I failed in 4 out of 10 subjects in the VIth Standard. But I wasn’t sad at all. My parents were not yelling at me and my brother wasn’t lecturing me (like you would have generally imagined). Gradually, I topped the Commerce section of my school in the Xth Standard and everyone was as happy as I was (maybe a little more than me).
The point is, my marks didn’t change anything at home, even though I had suddenly started getting a lot more attention at school, but at home, I was still the same. I was still fighting with my brother, getting favored by my father (without even hearing the whole story) and I was getting the same playful gossip sessions with my mother. They never compared me with the student coming first or some relative’s son/ daughter, when I was failing. And they were not comparing me now with anyone to show off either. We were all plain HAPPY!
Suddenly studying became interesting and I started digging deeper. Science and Mathematics became my newly-found love and there was apparently no subject that I would dislike or hate. All night I used to study and in a course of time I found out that no one author could satisfy me. So I started borrowing books from the library and making my own notes, which was a customized mix of the parts I loved from different texts.I didn’t notice how much I was studying till my mother and brother started teasing me for that.
It came to a point where on a Saturday evening my mother opened the door of my room and angrily came to the table and closed my books and started shouting (playfully, but trying to be utmost sincere) as if I was committing a crime. She said:
“What the hell is wrong with you?
How much longer are you going to sit in this room with doors all closed playing with this pile of papers (she referred to the notes that I was making on the sheets of paper)?
I am sitting outside with your brother and father having fun and you have locked yourself up in this room!”
She continued with more authority-
“Come outside now!
We are waiting for you and I’m making something special, so you better come out and have fun with us, watch TV and contribute to our chit-chats! Moreover, we want someone to make fun of, so hurry up, don’t waste our time, huh!”
And from the corner of my eye, I could see my brother giggling from the edge of the door. He has always been like my mother, preaching me that ‘Life is about having fun! Smile and laugh and make merry. Serious people are better suited in the ICUs and not in the drawing rooms!’
Whenever I narrate this incident to someone, they don’t believe me.
First because this is not the conventional kind of behavior, you expect out of a Mother. And second, she was a teacher, so this kind of attitude was unheard of from them as well. But Maa is exceptional!
Saying that “All works and no play, makes Jack a dull boy” is different, but actually implementing the spirit of it is different! Luckily I have had some great experiences in this department.
Letting your child pace at his/her own sweet speed and not forcing them to dig themselves into books or be like someone else and participate in the rat race of becoming Number 1 in everything, just so that they can show it off in front of a crowd, is what real Feminism is!