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Values & Education

Getting Ready For School

“ Hurry up Diki,” I could hear the mother on the floor above us calling as we waited for the lift to stop. It was 7.20 in the morning and my girls and I were ready to go to school. I could hear a shuffle of feet as Diki ran into the lift, the dog barking in the background and a smack of lips as she was kissed goodbye.

Getting Ready For School

Diki’s hand was still waving and her smile still smiling as the lift stopped before us. With an ecstatic exchange of Hi’s and How are you’s  we got into the lift and began making our journey to the ground floor. We live on the penultimate  floor of a Mumbai hi-rise and it normally takes a good ten minutes before we get to the  bottom of the building especially on the 7.20 School Express which picks up a whole load of children on their way to school.

Before we could even exchange pleasantries of how we were, the lift would stop on a floor below where Bambi’s mother would come to the lift door with a half eaten koki Beta, you haven’t finished your breakfast yet”, she’d say putting the morsel to his lips while he blushed with embarrassment as the three girls looked on, amazed at how a ten year old still needed his mother to feed him.

Two floors later, the Shroff twins were pushed into the lift brusquely by their mother, hair tousled, ties askew, looking distinctly unhappy at the thought of going to school. Their bags were half open as they struggled to fit in books stuffed at the last minute. On the way down, one of them straightened out his hair while the other squinted at the mirror wondering  whether or not to squeeze that temptingly ripe pimple.

With one more stop on the 12th floor where Apu got in, the lift was almost filled to capacity and the children started looking at their watches anxiously but it still stopped on the 5th floor where Mrs. Sinha would be waiting with her arm outstretched to stop the sensor from shutting the door while she yelled half in and half out.

“Gigi, Tinku, come quick, Aunty is waiting. Lift is full. Sorry, sorry, hunh, just one minute,” she’d say apologetically, her head bobbing and her fingers pinched to a  just one minute signal  as she screeched out once more “ Gigi, hurry up! Tinku don’t forget your water bottle and your specs.”

This was a routine which we followed for the ten years that I dropped off the children to school. Every day, the lift would be kept waiting at the top floor while Diki ran inside, Mrs. Thadani would stuff something or the other into Bambi’s mouth, the Shroff twins always looked disheveled and untidy and Mrs. Sinha always made us late.

The routine in Bombay schools, never varies as we don’t have seasonal timings. Yet,  I couldn’t for the life of me understand why some mothers could never get their children ready for school on time. Why did their children have to go to school scruffy? Why were they having their breakfast in the lift and why were they always getting things done at the last minute?

After all getting ready for school on time is not rocket science. Nor does it require any special skills, abilities or even help. All it takes is discipline; the discipline to do things on time; the discipline of getting things organized.

Children are just children and are hardly in control of their lives. They don’t have the liberty of doing what they want to but have to fall in line with what others want them to do. ‘Rules must be followed’, is to maintain order and it is up to us parents to get them in the habit of respecting rules.

One of the most basic rules is to be on time and this habit once inculcated is very, very hard to break. And it is a habit that is quite easy to implement. Instilling discipline in a child makes life easy for you, him and everybody. So start out with getting ready for school.

  • Always make sure that homework is done, bags are packed and that everything needed for school the next day is, in one place.
  • Keep the uniform ironed and ready to wear with shoes polished and socks folded out before going to bed.
  • Track the time you take to do each task, bathing, dressing, having breakfast and then make sure you have enough time to do each one properly.
  • Keep your watch or clock ten minutes fast so that you will always be on time.
  • Remember that there are other people in the world who also use the same facilities as you do – respect their time and don’t keep them waiting.

As a mother of two thirty-year old daughters and a grandmother of a nineteen week old grandson, Sunita Rajwade has been there and done that. A hands on mom, she has seen two girls grow successfully through baby hood, toddler hood, adolescence and adult hood; solving their maths problems and contributing to their angst of growing up with a mom “who doesn’t understand”. But now as a grandmother, she’s being appreciated for her “wisdom” and “understanding” and would like to share my experiences of this wonderful journey from motherhood to grandmotherhood