Stars on Earth

At five in the morning the alarm bell rings. For a change it rings a little longer. This does not happen often as Mom wakes up by herself. But today it is disturbing my sleep. Put it off Mom! Aiyyo, she has switched on the motor and the tap in the bathroom. I hate the noise of water dripping when I am sleeping. Mamma, please turn it off.

It has stopped. I always wonder if she resides within me. Or maybe she has installed a transmitter within me before popping me out. How else is it possible for her antenna to receive all these signals so accurately?

Just when I fell asleep again, the motor alarm goes,

Savdhaan! Paani ki tanki bhar gayi hai, motor band kijiye.

Attention! Water tank is full. Please switch off the motor.

How annoying! Thank God! She has finally switched it off.

Once again as I try and get some last few minutes of sleep for the day, the doorbell rings. Anju aunty has again come half an hour late. Mom is giving her a piece of her mind. Arre, she will be coming on weekend naa, why not give it to her then. Mom is always in a hurry as if the burden of the entire world is on her head. She thinks she’s competing with Japanese ‘Super Maglev’ bullet train. She’s one crazy lady I tell you!

And now she’s opening the wardrobe and closing it again and again. She’s arranging our uniforms and spare clothes for school. All this can wait no? Didn’t Dad announce in front of her that a school-going child needs a bare minimum of 10-12 hours of sleep? When will this lady learn? All the time she’s making different noises of doors opening, taps running, washing machine spinning, utensils colliding, pressure cooker whistling, the dosa going Shhhhhhhh Shhhhhhhh on the tava (griddle), the bathroom shower running and the temple bell ringing after she lights up the lamp and completes her prayers. Why does she not understand that bachhe bhagwaan ka roop hote hain (children are a reflection of God)? And Gods will not be happy if she disturbs children. Someone please tell her. Shraap milega (she’ll be cursed)!

Uff, see it’s already 6.30 a.m. and she’ll now come and start screaming: Good Morning my girlies! Get up fast! Mamma has to get you ready and leave for office in another hour. Fast, fast, fast. Now make it fast. 


That was an imaginary page from the journal (if they ever maintain one) of the girls as I see it. 🙂

fastFAST…one word which is engraved deeply in my grey matter.

As an offspring of a school teacher, I was always expected to get everything right at the very first instance. I was expected to listen without further questions. I was expected to get up from my sleep at the very first call.

No. My mother is not a monster. To me she was always like a stop watch making me work within specified time limits.

Fast, Jaldi (Hindi), Vegam (Malayalam) are some of the words that I dislike from the core of my heart. I have always and always ran. Non-stop!

Because the more you try to avoid something, the more it comes after you.

I always told Mom how I hate to use the words Jaldi and Vegam. And guess what, those are the exact words that echo in my house every morning, every evening and every night.

In the mornings, its: Get up fast girls! I have to get ready and go. The cab is waiting.

In the evenings: Get ready fast, time for your dance/arts class.

At night: Go to sleep! Make it fast! Else you won’t wake up on time in the morning.

And once everyone goes to bed and sleeps, this night owl that I am I keep wondering whether it is all worth it or not. Is there any meaning for all of this? What would be my get up in case the girls are dreaming about me: a monster, a witch or a clown? I swear I have dreamt Mom dressed up as Shurpanaka and Putana on days she would scold me. Have you ever stopped by to think about this? Have you wondered how you can help yourselves and the kids come out of this? I have. It looks like a chaotic situation that appears to be a maze from which it is hard for me to choose the right path that will lead me to the exit.

Ishaan Awasthi

Lil Love sits on the pot and sleeps. Anu keeps staring into the mirror while brushing as if talking to herself. Lil Love hates going to school because she doesn’t get to play. Anu sometimes hides homework and date-sheets so that she can escape study time. That’s no sin. As a child, I have done it too. But I yell at them. Exactly like Mom used to. I yell because I don’t want to miss my cab. I yell because I can’t afford to make them miss school as there’s no one to take care of them at home. The husband yells (of course, compared to me he yells very rarely) because he has meetings scheduled for the day and he can’t afford to miss them. And all this while I am completely aware that yelling at the poor souls is not the solution.

I’m sure at school they would again be going through this sermon of Being Faster and Better. I am also sure that the alphabets (especially the Hindi ones) would be dancing in front of Lil Love because she is an ardent fan of Ishaan Nandkishore Awasthi.

I tried searching for this song with English subtitles, but couldn’t find it. I guess the visuals themselves are powerful enough to make one understand what it is all about.

The first time I saw the Jame Raho song from Taare Zameen Par, I could so relate to each and every scene of it. I believe almost all parents and children were able to relate to it. That’s exactly how we have shaped up our lives. But when I think of it later, aren’t we transferring our entire stress onto our children by making their lives hell like this? Run, Run and Run. Don’t stop else you’ll be left way behind all others. We make it sound like there’s no future if we fail to run or stumble once in a while. It’s just: Keep running. It does not matter whether you know where you are headed or not. Just keep running, because the world is running. Pathetic!


What we forget is every child has unique skills, capabilities and dreams. Dreams which when revealed will astound everyone. What they need is time and patience, which is what we lack because of this fastidious lifestyle. So while I keep yelling at them and ordering them to be fast, I do take sometime to tell them that even if they commit a mistake, even if they don’t score well, even if they fail, they will be equally loved by their parents. We will still be their parents and they will still be our children. Don’t know whether they get it right or not.

Hope sustains Life.


9 Replies to “Stars on Earth”

  1. In our daily hustle bustle we use the word, “fast” so many times that I have realized my kid becomes more slow at that…now maybe to show me that I cannot turn on his tap of motion at my request or just to show his irritation.
    But, during school days/weekdays can become a ruckus with so many obligations to fill. We gotta outline our priorities to have a saneful day.
    But again, I am saying this cause we have summer holidays…lol
    Check with me once schools begin 😉

  2. We enroll our kids in the ‘rat race’ at this very young age don’t we, expecting them to learn to ‘run with the crowd’ whether they want to or not, and before we know it, they also begin to run without really knowing what they are running for. And guess what, most of them end up in dead end IT jobs not knowing how they got there and what they are doing there in the first place.

  3. What a pertinent point you have raised today Rekha. Of late I’ve been trying to tell myself to slow down a bit with the kids. I keep asking ‘so what’s the worse that can happen?’ And if it’s not life threatening.. Well then we can let it happen once in a while.

  4. This is so real Rekha ..the journal reminded me of my childhood days…those were much better than we are offering to our kids. They seldom get the freshness and joy of mind which we used to get by playing in the field….rather they are bound to participate in the ‘rat race’…I feel sad for them and I try my best to give my son sufficient space which I think is very much needed for an all round development of personality…

    1. Absolutely true Maniparna. Kids these days are the stressed lot. I myself feel guilty because my job makes them stay at school till 5. Trying to make some amendments soon. They do need their space and time for proper development.

  5. wow.. this is exactly what my mum says about our generation… that kids are being stressed out, parents have no time, s they are being exposed to a lot more than they should be….. but when parents today realize that, half the battle is won Rekha.. kudos to you for that 🙂

  6. Yeah I too feel If KHDA would have announced the 4 year limit for KG1 my kid’s enjoyment could have lasted 1 more year 😦

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