Once I was changing Mishri ( she was almost 10 months then) in a Parent’s Room at a mall. There was another Asian mum changing her toddler right beside me. (And as the usual Mom-move we exchanged hellos through our babies, “ Say hi Mimi! Wave? “ Well let me reveal the secret behind the ‘diaper changing dialogue exchange’: Mums/Dads don’t do it to be amiable/social; we do it because we need a strong distraction from the strong poop odour.)
So, after Mishri finished business,I put her down and she walked/explored the whole place and the lady was in shock. She asked me how old Mishri was. I answered almost 10 months, and she was taken aback. After that she told her 14 months something in Mandarin; (which I don’t understand) but I definitely could understand the tone. (after all I’m South Asian too) She must have told her 14 months son, “ Look at her, she’s only 10 months and walking already! When will you be?” And I was like the ‘Sharmaji Ka Beta Syndrome’ is not a territorial ailment; its universal and it needs to be discussed.
Let me define ‘Sharmaji Ka Beta Syndrome’ for you if it’s a foreign concept for you (Lucky you!) :
Sharmaji Ka Beta
/ʃɜːmɑːdʒi kaː betaː/
Your neighbour’s son/daughter or your cousin or your sibling, your classmate or even your pet. Basically anyone who your parents think is always better than you and you’re constantly being compared to them.
“Look, Sharmaji Ka Beta is studying to be a Doctor and you? Huh!”
And here’s that sick plot twist: Even Sharmaji Ka Betas have their own Sharmaji Ka Beta in some or other context. (Well, who knows it better than me? I’ve been Sharmaji Ka Beta for others and I have had my Sharmaji Ka Beta/s too)
Let me decipher the Sharmaji Ka Beta for you first.
Symptoms that you are a Sharmaji Ka Beta:
☑️ You don’t get invited to the Birthday Parties as a kid. (So that, it’s a relief for the birthday kid parents that their kid’s ‘progress’ won’t be compared with yours by the party guests. Well, the parents can totally compare their kid to you secretly though).
☑️ Your cousins/relatives kids are forcefully sent to your home, to spend some time with you in order to get ‘inspired’ or for ‘good influence’.
☑️ Most of the times you get those fake smiles from other parents/relatives/friends when you achieve something and get frowns and disgust when they think you’re not looking.
☑️ You always get asked to say ‘Do Shabd’ (a word of advice) to younger kids in your family/relatives)
Honestly, it’s not healthy to be at either end of the Sharmaji Ka Beta Syndrome.
As mentioned at the start of the article, parents sow the seeds of the syndrome into their baby as early on as a few months of age. And if you think babies don’t understand what we’re talking about. Newsflash: They do! They observe/understand parents’ tones, pitches, behaviour, action/reaction and then they imitate exactly what they saw. And thus this vicious cycle of Sharmaji Ka Beta goes on and on for generations.
Some parents would defend theirselves by saying, “It’s is competitive world, I am preparing my child for the cut-throat competition in life ahead”. But wait! Are you really preparing or you’re sabotaging their confidence, self-esteem, self-respect and pretty much their whole life.
Well, if you really like to ‘prepare’ them for the Competitive world do it constructively. Because every child is different. Every child has their own milestones, their own developmental stages, their own victories over their vices. They should be their own record-breaker. And it’s fine if they feel competitive themselves. Just teach them to draw their line longer and not to erase someone’s.
Anyways we never know how are we going to score in the real exam of life: I know so many people who were barely coping in their academics back then but now are at their pinnacles in life.
So, please stop comparing your infant’s delayed walking skills to Sharmaji Ka Beta for God’s sake. It’s fine if they don’t rank numero uno in the class, Please don’t compare their Maths score to someone, Stop those demeaning remarks on their career choice. You will only distance yourself with your child by doing that.
If you liked the article Share it with your Sharmaji Ka Beta, your parents or whoever needs to read this. And most importantly stay happy and vibe out positivity ❣️I’ll see you in my next one, till then Chao ✨