Hey…you all? What are you doing in my room, staring at me? Oops, that’s bad manner. Oh…. now I got it. You must be the participants of Boloji and Hindinest, right ?
Welcome and hello to you all. How are you? Allow me to introduce myself first. I am Pinky. Specs? oh….. don’t worry. I know “it’s not a toy, it’s made up of glass. If I am not careful, I can break it and even hurt myself. Ya, ya …… I have heard it before. Don’t worry. I am not playing with it. I am just trying to wear it. Practice….as I may rather, I am sure that I will need it in recent future!"
Why so amazed ? Oh…you must be thinking “why a cute (thanks!) little baby like me will need it? Childhood is so cute, free of worry, stress, competition and all. Just playing.” Hmmm, quite a rosy picture. But let me share with you, friends, it’s no more so rosy. I know for you big people, it’s all quite difficult to understand. Hey, Why don’t you enter my world? My mom and dad are at the office and Sumandi i.e. our domestic help is engrossed in TV. I have the required time and privacy. So welcome to my world, a child’s world….
You know, for me, usually free time; time just for myself is such a scarce commodity. To us – the child of today – time, schedule are more than just words, they are the realities.
First some introduction to my family. I am the only child of my parents and they love me a lot. We also have domestic help. Her name is Suman but I call her “Sumandi”. She also looks after me. Mummy-daddy, both work in office.
I know my mummy feels very bad when she leaves for office, leaving me at home. Once she actually decided to resign from the job for me, but dropped the idea. There was a long chat between the two. When she mentioned me, I started listening to her. They were talking something like “cost of living.. expensive.. Pinky’s education..”. Soon I was entered into the Pre-school or rather, the Pre-school squeezed itself into my small, lovely world, quite rudely. Now I too leave the home in the mornings like mummy-daddy.
First few days at the school were quite sad. Earlier, I was used to feeling very lonely after my parents would leave for the office. But in the school, it was quite scary among new faces, some of them even crying, some fighting. But by now, it’s all familiar. Nikki, Naseem, Kittu…I have many friends now. But my days have become hurried. My schedule now is like a merry-go-round. I do enjoy merry-go-round, but I get scared when it’s fast.
Hmmmm…… Fresh, cool breeze of morning. Sleeping on soft bed, very gently someone puts a milk-bottle…… I just love it. I tell you, it just bliss to sip the milk while still sleepy. After sometime, just when I am into the bliss, I am picked up, washed, dried, and by the time I can open my eyes fully, I am in my school-dress. That must be the magic of our new timesaving washing machine. You know, it’s advertised as very efficient, user-friendly, gentle too.
My Daddy screaming for his file or purse and mummy searching for it, this is the first sight, I see every morning. Before I can help, both are off to Office but, not before giving me a peck and “Don’t be naughty. We will be back soon in the evening. Love you”. Now it’s my time to leave the home. I also pass on my parent’s love and instruction to Teddy and Dolly.
Tiffin box in one hand, school bag and water bottle dangling down my shoulder, cap on my head, polished shoes, neatly folded handkerchief and I-card pinned to my dress. I am ready to face the world or rather, run at it’s pace.
Sumandi, my coach in running, sees to it that I reach the bus stop within 5 minutes. But to tell you frankly, I believe in taking life a little bit easy. There is one pussycat also who comes with her 3 babies, kittens. No, no, not to catch the school bus but to play with them, in the nearby garden. I wish my mom could also find some time to play with me. I love pussies, but my parents are scared of them …hihihi ! As Sumandi waits for the bus rather impatiently, I thoroughly get engrossed in watching the pussies. They are so clumsy. The bus as usual plays a spoilt sport; suddenly I am elevated in mid air and dropped into the crowd of my schoolmates. I can’t even say “bye-bye” to the pussies properly. With the bus catching up the speed, I get automatically fitted, into a spot. I know this feeling is not alien to you elders, right??
In pre-school, we are taught to write the alphabets, recognize vegetables, fruits, numbers from 1 to 20, colors, etc… we also have to bye-heart nursery rhymes. Although I do enjoy playing with my friends but the study is just too much. Now I am hearing horror stories about the real school. You know, when I don’t listen to mummy-daddy or Sumandi, they frighten me with “see, Policeman is coming” and I do as they say. I have never seen him coming to our house but why take a chance ? To tell you frankly, now I find a mere mention of school, admission test, homework, tuitions more scaring and they are true also. Many a times, I have seen Kittu’s big brother carrying his heavy school bag.
My parents have told me to not to miss the pre-school and learn it correctly as with out it, I won’t pass the admission test for KG and they will have to shell out more money. I can’t understand this Garden, the Kinder Garden that wants all kids to learn even before entering it. Aren’t gardens to play freely and to your heart’s content?
My teacher says that I am quite intelligent. I think that’s due to the hairstyle, my parents have chosen for me, that I can fit all the study in my terrace floor. I also don’t mind as far as they love me in this getup too, also I understand their concern regarding the school admission. I know my parents are already into preparing the list of schools, trying to get the forms standing for hours and days in those long queues. Admission to KG is not at all easy. Even mummy-daddy will be interviewed. Don’t you think they should also join my class?
I know you are wondering the fluent English I am speaking. Well, actually my mother tongue is Hindi. But to get admission in Good English school, I have to know English so my mummy-daddy have changed their tongue to English.
I have lots of important questions to ask like “why the sky is blue? What’s this ? Why is that ?“ . My teacher and mummy-daddy say, “You ask lots of questions. You will understand the answers when you will grow up”. But I don’t think so. I find it’s they who have more questions to ask us kids and that too repeatedly. For instance, when my teacher asked me “What’s the color of the apple?” I told her that apples are red but still she keeps on asking the same question to me as well as to my classmates. It looks like even after growing up, they haven’t got it yet. Don’t you agree with me now?
In the class, along with the long list I mentioned earlier, we are also taught good manners, the words like “Good Morning”,” Thank You”, “I am sorry”, “Mention Not”. I sometimes wonder why need to say “Thank you” when we all are taught to say, “Mention not” ? Anyway…. we also have drawing class. It’s my favorite one. You know, I can draw a laughing pussy… grrreat, isn’t it ? But my teacher insists that it’s not a pussy and also insists that pussies can’t laugh. Well…. big people’s viewpoint !.
In the afternoon, it’s time to return home. We are again packed in the bus, literally dropped at the stop, with bus-driver in great hurry, very much like Sumandi. I think he must be her relative. Sometimes Sumandi is at the bus stop but at others, she is absent. No, I don’t intend to complain about her to my parents. Find it strange?? Actually the reason is, when she is not at the bus stop, my friend Nikki’s mummy takes me to my home. Aunty is very sweet. As soon as Nikki gets down from the bus, she caresses her very fondly and asks gently about our day. She pats me also very tenderly. We all walk to my home chatting. She also likes my laughing pussy. Her smile, which she sprinkles every sentence with, makes me feel so, so much wanted. She carefully takes me to my home, climbing all the 3 floors. Only after Sumandi opens the door and takes me in, aunty leaves for her home, waving to me with “See you tomorrow”.
On my return, I find the home so lonely, dull with just Sumandi and me. I miss my granny’s place so much. One sound from me and all come to me running. But here it’s …Well, Sumandi changes my clothes, gives me glass of milk, puts me to bed, goes to watch her afternoon TV soap. Actually I don’t like the afternoon nap. Although I have many toys but without mummy-daddy, they too seem uninterested, like me, in playing.
After some time I get up and Sumandi make me ready. You must be wondering as “why are you sounding so reluctant. Evening time is play time”. Sorry dear friends, now-a-days that’s not so correct equation. I get to play only for exactly 45 minutes in the garden. After that I need to rush to my music and dance class. You know, one day I was copying the dancer on the TV. My parents clapped and gave a kissy too. Next day, I found myself attending an additional school, that of music and dance. My dance teacher says, to very much delight of my parents, “She dances so well”.
Recently I heard my parents discussing that now I must participate in the dance competitions conducted on various TV channels. They along with my teacher are deciding on the film song numbers, dresses to wear for the items. Soon you will watch me on TV. Actually, I don’t like such programs where we kids dance like big people. To me, they look like robots with all steps, facial expressions rehearsed, odd with those uncomfortable steps. Frankly I love dancing with my own choreographed steps but now with this daily class, competitions, at the cost of my precious playtime, I feel really burdened. I have heard that in your times, extra curricular activities were entirely your personal matter but now-a-days those also are being decided by mummy-daddies. We kids are literally dancing to their tune. One of my friends is made to learn computer games and all. You know with TV and computer occupying most of his free time, he looks so sleepy in the class and also un-attentive. When the teacher pulls his ears on his mistake, he with small, sleepy eyes, pulled ears remind me of Ganesh, the elephant lord.
It’s not that my parents don’t spend time with me. Actually they are very busy. They have to work in the office and also in the house, especially my mummy. I love her very much. You know, in the garden I play with my friends Nikki, Anju, Nassem except Minu. Actually I was not talking to her. She always teases me that my mummy doesn’t love me so she comes home late from office. Sometimes I do get jealous of her as her mummy always accompanies her in the garden. I felt so bad. But my mummy assured me that it was no at all correct and she loved me very much. That day She allowed me to sleep in her room too. Next day, while playing in the garden, I saw her entering the garden and looking for me. I showed Minu “See my mummy came home early specially for me.”. But she started talking to the mummies group, present in the garden. So I started my best cranky techniques and made her give a push or two to my swing. You should have seen Minu’s face. Now she will never tease me…. hahaha !
My parents take me on outings, specially on weekends. Zoo is my favorite picnic spot. I like to watch monkey, Lion, elephant and all the other animals. But now thanks to my admission issue, these outing seem more like educational tours. Mummy-daddy keep on asking “What is this called ? What is its color?”. I am sure, by now even the monkey knows it’s called monkey with spelling “M-o-n-k-e-y”.
Of course, to make these picnics a fun, I use my time-tested “go-cranky” skills. In a short while, I have my hands full with balloons, chocolate, ice-creams…yummy. I am a good girl. I also share it with my Dolly. But with Dolly, naturally my dress also tastes the yummies and then mummy-daddy scold me “can’t you eat without spilling ?“. Hey, wait a minute……We have a picture of a cute but messy kid in our home, to which my mummy regularly prays. He is completely smeared in butter, also with butter all over the floor, pots broken, in my teacher’s words , he has “absolutely no table manners”. If my teacher sees him, he will get a good scolding. My mummy has told me about the cute kid in one of the bedtime stories. I just love his story. His name is Krishna. You know, he used to play with his friends in the jungle, play pranks on others. No pre-school, no dance class, no competition, no tests. Yes, he used to dance without dance teacher’s “1-2-3-4”. Lucky one….. Don’t you big people keep on describing his naughtiness, his pranks very fondly ? Then why do you keep on scolding us and telling us that we should not be naughty and should behave properly.
I don’t understand you big people. Hmmm… can these specs help me in understanding you? After all, aren’t they meant for seeing things clearly? It may even help you in understanding us kids. Shall we try?