Taking stock of the entire academic year gone by sounds like a tough task but doing so before Pari starts her next session is all the more important. No matter how faded my memory of the events of past year might be, it is definitely vivid when compared to, say ten or perhaps five years from today. This is what makes this school diary entry, all the more important.
Pari’s last year in kindergarten started with the relief that the series of awkward encounters that were the highlight of our past year were done with.
The much-awaited summer vacations (of 2016) gifted me an important parenting lesson. My dance lover 4-year-old might be the best dancer when she follows her heart, yet, she was still too young for formal training in classical dance. I accepted this fact, only after I met Guruji , who conducts Kathak classes in our area. I understood that often passion alone isn’t enough to give birth to a star performer. Age and maturity play a vital role, in helping nurture the talent, giving it the wings it needs to scale unseen heights.
I spent the whole year counting days to the summer vacation of 2017 to get Pari to join the dance class we visited last year. However, recently, something has changed. Pari has suddenly lost all mojo to learn to dance. While she still loves dancing, she is keener about drawing and painting. This has left me clueless about what we will be doing these summer holidays that are hardly a month away.
This confusion stems from the fact that I want my daughter to follow her heart. I really do. But at the back of my mind, I can hear voices of my parents, that say, I need to be the guiding force for my child. I must encourage her to pursue formal training in the field she has both interest and talent, to become someone noteworthy at a later date.
The quandary has its roots in my childhood when I too was often reluctant to join a new class solely for the fear of the unknown. But the day I’d start the class, motivated by my parents (mainly mom) I’d be acquired by the joy of learning something new and making new friends.
What if that is exactly the case with my daughter?
What if I’m putting at stake the future of a star, just cause she is too young to know if she really wants to learn the nuts and bolts of dancing?
Anyway, I digress.
When Pari had participated in the Janamashtmi celebrations at her school, her dance teacher had given her the center position because she (apparently) was the best dancer in the group. Her performance was appreciated by one and all, from her friends to the helpers in the school and of course the teachers. But, when the prize for the best dancer went to the headmistress’ child, I saw Pari learn what privilege meant in a way I couldn’t have taught her better at her age.
It took me a while to help Pari see, that these small privileges are mere sparks, that might be the highlight of a day, but can never illuminate the way to a successful future. Only hard work and dedication can.
This incident has changed my child considerably. I noticed this during preparation for the annual sports event. Pari was last in the past year’s race. This year I could see her determined like a mountain goat intent to learn to climb the steep mountain. She might not be the fittest scholar in her class, but in those 2-3 weeks, I saw a fierce competitive streak in her that I never knew existed.
Suddenly her usual fuss over eating was gone. She’d wake half an hour early than her usual time only to practice running. All she cared for was beating her last year’s record and winning the gold medal. Her labor bore fruit. This year, she ran like Bolt and won by a big margin.
Standing on the podium in front of a cheering crowd has only fanned Pari’s burning desire to outdo her every performance. I can often hear her mutter that she wants to outdo herself, her every performance, day by day.
Her unflinching resolve came in handy when she fell seriously ill with the gastrointestinal infection hardly days before her annual exams.
Needless to say, I was the only worry-wart in our home. My parents were solely focussed on Pari’s health while I couldn’t help but worry if my child’s hard work of the past many months was about to go in vain.
Whereas Pari was her usual calm, composed self. Her only point of concern was the bitter cocktail of medicines she was being forced to swallow every few hours. The day she got better, despite the weakness, she was studying, revising and was her usual confident self.
Her academic result has proved yet again, that my daughter hasn’t inherited my quibble gene. This is among the handful traits that I am grateful for not handing down to my child.
They say, “Becoming a parent, changes everything.” It does. Not just when the child is born, but several times in life as we relearn the life-lessons with a changed perspective, in the light of our children’s view of life.
A new chapter, a new session of learning and growing begins in a week’s time and us, the stationery lover, mother-child duo, can’t wait to embark on the favorite part of the school year. Shopping for new books and stationery and scribbling in the best handwriting in freshly covered books and notebooks.
The song on my mind: Yunhi kat jayega safar sath chalne se ~ Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke