Thursday, 22 September 2016

Parental Pressure

 The machines manage to furrow my forehead which, under abnormal conditions of life without them, are quite capable of remaining crease free and taut ( Well! Almost. Baring aside the faint hints that reveal the number of years on this earth). The more apps, and social platforms and connections announce their arrivals with much fanfare, the furrows constrict till a headache comes blazing down. 

As if that was not enough, I now find myself in a serious identity crisis dragged in by the pinging deluge crashing through the smarter one. Of all the failed roles in life, the one role I thought I had managed to barely scrape through with passing marks, was that of parenthood. That feeling of relief lasted for as long as I could remember, raising my two with complete autonomy over their academics. I felt liberated hanging on to the mantra "your studies are your responsibility. I am done with mine."
And with that one stroke, I bought my freedom from hovering near their study table in the evenings, checking their notebooks for missed work, projects, assignments and all the paraphernalia that comes with schooling. Of course, they would find me around for serious doubts or discussions on ideas that made them wonder. But I drew the line there. 

Then the school decided to have Whatsapp groups for parents. And that's when I lost my confidence coming under serious 'parental pressure'. I wallowed in the fact that I had failed my children. The best mother award certainly would not come to me.

 A small voice inches its way forward,

 Was I even competing for it?

I push it aside.

Go away, silly! The fact remains that I did not do enough.

The voice is a leech, hanging on by the skin.

And what did you not do?

 That voice asked for it.
So I turn around and lash at it like a cyclonic storm  in the Bay of Bengal would hurl the waves onto the unsuspecting shore.

I barely lifted a finger after my child was absent for a day while the others were frantically pleading for the missed work to be whatsapped. Every evening there is symphony of pings, of mothers in a choir looking for the right answer for particular questions. Did I even bother to find out, what was in the syllabus? 
When the rest of the parental world, (some of them or all of them, I don't even know the ratio), was worried stiff about how much pressure the children came under when they had to submit homeworks twice or thrice a week, was I even concerned enough to voice my alarm?

The voice persists .

Were you alarmed?
No I wasn't, I agree, my voice dropping a notch lower. 
 I regain steam and continue flailing.

 I hadn't even noticed that I was supposed to be running a parallel school at home, noting down extra information, setting question papers. And then lamenting children have it so tough in life!

You did not? the voice asks in disbelief.

And the last straw that broke my camel hardy back was when the school sent out a consent form to be signed in the month of August for a school trip in December. It was to be their first out station trip! After seven years in school! ( If you are counting from prep, that is) It was a trip for three whole days!

You did not sign! the voice is excited.

No! I did worse. I was one of the first to sign!
The voice is a little tired by now. Seems to be exhausted battling the pressure running in my vessels.

Where was my maternal instinct? My mother hen protection cackle? I did not bother to voice any apprehensions of the 'bachchas ' going without their mommies and daddies! And in a bus!'s okay...they are grown by now, the voice attempts to console but the tiredness clearly audible and its grip loosening over my skin.

How would they lug their trolley bags? The little ones! And it didn't enter my thick skull, the numbskull that I am, till someone pointed it out in the group.

The voice has gone silent.

And then like Tinnu's mother, my final wail goes up, WHY DID I NOT VOLUNTEER TO GO ON THE BUS TO KEEP A LOVING EYE ON THEM!

There is silence.The voice slumps and drops off as far away as possible from my skin.