You feel like the exhilarated Usain Bolt when your child finally finishes his homework! And, you know how hard the test of patience gets when a work that could get over in a matter of minutes drags on for hours with major chunks of time fillers that comprise of story telling, Nat Geo tit bits and, on seeking answers to why the king is not as powerful as the queen in the game of Chess!
This is one of the regular days from my life where I learn to master in the subjects of patience and perseverance.
Me: Arjun….today you have to write series 251 to 300.
Arjun: Mmmm….I know…..
He gets ready for his homework and I am already in a cloud thinking mode – “He finishes the work. I get the grocery stuff. Then, there is the laundry. What will I make for dinner? Dalia should be good!” And, quips my son in the middle – Make maggi no! Oh yeah, I realized my cloud thinking was actually loud thinking! I sternly look at him and ask him to start writing.
Time 3 PM
Arjun: Mum! Is the pencil sharpened well?
Me: Yes dear…now start writing….say aloud two hundred and fifty one……and write….
Arjun: ok mum….
The marathon has begun.
The series marches up to 255 and, the first speed breaker arrives….
Arjun: Mum, I was thinking…….why is our tulsi plant not growing straight?
Me: (Wondering how ‘in the name of Lord’ did Holy Basil jump into the marathon) It needs sunlight no….plants tend to seek sunlight for their growth…..(Knowing where the conversation would lead to, I tell him)…ok! now where were you? 255….”
Arjun: oh yes! (the series continues)
The Math train is moving smoothly until the train decided to halt unexpectedly at 259…..because his highness, suddenly recalled a NatGeo moment!
Arjun: Mum…I have a question….why does the mother lion hold the cub with her teeth? Won’t the teeth hurt the cub?
Me (remembering my mum’s advice on patience and perseverance have started saying to self – keep calm…keep calm….) – Hmm…see…the mother lion i.e the lioness holds the cub in a way that the teeth doesn’t hurt her cubs….just like when I squeeze you sometimes out of affection, does it hurt?”
Arjun: No… (comes and hugs me!)
Me: Same way, lionesses cuddle their cubs like that….now where were we? 260……
Arjun: oh yeah….260…..
45 minutes had passed………. in the series 251-260……
And, I pray to all the Gods I know – “Please! Please! I will narrate all the stories about you on weekends…just don’t let him get distracted now!”
Perhaps, God smiled and appeared to have listened to me….
The Math train caught pace….the series continued with zero hiccups until 269 arrived!
Arjun: Mum! Do you know Arnav, my friend?”
Me: Yes darling, the one who eats chalks and chews pencils!
Arjun: Yes! You know what he did today…..
Me: Arjun….why don’t we finish the series and then, we will have ample time to talk…..
Arjun: (looks at his notebook…counts the pages to be done…..) Mum, so much is there yet….if I start writing now…it will go on till night…when will I sleep?”
Me (me dreading..if the home work session was really going to drag that long…shuddering at that thought): You just keep writing….it will get over…just like how time flies when you play badminton or watch motu patlu……
Arjun: ok….. (just begins to write….270)
Arjun: Mum….dont interrupt me when I say something….I was telling about Arnav……
Me: Ok….what did Arnav do today?
Arjun: Mum, Arnav got punishment today….he was made to stand outside….
Me: That is bad. What did he do?
Arjun: He was spoiling the desk….drawing on it…..and then, he also keeps running around in the class while the teacher teaches.. and, he spills food….and…..
Arjun: ….and mum, today he got punishment….he went out and started playing on slide and swings..then the teacher pulled him back and made him stand inside the class facing the wall…
Me: ok…… so, do you want to get punishment too, so that you also go and play around? (with a stern look)
Arjun: No! No! I am a good boy in school..I don’t even get up from my seat unless I am asked to.
Me: hmm…..so can we now go beyond 270?
30 minutes have passed since the last 45 minute lapse……
And, with some respite from distractions…the series continue…..271…..272……………….279…….
Maids are blessings! But not when she rings the bell at such an important time!
Arjun scoots off to open the door….and candidly calls out – “Mum! Geeta Aunty has come!”
Me: “I know, Arjun. I could have opened the door. Now, please sit and finish your work.”
Arjun: “Ok! 280….281….282…283…..284….285….”
Some sounds from outside….Arjun runs to the door….and calls out to me – “Mum! Monkeys on our porch!”
Me: “Even better the reason for you to come back and finish your work!”
Arjun: “Shhhh….Mum! see, there are monkey babies too!”
Me (trying to look through the thin tissue curtains.. and find a couple of monkey mommies taking a siesta on our porch with one of them on the chair)
Arjun: “Mum! Take a photo!”
The maid smiled. I obliged….
Arjun: “Mum! Share it with tatha…paati…NOW!”
Another 30 minutes had passed by…….
Me: “Now, can we proceed?”
Arjun: “Ok! Ok!”
The series pace up….286….287…………290….291……………295….
Arjun: “Mum! You know what happened while we are coming back in the bus?…..”
Me: “ARJUN! Only 5 numbers left. Finish them and, I am all ears! PLEASE!”
Arjun (sad face): “But, what if forget what I want to tell you after completing my home work?”
Me (now, in a consoling mode): “Don’t worry! I will remind you!”
Arjun: “But, what if you forget to remind me?” (now the sobbing mode commences)
Me: “I promise, I won’t forget!”
Arjun: “No….you will forget……” (the crying continues……)
This is followed by rolling on the ground, facing the wall, walking in circles and, finally in a prostrate posture under the bed and, all included crying his lungs out…..and shedding buckets of tears! (if only tears could have solved water issues in the states out there)
The crying goes on for another 30 minutes and, I have no clue whatever happened….
Finally, I ask him calmly – “why are you crying? I did not scold you. I did not spank you. What just happened?”
Arjun: “I FORGOT WHAT I WANTED TO TELL YOU!” (and the sobbing goes a notch higher!)
I get up. Walk towards the fridge. Open the refrigerator. Pull out the vanilla block ice cream, put three scoops in a bowl and place it in front of him.
The crying stops. The tears dry up quickly. He wriggles out from under the bed. Sits on the chair and has his ice cream.
After he is done, I ask him – “Now, do you remember what you wanted to tell me?”
Arjun: “Mum! You keep on distracting me when I am doing homework. I want to finish my work. Please don’t disturb!”
I put my hands in the air! I am at the finish line! Only, I felt like the damn tortoise after more than 2 hours!
After he went off to play, I grabbed a couple of cushions and, lay on the floor allowing its coolness seep in and, looking at the rotation of the ceiling fan….. Just as I was beginning to revel in my ‘alone time’, Hubby enters with a bang, looks at my frazzled look, raises a brow and asks – What happened? All well? Why are you on the floor? I need a cup of tea!”
I look at him in the eye and, he comes near and smiles – “Can I have a cup of tea, Narayani? I like it when you make it.” Then, he makes me sit with him and he continues… “I guess, Arjun’s home work sessions have taken a toll, no….You see…don’t get angry..He is a kid….speak to him calmly….Have you seen how I deal with him…” This advising session goes on until the moment I realized that I was fast transforming into a huffing and puffing five foot three inch grizzly bear! Run! Run for your life!
But, my human form filtered the animal instincts – “Karthik! Don’t. Even. Begin! If you ask me anything now – even a glass of tea, you will be taking responsibility for Arjun’s homework from now on! I want to be alone for five minutes!”
Hubby disappears from the scene the moment Arjun’s homework came into picture!
Dinner was vegetable Maggi prepared by hubby darling. Such dinners make life so beautiful……When I look at the men in my life, I feel blessed, notwithstanding how they drive me insane. And yet, I love them insanely…with all my heart, might and life…to the moon and, back!
P.S: When I narrated this to my parents over phone, I for a second thought they had clutched their stomachs and rolled on the floor laughing!
Mum – “Welcome darling to the test you put me to in your childhood!” and,
Dad – “That boy is a rockstar! And, tell both the boys that they have my full support!”