Sunday, October 25, 2009

What is important to you?

My daughter turns two and half next month. Time to start her Montessori. So started my second round of school hunting in the past one year.

First one was on the first floor of a house straight out of an interior design magazine. Split level floors, curios from all over the world, and the lady straight out of a fashion magazine. She gave me a disdainful look over. Thinking of how I look like even on my best days, I couldn't blame her. She was trained in the US of A, taught in montessories there, and had been working in one of Bangalore's upmarket schools for 4 years when the entrepreneurship bug caught her. She explained everything in her yankee accent and asked whether my daughter could follow English. We strictly speak our mother toungue at home, the logic is kids will anyway learn English at school. I said, "She can understand." Another one of those looks.

The classroom itself was again out of a book. All the accessories brand new, placed in order, and all imported, stressed the madam. There were 4-5 kids sitting around all beween 2.5 and 4 and they were writing in their notebooks!! I could not but compare this to the kindergarten class which my son went to in Kochi. The teacher did not force him to do anything in the first term because he used to get upset when she told him anything. That teacher took such good care of him during the first two months without even any of us knowing that after the first few months he just blossomed into someone very confident and thoughtful.

Next school I visited also gave me almost the same message. Teach kids as much as possible so that they are ready for their all important interview next year.

When we moved to Bangalore, the common comment from everyone was kids will get a good education. After almost a year I am not so sure anymore. There maybe the so called elite schools where this maybe true. But getting an admission there is tougher than a JEE or CAT and even more expensive. I know a school where they interviewed the kid for three hours for admission to second standard!! A colleague of mine who also got transferred along with is also of the same opinion. Kochi schools were so much better. The teachers knew their students so well and the parents were welcome to approach them anytime.

Our experience with our son is also not too different. In the first three months his class teacher changed three times, we do not know about the other subjects. First open house we went to half the teachers didn't even know him. I am sure there are many other schools which are run in a much better way, if someone can let me know how to get admission to one of those, I will be eternally grateful to you.

I may be biased in my thinking, it maybe a hangover from my upbringing, but from what I have seen and heard in the past few years, I still feel convent schools or those run by priests are the best. They may not have the best of facilities like horse riding or swimming or what not, but the values they instill, the quality of teaching that is a given just cannot be compared.

A parent told me that she is sending her son to a school known for the 'attitude' of the kids, but she is ok with it, since her son will turn out to be confident and sure about himself! Which set me thinking, isn't it us who has turned schooling into what it is today? In our quest for giving the best to our kids are we forgetting the basic things in life? Aren't we going for materialistic achievemnets in place of basic courtesies in life? Is knowing how to ride a horse or shooting a perfect ace on the tennis court more important that learning to treat others fairly without prejudice and getting to know that success and failure are just two sides of the same coin?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The One Who Walked Out

She is from an aristocratic Syrian Christian family in Kerala. It was surprising that she was allowed to continue her studies after graduation. Soon after her post graduation was over, she was married off into another so called aristocratic family. The guy was well placed, a chief engineer in merchant navy. The perfect recipe for bliss, right?

10 years later....

She is as thin as a skeleton, with permanent dark circles under her eyes. The once effervescent self has given way to a harried and drawn look. At first she would not tell anyone what was wrong. Then the stories started coming out one by one. If she doesn't take the phone after two rings, she was out gallivanting with someone, if she went out it was to meet someone, if she went home it was to complain about him, if she attended any function even that of immediate family it was to attract attention.

She even put up with physical abuse thinking of her kids. But when he tried stopping her from meeting her brother accusing her of something even beyond her wildest imaginations, she decided she had had enough. She walked out on him with her two kids. Her family by then was in almost dire straits. Without losing heart, leaving her kids with her mother, she went to work in a college in the neighbouring town.

The story did not end there. The guy came back, took the kids and went home. All the while, his family turned a blind eye to what was happening. Their boy could do no wrong. She waited for two months for her kids to come back. Then went and lodged a complaint with the Women's Commission. The father had to bring the kids to the police station. She was allowed to take the kids home for two days. On the third day, when he came, the kids refused to go back with him.

It has been four months now. She has no clue where he is. Kids and her are staying in a small rented accomodation. Her father has paid her kid's school fees. She is struggling to make the ends meet. No complaints to anyone, a stoic look on her face, she decided to take each day as it comes. The fact that he has two luxurious apartments in the city and the obnoxious amount of money he is making does not seem to affect her at all. She just knows she is never going back to him.

Dear A, when I think of how you used to be scared to go from one room to another at night, how someone had to be with you wherever you went, how carefree you used to be, I salute you. Especially so when I hear of other so called emancipated women staying put in their abusive marriages just so that they continue to have a luxurious lifestyle.

I wish with all my heart that I get to see the old you sometime soon. Of all people you don't deserve this.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Facts of life

In between some meaningless banter on our way to church yesterday, I coughed and cried out all of a sudden.
Hubby, who was driving, "What happened?'

"Don't know, there was this shooting pain in my lower abdomen"

Son who always listens in to our conversations, though he might look totally engrossed in something else, "What is lower abdomen?"

Touched his lower abdomen on the right side and told him that is where it is.

"So what is above my thingy?"

"That is also your lower abdomen"

A bulb suddenly lights up in my head. Well, he is going to be eight next month. Maybe I should start on some facts of life . What better way to start than teaching him what is what?

"G, do you know what your thingy is actually called?"


"What ?"

"Centre Point"


No need to waste my time, he already knows the most basic fact in a man's life!!!