Case 1: Nitika, an eight-year-old, an only child, likes gifts. The price of the gift does not matter, its frequency does. She wants a present everyday; a daily present tells her how much her parents love her. Last week, she had wanted a Barbie kit. The kit was for Rs 1,000 and her mother refused it saying that she wasn’t carrying that much money that day. The next day Nikita was down with viral fever. “If you do not get the Barbie for me, I will not get well,” she said. The next day she got it.
Case 2: Ankit, a Class 10 student, carries two mobiles each worth Rs 10,000, wears only Woodland shoes and has a Splendor motor bike. He now wants his father to buy him a new model. He had once threatened to commit suicide when his demands were not met. His parents took him to a counsellor saying he was a career guide. His father is a busy man grooming his business. His mother is a housewife who spends her time at kitty parties.
Case 3: Vibhor’s best friend is Puneet. Puneet’s father who is in the US, regularly sends him expensive gifts. Vibhor coerced his parents to buy him an iPod. His father was a government servant and had refused him the phone at first. The boy told his mother: “If my father cannot afford an iPod for me, why is he working?
These cases show the paradigm shift in the culture of cities like Bhopal, where wearing brands is about being on par with the rest.
“I have seen my parents living a plush life. My father owns two cars, my mother has a car exclusively for herself. They both have all the gadgets and gizmos that they fancy. Why should I be deprived?” asks Abhijeet, the son of an industrialist. Echoes Ritu, a Class 10 student: “I have my eyes on a laptop. I have promised that I will do well in my boards to get it but I know my parents will buy it for me even if I don’t.”
Ritu Nanda, a counsellor with the Delhi Public School, feels today’s kids know how to blackmail their parents. “Parents succumb because they feel they have no other way out”. Sunita Maheshwari , owner of Nirupam, a posh clothing and toy outlet for kids in the city, says most of the Sunday sales are driven by guilt. “I see parents buying their kids just about anything they lay their hands on — irrespective of whether the child needs it or not”. Television shows are also a driver of sales, she says. “I have found many girls coming to my shop after watching the programme Barbie and 12 dancing princess, asking for the toy”
There are children buying watches worth Rs 2 lakh. WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) T-shirts bearing the photos of John Cena and Randy Orton are other favourites. The next craze should hit anytime soon.