N was v excited. I was v tense. She kept hurrying up her breakfast and insisting I bathe her quickly. I put on a blue-check frock with ribbons. I asked her:
‘Tum roge to nahin?’
N: ‘Nahin, hum hansenge. He He He. Lekin to (‘lekin to’ is a favourite prefix to her sentences), mamma, doosle bachhe lote hain. Wuan Wuan. Mamma bhi lota hai. HMmmmm Mmmmmm. Hum to nahin lote hain’.
So, much assured after her wise reply, we set out. She waved ‘bye bye’ to the carpenters in the house ‘tum kaam kalo, hum school se aate hain, achha?’
The auto ride to the school was bumpy, and it was drizzling. N could not help smiling to herself all the way.
When school came, she just jumped out and ran towards the swings. The Principal came out. Her first sentence was ‘She looks just like her dad’.
I got her registered for the bus service. Then, I took some shots of her, playing on the swings and receded. N was too excited to look back.
On second thoughts, do I want her to?
18th August 2004
Age – 2 years, 7 months
Our first Parents-Teachers’ Meeting. It was exciting. Had a sleepless night, wondering what we would get to hear. Whether they’d complain about her hitting other kids, or being too withdrawn….
We dressed for the occasion. And reached the school 30 minutes before the allotted time. Kalpana (the principal) called us in and Shobha (her teacher) joined us. They began by showing us the ‘doodling’ she had done. It was a jumble of blue and orange lines but they quipped that she was ‘good at it’. My impatient inner self made a silent note that she can do much better than that, that she could surely draw shapes if she were coached…
They went on to say how bright she was and how she excelled at all the activities. She participated very well, made friends, was warm and cheerful. She is the only kid who walks in and says ‘Hi’ to all the teachers. This is followed by an inquiry ‘aaj hum kya karenge?’ Her favourite is the puppet show and she wants it to be done everyday. ‘Aaj puppet show nahin hoga?’
The principal said she was the favourite topic of conversation in the staff meetings. Teachers talk about her everyday, recalling her cute conversations (in hindi!). For instance, how she was quick to offer a reason for why they were going ‘hygiene shopping’: ‘Mera sabun khatam ho gaya hai na. Aur Buddy (the school mascot) ke liye shampoo lana hai’.
We got to know that her best friend, Swanjal, is someone she is very attached to. I felt like meeting this kid who has been the first person, after mamma and pappa that Nikki has built special ties with. Maybe, I will get a chance at their annual day.
They told us that she loves to share her food and also feels free to pick up anything from other kids’ tiffins. She does not feel shy. She does not fight or is difficult with other kids.
They summed up by saying ‘Aisha is very good. We have no problems with her’.
Our best clothes felt a little tight as we returned: I guess we had swollen with pride!!