I joined the elite group of mothers when my daughter got admission in a nursery school aptly called Buds. My apprehensions turned to joy because my daughter loved her school. However, the euphoria was short-lived, thanks to meddling mothers.
They made it their business to monitor my daughter's academic progress and achievements. They knew beforehand when she had misspelt pot as pet and not scored a perfect 10.
They shook their heads that my daughter was not as well versed in the vernacular alphabets as their wards.
I learnt her marks from parents who had obtained them from teachers even before the result was declared.
Their phone calls began to disturb not only my afternoon siesta but also my peace. I pushed my daughter hard and forbade her to play in the evenings.
Even a chance encounter with other parents terrified me. One of my friends, who was similarly hounded, decided to withdraw her daughter from the school and tutor the child at home for a year.
She sincerely believed that her daughter was unfit for the class. My daughter's playful nature increased at the same rate as my cheerfulness decreased.
No amount of cajoling or enticing helped my overactive child in the pursuit of academic excellence.
As I poured into the depths of chemistry and world history, my daughter was lost in her own world in the backyard. Her favourite place was the guava tree on which she usually perched herself with an Enid Blyton.
I still remember the first day of her CBSE board examination. As I cried unashamedly overcome by emotion, she laughed and skipped along into the examination centre. I spent the three hours praying.
An episode during an earlier exam when she had taken 18 extra sheets, the maximum in the school, kept disturbing me. I had been startled by the number of sheets and even more so by her marks.
They were the same as the number of extra sheets she had taken! Needless to say, our house was the noisiest of all in the colony when the results were declared.
My daughter passed out of school along with all others and got selected for a course in engineering. I feared the worst because I would not be there to help and guide her.
How wrong I was! Left to herself, my playful little child metamorphosed into a responsible adult.
My repeated warnings had not fallen on deaf ears. She made good friends avoiding those possessing qualities that we disliked or disapproved of. The values that we had instilled in her helped her steer clear of trouble.
She is now a serious young professional. Only the sudden mischievous twinkle in her eyes speaks of her happy-go-lucky days of childhood.
As I see fretting and fuming parents, particularly mothers, worrying themselves sick over their tiny-tots, I wish to tell them to be more sensible than I was as a young mother.
On the eve of Mother's Day, I have a thought to share. I wish I had not spent my time in fruitless worries or been bothered by the senseless talks of guardians who pose as Good Samaritans outside every school.