The Hindustan Times is one of India’s largest circulation newspapers. This fact does not necessarily have a bearing on what I am about to quote from it but then one can never really be sure what draws people to a newspaper.
The paper’s website has a story today about Jaya Bachchan, a well known actress and Member of Parliament who also happens to be the wife of actor-superstar Amitabh Bachchan. In short, she has enough credentials to make news at the time and about a subject of her choosing.
The Bachchan Seniors’ son Abhishek is also an actor and so is their illustrious daughter-in-law Aishwarya. The Bachchan Juniors recently had a baby girl whom they have named Aaradhya. Those are the bare facts.
What caught my eye was the headline to a story about Jaya Bachchan (So congratulations copy editor, you did your job). The main focus of the story is Bachchan’s granddaughter and we are obligingly told by the paper that it is for the first time that she is talking to the media about her. That in itself is supposed to be momentous. What makes the occasion even more so is what Bachchan is quoted as telling BBC. We are told at the outset that the “doting grandmom” has revealed some “interesting facts” about Aaradhya such as that she “looks like a bit of Aishwarya and a bit of Abhishek."
Another apparently interesting fact is that the granddaughter is trying crawl.
Now that these “interesting facts” have been brought to light, it is extraordinary to learn how children of the rich and famous do unique things, like trying to crawl and looking a bit like the two parents.
We are also told that Aishwarya “is a hands on mom.” “Sometimes I tease Aishwarya and I say well Aaradhya is a very lucky girl because can you imagine having a nurse like Miss World Aishwarya! I would also like her to start going out but she is absolutely, totally hands down and doesn’t depend on anybody which I think is great,” Jaya Bachchan says.
I do not for a second blame Jaya Bachchan for saying perfectly normal and charming things that a lot of newly minted grandmothers would say. My problem is with the media, including the BBC, which feels compelled to be the instigator and purveyor of such cloyingly familial banalities. I doubt whether the world would feel deprived not knowing whether an infant is trying to crawl. That’s in the nature of infants. They try to crawl.
They try a lot of other things as well like going goo goo ga ga. More often than not they are cute and more often than not they cease to be so when they grow up. Most grandmothers are doting although some can be positively vicious. Most mothers are hands on although most of them are not former Miss Worlds. Most mothers do not depend on anyone else and do cut down their social life to raise their babies. The point is all this is in the natural order of things and does not require any special reporting. And they certainly do not constitute “interesting facts.”
It is either by design or default that the Pew Research Center left me out of their survey about "The rise of Asian Americans." It found that Indian Americans, who now number 3.18 millions, are the highest income and best educated group in the United States.
I suspect that Pew knew that including me would significantly lower the average of both—income and education. Indian Americans have a median household annual income of $88,000, which is much higher than for all Asians ($66,000) and all US households ($49,800). Seventy percent of them in ages 25 and above have at least a bachelor’s degree. I have one in physics and chemistry.
It also found that Indian Americans regard good parenting as one of the most important responsibilities.
In short, Indian Americans study a lot, earn a lot and parent a lot.