When my son rushed to his class teacher on day one of his primary school, I had the strangest feeling. I felt like a mother does when her daughter gets married and moves to another house. Many will not understand this comparison.
I was happy that my boy was going to be a part of formal education.. I was also relieved that he would be in good hands. But at the same time it felt as if a part of me was going away .
Full-time school meant that my child would spend less time with me. He would have his own set of friends, likes and dislikes. This would mean there were more ‘important' people in his life. Okay, okay, now I'm being possessive.
Black and white
But the transition was drastic. Till pre-primary, the kids wore colourful uniforms and went to a school, which was an extension of their play area, well almost.
They had teachers who were like surrogate mothers.. they were firm but indulged the kids. They kissed, hugged and cuddled them.
For my son Aditya, primary school also meant a change in location of his school, because there is a separate building for primary section.
And it wasn't just the building.. everything would change now. We had heard stories about how the new school meant ‘serious business.' Compared to pre primary school, it did look serious and sombre.
The towering building with a playground looked alluring. My son proudly showed off his new school to us. But for us, it was a transition from a colourful playschool to a building - which was almost black and white.
Ironically, all the parents and children had been ‘prepared' for the new school. We were taken around the school building - the classrooms, the sick room, the library and laboratories.
The children were excited to attend the big school, with a school bag (they used to carry a cotton sling bag till senior KG). Almost half an hour before his school bus was expected, Aditya was sitting at the doorstep, with his bag on his shoulders and a tiffin bag in his hand.
There were no apprehensions in his eyes. He would be away for seven hours. Ironically, I'd been eager for him to start with his primary school. ‘To do' list I had a list of things on my mind, which I'd decided to do when he would go to standard one - I would take up more work, read all the books I had bought but never read, join a gym and yes, take up that mocktails class.
But when he actually started going to school, there was a feeling of emptiness. I felt as if my baby had grown up. I scolded myself for feeling that way .
My child takes time to adjust to new things. Very often, he clings to the familiar and refuses to let go. This time, when he held his tai's hand, and I said, "Bye, enjoy and have fun," he didn't even look at me.
And when I called out his pet name, "Bye nanu, bye Sonu, bye Chiku," he scowled and exclaimed, "Mama, please don't call me that, I'm a big boy now!" I am still trying hard to accept that and concentrate on my ‘To do' list for now.