16 November, 2006

A Two Day Camp

Today morning, when Appu went off to school, there was a difference.

The difference being that unlike every other day, today, Appu would not be back home in the afternoon. She would not be back home in the evening. She would not be back home at night.

She will be back home only by 4 pm tomorrow because she is off on a two day/one night camp.

For the first time in her life, she will be staying away from home for 1 ½ days, unchaperoned by either her dad or mom.

Abhay too seemed to realise that there was something different today morning as Appu went off to the lobby to wait for her school bus. For the first time since the start of her Primary Three year, Appu went downstairs in her P.E uniform. Normally she leaves in her summer/winter uniform and on days when she has PE, she carries the PE clothes in a PE bag and all the kids in class are supposed to change into their PE clothes at school.

So, never once has she left home in her P.E clothes with her trainers on. She normally always leaves home with her brown leather shoes on.

Another difference was that she carried a huge blue backpack today in lieu of her normal pink backpack (Schoolbag).

Normally, every morning, when Appu says “Bye Abhay” before she leaves for school, he too says “Bye” and then turns around and says “Aparna going to school or Akka going to school”. Today when she said “Bye Abhay” he did say “Bye” and immediately turned around with a huge question mark on his face and said “Aparna going to park ?”. And I got a very dubious look from him when I answered in the negative.

When I told him that Aparna was going to school, he started walking around in circles in the living room saying “Aparna go to school” “Brown Uniform ?”. He then walked over to her school bag, pointed to it and said “Aparna Schoolbag ?”.

Realising that he had made an association with her going to school in her brown uniform with her pink schoolbag, I then told him “Aparna has gone to camp today”. "She will first go to school in the school bus and from the school she will take another bus to camp."

That explanation, seemingly, was accepted with a lot more of lenience.

Yesterday afternoon, as we packed her backpack up, the excitement on her young face was almost palpable. She was absolutely thrilled to be going on camp with 149 other Primary Three children.

Apparently, the kids have a lot of good things waiting for them there. An opportunity to try their hand at rock climbing, roller blades, parachuting (from low heights), a disco today evening and of course, the huge element of choice when it comes to food :-)

They will also be going on a trek on one of the small mountains in that area.

There are going to be 10 children in one room at night. Basically 10 separate low beds with individual blankets etc. Also the added attraction of sleeping in rooms overlooking a mountainside with the windows wide open, under the night skies. Because normally in the apartments in HK, the windows are generally left closed at night – especially the apartments on the lower floors. Theft is indeed a threat. Out on the dorm, the windows are fortified with bars and mosquito nets, their Deputy Principal was quick to reassure us, the parents.

Yesterday, as we were talking about the activities at camp, Appu says “Mummy – can you pack up some Oreos in my backpack ?” She then went on to say that she and her friends are cooking up some sort of a pajama party – late night snacks in torchlight (yes – they are carrying small torches). How sweet !!!! I could not help but smile at that earnest face which was all alight with eagerness and expectation. Apparently, one of the other girls is carrying a large bag of chips and some others are carrying something else.

Oreos, Potato Chips, Marshmallows - late at night - with all the lights off - the only light being shed by torches. I hope the kids have loads and loads of fun :-)

Another thing these girls are looking forward to is the possibility of having sleep walkers amongst them in the dorm. Honestly, even if there are, I don’t even for a minute think these girls will even be aware of it. They are going to be so tired out by the end of the evening that sleepwalkers would be the last thing on their minds.

Home, right now, is quite sinfully sane. Normally she would be prancing all over the house and I would be working myself up into a fit asking her to change out of her school clothes and into her house clothes. Then there would be the usual “Appu finish your snack” “Appu drink your milk” echoing all over the house. All this would be very generously peppered with the scores of questions that she would have in store – it could range from topics extremely mundane to some really eccentric ones. These would be interspersed with what happened at school that day or what happened to the slideshow that she is making at school or what happened in the school bus or what happened at playtime. Along with all this, there would also be numerous complaints about someone being mean or someone being rude or someone being ill mannered. What I mean is – there would be some banter or the other. With her around, especially the few hours after she gets back from school, immobility and stillness are an anomaly at home.

Today afternoon, as I type out this post, there is none of all that banter that normally characterizes her return from school and to be very honest – I miss it.

Tomorrow afternoon, I am planning to go over to school as the kids troop back in from camp. This is all the more sweet because I have not told her that I will be going over to school tomorrow. She does not know. The normal routine for the kids is to get back to school from camp tomorrow late afternoon and then come back home in their respective school buses.

Appu sure is in for a surprise tomorrow !!

I really hope that she enjoys this camp outing, this first step towards independence, this first attempt at self-sufficiency that is so very important in rounding them off as individuals and which is so very essential and healthy towards creating a strong sense of self-identity.

Tomorrow, as she gets back from camp, I do very much hope that it is with a smile on her face and lots and lots of dear, fond and precious memories that she would carry in her heart and mind for years to come, probably for a lifetime.

5 voice(s) said so:

Tharini said...

Wow....sounds like an idyllic time. What fun and excitement. A midnight pyjama party sounds divine....these girls know how to have fun!

Anonymous said...

wow i remember dreaming these things when i used to read enid blytons 'malory towers' and 'st clares'.

i do hope appu has loads of fun...

and by the way i havent said it before but i really love your blog. i feel like i have known you and appu and abhay forever and i rwally look forward to reading it every day...


Jayashree said...

I hope she has fun too....and I know you'll both have a wonderful time when she tells you all about the camp.

the mad momma said...

oh.. the first little birdie has flown the nest.. congratulations mamma..

mommyof2 said...

So, what was her reaction? It sound like so much fun and Im sure she will be looking forward to the next trip:-)