An Education (not the movie)

We stand there, totally bored, waiting for the elevator to descend from floor 9 to zero. I see a couple of familiar faces who acknowledge me as if I'm a domestic help or nanny to this little mound of flesh, tugging on to my shirt's sleeves.

Their stern gaze gets softer as it shifts from me to my son, who jumps up saying an impromptu "Hello" as a courtesy, which turns out to be a conversation starter.

Them: Does he go to school?
Me: Yeah, he goes to a Montessori.

Them: Oh. What class is he in? Must be playschool now?
Me: They don't have a concept of class. But compared to regular system of education, he is about to finish his playschool and starts preschool this session.

Them: How long has he been going to school?
Me: Almost 8 months.

Them: Wow. What all has he learnt? (turning to son) Beta, what all do you learn at school? Can you say all the alphabets? Numbers?
Son: No! (feeling a little flustered at this IIT Level interview that he's been subjected to)

Them: No? You've not learnt alphabets? (points to the alphabet 'A' in capitals on a flyer pasted outside the lift) What alphabet is this?
Son: H! (Exclaims excitedly)

Them: Not a very good school he goes to. Can't tell the difference between A and H. What has he learnt all these months?
Me (to Son): Beta, that's an A. Ok?

The elevator arrives and the interview continues inside.

Them: You should change the school. Are you happy with his progress?
Me: Yeah..It's a Montessori actually. Their methods are different. Every kid learns at a different pace.

Them: What rubbish? These days schools want to make money by charging high and not teaching anything. See your son. Almost 3 and doesn't even know alphabets properly. My grand daughter knew them before she turned 2. Take a wise decision and pull him out.

And they get out of the lift as we reach their floor. So many words exchanged within a couple of minutes.

I look at my son in embarrassment and anger. He always seemed so smart growing up. Is the school really not good enough? Is he really not learning?

We get inside our home and as I prepare to wash the veggies for dinner, I hear my son pull out some action figurines and enact a monologue between Batman and Spiderman (with Hulk appearing to offer some special effects). I'm almost mad at him for not paying attention and not learning as quick as the imagined potential that I thought he possessed. I take out an alphabets puzzle and ask him to tell me all the alphabets correctly. He refuses. He's not interested in ABCD. He wants to continue playing with the action figures. I quickly lose my temper and walk away saying, "Please don't talk to me until you want to read the alphabets".

I bring the ladyfingers to dry them on a soft towel on the dining table. As I bring out the knife and the chopping board, my son comes up to me enthusiastically and asks me, "Mumma what is this?". I ignore him and he comes even closer, grabs hold of my hand and asks me again, " Mumma, what is this?". I retort rather angrily, "It's called ladyfinger. Now go away".

He looks at the knife and the chopping board and says, " Mumma I want to cut". All the while, his gaze is fixed on the knife. I'm worried when he insists rather stubbornly, "Mumma, I'll cut it". I decide to let him have a go and I'm surprised at his grip and the ease with which he's chopping each ladyfinger into 3 pieces. I'm amazed that his motor skills have improved so much and I didn't even know.

Maybe I wasn't paying attention. Maybe I was busy listening to others' opinion as to what my three-year old ought to know. Maybe he'd been secretly observing me chop veggies and learnt it, like Ekalavya learns from Dronacharya.

My heart was filled with pride thinking about how quickly my son picked up a life skill, just by looking at me.

Me: Beta, how did you learn to cut so nicely.
Son: Mumma, I learnt this at school!


Finally managed to watch Tamasha today, and boy! Last time a movie haunted me so much was Dev D (although that one was another level. I remember coming back from the theatre thinking "What on earth was that?" and waking up next morning like I'd just woken up from a drug induced sleep. But, back to Tamasha).

It seems like a very ambitious, yet flawed way to look at existential crisis, but isn't life flawed too? I'm no critic or someone who has deep understanding about movies. They either stay with me, or they don't.

Tamasha stays with me only because of Ranbir. Unlike him, I have had a lovely and supportive family that always gave me the space to take any road I wanted. For most of my life, I've dreamt of taking the one less traveled but until now, I'm still on a journey which doesn't quite lead me to the destination I want to reach. The Asterix in Corsica kind of motivation seems long forgotten.

There's a scene when Ranbir tells his parents that he's been jobless for six months and his dad admonishes him saying those who don't have any problems in life , will create a problem for themselves. I've been told something similar many a times. That I wallow in self-pity and blame others for my life. The thing is, like Jude Law in The Holiday, I'm a weeper. I cry for the smallest of things. I cry when I'm hungry. I cry when I'm happy. I cry when I'm sad. But that's just me.

Anyways, coming back from the detours and continuing the journey - I've opted for the 'safe bets' far too long and in the process forgotten myself. Forgotten what I like or want. I watch and re-watch Ken Robinson's TED Talk and wonder about my 'Element' and why it all seems so hazy. When it was, in fact, my own decisions that got me here.

I feel anger, frustration, disappointment - just like Ranbir. I hurt loved ones by words or actions - just like Ranbir. Somewhere, his character resonates so much, it just numbs down every emotion and forces me to look deeper within.

Maybe dig out that girl who used to wake up at 5 AM for a live broadcast on Discovery, of the excavation of a mysterious tomb in Egypt.

Or find that person who watched every episode of The Amazing Race, not for the tasks or to cheer teams, but to look at cultures and people across the world and dream about going to those places.

Or just become that girl who felt like writing a blog because she wanted to. Well, at least, here's a start.

Blood Bonding and Beyond

I've loved you even before I could understand what it meant to be an 'elder sister'. You were my precious ever since I could remember your existence in my life.

Sitting next to you, adjusting your blanket while you were asleep (even if it were perfectly in place :P), waiting for you to wake up so that I could hold your milk  bottle up to feed you - you gave me my first sense of 'being mommy and doing mommy duties' very early on.

You're also the bravest person I've known - remember how you came back from the doctor's place and told me without blinking that he/she removed that infection on your hand with a knife (I think?). There I was getting scared of putting a needle through my veins and you went ahead and did this. Whoa moment for me - you'd grown up!

All these years, we've had so many fights, patch ups, growing apart and getting back closer than ever - how fast did these 25 years pass with you around? When did you become this amazing woman who has been putting everyone ahead of you so selflessly and tirelessly? Where do you find the courage and strength to push yourself every time? You're a wonder woman and I hope you do realize how amazingly wonderful you are and how much we all love you!

I wish we could've done a little more for today. But zindagi abhi shuru Hi hui hai mere dost :P I promise you, life will get a lot more awesome ahead and we'll do everything we'd planned. You're going to get more than Barney level awesome :P I've never dedicated a post to you because I'm too senti about you reading it and reliving old times but I guess now's the best time to do it.

I love you Jolls. We all adore you to the moon and back, baby sis. Happy 25th and may all your dreams come true. Stay awesome and jolly good always. :*
Memories of a Wandering Soul © 2010 | Designed by Trucks, in collaboration with MW3, Broadway Tickets, and Distubed Tour