Very smart was my Dad to tell me a bedtime story on the night of 23rd July 2008 about a police officer knocking at my neighbor’s house and checking if my friend Aveeshkha has gone to school.
The script goes somewhat like this “Aveeshkha seems to be troubling her parents in waking up every morning to get ready and go to school. Tired and frustrated about this, Aveeshkha’s Dad calls a police officer to come home and check her out. The officer does arrive promptly but by mistake knocks at my house and asks if someone was causing trouble in getting ready for school. And this is where my Dad proudly tells the officer that both Raagav and Ramya are very good and they never trouble in getting ready for school. And not wasting much time he points the finger at the neighbor’s house…..”
Are you reading between the lines here? Well, I was really dumb that night and got carried away by my Dad’s narration and believed that both I and my sister Ramya were so good. My Dad was adding all the thrills and frills to his storyline and in fact made me to literally sleep in fear of a cop standing with a baton just outside our house. Also trembling within the cozy blanket was my sister who was unable to express herself after listening to the POLICE STORY, but at the same time giggling about the fact that Dad said she was very good in getting ready for the school. Mum was as usual elated by Dad’s creativity and his ability to pull out something like this on the eve of me going to school.
Slept reasonably well through the night not knowing that I will be falling soon into a routine which will deprive me of exhibiting my mischievous activities at home with my Mum and Paati (Grandma). Occasional cough which I had that night kept my Mum a bit vigil to wake up in the early hours of the 24th July 2008.
My parents along with my Sister and Paati had done their homework in preparing for the auspicious occasion of my FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL. At around 6:30am in the morning Dad slowly crept onto my bed and following that was a heavy bombardment of kisses and cuddles. He was showering me with all my pet names and nick names from his memory to somehow wake me up. With the characteristic refusal and reluctance I slowly opened my eyes to see a big sigh of relief from my Dad in accomplishing something. Since I love my Dad a lot I was equally overwhelmed to have such a good start for the day. Well, the great irony here is that until this day my parents always felt that I should sleep longer so that I do not trouble them in the early hours when my Dad and Sister were getting ready….
Carrying me down the stairs in his arms, my Dad just gave a synopsis of the POLICE STORY which he told me the previous night. I simply had no choice except to grab the toothbrush and start dancing to his tunes. It was as if two teams competing for glory, my Dad and Mum were pampering both me and my Sister respectively to see who gets ready for the school first. (Dad later confessed to me that he had a bit of jitters the previous night on the additional responsibility he was about to take in preparing me for the school.)
With the well orchestrated stage, I was simply made to perform a character which was not my own. My Paati and Mum were cheering me for even silly things I did which made me to ponder why they were different till yesterday. Gaining all the importance at that moment, Mum played my favorite songs from the movie Sivaji which is one thing that makes my mouth open involuntarily (Let me stop your straying mind at this stage! I am too young for the actress Shreya). Yes, you got it right. Mum certainly capitalized on this situation and fed my breakfast comfortably.
“Bob the Builder” school bag was all loaded with my tiny lunch box and alternate dress for me (only for accidental spills because I have already been POTTY trained). Dad insisted me to wear the denim cap he had bought to hide my spiky hair style which he was not at all happy about. Nevertheless, I was given all the attention which I did not expect. Proudly holding the hands of my Dad I was walking towards the car to jump into my car seat when my Paati came with her blessings and wishes and of course not forgetting to ask for her Kakku (a very rare commodity).
My parents were very proud of seeing both my sister and I geared up in the school costume and relishing that moment there were few flashes from my Dad’s camera to register the nostalgic moment. Peeping out of the window I was shocked to see my friend Aveeshkha cheerfully boarding her car to go to the school. The child intelligence kicked in me and told that “How come she is so cheerfully going to school when Dad was talking all about Police, baton, locking up, etc”. Though raining, we reached theElaBeachPre-school on time and made our way to the school. Suddenly I realized that my Sister was behaving as if she is a very senior student knowing all the etiquettes of pre-school.
Very colorful, cool and clean atmosphere, dangling decorations, building blocks, cute little toys, semi cheerful kids, pleasant fragrance, friendly teachers and a sense of freedom was extending a warm welcome to me and whispering in my ears “Raagav, welcome to the Ela Beach Pre-school”. Not wasting time, I and Ramya were exploring the length and breadth of the school when I overheard my Dad talking something about Vegetarians and Cold water, etc to the teacher. Later Dad and Mum decided to fight with the dinosaurs which were invading all over the tiny table kept in one corner.
Yes, that’s the corner they decided tactfully to make me indulgent in fighting with the beasts while they sneaked cowardly out of my vicinity.
Aunty Rita helped me sincerely in looking for my family who I thought disappeared mysteriously. Immediately I gave them a sample of my melancholy note coupled with variable frequency notes (crying and screaming) to prove that I am Raagav and not someone else. My anger and frustration prevailed partially until when my Dad came to pick me up at lunch time. Seeing a glimpse of him through the misty glass door, I shouted in joy to Aunty Rita “Hey! my Dad has come”. I gave a bit of orientation to my Dad on my play area and then I was all jubilant to pack my bags and leave home.
It was now my turn to give a teaser to my sister by walking into her class room and telling her that “I am going home with Dad now and you enjoy your lousy bus ride back home”. Mum and Paati were all too anxious at home to receive me and listen to my achievements of the day. They probed me enough to see if a word or two comes out in English from me, but I disappointed them sincerely and voluntarily. Mum reached for my bag quickly to see if I have finished the mini-lunch she has made for me. Well, no choice for me. I had to bring a empty box to keep her smiling always. But my only hope is that the POLICE STORY will not be repeated tonight…..