Saturday, April 12, 2008

I proposed, God disposed : As usual.

Thats Ruhi on her first day to 'big' school. Class 1-A.
I had eagerly waited 3 years for Ruhi to start proper school. These three years have been a journey which made me wiser or so I think, even more cynical in case that is possible and less hyper about situations I have no control over. 
I don't know if it was my good or bad luck that M quit her  job with the most sought after school in the city to take the top job at the most sought after Play school instead, before my kids were born. Good luck perhaps because my kids sailed into the Play school without the agony others faced, bad luck because : only if she had still been at 'that' school I so wanted !! 

Sounds funny now but over these years I have realised that if you are ambitious about your children's primary education environment, you must be careful about the choices you make in your own life - choosing your own school to begin ( better go to that same school you want your Kid to go to LOL), the person you marry, his bank balance and the residential address he inherits ( within 8 Kms of the school you want for your kids), the cars you drive, the foreign degree you pay for, the career that you opt for etc etc etc. 

If you have lived the life of a Maverick and worn it on your sleeve then you better be prepared to reap what you have sown when the time comes! Like I did.

When Ruhi turned three I enthusiastically started the rounds of the schools for her pre nursery admission with a firm belief that it wasn't as difficult as other neurotic mothers made it sound to be. By the end of that year and another, I was another neurotic mother myself after we were rejected yet again for pre Nursery and Nursery ! By the third year I had given up mentally but did not stop going through the motions. I must also mention that for Ruhi's admission I have done what I always thought was the unthinkable for me ! I made a list of ALL the people I knew and I asked them for that elusive 'Pull" the strangely nonsensical loaded thing that one needs to have along with everything else to survive this city !

This post is an epitaph for all those who pushed me harder than the rest on the dizzy school admission merry go round ( I do love this word ! )

One among many others was husband's cousin who for years had been the guy with connections. Someone who always talked about dinner meetings with Ministers and seemed to know everyone important enough in 'The' community. At his own initiative he assured me that because of his fondness for us he had a seat pre-reserved for Ruhi in 'that' school in which lesser mortals may need to pay up upto Rs 5 Lacs for a Nursery seat. I gratefully accepted and told him to hold on to that seat till I've tried and failed on my own merit. After the inevitable had happened,  I gave him an SOS call 2 years ago and said I was taking his rain check. 
As I realised very quickly afterwards, there had been no seat, no connections, no intentions. It was just one of the things that people with big egos and bigger insecurities say to sound important ! I was amused to find out that he was giving the same assurances to another gullible aspirant mother this year! 

Then there was this 'agent' who was introduced to me through a close friend of mine. My friend would have done just anything to help and Mr agent was a government employee and friend's aunt was his boss. As a favour and obligation to my friend's aunt he regularly took me for a ride upto the school reception ( same school as above@ Rs 5 Lacs per seat) and after an hour of waiting would come back and say 'madam ji aaj busy hain".

Then, another well connected brother in law of a close friend, who said he would have helped if only he knew the details about the kid. I must have given him the details on phone, fax, e mail over and over again but after each lapse of time and memory he would ask the details again. 

And many, many others, each different in their quirk but the with the same cliched result ! I must also mention here for posterity that our old driver who now works for a VIP ex politician got so disturbed by the situation that he threatened to quit unless his perplexed 'madam' gave him a recommendation letter for school admission for Ruhi.  There was also an estranged brother in law who I havn't spoken to for years, but who, for some reason went out of the way to help. But no thanks I didn't need it.  Though perhaps if it was really the school I wanted, I would have compromised on ethics ? Thank God I didn't get to finding out.

I also used to wonder what the future had in store for Ruhi -  she seemed to have been born on a particularly unlucky schooling star ! To beat the stress I used to listen a lot to my favourite Art of Living music those days - now, even if I accidentally hear that music again, it stresses me out for no reason at all, just by bringing back unconscious associations ! LOL

I mention those days here because memories of the misery and the anger are slowly losing their edge.  I always want to remember that no matter what happens, there is a way and that is the only right way  for us.  Also to record for the future that I did try everything under the sun to get her in that list of a handful schools that everyone sends their Kids to. Nothing worked. 

It was as if she had her own course charted out for her - I used to spend sleepless nights wondering if she was going to stay at home after her nursery class which was the very last class at her Play School. Just before her session ended, the school announced they were starting a proper school ! If I step back and look, she's grown up playing and learning with a bunch of friends since they were all 2 years old ! They are going to spend the next 12 years together in the same school that has made her incredibly happy and secure in the play group atleast.  Even as her mother tore hair over worrying what comes next !

The new school is straight out of my imagination - like I had dreamt it should be except that its far from home and expensive. But I am wearing rose tinted glasses yet and I think I am more excited about her starting new school than she is about it, though for the last 2 days she has refused to take off her new found school uniform ! Lets see how long this lasts.


~nm said...

Congratulations!! I truly know the nightmares of not getting into good schools. We also didn't get into the preferred school and had to do with the one last on our list. And that too we got in after pulling a few strings.

the mad momma said...

What a scary post. Makes me feel terrible abt having cursed the Brat for having got in. On the other hand - seeing Ruhi's happy little face makes me hope. I dont want the Brat to do the 1?2? hour bus ride everyday - but we must thank the big man upstairs for every blesing we get ...