Learning the word of Lord is extremely important. I was taught at a very young age about this passage- “Can a woman forget her nursing (read school going) child, or lack compassion for the son of her womb? Even if she could forget, I will not forget you!”
My love – hate relationship with my school started from the first day of the school. When you go to a shopping mall, have you seen kids lying on the floor and crying? Every morning when my mom used to drop me to school, I was just one step away from being that child.
My early morning wake up call was Dad screaming from his room “Archana!” I don’t know if I was scared of him or I genuinely loved waking up in the morning. That is still a mystery for me. I would be up and ready for school without any complains. On the other hand, my brother needed 7 wake up calls to get out of the bed. Then, 15 more to get out of the bathroom. The only man I have met who can sleep peacefully on the commode.
We had our ritual morning prayer, where I would be wishing Ms M to fall sick or the school has some terrorist attack, but my prayers were never answered. “Ask and it will be given to you – is a lie! Seek and you will find – I could never find the reason for P’s (class topper) joy in finishing all the homework. Knock and the door will be opened to you- this I so badly wanted to be a lie when I used to knock at the classroom’s door. God has selective hearing too, just like my mom.
Anyway, I loved dressing up, hence getting ready was fun. My dad used to comb my hair. Well, there wasn’t much to do there, all he had to do is make a side partition. How hard can that be, right? If left to him, he will take a scale and draw a line on my head, thanks to his OCD.
I didn’t mind the auto ride to the school. It was cozy. Mom in the center with Ashish and I, on both sides. During the winters I would place my hands under Amma’s bum for warmth. Her saree pallu and shawl added an extra layer to us. I was warm and comfortable in taking that ride to the school.
There was a turn before the school building. Whenever my auto took that turn it sent shivers down my spine.
I used to feel sick and my heart used to beat fast. Not sure if a kid of that age can experience anxiety, but I was sure it was not less than having a panic attack. That’s how I met anxiety, who became my oldest friend. Blog on that later.
Many times I used to tell Amma that I’m not feeling well and she would make me understand that it’s okay and I’m just nervous to go to school and that I’ll be fine after a while.
I was waiting for that, “After a while” because each day I felt the same.
One day I decided there is no way I’m going to school. I started crying. I told her I don’t want to go inside the school building. She said, “Namakku Ashish ne drop cheyande (Let us drop Ashish).” I understood Ashish’s need for education and torture. I agreed to go in even though I was crying. After dropping Ashish, she walked towards the prep department, my mini hell. I hated the feeling. I stopped following her and continued crying. My mom said she had to speak to the receptionist ma’am and it was urgent. I walked with her inside the building.
As I’m writing this now, I can feel exactly what I felt at that time. Even after growing up, I have loved visiting my school, but there is something about that building that holds me back. More on that? Yes… Later!
Anyway, my mom and I waited in the reception area. Now I had two issues, one I didn’t want to go to my class. Second, I couldn’t stop crying because I’ll be asked to attend the class plus if I continued my classmates would tease me later. I thought to myself, you have come this far, now there is no backing off. I continued crying loudly. My mom continued talking to all the teachers. Each person that came into the room had only one question, “What happened, bacha?”
I thought if you couldn’t understand what happened then clearly you aren’t fit to be a teacher!
The assembly bell rang. I knew if I don’t plan my escape with Amma now, I’ll be stuck here forever. So I went to Amma, “namakku pogham (Let’s go)!”. She looked at me and said Okay.
I couldn’t believe my ears. It worked I thought! She looked at the receptionist and said, “Ma’am, we are going okay? She isn’t feeling well”. She bends down and ask me, “Would you behave in my workplace?”. I said, “Yes!”
One hundred times yes! My mom was a nursing tutor I could just go with her and learn whatever I had to at that place. I had sorted everything out in my head. There were some 50 odd chechis (elder sisters) who hated studying like I did. I could be the center of attention and talk ill about our teachers. Only in their case it was my mother, but hey… when you are fighting for a cause it doesn’t matter even if your mother is on the other side.
My mother held my hand and walked out of the room. I had my bag and water bottle stuck to my body. I wiped my tears. My heart found peace. Life seemed better and you know what? That building didn’t seem that bad after all. I said bye to the friendly teachers and told them that I’m not keeping well. I had my one eye on Amma, I didn’t want her to sneak out.
I held Amma’s hand tightly. The corridor was empty. Everyone was in their respective classes.
As we were walking out of the office, Amma asked, “Don’t you want to say bye to your friends? They all have seen you. They must be worried about you?”. She had a point I thought to myself. I wish I wasn’t this practical.
She continued, “We’ll say bye to them before leaving? And tell them that we’ll come tomorrow for sure?”. I said, “Okay Amma, but I won’t go alone. You have to come with me”. There was no way I was leaving the mom behind. What if she leaves me when I come back after my goodbye speech. I thought.
She said, “Yes, I’ll come with you.”
That made me happy. I continued holding her hand with one hand and with the other I wiped my tears and smiled. I was genuinely happy and I didn’t want them to see me sad, my social image mattered to me even back then.
I reached my classroom door and I raised other hand, to say bye to the kids. All that I remember was a hand came from nowhere was pulling me in. It was Ms M. My other was still holding Amma hand. There was a brief tug of war, where I tried to pull myself away from Ma’am. I turned to ask my mom to help me and I saw her trying to slip out her hand and run away. If my mom could run like that, she definitely could finish first a half marathon. I was shocked, learnt how betrayal feels and understood that a lot can happen in 10 secs. My mom ran outside the gate and SimRan never looked back and I was pulled inside the classroom.
My memory of that event ends here. I don’t remember how I spent the rest of the day in the class, but I know when Amma came to pick me later I wasn’t upset with her. But this stayed with me. Now at 33, I bring this up whenever possible and blame her for my trust issue. That’s my sweet revenge for what she did.
Like I said before, for a cause it doesn’t matter who is on the opposite side. In this case it was my education and my mom had to sadly fight me for it.