Yes, he throws all the tantrums and we have the worst of fights. I scream, he screams back and as an incentive he also pulls my hair or throws my glasses. And then there are the loud cries and plenty of tears from those innocent eyes. Yes, there are those moments too. Yet, do you know what follows that? It’s that instance of realization inside him – of having done something wrong; that instance he mumbles a weak sorry through those valuable tears and climbs on to my lap and gives me a hug and says, ‘Sorry amma, I won’t do it again.’ And when he says that, I feel such pride at that trait that my loved one possesses – of being able to realize his folly and repent for it. It’s a different thing that he would throw the same tantrum after a while, but for me, that instinct to tell good behavior from bad and regretting it is a sign of good things to come.
It’s been six months since he started going to school. I remember how he would cry in those initial days. The first one month used to be a nightmare. I used to pray every other day that he should settle down soon. Every day that I used to go to pick him up, his teacher would come back to say the same thing – he cried all the time, he cried for an hour today, he refused to go to the loo without mama. I so vividly remember how I used to get back a red-eyed, runny-nosed little darling home, telling him the same story each day – see, amma doesn’t go anywhere; she just stands outside your school gate till the bell goes. And, other such stories.
And somewhere in between, the transition slowly slipped in. He began walking up to his class on his own, began picking up small words in English, began telling me stories each day, began revealing his capable side just the way I wanted to see. What all I told him to help him settle down in school – one thing I distinctly remember. I used to take his little hands into mine and tell him that his fingers had grown so much longer, his hands bigger and boys with such long fingers and big hands never cried when they went to school.
I am not sure if it is a great idea to ascertain progress at this stage. When the teacher sent in a circular saying that they would be giving a progress report, I had mixed feelings. But I was curious all the same, to learn how he did at school, because that remains the only time he is away from me and moves in a totally different environment. The day my husband and I went to collect the card, the teacher beamed. When I read the last line, ‘Excellent Kailash’, which summarized all the other wonderful things she had written about him, I shivered with pride. It was Kailash’s true self, stripped of all the initial inconsistencies, that I was well aware of and that I had hoped all through would be revealed at school.
Since when did I start getting sentimental? Of late Kailash keeps asking me when he will grow up or in his words ‘become big’ that in most cases, sounds like a desperate plea. Please do something, wave a magic wand or something, so that I grow up – you know, like that! Today he asked me the same thing again. Why do you want to grow up, I asked him. 'Because', he began, in English, just like he does when a question beginning with ‘why’ is shot, and then switched to Tamil : I want to go to college and then hostel, take my scooty and come back; you sit with me on the scooty and I will take you.
Ah, that pride resurfaced!
It reminded me of one of those old Complan ads; in which a boy grows up and takes his mom ‘doubles’ on his cycle. Silly sentiments? Who cares? I love feeling that pride.