Nothing prepares you for this day. It may even be a day that you “think” you are looking forward to. You may think that you will enjoy the few hours the kid will be out of the house, giving you some hours of peace. But all that pales to insignificance when you leave your child in a strange environment.
Siddharth woke up all excited and ready to face the day ahead. He called my parents and told them he was going to school. He also went up to Sumi’s parents and told them he was off to school. On the way to the school he was full of chatter.
At the school, we had to spend a few minutes filling out forms and stuff. We did this in the principal’s room. Siddharth walked around the room, taking in all the picture hung on the wall and other toys that were strewn around.
Suddenly he walks up to me and asks almost in a whisper, “Papa, where is the swing?”
I assure him that it is there somewhere. Satisfied with the answer he resumes his voyage of discovery.
He returns with his next question, “Papa, where are my friends?”
“They are waiting for you in the classroom”, I inform him.
Then comes the moment of truth. All the formalities done, I take him by the hand and lead him to the classroom. At the door, his confidence lets him down. He hesitates. He grabs the doorway and pushes back.
The ayah picks him up and takes him into the classroom. We watch his lost and forlorn face as he looks over his shoulder. We walk away from the classroom.
“Does he think I have abandoned him?” I ask myself.
I convince yourself that it will last just 30 minutes, but it turns out to be a very long 30 minutes.
We sat on the chairs the school had thoughtfully provided outside the classroom and listened to our son cry non-stop inside the room.
He called out for his papa, mamma, grandparents; everybody he knew. But no one came. I wonder what went through him mind in those traumatic moments.
At the end of 30 minutes, we were all put out of our misery. He came running out and hugged me tight – holding on to me for dear life.
The drive back home was much more sedate. In reply to my question on what he did in class he told me that his friends had sung rhymes. It was heartening that even through all that his ears were open and he took in things that happened around him.
We wonder what tomorrow will be like.