Sunday, February 24, 2013

Its that time of the year again!

It's exam time. So I tip-toe around the house so as not to disturb the little darlings when they are studying. And they "study" everywhere. The dining table, the sofa, the guest bedroom, even the piano is littered with textbooks and hastily scribbled gibberish which they insist are notes. Yes, you got it. They study everywhere except at their study tables. I should just turn their room into a swimming pool, take a deep breath and stay underwater until the exams are over.
Coming back to where I was, here I am trying to maintain peace and a feeling of calm, conducive for studying peacefully. Peace. Did I say peace? That's impossible. You see, "she took my eraser and Ma, she licked my earphones and she will not share her colour pencils and she lost my compass and she is not studying and she is kicking my chair and she pulled my hair and she is hiding in the loo and playing with the ipad and she is reading so loudly and LOOK MA, SHE IS HUMMING AGAIN!"
I've tried separating them but they gravitate to each other. I take that as a good sign and ignore them. But that's impossible.
So after a round of weak 'shut up's and 'stop disturbing your sister' without any success I march in to where ever they are. I make them sit up straight, stop slouching and remove all distractions like Archies Digests, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the PSP that has been shoved under some papers as soon as they heard me approach. I try a lecture about how it is their responsibility and it's high time they knew what was good for them and I refuse to nursemaid them by sitting there and for good measure I add that if their grades do not measure up they are not coming for the summer vacation with us! They know the drill. They listen. It usually works until I have left the room. The 'shut ups' and 'I will tell' are softer now. I settle back into my Smurf Village.
One daughter strolls in,"I don't understand this."
"This" is of course the whole Science book.
"But you have Science tomorrow, no? What were you doing for so long?"
"I was doing Geography."
"Because I like it."
You cannot argue with that kind of logic. And Science has to be learnt.
So I bite back the harsh words I was going to say and we spend two hours going over the chapters.
Obviously she has no notes, she falls from the sky as if this is the first time she has heard the word 'mass' and has no recollection of anything being taught in school. As she looks at me wide eyed, I snap,"what were you doing when they taught you?"
She smiles coyly, "I like it when you teach."
Yes, I am a sucker for things like that. I smile vaguely. I tell her to learn diagrams and revise this, that and the other.
And I go to find the other beauty.
She is lying in the guest bedroom book open on her face, fast asleep.
The cordless phone is next to her. Discharged.
I shake her awake.
"I'm resting," she protests.
"Well, you've been resting all day.Get up and study!"
As I leave the room she says shyly, "Ma, will you read this for me?"
A piece of Bengali literature. Thankfully it's an interesting one by Satyajit Ray. I read. Then she makes me read another and another. I am filled with disgust.
"And where were you when they taught this in Class?"
"Choir practice."
Prompt comes the answer. As it has for the last week for any subject or any class you ask her. It seems all she does in school is attend choir practice! She should be Lata Mangeshkar by now!
I mutter something obnoxious about what I think of her choir and leave the room.

I wish I could say they study seriously after all that. There's still the shouts, the occasional outbursts as each one picks on the other. Somehow amid all that I hope they are also learning something  I was a pretty independent child myself. Managed my studies without anyone having to play nursemaid although I do admit it all happened in the last minute. All along all I have ever wanted are the two little angels I was promised when they were born. All that I dream of are two good, well behaved polite girls who will not fight and live in harmony under my roof and share the same joys in life. I want them to manage their studies with no interference from me, do their assignments and projects on time and neatly put away their books at the end of the day.
Instead. Instead, what do I have here? We'll have to discuss that some other time. I have to go now.

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