I was in the fourth standard. Exams were on and I had just come out of the classroom after submitting the answer sheets. The bell rang announcing that the time was over. Suddenly one of the teachers came rushing out of the staff room and gave me 2-3 spanks with a cane stick.
She was repeating, “How many times did I teach you that particular question & answer.” This repeated in class fifth as well. When I was in standard eighth, a classmate of mine, who had just got to know that the teacher was actually my mother came and told me, “I always used to wonder why this teacher was so strict with you. And why only with you. Only now I got to know that she’s your mother.”
Another episode just for you. Once I was in sixth, she had left the studying part to me. But she did keep a check during exams. I was in sixth standard and had the liberty of standing towards the later end of the bus with my friends and seniors. But during exam days, Mom used to call me lovingly and make me stand in front of her in the space between the two seats in the DTC bus. She’ll ask me to repeat the answers to some of the questions which she had seen in the question paper.
For every wrong answer, she used to pinch me on my knees without anyone seeing and I could not even make faces because everybody would see me. Once we reached home, she’ll serve food and would be after me with a thin stick broken from the pichi (malayalam name for Peruvian shrub) plant from our garden. She would make me finish the food and then I had to repeat the complete question paper. She never beat me much but she did scold enough for all the wrong answers. Whenever the pichi stick fell on me, I used to escape screaming loudly, “Papa, Papa!” Emotional blackmail, you see!
That is my Mom.
No. No. She’s not a monster, though I did think she was during those childhood days. It was only because of Mom that I dropped the option of B.Ed. from my course options and teaching from my career options much before I had to choose one. I had promised myself that I would never ever become a teacher and if by any chance I became one, I would not admit my kids in my school. All this because I thought it was only teachers who are monsters and who spank and scold kids. I thought all other mothers are angels.
And here I am today, not a teacher by profession. Ask my kids and they would tell you that there’s no other monster as scary and dangerous as me. And another thing they would tell you is that there is no other angel as good as their grandmother. Rules of the game change when you change positions.
My daughters are absolutely right about my Mom. Now when I look back, it is only because of her efforts (even if it was scolding or spanking) that I am where I am and who I am. My Dad was working in the mid-east and she had to take care of me and my little sis all alone for a long ten years. I simply can’t believe handling my girls alone for even a week. Hats off to my Mom who single-handedly managed everything, especially us! We were just five and one year old respectively when Dad left India.
So basically she had taken care of us during the most of our growing age. She has handled our mischief, she has seen us getting into our teens, she has seen us transforming into adolescents. She was in it all alone while our Dad slogged in the deserts all alone. I have always been talking of myself as a Daddy’s girl and seldom do I acknowledge my Mom’s efforts. She is a sweet little soul who had to be tough with us in order to ensure that we did not drift towards the wrong path and get into the wrong company. I can understand all of this now as a mother. I take this opportunity to thank Mom for all her efforts and teaching us on how to differentiate between right and wrong. Thank you, Mom! Words aren’t enough to thank you for all that you and Dad have done for us.
I was just sharing these memories of my childhood with my daughters when they complained that I love them less and scold them more. I tried to make them understand why Moms have to be a little tough. I am sure they wouldn’t agree now and it’ll be years later when they will be sharing their stories with their kids that they might acknowledge why their Mom had to scold them. Love you babies! After your Grand mom, the best teacher I have ever had is you both!
I am sure all Moms who have mischievous little darlings at home and have to act as the bad cop will relate to this post. In most houses, with most kids I have seen, it’s the mother who always plays the bad cop.