One evening on my regular walks when I did not have the ear plugs of my mobile phone FM radio in place, I overheard a very disturbing conversation between two forty-something ladies. The conversation was largely a boasting spree (at least, I felt that!) about something or the other. Since our walking speed was similar, none of us overtook each other and hence I was, by default, an automatic listener. They began with the astronomical fees they paid at the school, went on to the number and rates of tuitions they sent their children to and then the ‘hobby’ (whose hobby, the parents’ or the child’s? I’m not sure :)) classes the children attended.This one-up-man (oops!woman!!!)-ship went a step further to the brands of clothes, shoes, mobile phones, laptops their teenagers were addicted to. Their talk then steered to the topic of pocket money and how their kids spent it. Firstly the amount made me shiver, and then it was the items on which they blew it away…… And the most shocking was one of the lady’s casual remark, “My son spends a major portion of it paying 100 rupees to the cop each time he is caught on the two wheeler without a helmet or while jumping the red light.” The mother was apparently proud of her son’s street smartness, but I was ashamed……ashamed of the fact that we are unable to impart certain very important values to the younger generation…..it’s our fault if the kids falter….we are to blame. I did not intervene in this conversation as I wasn’t sure about how my comments would be taken as a complete stranger (as it is, I was feeling guilty of intruding on their privacy by overhearing their conversation!) but that evening disturbed me with what I heard. We are aware of all of this, and still are not able to do much about it – that was the pain and frustration all about. God forbid, if the teenager driving the two wheeler (without a valid license – I’m certain about this one, because school children are much below the prescribed age for obtaining a driving license!) meets with an accident it will be the responsibility of each one of us. We sure need to provide the kids with roots first, before we give them the wings.