I was late and hurried home. My husband was out-of-town and I wanted to be with my daughter. She can take care of herself but its exam time and I want to be there for her just in case she needs any thing.
“Good evening Doctor’, a voice called out. I looked up.
‘Hi Teacher, will catch you later, want to be with Sneha’, I said and rushed.
Ajit, an English teacher at Sneha’s school, who lived in our colony had become a very close friend of ours. A teacher who loved to teach innovatively, who was able to inspire students, who made them curious and taught them to inquire. He often asked me advice on some students who needs some psychological help. A help which I was glad about.
I feel as a generation we cater to all the whims and fancies of our kids but so very over ambitious we are, of them that we do not allow them to spread their wings.
But now was not the time to have these thoughts. I had to see if Sneha needed me.
A week late Ajit called me, ‘Doctor, can we meet this evening’.
It meant he had to discuss something,’Why not, come over this evening. the better half will be there too.’ And he agreed. The better half is quite insightful with matters concerning kids and that’s why I like him around if Ajit has a problem.
So in the evening after some juice, Ajit began, ‘I have a new student in fact in Sneha’s section only, resident of this colony. Do you know the people who have come in, in Building A4, Flat 45?’
I nodded in negative.
‘ The girl I feel is bright but is very shy. Hesitates to participate in class and gets very tense about any test’
I really did not understand what help Ajit wanted from me.
‘Doctor, I need some support from all of you’, he said.
‘What?’ we cried out in unison.
‘Can Sneha have some combined study with her and see if it makes a difference?’
‘Sure’, I said
‘We will have to ask Sneha, first’, added my ever wise husband.
‘Sure’, Ajit smiled understandingly.
Sneha said an emphatic “NO”. The reason; the girl Medha was of the silent types, did not mingle, was always hyper and the most important reaso was what the others would think of her. They might call her a baby sitter or a nanny.
‘Its alright. But Ajit thought she needs company and he thought you are the right person who could help her bloom’, said her father.
‘He thinks so’, said the kid with star struck eyes.
Our daughter has a crush on her English teacher. We know that and do not encourage her generally but today was an exception.
And she agreed.
So Medha came everyday. And she did start interacting with Sneha but if we adults were around, she got anxious.
And then one day Sneha was invited to her house and she returned in a rage.
‘What happened?’, I asked.
‘That aunty, Medha’s mother is a b****’, she said.
‘Mind your language’, I yelled, ‘What happened’.
‘She interferes in everything. Including what we should read and how. She checks on how we write our answers etc. Can’t she mind her own business?’
So that was the problem. New age parents I tell you, can be a real pain.
Some days later the girls were very animated. I was happy Medha had opened up very nicely and now had a ‘mind of her own’ which I was sure must be giving her mother sleepless nights.
‘Maaa’, Sneha called. I went.
‘Ma, Ajit SIr has divided us into groups of 4 and asked us to prepare a skit on deforestation. We 2, Adesh and Surekha are on the same group as we belong to the same colony and practise would be easy.’
‘Only Ajit could think of all this. Shuttling kids for their practise is quite troublesome.
But then my mind went on an overdrive. ‘Alright you four can practise e here but …. Medha have you told your mother?’
‘No my aunt is unwell so she went to meet her. She will be coming late tonight’.
‘Alright then, do not tell her. Prepare your skit and present it’.
‘You will not help us?’, was Medha’s doubt. “no”, I said. ‘Yipee’, Sneha said.
My daughter likes it when I am away from her life. Sigh.
And so when we were at home we put ear plugs. 4 teenagers in the same house meant that our ears suffered a lot.
The skit happened, and our colony group lost. But it had helped their confidence. One was dreaming of becoming a playwright. Other an actress. But more importantly there was a glow on Medha’s face which had never existed before. And it was while the group was rejoicing their loss, Medha’s mother made an entry.
‘Medha lost her glow and she bent her head in shame.
‘Why did you forbid Medha from telling me?’, she screamed.
‘I looked towards Sneha and said,’ Can you please take your friends to your room’. They were more than happy to leave the scene.
‘So that you may not interfere’, I replied to Medha’s mother.
‘Interfere? I would have aided them to make a better skit’, she screamed.
‘Speak softly’, I said in my most professional voice, ‘It was better this way. They developed confidence, they know what went wrong and they will do better next time. ‘
‘They have lost, they will get less in their internal assessment….’
‘So what. They have gained confidence’.
‘I will not allow Medha to come here any more’, she said.
‘That is you wish. But have you seen the look of contentment in Medha’s face. why do you try to run her life, she is an individual too. Let her learn, experiment. Let her grow’.
She stamped her feet and went away and for 2 weeks Medha did not come to our place.
On the 15th day she came accompanied by her father.
‘Thank you, he said
‘For what’, I said.
He said, ‘ For letting my girl blossom into a person. She told her mom very gently and very firmly that she wants to be with Sneha . Her mother could not argue, and…. her standing out gave me confidence too’, he said with tears in his eyes.
A single gesture, a little support could make such a big difference. I was happy. Happy that Medha would be fine from now on.
As parents we often try to run our children’s life forgetting that they have a life of their own.
A story partly inspired by Rachna’s post at the cybernag
For more stories of Sukriti, the counsellor: