Saturdays are about relaxing: colouring your hair, walking across the street with a bundle of clothes towards the istree-waala, trimming your nails and so on. But, some Saturdays are different. On such days, you need to just part your greying hair differently, iron your own clothes and bite your nails as you drive to the School’s Annual Awards Day.

Let me begin with a piece of advice for those who are planning to have kids. Have them really close to each other. Twins would be the best. If that is not happening, space them minimally. Eight to nine months at the most.

You will thank me when Awards Day comes. With kids born close together, you will have to sit through only an hour or so of grief, unlike me.

Look at my case : I reached at 9:15 just as Grade II Awards began and had to sit through all those grades that feature, right upto Grade VII, for my older kid’s turn. The school was kinda considertate: in between the Primary and Middle School Awards, there was snack break to alleviate our distress. But, that does not help, right! It’s like that snack break you get between giving blood for a pre and post-prandial blood test. Painful.

Imagine those parents who have three kids: one in Grade I, one in Grade V, and the oldest in Grade X? Their agony would be extreme enough to get them to tear out their reproductive organs with their bare hands (the uncut fingernails help here), and sob into them as they hold them in their palms (after they are done clapping).

While on clapping, let me tell you that there was no escape. The teachers kept working at our conscience, asking us to clap for each and every kid, not just our own. I was fed up. Why should I clap for anyone else’s kid? I don’t like other people’s kids.

It takes a lot of effort to like my own.

And to top it, if Dhiraj Gupta is getting ‘Class Topper’, ‘Chemistry Topper’, ‘Maths Topper’, ‘Hindi Topper’ , ‘History Topper’  awards, and your own kid is getting ‘Kind to Plants’ award, would you feel like clapping for that kid? I would not. In fact, while he is on stage, I‘d rather sneak into the classroom and steal his notes for my kid.

Talking of awards, there used to be some basic kinda awards back in our times : Class Toppers 1st , 2nd and 3rd and sports awards. The rest were asked to sit and clap. Or fetch water for the teachers. Some schools even sorted sections by performance: Section A had the best students, the next best went to Section B and so on. It was simple. Of course, after a couple of decades, we now see Section A students working as neatly-dressed bankers and Section D students running the country and giving those A sectioners a hard time.

In current times, there are so many awards : the objective is to be inclusive and not let any kid feel left out. So there are scores of awards like:

‘Best in Music’

‘Neat Handwriting

‘Best in Art’

‘Best Ideas’

‘Cleanest Uniform’

‘Least Ear Wax’

It takes a lot of patience to sit through these awards.

Some parents are smart though. They don’t show up and just send the grandparents over. (Nudge nugde, Nagendra and Danii!) Where are all those NGOs who work for protecting our senior citizens against cruelty? 

As I pondered on that, I heard a group of kids bragging about their awards.

‘I got ‘Punctuation Award!’

‘That’s not punctuation, idiot, its ‘Punctuality!’

‘Then what is punctuation?’

‘Punctuation is a question mark.’

This  nugget was my award for the day!

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Prithvi gets ‘Sports Award’ and ‘Music Award’Image

Nikki gets ‘Topper Awards’ in two subjects, ‘Scholar’s Cap (all students who are top ranked in class), ‘Dance Award’, ‘Inventive Thinker’, ‘ Grooming and Punctuality’ and ‘Nurturer Award’

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