This may or may not be a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents could possibly be the products of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, businesses, events, or locales need not necessarily be entirely coincidental.
In short, whatever I write, I write. What does it matter eitherways? I usually tend to talk about gender issues, parenting, books, movies, stuff that catches my fancy...
Friday, July 27, 2007
Oh! For a Flower Child!
After resolving to continue with my writing and my book, I find that I spend all my time at home watching movies, reading other people’s books and helping Ken with home-work. Life’s lessons learnt from the above activities: (a) I want to start a movie review blog, (b) I want to get my book published and have other people buy and read it and (c) I don’t like Ken’s life being wasted in this horrible manner.
The child’s routine is scary. He wakes up at 6:00 a.m., has a rather meagre breakfast, a glass of complete planned food, and is dressed and ready for the schoolbus at 7:15 a.m. He returns at 3:30 looking like a construction worker and as tired as one. I scrub the layers of black mud off him and give him something to eat. He’s so tired, he can hardly keep his head up at the dining table.
He drops off for a short nap at 4:15 or so. If I let him be, he wakes up at 7:30; if I wake him up at 5:30 in response to the neighbourhood kids demands, he goes off to play and comes home at 7:15. The said kids have the firm belief that I am conspiring to prevent Ken from playing with them. First the youngest of the lot rings my bell. “Aunty, is Kevin there?” If he’s either sleeping or sick and I say so, he looks beyond me suspiciously into as much of the house as he can see, craning his neck to confirm that Ken is not tied to a chair and held captive.
Five minutes later, the next oldest drops by. She is charming and sweet and wears pretty little dresses and can talk the hind leg off a donkey. “Aunty, can Kevin come to play?” “He’s coming in five minutes,” I say. “He’s just waking up.” Sometimes she lets it go at that. Sometimes she daringly calls out, “Kevin! Come soon! We’re waiting.” She obviously does not trust me to convey the message effectively. If he responds, all is well. Otherwise five minutes later, she’s back with her twin. Sometimes she is fortified with an older neighbour. They gherao me until Kevin finally condescends to go.
On days when he cannot go to play, it is horrible to have to reveal the awful truth. I know that they don’t believe me. I hate when the spouse says, “Ken has been naughty today. No playtime.” If I have to convey the message to his friends, they beg and plead. Sometimes they look shocked as if I am evil personified. I end up letting him go anyway. If I say he has exams, they take it in their stride. “We do too,” they say, “Please, we’ll send him back soon.” Not that that ever happened! If he’s sick, several of their number come by to confirm and then they still look disbelieving. It is an ordeal I don’t look forward to. I suspect I am not strong and firm with kids.
Anyways, to get back to the routine, Ken comes home to dinner – which can last anywhere between 1 and 2 hours depending on how much he likes the food or whether his Dad is at home or not. Dad at home means a quick meal. Mum caught alone means fooling around till she’s right round the bend.
And then he settles down to home work. Two pages of work in every subject. Maths 1, Maths 2, English 1, English 2, Hindi 1, Hindi 2 and miscellaneous assignments as well. That makes around 10 pages of work. And his proposed bedtime is at 9:30. Obviously, it becomes a choice between completing all of the homework or getting enough sleep. Since I hate those large remarks in red pen scrawled all over his notebook, I opt for the former. There are still large remarks in red pen scrawled all over his notebook commenting on the lack of neatness or linearity or something or the other anyways.
To have a dog tired 5-year-old to do all this work and do it neatly seems like child labour to me. By the time the work is done, it’s bedtime. There is no time for music practice. No time for a board game with us. No time for a family chat. No time to listen to all the quaint sayings that have amused me in the last five years. I could move him to a less gruelling school. Unfortunately, the child loves this. He is convinced that this is what he wants. I have a secret fear that my child is going to be academic. He is what my parents dreamed for me. So I hold on to the hope that my grandkids will probably be hippies.