Thursday, October 17, 2013

Parents Teacher Meeting and An incidence

This weekend I had gone to my son's school for a parent teacher's meeting. My son is four and a half years old.

While we traversed the 10 kms to his school, he constantly kept saying about things on road and how he observes everything everyday. Things like "mere class ka ek ladka is building mein rehta hai" "Mcdonalds junk hota hai" " Ye to meri school ka rasta hai" and so on. He carried his little lego car which he kept driving on my car's dashboard. It is a green and white thing made up of little lego pieces. He is very fond of it.

As soon as we reached the school, we were in his zone. He directed our turns and moves. He told about the dollhouse on the other side of the corridor. And he talked about the stage where they have been rehearsing for "Happy boys and happy girls dance". It was fun to be there. The feel of a school might trigger childhood memories for many. Does not really happen with me.

We were to get the first term assessment of his progress in Jr.KG. Well I wanted to know how he has been, especially as there were issues related to his eating lunch and breakfast , that we had faced in the last term. There was a long queue of parents waiting for their turn. Kids scampered all over the room. As the other kids were not having theri PTM on the same day, they also kept moving back and forth to the adjacent rooms. We saw the projects being displayed on the walls of the class and tried identifying my son's works. He was playing with his car.

"Hey Mimansh", shouted a kid, running to him.

"Ye dekho meri car hai"

"Dikha" and the kid snatched the lego car out of his hands.

Another kid in the meanwhile ran to this new kid, and he started snatching the car from the first kid's hands. The first kid was taller and stronger. The second kid in between the ruckus, asked for help from my son "Mimansh, isko bol na mujhe de"

Mimansh looked at the car helplessly. And then to me.

His mom was watching this all the while and was getting angry. Mimansh could not fight with the two kids. She sternly said Mimansh, "Agar tumhari car ko kuch hua, to I am not going to get it for you. You should know how to keep your things."

I could see the confusion on that little face. He knew not what to do. Good boys dong snatch things. He looked back at me again as I told him,

"Beta, usko bolo, aap khelna chahte ho, wapas karde."

Mimansh went meekly with low voice to him. "mujhe do". The boy looked up at him said "deta hu" and then ran in to the next room. By this time my wife and I were almost having a fight.

"Use apni chizein lena aana chahiye. If he knows to snatch, we can teach him when to snatch. If he doesnt, sab bacche asie hi karenge uske saath hamesha."

Other parents were almost staring at us while we were in that "fight". When we looked back they felt embarrassed as it was thier kids who were fighting with our son.

I remembered a time long ago. On the dusty roads of my town, surendranagar, on a day after playing cricket, two elder kids had picked up a fight with me. I remembered getting dragged by two tyres of an atlas bicycle, while they enacted some movie scene later. I was bruised. I was crying. I could not save my pride. I remembered the day when a few of goons had recently beaten me up for no real fault of mine. I remembered all the bullies that I have been through and all those little times when I had lost a part of my self confidence. All those little defeats that everyone who has got bulllied in his life has gone through. There are worse things, that mind won't like to recall. My heart went to my son.

I called up the other kid. "Yash, beta usko khelna hai. Khelne do. Chhina japti koi nahi karega."

I knew I wouldnot be around everytime. I knew my wife was right that he should fight for his rights. But I could not bring myself to tell him, that he should snatch things from kids. I could not bring myself to say that he should beat up someone, if need be. I fear he will become a bully if I give him that freedom.

It was our turn as we sat in front of teacher. Teacher praised Mimansh a lot- he is obedient, participates in the class, talks to all the kids, loves group activities, is very excited coloring things etc. I told her I have one concern that I did not have before coming here.

"Is he behaving rudely in the class. Does he pick up fight with other kids? has he ever snatched things from others", I asked.

Teacher was surprised that I am asking such a thing. "Ofcourse not. He is the most obedient and understanding kid in the class."

It made me think that if someone fought with him, teacher will scold both and my son would stand there feeling snubbed by both the bully and the teacher. It did not help.

"Ma'm,This is the age when bullies and bullied are defined. I will ensure my son doesnt become a bully. And I want you to ensure no one bullies him in the class. I dont want my son to go through it. Other's might think it is part of becoming "tough" and becoming "practical" in life. I believe that it is our responsibilty that we make the society "practical" and "tough"." She understood and assured me.

I know next time when the bully comes to Mimansh, he would still not fight back. A part of me wishes he does. A part of me wishes, someone who can bully the other kid, explains the other kid bullying is not good.


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