the mother of a toddler. One of my closest friends, Geeta, has a 16-month-old son named Ritwick. After planning since August, we finally managed to meet each other last December. We’ve already started talking about catching up in the last week of July.
It’s not just socialising. Young parents even have a tough time shopping! Turns out those multicoloured, ultra cool playpens in malls aren’t quite the perfect solution. As Sonal explains, you can only leave kids there for about an hour and, more importantly, they have no facilities for even water or food, so “Why would anyone want to leave their children there longer?”
While the necessity of baby sitters or part-time crèches is not something that ever occurred to me, it now amazes me that no eager entrepreneur has hit on upon this golden goose.
My cousin, who lives in Canada, enrolled for a babysitting course this summer; she now stands to make $7-10 an hour — that’s 400 bucks. Lest you think it’s a profession for teenagers, let me tell you that fast becoming popular internationally is a concept called Drop-In Child Centres, where parents can drop off kids at short notice. Open till midnight, these centres have professional sitters, healthcare facilities and toys. How’s that for a business proposal? Help young parents get a life; you’re bound to be rolling in millions soon.