Harried mothers clenching their fists.
Long serpentine queues.
Questions and answers.
Confusions and confirmations.
Anxiety all around.
Kids dragged and/or saved from being crushed.
No, this isn’t the picture of any fish market or any teeming railway platform; however admittedly, it is reminiscent of the two to a great extent.
The first time I went for A Jr’s admission to his ‘big school’, the disturbing scene I shared above welcomed me rudely and took me aback. Here I was, a 3 year old cranky boy in tow, with all documents and cheques in place but slightly overwhelmed and rather clueless with the hurried activity around that place. Everyone was there for the same reason, what was the need to be so impatient?
Every year since then it is the same people (well, mostly) and the same sight. Whole families seem to take a holiday for the ‘big day’ to disperse expertly and hog an enviable position in the line at the admission, school-bags, books, shoes, etc counters. The authoritative air around them is unmistakable as they victoriously zoom past sweating late-coming losers like me.
I almost feel dejected when I have to do it all alone. Mothers aren’t as accommodating as we’d expect them to be either. As I kid myself about hiring someone to do the waiting for me there is always some heavyset lady who despite her massive frame manages to jostle her way ahead of me. One would expect me to protest but when it comes to big ladies with scary eyes I’m, humbly, at best a lousy dissenter.
This year A Jr entered the fourth grade and I reckoned he was old enough to be responsible for his own stuff now. So while I waited to get his uniform, I handed him the cash to get his books set. The boy happily grabbed Angel by her finger, secured the money in his other hand and marched towards his destination feeling all matured and important. The set was heavy for the new portion, but yes, he carried it back and measured the change correctly too.
That was a moment of pride for me as I didn’t see any other mothers taking notice of this possibility or arrangement. My little boy had not only agreed to do something I asked him to but had also helped save time and effort, all the while keeping a close protective tab on his baby sister. When I asked if he would like to do this henceforth, he simply shrugged and said ‘Ok’. When did he grow up so much? Where did all that time go? Did I miss something?
This experience was also a revelation as I observed that children were more organised and well-mannered than their respective elders. Do parents need to do everything for them even after they grow up? Can’t we let them be accountable and take charge of their lives while we take a step back and supervise when required? Wouldn’t it be a valuable experience and life lesson for them? Shouldn’t schools suggest and encourage children to get more practical training?