In 2005 I came across this article in the NYT, on child-free establishments, and was sufficiently provoked to write the following letter (which, of course, was not published):
I read "At Center of a Clash, Rowdy Children in Coffee Shops" (Nov 9) and the responses on the letters page (Nov 10) with disbelief. I have lived in the US and Europe and have noticed the child-unfriendliness of these places but never realised that the hostility is so institutionalised.
Here in India, such attitudes towards unhappy children would be unthinkable. A bawling child in a restaurant or cafe would very likely be comforted by strangers or given freebies by the management, certainly not given hostile stares or asked to leave.
Fortunately not all Americans react in the latter manner either. Some years ago, a few minutes into a Pete Seeger concert I attended in Bangalore, a child started crying -- mutedly but audibly. Seeger murmured "Oh, poor thing" and launched into a lullaby, and the child stopped.
In America, of course, the child would never have been allowed in.
"Unthinkable" in India? According to today's ToI, not any more.
PS - Space Bar doesn't find it unthinkable either. Odd. When I'm in a public place, it's generally the other adults whom I find annoying. An unalloyed dose of adults in all directions is not my idea of relaxation.