My one year old daughter S has picked up a trait from last couple of months. She will open her mouth for khichdi ‘only’ when her favorite songs are playing either on the telly, laptop or mobile. Now, before you super good, uber efficient mothers pounce on me, asking ‘HOW could you introduce her to this habit’, ‘Kids should be trained to eat without any prop’, and so on, let me please clarify (fellow mothers are welcome to vouch for this) that I DID NOT train her this way. It just happened. I realized that babies, no matter how toothless and tiny, know how to get their fair share of entertainment. What I also realized incidentally, is that the kind of entertainment varies with each generation. Our parents’ generation ate while being showed the birds, trees, butterflies etc. Our generation maybe stretched it to watching adverts on TV. The newest generation, let’s face it, loves movie songs. And the kind of songs they love are so unlike what you would like them to. I am not a fan of these ‘Anarkali Disco chali’ numbers. The raunchy steps and the garish almost non-existent costumes of today’s item numbers are so unappealing. Having said that, I would however, not dismiss the music element of these numbers. Some of these item, dhinchak songs have amazingly peppy music which prompt me to leave the music channel on for some time during the day. Fellow mommies, please don’t grudge me this adult entertainment. As much as I am mentally tuned to shield my baby from the Telly belly, I have realized that it’s extremely difficult to be on baby-friendly behavior all through the day, more so when you are the primary caretaker stationed at home.
So these songs are played during meal times. S loves the music so much so that she recognizes the songs as soon as the first background score heralding the song is played. If it’s one of her ultra favorite songs, she will give me a ‘Hey, it’s our number!’ look. Or the ‘you know what, let’s dance to this’ look. And we dance. Mindless of her half-eaten bowl of food that’s running cold. Or mine which is still uneaten. And the fact that lunch hour has passed. Everything can wait till the two minute song gets over. So what if it’s something we dance to three times a day, every single day! The look on her face hardly suggests that.
I have been asking myself why I can’t let her see some child-friendly song that may offer the same level of musical joy, sans the suggestive steps and other adult paraphernalia. I YouTubed and found only a couple that were timeless and appealing to kids of multiple age groups. The unmatched ‘Lakdi ki Kaathi’. The otherwise friendly YouTube which keeps suggesting ‘other songs that you may like’ based on the song you play, was surprisingly mute. I didn’t take long to find an answer to that. There are hardly any kid songs these days. You do get some 1950s, 60s children songs like ‘Nanha Munna Rahi’, ‘Eechak dana’ , ‘Lalla Lalla Lori’and the likes. But take a step beyond the 60s and such songs are hardly there. Bollywood seems to have forgotten about our tiny clients who had to be entertained as well. A very rare exception being ‘Bum bum bole’ post 2000. Perhaps we as a society, have taken for granted that the new generation has lost its innocence and hence doesn’t need to be exclusively entertained. It’s sad.
Babies have an uncanny knack I discovered. They can tell you if a song is going to be superhit by listening to it just once. They can compare nuances, and all abilities of the song including hummability, recallability, dancability and watchability. They can effortlessly pick ‘Jhalla wallah’ over ‘Aa re Pritam Pyare’, ‘Tumhi ho Bandhu’ over ‘Chikni Chameli’, ‘Anarkali disco chali’ over ‘Dhadang dhang’. So here’s to you Music directors –
- Get your near and dear tiny tots if you want to churn out a highly likeable number
2. And please , please put together some infant friendly songs, people! How long can we listen to Lakdi ki kaathi???