Friday, January 02, 2009

Clean white shoes

Last night would have been a crazy night. There would have been last minute dashes to the book stores and shoe stores, rooms were probably tossed upside down looking for stuff that probably has a thin sheen of dust over it from not having been used for the last couple of weeks. Barbers and hair dressers would have also had last minute crowds. Maps were consulted. Driving routes plotted to avoid traffic build ups. Bed times shifted to unearthily early. All in a bid to get everyone ready for the new year. But not the new year as in the New Year, but the new year as in the New School Year.

And I would have been part of it and I would have been extremely grouchy and grumpy yesterday if not for two reasons. One short term, that the new JC calendar causes colleges to start a bit later. And one longer term; for those who haven't picked up the hints that have been dropped on this and the other blog, I'm taking something of a sabbatical for a couple of months because it's just been too hard to juggle kids, working at the frenetic pace that is demanded and that I expect of myself (being a high achiever and a mother are two goals that are hard to gel).

So, the bad mood was dodged temporarily for Packrat and slightly longer for me but not for other people. All over, there's quiet today in the malls and this afternoon, the influx of kids into the malls were kids in uniforms, clean, pressed, white and crisp. Shoes too, were in mint condition though I was a little bit surprised that white shoes weren't from Bata but Adidas and Converse. But the true madness isn't usually with the kids anyway. It is usually the parents, who are over anxious or had spent the entire vacation not anxious enough and spent yesterday and this morning making up for it.

Parents take leave on the first day of school because no one knows what could happen. There's good sense and then there's over-protective sense. There were reports of parents who absolutely had to make sure that their precious darlings were dropped right at the school gates because the audacity to think that they should walk even those few marshalled steps from designated drop offs to the gates! Add to that, parents who don't have enough foresight to get their kids to sleep early enough so that they are awake early enough to get to school before the crowds do. So, the result? Long queues and clogged up bus lanes outside the school. And all easy prey for the Traffic Police who were just laying in wait for these perpertrators who knowingly flout traffic rules.

But of course, it's not the parents' fault. It's the fault of the jagged yellow lines and the fault of the Traffic Police and the fault of the school. Just like everything that happens in school to their kids from tardiness, to messiness to absent-mindedness. I find it telling that so much effort is taken to get the kids to the school and that's where it ends. It doesn't matter what happens within the compound, it's not their responsibility as long as the kids appear home at the stipulated time. Never mind where they've been, whether they've been at Mcdonalds or the snooker parlour. Ok, I'm generalising here but it just seems like a lot of parents get stressed getting their kids into the right schools, fuss about getting them to school with the best materials, shoes included and leave the rest up to the school and the teachers. And I think, that, is the larger reason why I'm relieved and thankful and not in a foul mood today, because I don't have to deal with what my job means to others and what other parents expect of me in my capacity as a teacher.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:48

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