The missing 7

The parents were very happy today. The son was joining school. The daughter was already in Grade 4. As they watched the daughter holding the son’s had and taking him inside the school campus, their heart swelled in pride. And though there was a tinge of sadness too that the son had become big enough to go to school, the mother was a bit relieved too for the boy was a handful. Always busy, you never knew what he was up to. She was looking for some hours of peace and some time to finish the housework quickly. Now she could pursue her other interests too.

The days flew now. The children had to leave home by 6.45 am. Getting them ready was a herculean task but then it had to be done, isn’t it?

But more tough was the teaching part. Yes, they learned their major lessons in the school but the homework, that had to be done. It was alright with the daughter she just needed some guidance the son needed much more. First of all he would not sit, if he sat he would not listen, if he listened, he would not concentrate. Oh, such a bother. And while the mother struggled, the father bit all his fingernails and the neighbors lost their tranquility.

‘Come on, boy’, the mother would say ‘one two three..’

The boy would play on with his truck and say, ‘One two three four five six eight, nine ten’

‘No, not again’, the mother would say, ‘you have missed seven once more….Say seven’

The boy running the truck over the sofa would dutifully say, ‘seven’

‘Repeat’, she would say.

‘Uhh, huha’, he would say

Exasperated she would throw the truck away and scream, ‘Pay attention’.

This went on for some 10 days. The boy could now count till 20 and yet miss 7.

Father had a brilliant idea. ‘Let us teach him counting in Konkani and then maybe he will learn to say seven’, he said.

So then they started, ‘Ek, doni, teeni, chaari….’

The boy learned that too fast as he was anyways hearing it at home everyday.

The parents beamed, it looked like the end of their worries. ‘Come on count in our language’, they said.

He started, ‘Ek, doni, teen, chari, paanch, sah, aath, nau, dha’.

Again he had missed seven. Exasperated they sat. All their vision of making their son successful in life melted away. Forget about anyone being a doctor or an engineer, how would he pass Grade 1 if he did not count right.

Some sleepless nights later, mother said, ‘Let us go and meet the class teacher, maybe she will have a solution’.

‘Will, she help’, was fathers doubt.

‘What is the harm in trying?’, mother asked.

And so one day dressed in their best, they went to meet the teacher. It was break time and the teacher was surprised to see them.

‘Any problem’, she asked.

They nodded.

‘What?’, she asked.

After some moments of hesitation mother told.

Teacher saw the anguish and hid a smile. The tensions parents took….

‘Well, from today make him count only till seven and no more. Once he starts saying seven, you can proceed further’, she said

‘Will it work’, asked father.

‘Try’, said the teacher.

They went back home. They were so happy, they felt so light.

And so that day, mother asked,’ count from one to seven’

He started, ‘One two, three, four five, six, eight…..’

‘No, no, count from one to seven, here I will help you’, she said and she counted with him from one to seven

This followed for a week till one fine day the boy started saying, ‘one, two, three four, five, six, seven’.

Ah, the joy of hearing the word seven, the girl clapped, the parents danced. The boy looked on in amazement.

And so that is how the young boy learned to say seven.

That young boy is now an engineer working in a good position in a Steel Plant and also happens to be my brother. 🙂


Yesterday we saw how a grandmother gives some wisdom to her grandchildren and today we saw how a teacher helps parents with some basic teaching. So these were my two tributes to teachers.

I am taking part in the Write Tribe festival of Words 1st to 7th September 2013


P.S. Sorry folks, running a tight schedule today, will not be able to visit your posts and comment on them. Please forgive

35 thoughts on “The missing 7

  1. This was so cute and utterly hilarious 🙂 congrats to the entire household and the young lad to achieve such a mean task!! Hehe 🙂 Very well written!

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