Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Letting Go

That Bhablet is hurtling towards his 18 month birthday and it's a big day for all concerned because his grandparents want his head shaved then. I'm aghast at the prospect of losing that wonderful combination of straight hair in front and horizontal rows of curls at the back but V only sneers and asks me if I wish to tie plaits with those selfsame curls. Someday, when he spends months itching with those curls growing inside him, we'll discuss this further. Until then, I refuse to recognise his right to speak.

Anyway, so as I was saying, The Bhablet is now reaching an age that I'm familiar with. I've dealt with toddlers and young kids, but this whole newborn and infancy time was a bit of an unfamiliar nightmare for me.

Yesterday evening we went for a walk in Golf Green with Gayatri and Little Star. It was a pleasant evening, with lots of rides on swings and slides, and afterwards, The Bhablet and I had an extra half hour in the Central Park, playing with all the kids there. I came away feeling more than a little ashamed of myself. I've been displaying a silly kind of snobbery at the recent discussions about school, especially to the Mad Momma. My take being, look, the schools are OK but I'll have to blend into the atmosphere and watch him blend into being the typical boring Cal schoolkid.

I've always been proud of my cosmopolitan background. I use the word loosely, because we haven't travelled all that much, but it's true that the places we've lived in have been so different from Cal, that we learnt to adapt to very different styles of living, of thought and learning. It has been a point of sadness to me that marriage meant the end of this life, because V is not interested in moving anywhere out of South Calcutta. And I did fret within me that The Bhablet would grow up thinking that Cal was all there is to see, that he'd learn to be xenophobic and poke fun at anybody who came from a different language and culture. Because that is what I was on my way to being when we moved to Hyd. Four years after we left we were still calling Cal 'home'.

And you know, the Cal mothers are so typical. Obsessed with their offspring, and the homework and the teachers, and they seem to have a life that doesn't go beyond this. They are all overweight and badly made up and, and... You can see why I'm ashamed of myself.

Last night at the park we met a bunch of kids, all of whom were older than Rahul. They basically ranged from about 2 to 10 years. And they were all so sweet to him. Running to include him in their games, doing tricks to make him laugh, keeping him entertained, pulling him into their fun. Their mothers were friendly to me, and I chatted with a few parents. Their concerns were the same as mine: when will they talk, what does he eat, he walks so well etc. Bolstered by the blog-reading I do in the mommy-blogosphere, I sounded calm and knowledgeable. And I was comfortable with the whole thing. I hadn't expected that at all.

I was dreading school because I wasn't at all OK with anybody but me (or V or Giga or the other grandparents) disciplining R. I didn't want him studying with a bunch of prissy bores from boring Bengali families. I didn't think these schools were interesting enough for him.

I guess a half an hour at the park did what all the talk didn't. I'm perfectly comfortable now with him studying with kids like these.

Note: This post was written on 14th March, that's almost a month ago. Since then the Bhablet has had his curls cut off and he looks such a little boy. But I didn't go ahead with the shaving, I couldn't. He's a year and a half old now, but I still tell his age in months. V says I should get out of the habit now at least. Perhaps he's right.


Grafxgurl said...

i agree with you about calcutta moms.. lol. but i ASSURE you , i dont think youre going to end up like them!
im sure Rahul will travel and discover places when he grows up.. with a mom like you im sure he will have the travel bug in him!

most of my cousins were born and brought up in Cal and are STILL living there.

They are as boring as heck...and to them.. i look like a gypsy with no roots.

*hugs* please dont be mad at my last comment? i hope things do work out.

Vatsala said...

I think being mummy is absolute fun . Of course, Im not one, so I odnt know for real ,but, I think .

All the mess. .. I can only imagine :)

You know the thing I realised in its full potential about school was only after I finished college ( almost there now) . I went to one of those "best in cal co-ed cbse schools" in cal - "bharatiya Vidya Bhavan" in Salt Lake.

I been thinking and telling myself how much damage the school did to me . I am told this is the case in all schools - not being given a chance at things because my grades were'nt the best , being cast off from very boring but "good bengali kids" (read singular interest : academic books) . I was full of ideas on the creative side , for example, bettering and managing the school library,art clubs, theatre panoramas and stuff like that . But I wasn't heard coz i wasnt important ...

My point being,after I got out of the forsaken place, Ive become a lot more confident coz I dont have strict bengali (read:boring) mom cum teachers telling me what I CANT do. The thing that kills me the most is the lack of variety of students I was surrounded by . Studnets were either from never-travelled bengali families , mothers being obsessed and ensuring their children were too with grades grades grades . The only other variety of students was children from rich Marwari homes. I have nothing against a regional cluster of people , if they are not conceited enough to scorn on all others around them .

One thing I know for sure about when I'll have kids is, Im going to put them in a school where they get to meet a lot of children from a lot of places. I guess it really affects us when we grow up and get into more fluid social circles, it did affect me at least.

that thing about traveling you mentioned, I agree with you ...thankfully at home we've had neighbors from all parts of the country and my parents ensured that we traveled in our holidays. More often than not, Calcuttan's who've lived in different states are friendlier and a lot more outgoing than the one's who've never had a chance or will to see the outside.

Been reading you for sometime, much hooked on to your blog.

Itchingtowrite said...

so true cal people cannot think beyond cal.. so also tams & so also othr states!!! i think a healthy "patriotism for your state is fin as long as it doesn't become fanatic... great u cud find a good bunch of kids in the locality

Mona said...

can't say about cal-folks and cal-moms but i totally agree that meeting people from different backgrounds / places / religions / whatever really helps open up your mind. you're not as biased, you're definitely friendlie - it'll be really great for rahul.
and dude, i'm pretty sure, you'll MAKE it happen.

eve's lungs said...

At times I despair because Im such a bad mother by Cal standards . But my children are happy and good kids so Im not bothered .
Yes I do agree with you about growing up in a cosmopolitan backgroud . I spent my growing years in Jamshedpur and Lucknow and a bit in Calcutta and I do agree with you there .
Otherwise one tends to suffer from a bit of a frog in the well syndrome

eve's lungs said...

Another point that touched me was about V not wanting to move out of South Calcutta . Its the same in my family - Ashis has never consciously wanted to move out although he did spend a couple of years alone in Delhi while I just gasp at times , living in this city ( not that I dont love it , mind you )