Yes – He’s started Primary schooling today. Today was the first day of his Primary One year.
It had been playing on his mind for the past fortnight or so. There have been plenty of moments of self-doubt, there have been moments of delighted anticipation, there have been moments of tears, there have been moments of tantrums, there have been moments when his imagination took flight, there have been moments when fear ruled large, there have been moments when nervousness manifested itself rather strongly in him. And all of this heralded the beginning of something new, a fresh start, his foray into “the big league”.
Today morning started off with Abhay and Mommy waiting for the school bus. Appu had already left on her school bus since she’s at a different campus. Mommy was supposed to go over to school with Abhay today since it was the first day of school. Just as we reached the lobby, we saw the school bus turning towards our block and in we went, looked around for Abhay’s name tag and found that he has been seated right in the front – just behind the driver and the child who will be sitting next to him had been his classmate in his second year of Kindergarten.
The bus made its usual rounds within our apartment complex, picking up children and parents alike. There was also quite some confusion as to whether the kids were supposed to be going to school today or not because of some change in schedule due to the typhoon which hit HK on Friday last. Finally, having collected all the kids who were going to school today, the bus hit the road – out of the apartment complex and towards school.
Once we reached school too, confusion reigned supreme. All the new children were quite flummoxed by the scene there – the whole place was such a buzzing beehive of activity. We made our way towards Abhay’s classroom and once he’d seen his classroom, Mommy also took him over to the area where he would be waiting for the bus to travel back home in the afternoon. While there, Mommy was talking to a friend who was looking for her child’s class. During this time, another little girl, apparently from Year 3 had walked upto Abhay, was looking at his namebadge and asking him “You don’t know where your classroom is ? Do you want me to take you to your class ? Come – I’ll show you where it is.” It was such a sweet gesture on her part.
He took one look at his teacher and Mommy could actually see the light going on inside his head. He looked rather “illuminated” !! “Mummy – Ms.C is very pretty” came the statement. “Hmm … what difference does that make ?” asked Mommy. “I like pretty teachers” came the reply – sure and swift. And that said, he immediately made a beeline for Ms.C and darted into the classroom without as much as a second glance at Mommy who was standing outside the door waving madly like there was no tomorrow.
The next few minutes saw Mommy desperately peeking in through the glass windows, trying to glean what was going on and two or three times Abhay was seen chatting up the “pretty Ms.C”. All seemed well in that part of the world ! His attention shifted a few minutes later to a whole pile of wooden blocks on one of the tables and he turned his attention to “constructing” something.
The bell rang, shrill and loud – and all parents, taking their cue from the bell, began to move towards the main door on their way out of the school.
One backward glance at his class – the doors were closed, the balcony adjoining the class, devoid of kids. On the pegs outside the class – a whole range of colorful school bags hanging, a whole line of water bottles placed above the bags, the lunch basket and the snack basket overflowing with all the kids’ lunch and snack boxes. For those 30 children inside that classroom – their Primary One year had well and truly begun.
I had expected the house to be quiet and was mentally prepared for the silence that was bound to make its presence felt at home. But fact remains that it still hits hard. As prepared as one may be for the hushed silence inside the house, it still feels weird. It feels unnatural. It feels as though there is something absolutely vital, missing. And I do realize that the same noises that I’d taken for granted many a times, are the noises that I badly miss now.
A whole bucket (or better still – two buckets) of Lego Blocks being overturned all at once, wooden blocks being used for “construction activity”, drums being played on the shoe shelf, the siblings having a tiff, the sounds of engines all around the house as it gets turned into a virtual “Island of Sodor”, racing cars racing all over the house with a lot of extra sound effects, little voices talking to the plants or the turtles or the fishes, little figures hiding behind doors shouting “BOOO” as I walk through the door, the sound of delighted laughter and giggles and much much more. There’s none of all this right now. As of now, there’s just silence and it is rather oppressive.
I’ve been mentally willing something inside the house to make some noise over the past couple of hours and so far, nothing has obliged. To counter the silence, I put on a CD on the music system – a lovely Gulzar/Bhupinder CD and as the CD played in the background while I attended to my chores, realization hit that no one had walked up to me and said “Ewwww – that CD is so boooring”. And somehow, I actually missed being interrupted in the middle of the CD. I missed having to put the CD off without ever getting past the third song. Weird, but true !!
An hour more before the kids get home from school ….
An hour and counting ..... and counting ..... and counting ..... and counting .....