Tag Archives: teacher

Dolls and Dreams

I am obsessive about cleaning, and feel strange when I am not organizing or ‘re-cleaning’ things around the house.

Today, I attack the toy cupboard. Sadly though, the toy cupboard is only ‘that’ in name. Very few toys remain; the remaining space has been taken over by other stuff – odds and ends, this and that.

But it was not like this earlier. Every drawer in the toy cupboard was colour coded and sorted by type of toy, frequency of use, easy accessibility and other crazy things that only a mom with OCD would do!

At one point my daughter’s world was in various shades of pink, purple and silver. One drawer in the toy cupboard was dedicated to dolls, Barbie dolls to be specific. My daughter had around eight to ten Barbies.

Courtesy – Clipart Zone

I remember wonderful afternoons, when my daughter and her friends would play, cook, have tea, dress up their Barbies, and do all that little girls around the world did!

Before we knew it, my husband and I were attending our daughter’s interview for admission to school. They wanted to meet the child and talk to her.

My husband and I sat on either side of our daughter, who was at her cheerful best. The teacher spoke to her.

Teacher : Why do you want to come to school?

Daughter: To study….

Teacher: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Daughter: (after deep thought) I want to be a Barbie doll.

All of us burst out laughing.

As with everything else, the Barbie phase came to an end, in bits and pieces.

It began when she stopped playing with the dolls, sometimes. Then came the phase, when she would take them out sometimes, or when a friend still wanted to play. Then came the phase of packing them up, but not willing to part with them. And then the day, when she gave them away.

The dolls were replaced by badge makers, loom bands, beading kits, and lots of art and craft projects.

Pinks and purples have now been replaced by black, silver, and more black and silver.

How time has flown!

Innocence – A short story

Malaika was a little girl, aged five. She lived with her parents and little sister, Sarika, in a beautiful cottage on Fern Hill.  Sarika had just turned three. Malaika was in kindergarten in a school nearby.

Malaika loved Sarika to bits, and Sarika, for her part, followed her sister around and idolized her. Except for school time, the two were inseparable.

Malaika loved her school, her teacher – Ms.Beal, her lessons and her classmates. However, the highlight of every school day was the mid-morning snack break.

Just before the bell rang for snack time, the delicious smell of butter biscuits would waft through the classroom. Malaika’s tongue watered as the food cart was wheeled into the classroom.

Each child was given a nice warm glass of milk and two butter biscuits with it.  Malaika loved the biscuits and the milk.

The best part was yet to come. A few butter biscuits were always left over in the packet, so at the end of the morning, just before school dispersed, Ms.Beal asked questions. The first student to answer each question correctly, was rewarded with a biscuit.

Most days, Malaika managed to answer at least two questions before her classmates did, and took the butter biscuits home to share with her sister, Sarika.

But today, her luck had deserted her. She was not the first to answer even a single question. Tears ran down her sweet face, as she imagined the disappointment on Sarika’s face. What could she tell her? A cloud of worry descended on her face.

The teacher noticed that something was wrong. She asked Malaika to wait. All her classmates left the classroom.

“What’s wrong my dear?”asked the teacher.

Malaika told her that she was very sad that her sister would be disappointed about the butter biscuits.

The teacher smiled and said, “Guess what, I have a couple on my table, you can take those for your sister, ok?”

Malaika said, “Ms.Beal, could you ask me two questions. Please give me the biscuits after I answer them.”

Malaika answered both and took home – two semi-powdered biscuits that were filled with love and happiness, to her little sister.

When Sarika saw her elder sister, she shouted, “Butter biki, butter biki, give me.”

Malaika said, “Wait…I have brought them. I never forget, you know that.”

The Math of Cricket

There was a hush at the dinner table.  The half-yearly school reports had been brought home for parental review. The two sisters of the three-sibling trio had acquitted themselves rather well in terms of overall performance. The quiet that prevailed at the table was because of Arun, the third sibling, whose teacher had requested that both parents meet with her, at the earliest, to discuss Arun’s abysmal performance in Math.

The silent eruption occurred after dinner. Dad was furious and all he had to say was, “Arun, there is a world beyond cricket and the sooner you realize it, the better. No playing cricket, watching cricket or cricket-talk in this house for a week.”

This was like a death sentence, because Arun lived and breathed cricket.

After all, he lived in cricket-mad India, where cricket is the pulse of a billion people, where cricket-talk is revered, and is considered appropriate for any occasion. How could a young boy escape its magic?

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Arun minus his ‘cricket-aura‘ was a sorry sight and an unbearably grouchy companion. His two sisters gave him sympathetic looks. But Dad was Dad. One did not argue.

The meeting at school did not go well. The teacher’s overall feedback was that Arun was smart, but never focussed in class, never showed any interest and was always rattling away mindless statistics about cricket. She also added that he had not grasped even the basic concepts of averages and means, and mental arithmetic that the class was currently doing.

As with every child who has had bad reports, Arun promised his parents that he would do better.

The saddest week of Arun’s life finally came to an end. His excitement was palpable. He eyed his cricket bat hungrily, and looked forward to an India vs. Sri Lanka match that would be telecast later in the day. Somewhere in his head, there was a vague discomfort about school, but cricket caused them all to fade away.

It was dinner time, and Arun’s Dad decided to make it up to the boy by watching the India vs. Sri Lanka match with him.

And then, before his very eyes, he saw his son transform. As the game unfolded ball by ball, Arun rattled off statistics, computing them on the fly – the required run-rate, batting average, probability theory….! Problems in Math that had seemed out of Arun’s grasp in school, the concepts of averages and mental arithmetic that his teacher had wailed about, were being demonstrated right before his eyes. Hope!

He stood up and gave Arun an impromptu hug, much to the boy’s amazement.

He said, “I am not worried about your Math, I am confident that you will get there. Maybe if you look at every problem that the teacher sets you, as something related to cricket? Maybe that will help.”

“Yes, Dad,” said Arun as he stood up to practice one of his batting strokes.