I became a mother at the age of 23 years. It was the happiest moment in my life so far when I gave birth to a baby boy, christened as Priyadeep (fondly call him Baba). I cannot explain but when I first saw him, I felt that he was different from an average child. In other words, it occurred to me that he would do something different in his life. As time passed, he also grew. Strange to believe, he was cosy with anybody whether the person was known to him or not. He never cried for or demanded anything. He never broke a single thing. At times, we used to wonder how a small child could behave that way. But one thing which was an irritant to me was that he used to lie on the newspaper, read by my husband and start tearing it off in tiny pieces. However, we never rebuked him for this as we knew he would not do so when he would realise himself it was bad. There are a large number of memorable incidents I remember but I would like to narrate only two such incidents here.
We purchased a walker for him. He used to enjoy it thoroughly. We used to live on the first floor of an apartment in Patna. One day the entry door apparently remained open for a few minutes. Before we could notice that we were horrified to see that Priyadeep in the walker slid a few stairs before it was halted on the junction and started laughing.
Another incident was more horrifying for us. Priyadeep used to spend a lot of time with a Tamil family (Staying next door on the same floor) as the lady(Maheshwaridi, as I called her) having two young sons used to love him a lot. Incidentally, he developed a habit of eating dosa, idli, sambar etc. at that tender age. One Sunday afternoon, as we were going out, I went to bring Priyadeep from Maheshwaridi but found the flat closed. I went to another flat where also he used to remain at times but found the same locked. I came back and we both started thinking where to search. At that time mobile phone was not in vogue and as such, though I was getting annoyed with her, we had no option but to await Maheshwaridi to come back. After around half an hour, calling bell rang and to our utter surprise, I found Priyadeep on the shoulder of Pinku (who used to live in ground floor flat) and smiling.
Time passed fast and then after a little over 2 years, Priyadeep got his cute sister, named Pallavi. With both the children I had literally no time for myself. Apart from that, there were frequent visits to our house by our friends and relatives. Despite that, I always used to give top priority to their well beings. It will be pertinent to mention that spending time with them, telling stories, singing songs, teaching them, etc. were actually my entertainment. When I look back I find those days were the golden days of my life.
Time continued to move faster. I could vividly remember the day when my son went to a preparatory school in Patna. On the very first day, he came back with reddish cheek, apparently a child bit him. However, he was nonchalant.
My husband is in SBI, a transferable job. From Patna we went to Deoghar to Ranchi to Mumbai again to Ranchi to Burdwan and again to Mumbai. In between Ranchi and Burdwan, my husband was transferred to Patna and I stayed back at Ranchi as my son was in Std. XI and daughter in Std. IX. As a result, while Priyadeep had to study in five schools, Pallavi studied in eight schools. Here I could not resist myself in mentioning two incidents relating to Priyadeep.
The first one relates to Deoghar when he was in Std. I. He was suffering from typhoid and after recovering therefrom, he went to school, at a distance of 5 K.M. from our residence. When he did not come back even by the last bus (There were 3 school buses in a span of 45 minutes), I alerted my husband and at the same time, I was confirmed by the school that every student had left school. As my husband was going towards the school, he was utterly surprised to find that Priyadeep had already covered more than 4 K.M. walking despite his poor health and a loaded bag on the back. When asked, he told that as he was absent for a few days, he was noting down all the left out study materials and by the time he could finish, all buses left and he started walking without waiting.
The second one relates to Mumbai. He was admitted to Std. V in St. Mary’s School, Byculla, one of the best schools in Mumbai but the school authorities could not provide bus facility because of paucity of seat. We used to stay in Prabhadevi. We were at a loss but I decided to move ahead. I accompanied him to and fro by bus for 3 days. While going to school, bus stop and school were on the same side but during return journey, one had to cross 60’ wide and very busy road to catch the bus up to Lower Parel and again to catch another bus to reach Prabhadevi. At that tender age, he did it for a full year before he was allotted a seat in school bus. Apart from that, he used to visit friends’ place alone by bus.
I have narrated the aforesaid incidents with a view to help you understand, corroborate and appreciate my way of rearing the children, as under:
- I have given and am still giving them adequate freedom and support to grow.
- Going by the feedback I used to gather, I was always very particular about selection of schools for their study. Because of frequent transfer of my husband, it was a tough job for us but I never compromised even at the cost some ire of my husband.
- I never told my children to secure 90%+ marks in classes. I was very particular about the quality of education.
- As far as the selection of courses, they were always given a free hand. We never insisted on any particular stream / subject for them.
- It is a fact my husband used to take care of any clarifications in their studies but I was totally against home tutor.
- I was having, however, full control on the playing of TV at home though in the process I had to sacrifice my watching of TV.
- I always prefer to serve them home made food to take care of their health.
In this materialistic world, I really do not know how my rearing is going to help them to be successful in life but with the value system, the inner strength, the capacity to face odds, the self-respect, and the quality of education, I am sure that they have become the perfect citizens and will be able to deliver quality service to the society.
I shall continue to pray God for their well beings at all times to come and wish them all success in their endeavours.
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