Schools have started and once again we got geared up to go through what we went through every year.
The problem can be summed up in one word, Naina.
I can go back to April 2007 and start from when she first started school.
But I want to hold on to the few readers I have left.
So let’s just say that the first few months of a new school year has always been traumatic for Naina.
She takes a lot of time adjusting to the new teachers and surroundings.
The past couple of years have been relatively easier because she’s made a few friends at school and goes to school to be with them.
Even then she always has some issue, the last 2 yrs the boys in her class were the bane of her existence. They were rude, they were rough, they were mean, they were pulling her hair, they were jumping out of the window[that bit was fun she admits;-P]
This year it’s about wanting to be a monitor.
At the start of every year the class teacher chooses a few students to be monitors.
There is the class monitor who’s in charge of keeping the class quiet.
The discipline monitor who checks if the class comes in the correct uniform, cut their nails, etc.
The AC monitor[don’t ask] is in charge of keeping the temperature in the class moderate. The position is prized because she has the power[read remote] to make everybody's life miserable;-P
And the board monitor who’s in charge of updating/clearing the board before and after every period.
Everyday for the 1st 2-3 weeks after the new school term started, Naina came back from school unhappy/ outraged/livid/ despondent/ upset that she never got chosen for any of these positions.
I totally get why the teachers don’t select her because outwardly Naina looks very quiet, shy and diffident; they probably think she will not be upto it.
But we at home face the brunt of her unhappiness; some days we are subjected to a barrage of emotional outpouring after she comes back from school……about how the teachers are misguided by wrong information, about how the class monitors are nincompoops who have no clue how to go about their jobs and how if she was given the responsibility she would turn the world around.
To add to her woes, her sister is chosen as duty monitor for the school this year. Now here she is in a peculiar dilemma. On one hand she is proud her sister is patrolling the corridors of the school and on the other wary.
Yeah well Nikita was totally vocal about how she was going to pull Naina up if she stepped a milliinch out of line.
Seems like 2 days back Nikita instructed Naina & her friends to lock their fingers behind their backs while they walked back to class after recess.
“How are we supposed to that Mama????” demands Naina indignantly. “We’ve got our lunchboxes and water bottles in our hands”.
Now picture Nikita grinning at me in the background.
With sister also in important position Naina was getting very agitated and dejected in turns. Me telling her n number of times that her turn will come soon was like calling my building watchman in an emergency. Well, his phone is always switched off;-P.
Anyways Naina came back home from school last week in high spirits.
“I’ve been made board monitor” yells Naina as soon as she got off the school bus and came running to
hug me dump her heavy
school bag on me.
“That’s great news” I exclaim, mentally thanking the teacher who must have sensed my desperation somehow. “So what does a board monitor exactly do???”
“A board monitor writes down the day’s time-table on the board everyday. Then she is in charge of clearing the board and writing down the subject name before and after every period. Then she must…….and she also…..isn’t this the best news ever….I’m sooo happy……”
The news was then shared with the father, the grandparents and cousins in India and all her friends in the neighbourhood. All of us were very happy for her and there was much celebrating .
At night while packing her school bag for the next day she asked to take the markers & duster to school.
“Why do u need to take them from home??? It’s the school’s responsibility to provide them.”
“The school gives but I need to take them.”
Why do u need to take them Naina???
The school markers are being used by somebody else.
Huh??? So go take it from her.
Because she won’t give it to me.
Tell your teacher then.
Because she’s the ‘real’ board monitor.
Everybody from every corner of the house was intently listening to the conversation now.
Very cautiously I ask “But you told us you are the Board monitor???”
“Nainaaaaaa” I yell exasperatedly.
“I am, I am…I’m the assistant board monitor.” Naina glowers at me daring me to react.
I vaguely heard sounds of muffled snickering in the background.
“REalllly I AM, I went up to Maam and asked if I could help Snehal with the board monitoring and she said yes.” Naina defends herself.
Did she really say yes Naina??? I ask wearily.
“Yes she did” says Naina huffily. “Maam was very busy correcting our answer sheets and I went and asked her then. She didn’t say anything the 1st two times and then when I asked her again she said okay. “
I knew this technique so well. This is exactly the same method she uses with me to get her way.
“Mama pleeeease, pleeeease let me take the markers with me." she pleads.
I gave up.
Anyways it ended well. Despite my fears the class teacher didn’t go back on her words and according to Naina she’s a major hit with both her teachers and classmates with her neat handwriting(???) and attention-grabbing doodles on the sidelines of the whiteboard.
And I've been busy too, I’m out and about doing my own version of monitoring. Now that the temperatures have gone up I’m back at my favourite pastime and that is pressing the down arrow button on the AC control panels to a moderate temperature, in the corridors of my building.
It’s very disappointing to see how people are so unconcerned about conserving energy. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority does a really good job of taking care of its residents. We don’t have power cuts or water shortage like other places, not even once a year. DEWA is also always handing out pamphlets and information about conserving energy. You know, they even have cash prizes for residents who consume the lowest electricity, lauding their efforts.
But in spite of all these efforts, the general public[a large percentage] are very indifferent to the depleting resources and continue to use water and electricity lavishly without a care. It's not about the fact that you can afford to pay. Why don’t they understand that conserving energy not only saves money but also protects the environment.
A few things I do to conserve energy....
# Use energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights & turn off lights in all rooms that are not in use[but that doesn’t mean I’m fanatical like the better-half who switches off lights and appliances even if he is away for a nanosecond;-/].
# Keep the AC thermostat on ‘Auto’ instead of ‘ON’. Use pedestal fans to circulate air.
# Did u know there is something called phantom load concept??? It’s about unplugging devices when they are not being used.
# Use the washing machine in the early hours of the day. And make sure they are fully loaded. I don’t use a dryer and prefer to dry my clothes in the sun.
# Try to cook more than one item if I’m using the oven.
# Use as much natural daylight as possible.
What else can you think of????
Nikita made this poster for a science activity in school last year. I wanted to take a picture of Nikita holding the poster[ before it went to school and never came back but guess who came running to pose when I called:-).