‘BRRR… it’s cold, dad,” said my almost-6-year-old son, teeth chattering, shivering and shuffling, fully attired in his school uniform, loaded with a pair of gloves and a cap. At 6.45 am on a cold and foggy morning, with the temperature stubbornly staying between to 3 and 4 degrees Celsius, I could have expected only three kinds of people to be up and running — newspaper hawkers, school-going kids and their dads.
One morning last week, when I told off my son for moving slowly and asked him to hurry up, I was promptly told, “Dad, why do you keep saying everyday that we are late and still we reach the stop before anyone else?”
He was right. But what can I do about the panic attacks that I suffer every morning, five days a week? I decided to observe other parents at my son’s bus-stop every morning. Every parent — and it’s usually dads in the morning, moms in the afternoon — has his/her own quirks when it comes to dropping their kids off at the stop.
Like this grandfather who brings his grandson to the stop. These two are at the stop everyday on a scooter before anyone else. Never ever have I gone to the stop and not seen them there, rooted to their favourite spot, with the boy almost dozing with his head on his grandfather’s back.
In complete contradiction is the young cool dude dad who comes to drop his 8-9 year old daughter in his Santro with tinted glasses with music blaring loud and furious. Contrast, because we get to see him and his daughter only about once a week, the rest of the week, they miss the bus.
Then there are the silent types. They quietly walk into the bus with their kid, strap them to their seat and without a word, come down and walk away. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the parents who fuss over every little thing. They suddenly remember homework, projects, sports and breakfast only after their kid has boarded the bus. They keep knocking on the window from outside, crane their neck upwards and keep passing instructions to the kid.
Ever met the “Get-Ready-in-The-Car” type? A dead giveaway is when both parents are in the car and even when the child gets down from the car, the mother is right behind him, adjusting the jacket, the ID card, forcing a glass of milk down the child’s throat and the father is running behind with the school bag.
Then there are the ‘keeping-a-hawk’s-eye’ types. These parents just stand there, looking at their child inside the bus, waving goodbye every 10 seconds, and go home only after the bus has moved and is completely out of sight after its 5-minute halt at the stop. I belong to this category. Well worth the panic attack.