Lessons from a Grandmother…

always stay in your  mind.

And when those lessons are in history being imparted by a teacher, who has breathed-lived-walked-eaten-drunk History all her life, to her granddaughter, it becomes all the more a moment worth the while 🙂

Amma's happiness knew no bounds when she found a keen and patient ear in Namnam to pass on her knowledge and wisdom..
Amma’s happiness knew no bounds when she found a keen and patient ear in Namnam to pass on her knowledge and wisdom..

Although am on vacation still, couldn’t help sharing this as a keepsake.

Moments like this are what memories made of, aren’t they?**

 

**RM’s post inspired me to say this :D. Yeah,yeah, go ahead..call me the Anu Malik of blogging!

A day I have to keep a record of..

Sometimes all you need is a little jolt to make you realize how blessed you are to be sitting here in the safe confines of your home with your daughter right beside you watching her favorite show as you type these words on your mobile, when these very moments could have turned out something entirely, drastically tragically different.

My hands and feet are still shaking as I recollect the moments Namnam and I spent in one of the home furnishing stores a while ago.

We were excitedly strolling along the lanes with our trolley, picking up stuff needed to do up the room for my father-in-law who is expected next week. We reached the cash counter all set to check out when all of a sudden the fire-alarm went off! For a good few seconds nobody reacted, since most of us thought it to be normal fire drill. When it still didn’t stop the anxiety started creeping in. Namnam covered her ears wondering loud, quite loud at the deafening jarring sound. The cashiers stopped tapping on their keyboards. And then I saw a lot of people running helter skelter towards the elevator. Right then one of the customer care officials announced that it was a false alarm. I heaved a sigh. Barely for a fraction of a second but. For right after, he announced us all to evacuate the building. So the alarm wasn’t false,but very much real!

I had a stream of thoughts running in my mind as I held Namnam’s hand to get out of the building. I had to get to the basement of the building to take the car out. But would we reach there in time? What if we got trampled in a stampede? Would I be able to get my Namnam home safe? The thoughts kept gnawing at me as I held Namnam’s hand, walked down the stairs and out of the building. We were still away from the basement and way away from the spot I had parked the car in. Right then on our way out I met a friend and her husband who were trying to figure out a way to get to the basement too. I felt a strange sense of relief to have spotted a known face in the midst of an utterly chaotic and panic-ridden situation.

We, then, found a way to the parking lot from the side of the building. Fortunately my friend and her husband spotted their car close but Namnam and I had to walk a bit to get to ours.

The parking lot had turned into one hell of a deafening room filled with panicking car-horns. I wasn’t sure whether I would succeed in taking the car out. Namnam wondered the same. And when she said, “Amma, if you kept saying it was a fire alarm, why is it that you’re driving so slow? Why cant we get out fast?”, I realized that my child was scared too! Although I tried to reason to her about the number of cars ahead of us trying to get out, I wonder if she even heard me. She had her eyes firmly focused looking out for the exit, like me. I messaged R who was in Delhi, about the situation we were in. Not that he would have been able to help, but then it gave me some kind of strength to be able to just reach out to him.

And right after I messaged my three closest friends on our common chat thread just so they could reach me if needed.

In another 10 min or so we were out of the parking on to the road well on our way home! Were we glad to be safe!

Well not fully safe yet, as I was to find out soon as I drove a few meters further, still reeling under the shock of what we had just gotten out of. I banged into a car right in front of me while waiting at the traffic signal! Luckily, it was a minor bump so no dents on either of the cars and even more fortunatelt the driver was a very patient and polite person, a fellow parent but certainly not a hassled one like me! I could get away with a sorry and drive home.

As we reached home it all began to sink in.

Now at the end of it all it may not seem such a big deal. But its when you think back at those moments that you realize how much worse it could have got.

Fate has strange ways to kick you out of your complacency! I have been so laid back and engrossed in this life that I have forgotten when was it last that I stepped back to look at the beautiful way my life was shaped by so many wonderful people around me and be thankful about it…

I have my Namnam whose unconditional and growing love for me makes every single day of my life worth the while. I have R whose rock solid support just keeps me going always. I have my parents( achan, amma, appaji), who seem to just magically know when I need them to give me strength and will to pull through difficult tides. And I have my friends whose just being there is the best assurance that I can get. The confidence, the trust I can place in them at any point in time is more than I could ever ask for.

I can’t thank God enough for blessing me with so many wonderful people in life. Life cannot get better than this. Touchwood!

Drop Everything And Read!

Says Namnam’s school and I couldnt be happier!

I have always believed that nothing can be more enriching and empowering than a simple act of reading. Reading can open the door to different worlds. It can make you grow, it can make you wiser. It can make you spread the wings of your imagination infinitely.

Even though, if given a choice she would prefer tearing a page out of a book and try making a lamp-shade out of it for her obvious love for craft rather than picking up her story books and read 😀 , yet the glowing look of achievement in her eyes is hard to miss on days when she pulls out a book from her shelf and manages to read sentences successfully, albeit with some help from me when she gets stuck at big words. And that achievement makes her eager to try out more which in turn makes me happily rush to the book store to buy more books for her :).

What also makes me happy as a parent is when schools stress on the very aspect of reading and the importance of making it a way of life, to the children and take measures to ensure every student develops a reading habit. Because not always do we get to see a deviation from the same old method of rote-learning in schools, do we? School that take pride in pushing the children into mugging up their lessons and scoring an A+ without even caring to know if they enjoy reading their books or if they are having fun while learning.

I am yet to figure out if CBSE’s* international curriculum which we have opted for Namnam is truly international as it claims to be or if its a case of old wine in new bottle.

Yet when I came across the concept of DEAR week while checking for updates for the week on her school’s web-portal, it made me think here was a school which truly understood the importance of inculcating good reading habits in children.

Now what is DEAR week you may wonder! It is a programme initiated to encourage children to pick up a book and read. DEAR means Drop Everything And Read! The students are to bring a book of their choice to school. A bell will be rung at any point of the day signalling the students to drop whatever it is that they are doing and pick their books and start reading. The reading is to go on till the bell is rung again after 10 minutes.

Namnam comes home and tells excitedly that she gets to finish the pages even before the bell is rung, I can sense how much she has been enjoying this activity.

“Oh I love millions and gillions of books!” says my child when she runs to her room to pick a book of her choice to take to school the following day. I wish her may this love only grow!

While I plan to voice my concerns at the school’s Open House, over her teacher’s behavior towards her, I also intend to let them know how much I, as a parent, appreciate them for this wonderfully encouraging activity.

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.- Charles W. Eliot

* CBSE: Central Board of Secondary Education

A genuinely concerned parent or an over-reacting one?

I really cant decide what am I being here. Whether my concerns are truly genuine or am I just being plain over-reactive.

Parenting does that to you sometimes, doesnt it? In your need to ensure the well-being of your child, parenting brings you to a juncture where you feel challenged into deciding which path to take so that your child feels reassured and best taken care of in the given circumstances.

Now it was only a few months back that I had praised Namnam’s teachers in her kindergarten for being wonderfully caring and sensitive towards her and helping her work on her confident self. And I stand by my opinion. I really do. I am hugely grateful to them for making my daughter’s kindergarten experience one that of immense fun and learning. And on her graduation day while proudly welling up at seeing her stride towards the stage to accept her passing-certificate, I hoped and prayed in my heart of hearts that she would be blessed with the same kind of teachers and environment with ample space to grow in grade 1 as well.

Theres no doubt that I am glad that I chose the particular school for Namnam because the principles on which the school is being run and the various programmes that the school has in place for its pupils convince me thoroughly as a parent that they would benefit my child in the long run.

But unfortunately I have not been getting a very welcoming vibe from Namnam’s Grade 1 teacher. I cant seem to agree very well with her method of approaching her students. Now I know I have no right to judge her for she has the humongous task of handling 20-25 kids at a time in her class. And I respect her and all the teachers for that because I know how difficult it can be to handle so many children with so many different traits and characteristics.

But the fact also remains that one of her students is my child. And when she comes home crying uncontrollably to say that her teacher wrongly taunted her of dreaming because she was not writing what was being asked of her, I am seriously driven to think if its something I should worry about.

What disturbs me is not that she scolded her. No I have no issues whatsoever with her scolding my child. She has every right to, if my child is in the wrong. I send my child to the school, thereby to her knowing fully well that they expect me to place the trust in them and that she will be their responsibility and if she misbehaves or does anything wrong they would have all the authority to correct her, be stern with her, scold her and even reprimand her if needed. But mock her? Taunt her? Now is that really a good method to get the child to adhere to you?

From what I could gather from Namnam, what upset her the most was that her teacher taunted her in a mocking way in front of her classmates. The best way I could think of to pacify her was to tell her to ignore and practice her writing at home. We told her that her teacher had to be given the same importance as her parents and that if she had scolded her for something, she would also commend her when she did something right. It was important that she didn’t begrudge her teacher.

A similar incident occurred with one of Namnam’s classmates, also a friend’s daughter when she was unable to finish jotting down some notes in her book to which the teacher took a swipe at her by calling her a ‘slow-coach’, after which all her friends kept jibing her with the term. She was inconsolable when she got home and recounted the incident to her mother.

Now I understand that taunts, jibes or pokes by friends and peers are a part of growing up, but is it really healthy when a teacher uses such a tactic to tackle her students? Wouldn’t the confidence level of the child take a hit if he/she is snubbed in front of his/her friends? Every child is different but if he/she is treated with the right kind of sensitivity then will it not make him/her secure and confident?

I dont know if talking to the teacher would help for I fear it may put my child in the spotlight which may counter-react. Or if I should just talk to the principal and address my concerns so he can take it up with the teacher without mentioning the particular ward’s name. But what if the principal brings it up with the teacher specifically mentioning my daughter?

Or maybe I am just over-reacting. May be this is just her way of teaching her children to become tough and more accepting towards criticism.

Maybe I should just leave it as a non-issue.

There are so many conflicting worries cropping up in my mind!