Sunday, November 23, 2008

What happened to Raj?

Swarna asked !

I had left the story at the night when Ruhi cried about kids teasing her and how I was resolved to sort it out. And there was a PTM on Saturday...

As I got ready to leave for the PTM, I hesitantly took out the 'I love you note' from my laptop bag. I had no clue what I was going to do with it, but I saved it for the impulse.

I walked around her class while the teacher was busy with others, eagerly looking up as the next parent walked in - just had to meet the Raj kid but I could not spot any unfamiliar kid amongst the visitors. Finally, the teacher came to me and I silently handed her the neatly folded paper in my hand.

She looked embarrassed and concerned at the same time and immediately crumpled the paper in her hand. I found out that she and other teachers had known about this for months. Raj's mother had visited her twice to discuss the 'problem'. He had been spoken to 'firmly' by the class teacher and sent twice to the principal's room. Had been given 'warnings' at school and at home. The teachers were making a special effort to separate him from where Ruhi sits in class and the lunch hall. It seemed like a very big issue over there !

I felt a surge of guilt of having it made worse for him. In the background I could hear the teacher advise me to talk to his mother and to encourage Ruhi to 'complain' to the teachers rather than keeping it bottled up to tell mom later. But all I could really hear and feel was enormous sadness. 

This kid had a problem, he was new in class and maybe he was lonely and sad and the soft spoken, kind little Ruhi was the easiest to approach in a class full of cheeky, preposterous kids. 

I have ignored Ruhi's protests about Raj ever since. Each time she complains I tell her to make an effort to 'include' him in their gang. I think she will come along...or maybe not. I've overheard her talk to her cousin yesterday, slyly inviting him to school to fix someone who 'troubles' her...

If you must know what this 'trouble' is - touching her hand, insisting on sitting next to her always, looking at her - as Ritu said in her comment, trying to be included.

I tend to make a big deal of small things, and maybe its unimportant and will pass, but I do know that sometimes small smarts in a 6 year old's life stay for ever, like they've stayed in mine.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sorry for 1984.

Rahul Gandhi said 'Sorry' for 1984. 

Thanks, it helps.

24 years have gone by and I am no longer the same person. I am cynical, hardened, wiser, indifferent. But I still shed a tear over the newspaper. The memory of that year will never go away.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Done Seven :)

This year I did it - finally dished out the birthday party that I could never quite get right for the last 6 years ! I started with doing my favorite thing - make lists ! Of all the things Ruhi loves - she loves the most to paint or that is what I like to think. So Color Factory it was, thank God for the malls to have opened next doors. 
The next was to sacrifice our own social list so that I could get her friends to have fun with her. I invited her class of 25 kids - a majority of boys, but so what !!! 
As expected, she wanted to leave out Raj from her invitees and grudgingly agreed when told how mean that would be and so one morning I splashed some paint on her as she got up bright, cheerful and really excited about her birthday, clicked some pictures and this became her birthday card. On the previous night, her doting grandfather (yup, thats right ! the grand old man) baked a couple of cakes for her and we cut them through the day for my mom, husband's cousins and more adults who feel obliged to visit us on Ruhi's birthday. 
We have always made such a big deal her birthday that most don't even bother to check the POA with me. Guests just drop in! I knew I was expected to invite the family, their children and the neighbors and their kids and all those who've invited us last year etc but I stuck to my guns that this was going to be a no adults birthday party unless the adults agreed to sit there and paint !

We did up the Color Factory at City Walk in her favorite mauve & purple  balloons, ordered junk food and ice cream cake. Its an outdoor kind of place with no music so I even got portable speakers for my ipod which I eventually forgot to play !

Her guests were there in full attendance and I love this age of theirs - they came dressed up as little menfolk (spiked hair & fashion jewelry on some) and ladies ! They behaved so well, they painted and had a blast ! After finishing the painting, they played girls against boys tug o war and Tambola and then their own games. Soon after they forgot the 'menfolk and ladies' bit and went on a rampage bringing down the balloons and stomping on them. I had a blast too since I'd love to do that myself if my daughter allowed me to ! 

The boys got her girly stuff and her favorite was a lovely pink Barbie pillow and I am just so glad that not one kid gave her a Barbie Doll ! 
Raj lives miles away in Greater Noida but he turned up as expected. A tall sullen kid who sat alone and painted and did not speak a word. I noticed the other kids do not speak with him either and I felt very sorry about the situation, though I am glad he came. He got her some Enid Blytons and while she opened her gifts out came board games, more books and craft sets and skateboards and Casios... after a bit I noticed she would fold her hands in a hurried prayer before she opened another ! Apparently she was praying for the next one to be a Barbie Doll. God didn't listen !
I also kept feeling teary for no reason at all and my heart ached as much as my feet at the end of a wonderful day. She's growing up way to fast and I feel years slipping by like sand through my fingers. I've never known myself to be the filmi types but Ruhi can usually bring out the worst in me ! Sigh :)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

About Chandrayan, Obama & Geography of the world !

My kids have a comically distorted understanding of Geography. India is the same as New Delhi which is the same as South Delhi which is the same as Malls, McDs, School, the DDA park and the near about of the place we live in. 

Only recently on the way back from Faridabad, Ruhi pretended to be asleep and after much of the journey was done, she opened one sleepy eye to ask "have we reached India yet?" 

When the heat of the US elections started I thought about introducing the concept of America to her, but I decided to wait till she understands her immediate geography first.  Besides Astronomy of course. She is still grappling with the idea of the Chandrayan and the knowledge that its possible to go on to any star in the sky. The problem, is that I've also told her that dead people become stars and that when they twinkle at night they are smiling at us. Hmmmm.......tough times ahead for me ! 

Tomorrow in school they will be diligently told about Obama becoming the first black President of the US. She will come back asking a zillion things, like the meaning of "first Black" president, what would happen of Pratibha Patil since there is only one president in her universe yet and what is 'bi racial' ad infinitum! 

And then as is usual she would go on to loudly read the newspaper headlines and I'd be in for some more ! 

Perhaps the right time to explain the 'real' Geography and how it works - about the President of a country called United States, Dad from Kenya with a half sister in Indonesia, a Chinese niece, one half brother in a Nairobi slum and an illegal immigrant aunt in the US besides relatives from other parts of the globe that I still don't know about  !