It was the class teacher period when Jessika Madam announced, “Pranaya has won an award for modeling with Amazon”, and saying so she asked all the children of class Nursery -A to applaud her for her win.
Even though Soham clapped for Pranaya with full enthusiasm like his other classmates, his facial expressions didn’t reflect happiness. It was a mixed expression of aloofness and anger which Jessika madam was quick to notice.
When she pointed it out asking Soham the reason for the mismatch of his action versus expression, I being the strict parent that I am, before unmuting the mic for him to answer her, sternly looked at him and said, “ now look what you have done, you better tell her a sorry!”. That irked him further which led him to not answering at all when his madam repeated her question politely, trying to get him to talk.
I on the other hand, kept reprimanding him with a firm voice asking him to apologize and say sorry to his madam but Soham didn’t budge. Now that was getting embarrassing, all his classmates along with their parents were watching us in the online class, where they could see that my child wasn’t behaving like other kids nor was listening to me! What could I do??
One part of me knew very well that it being a cold and windy winter morning with a temperature of almost 10-11 degrees outside, Soham didn’t want to get out of the warmth of his bed and blanket, leave alone attend a class which I had forced him to. That was the real reason of his irritation and aloofness in the morning but the fact was that he wasn’t answering his madam, he wasn’t behaving like a good child by doing so, how could I as a parent defend something like that giving an excuse of his age and the weather?
Suddenly his madam noticed another child showing angry emotions too. She as a teacher worriedly asked, “what’s happening to my class here, what emotions are you all displaying ? Now Jasmer is angry too??. What happened Jasmer?,” she asked requesting his parent to unmute.
When Jasmer just confirmed that he is angry but didn’t share the reason behind it madam started explaining to all of them in her own sweet way that they were supposed to have discipline and behave appropriately in the class, which as a teacher, was the right thing to do.
As the class moved ahead to recite the prayer and national anthem as per their daily routine, Jasmer’s mother raised her hand requesting the teacher to unmute. She smiled and said, “ I have a very interesting thing to share. I know the reason behind his anger which he showed sometime back, he just shared it with me”.
Madam permitted her to share it with the class. She said, “ Madam, Jasmer was angry with Soham’s mumma, he didn’t like it that she scolded him in the class”. Jessika madam quickly burst into laughter. Even though she acknowledged that I as a parent was trying to discipline my child, she was extremely happy to hear what Jasmer’s mother just shared. She was happy to see that even though her students who never came to the classroom, never met each other in person, never held each other’s hands nor played together, never shared their lunchboxes together had still managed to develop from the distance of their houses a lovely and precious bond.
A four year old toddler Jasmer took a stand for his four year old friend Soham, displaying the emotion of caring and showed us the courage to speak it out too by pointing out that it was wrong of me to scold him before the class.
Now the spotlight was on me when madam said, “yes Mrs Bakshi, what do you have to say about this?”. I apologized to Soham before his class, quickly kissing him on his cheek and said a sorry to Jasmer too for being disrespectful to his friend. When I promised never to do it again, their faces reflected a million dollar smile. A friend had succeeded in helping a friend to feel secure, to convey that he has his back, that even though they were sitting quiet afar, he wasn’t alone.
As a parent I felt happy and reassured that no matter what effect this pandemic had on what we knew as a normal routine, no matter how much ever it had taken away from us in the process of adjusting and adapting to the new normal, even with its all powerful image it had failed to take away or destroy from the heart of a four year toddler the true human emotion of caring for each other, of expressing a lovely bond of a beautiful relation, a relation that outshines amongst all the other, a relation which we all call a ‘friendship’.
– Sonali Bakshi