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The Teen Connect
by Ramendra Kumar

How do you connect with a teen that has a myriad attractions vying for her attention and distractions leading to a dissonance in the real as well as the virtual world?

The best way is by creating a connect based not on authority but on mutual passion. For me and my son, Aniket, the connect is cricket. While I am fond of the game he is obsessed with it.  With him in the terrible teens and me in the frenetic forties our house has often resembled a mini Kurukshetra.  Both of us realized that one common ground of confluence, one common space sans conflict is cricket. Now  often, after a fight, a truce is called with me drawing Aniket’s attention to the latest imbroglio in Pakistani cricket or he pointing out what makes Dravid (his icon) a superior batsmen as compared to Tendulkar (my idol). We have our disagreements here too. But these are mild skirmishes when compared to almost a full-fledged combat on other issues.

When Aniket is not mesmerized by the grace of a square cut or the power of a pull, he is held in thrall by the elegance of the antelope and the majesty of the lion. He is crazy about wild life and so am I.

Couple of years back he came down with a viral fever and I was given the job of ‘baby’ sitting him for three days. A friend of mine had gone for an African Safari and he sent me the snaps of his tour.

“Papa, these photos look awesome. Can’t we make a trip too?”

To humor him I nodded.

Well, Aniket forgot about his fever and went about planning the entire trip. 
By the time his ‘papa- sitting’ sojourn had ended he had chalked out the detailed itinerary and the costing on line with the tour operator.

Since all of us are wild about wild animals we eventually made the trip. I got Aniket a Nikon camera and organized some hands on training. The trip went off like a breeze and Aniket shot some mind-blowing shots. After coming back I wrote a couple of travelogues and sent   to two top of the line publications, along with Aniket’s photographs. You can imagine our thrill when the articles were accepted and subsequently published.

This thrill, this connect, I have been reliving over and over again.

My daughter Ankita wanted to make a documentary for her college project but kept doing a Hamlet as regards the theme. While we were enjoying the surreal experience of Awesome Africa I suggested to her, “Why don’t you make an A/V on the Maasai?”

She jumped at the idea. And from then on we were a team within a team.  She did the video shooting (no one in the house trusts me with a video camera) and I gave her tips on direction and interviews. We finalized the script on the return flight. Back at home we had to enlist the help of Aniket for editing. And for the first time I saw the “bossy” sister and the “pestilential” brother working together for more than 12 hours each day - five days in a row, without getting at each other’s throats. It was almost heaven.

What I am trying to reiterate is that when a passion is shared the connect   is perfect. And to achieve this, one need not go to Kenya or Tanzania; one need not even invest in expensive gadgets. What one has to do is to search for this passion and keep reinforcing it.

And once you are able to bond, wars will give way to skirmishes resulting in a win-win world within your world.
 

24-Feb-2013
 
Views: 8002
Very creative, very productive!! Great idea!! I love making short films myself so I can totally relate. I think we need to get the young more into creating rather than merely absorbing like zombies...thanks for sharing
Charu
Apr-29-2013
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