Thursday, September 5, 2013

Being Human - best gift to our first teachers, our parents

The market was bustling with people; the din, the lights, the colourful shops boasting of their merchandise could fascinate any child. With button-like eyes gleaming at the goodies up for sale, I took a liking to everything displayed on the glass doors, hanging on the roadside shops, on the sheets spread over the road. I would halt every now and then, tugging at my parents’ fingers, looking at them with expectation-brimming eyes, making the cutest of all puppy faces. As I was hopping along in between my ammai-appa, I noticed a frock - sky blue with a frilly laces, sequined, and a layer of blue satin peeking through the frills. I took fascination to my ‘dream’ frock...I could see myself swirling around in the frock, the other little children eyeing me with envy. I wanted it, my dream frock.

I stopped, tugged at ammai’s pallu and made the same puppy face, again, effortlessly. “I want that,” I said, pointing to my dream in blue. “No,” she said, “We just got you one dress. Being greedy is bad, we’ll get you a new frock for Diwali, ok?” “No, no, no,” I wailed, “I want this fock, I want it, I want,” the 7-year-old I said, stomping my feet, cranky as ever. “No, means no,” she said, rolling her eyes. I plonked myself on the road, protesting, not taking ‘no’ for an answer. Ammai-appa tried talking me out of it nicely, but when I started wailing, demanding the ‘fock’ be mine, they walked on, leaving me behind, sitting on the road, scratching my head, not knowing what to do next.

I was terrified. I thought my ammai-appa are so mad at me, that they’ve decided to abandon me and take a ‘good’ child home, instead. I ran as fast as I could, saying, “I don’t want that fock, ammai, I don’t want that fock. I won’t be greedy, don’t leave me here.”

I never asked for an extra ‘fock’ ever again. At home, I was always given freedom to eat what I liked, play with every toy, read every book. But when we visited other people, ammai’s eyes would be on me, like an eagle, to make sure I didn’t touch anything without permission, that I didn’t jump around, that I was civilised. Appa is a person who’s never raised his voice, and he made sure that I never raised my voice either. “It’s alright to get angry, but you don’t have to shout to show your anger,” he’s always said.

If we believe that teachers are the ones who use the blackboard, who wield their rulers at us, caning us for our mistakes and make us read aloud from our books, we are living in a misconception. We are taught even before we enter the school campus. The first ABCDs of our lives aren’t taught by teachers; they are taught by our parents. A teacher’s role probably is limited to the four walls of the classroom, and to a specific stage in our lives. But parents continue teaching us all through our lives, telling us little somethings everytime we go wrong.

That’s why, when I see little kids bawling their lungs out, behaving badly, acting cranky and shouting, I don’t blame them. The behaviour of a child reflects the kind of training that parents have given him or her. Parents are the world’s best, most effective teachers. They not just teach, they care, nurture, reprimand and love. They wear so many hats, and yet, at times, we take them for granted, without realising that it is us, around whom their lives revolve. So, on teachers day, it is not all about showering your teachers with greeting cards and gifts packed in shiny wrapping paper. It’s about showing them you’ve learnt things they have taught. And for parents, the best gift on teachers day would be us being the good human being they raised us to be. That’s all we need to do to make them happy...