A page from my lifebook

I guess I was about 9 years old then. We were staying in Bangalore and went to a school which was about 3 km from home. Those were days when we all used to cram in a van and jingle all the way to school! That particular day, the driver had informed my mom that the van would not pick us (me n my sis) from school that evening as it had to be serviced. So it was decided that my dad would pick us up.
Well, school got over and as usual I rushed, lest my sister beat me to the gate..hehe..well, honestly that never happened - my ever social little sister would come after having a long chat with her other little friends - after having a go at the swings and see-saw(s) (wow! I can't believe I still have doubts over that particular spelling!)
When she was done, we both walked up a little beyond the gate to look for our dad. By then, the senior students were leaving as well and butterflies were beginning to hurt my stomach! Where was my dad? Wasn't it already 3 45?(Well, we weren't allowed to wear watches back then) He was supposed to be here by 3 35 when the primary and middle school students left - I decided that perhaps it was the traffic jam and let my sister - who was looking longingly at the suddenly empty swings - go (haha..yeah! I can't believe that she used to ask ME for permission back then!)
Time crept by and soon the watchman locked the front gates. I was shell shocked! How could they lock us up at school!! Anyways, he came and told us that we would have to wait at the back gate. By now I got really anxious - would we be stuck at school the whole night?! Why was Daddu taking such a long time to come? I carefully counted the coins that my mom usually gave me and dialled her office number written boldly on the front page of my diary. She calmly answered saying that my dad had left and would be there soon. I was assured again and me and my sister went back to playing a game of 'Name-Place-Animal-Thing'!
But soon we tired of it! The watchman was now grumbling saying that he could have locked up the gates and left for home, if it weren't for us! He allowed us to make another call, and this time my mother answered again saying that my dad was on the way and must be stuck at a traffic jam - I was angry with her - I'd guessed as much by now myself! I'd called for more information than this!!
With no clock to guide us, each second felt like a heavy burden to shoulder! Soon, it began drizzling and suddenly got dark. When me and my sister huddled together under the tiny shelter under the terrific gaze of the suddenly evil-looking watchman, my sister began weeping on my shoulders! She demanded that we leave this place and go back home to amu and daddu! Well, that was exactly what I wanted to do too, and tears welled up in my eyes as the thought of being stranded there all night loomed over my thoughts. I even conjured up an idea of taking an auto all by ourselves back home...
But something suddenly snapped. I thought, if I were to begin crying as well, what would happen to the little girl next to me? If I cried, wouldn't she only cry harder? I couldn't bear that thought. Moreover Amu had said Daddu was on the way. So if he turned up and we weren't there?!
And so I drew up the little courage I had and hugged her tight and somehow got out the words, Its going to be okay! Daddu's just in a traffic jam and he'll be here soon to pick us up!
To just keep her from crying, I began talking to her about her class and friends and things that she generally liked to talk about. She soon forgot everything and began chattering happily! But I was only half-listening to her. My eyes danced back and forth from the watchman to the gate - lest he lock it before my Dad came...
And Thank God! Daddu came there and smiled at us. My sister took one look at him and ran and hugged him! I guess I cried a bit then as well - more with relief than anything else! And I went and hugged him as well, a bit grudgingly I guess..I was so mad at him for having made us wait so long, but nevertheless very happy to see someone else to take care of the situation now!

Well, I suddenly remembered this incident today, mainly because, I guess, my sister has joined college! I'm missing her a lot and was thinking back upon the happy moments we've shared together - and I realized - that evening in school was the moment I truly became her elder sister! When you really love someone, you do something you never would have done before - for the 9 year old girl that I was, it meant not crying in front of her and taking charge of the situation. I guess it sounds really silly - I mean, after all, my dad was just a bit late to pick us up from school! But there it is - its a moment that I remember even now after 11 years - and so it means a lot to me!

Writing about this has also generated a sudden thought - if this miniscule incident has impressed such a deep print on my heart, imagine the thoughts of those children who are abused, or who work more than 70 hours a week in construction sites or match factoriees - or why even those children who help out around household chores in homes where their employers' sons and daughters go to school while they sweep and scrub floors! My parents have never encouraged this and I'm really proud of them. These are the little hands that are going to shape our future - We should indulge in making them strong and capable hands.

14 comments:

Bala said...

Nice one ppl.

I enjoyed it. I guess in the pressure to acomplish too many things we often overlook little ones and little things which after all make the future.

It is a big lesson for me today after so many years that a commitment given to the family is as important as the one you give to the profession that you are committed to.

Archun said...

@Balakrishnan
You're the best Daddu!! :-D

Priyanka said...

i cried i cried and i cried...

Anusha said...

Aw, so sweet! I've always wanted a little sister to boss around...er, love unconditionally. ;)

Archun said...

@priyanka
oh oh..was it such a terrible post? ;-)

@clueless
hehe..the only way you can boss around is if you are the little one!

Confused Soul said...

Soo very cute!! :) Life IS all about little things.. they do matter!
I remember once I was getting back to chennai from bangalore by train, with two of my cousins, both younger, and our parents were late in picking us up! We were reallly scared, given the kind of people who roam around the stations.. Well, just remembered it when I read this post.. can totally understand how you must have felt! Aaah, those were the days.. waiting for parents to pick u up, and when your friends were around, wishing your mom was late by just 5-6 mins so you would get to chat with your friends.. :P

Archun said...

@Confused Soul
Wow! That must have been quite a terrifying situation - especially in Chennai Central...
But yeah..those were wonderful days as well! Its beautiful how we think as children naa? Unassuming and innocent! :-)

Unknown said...

Life is a journey and its the experiences that we face, make us what we are and will be. Mr. Balakrishnan's comment summarizes what I really wanted to comment, so, continue the journey........

Archun said...

@Raven
Awesomely put!!

Arthy said...

hi chu.....t'was such a cuuuuute post!! come to think of wat u've written..i do remember flashes of it..how we were waitin at the back-gate n it rainin n all..but as much as i can recollect these thoughts i never recolect fear or sadness or any other negative emotion..i remember i was with you n i was happy abt tat..tats all..hehe!!elder sisters shd be like u da..: cmon law!

Archun said...

@Arthy
hehe...u r such a cutie!! >:D<

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