Thursday, 9 May 2013

On a Power Trip

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.

I cant.

Why not???

Because she won’t give it to me.

Tell your teacher then.

I can’t.


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???”

I am.

“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:-).


  1. very nice post with a good reminder..I also feel like conserving everything .be it patrol, water or electricity..

  2. When I was in school (okay, that's years back), we just had a class monitor and a vice-monitor(assistant, who would take up duties in the absence of the class monitor). These 2 people were solely responsible for everything about the class- making sure their peers remain silent in the absence of teachers, managing
    the boards, discipline and what not. And all the other students had so much fun, giving these two children the 'best times' of leadership, by disobeying whatever they said. ;-) And later in some classes, when we had 4-seater benches, there was a bench leader who was dutifully supposed to check if his/her bench mate had completed the homework's, cursive writings etc. In spite of all these, there was also this enthusiasm in everyone to be the monitor, no matter what. :)
    Looks like, the responsibility is divided among children these days, and there are many sub-monitors in classes.
    How is it that whenever you write about your kids, I get transported to my childhood and school days? Maybe because, we are 2 girls, and whatever happens between Nikita and Naina now, has happened with us some years back, in many similar ways. :D

    1. Same my days also we had 2 monitors and oh yeah after 4th std we[all students] had to sweep the classroom;-D.
      To be honest I dont see any similarity btn their school days and mine; I remember walking 2 kms to & back from school for starters;-/. Only after 8th did I get a cycle and from then on it was smooth sailing;-D.
      Good to see ur comment Remya:-)).

  3. Now that is a proper post. Well done N Sr.

    Now not so well done N Sr. Instead of giving N Jr2 the biggest of hugs and lots of TLCs and... and .... and ...., you make the unpardonable second sentence.

    Plizzz to tell the Assistant Board Monitor that she is by far and away the best :)

    1. Hehe...u knw Ramesh I typed out some of the torture she put us thru and then deleted it as the post was getting too long. If u read tht ur sympathies wd have been with me;-D.

      Asst BM is enjoying her job & boring us with all the minute details;-P.

  4. Its so wonderful to read the stuff about your daughters. Trust me Nancy, in few years time, you will miss all these. the regular dumping of school bag on you and scores of other stuff which irritate you right now. Enjoy all these right now and later, you will have whole loads of memories to cherish and ofcourse this blogpost to come back to. and you will have a BIG smile on your face then.

    Please Wish both the N's on their positions. and tell Naina she has such cute little fingers :-) :-)

    1. Hehe Vincy dont take my cribbing tooo be honest I totally revel in these moments tho sometimes I do want to tear my hair out at the same time;-P.

      Cute fingers....did I ever mention that they r just like mine...small & stubby;-D.

  5. this brings me back my school days when being a class leader was a big thing....:)...

    1. Tell me about it.....good to see u Doc;-D

  6. I think it's time you told Naina the truth about 'leaders', 'monitors', etc. These are fancy names & titles given to people to make them do some work that no one would want to, normally. I was the class leader during my 6th standard, but I resigned after a couple of months. Yes, resigned. I was an enlightened personality, even at that young age :D

    Destination Infinity

    1. Nikita already told her everything...last yr Nikita was monitor for 2 weeks, she gave up her post because she realised it was clashing with her studies & it was not all she thought it wd be:-). But Naina only hears what she wants to hear:-P.

  7. I am looking forward to these dramas. My baby is not yet 3 :) Very interesting to see what they take so serious.

  8. Reminded me of my school days. Mighty brave of ur little one to go and ask the teacher herself(she knows how to get things)
    Glad to know what you are doing to conserve energy. I only wish more and more ppl think like you


    1. Seriously I was so zapped when she told she went up and asked;-o. I could never do yeah good for her;-D

  9. Naina is adorable!!! I like the fact that she went ahead and asked to help. I bet she is really excited about the work :-)

    1. Oh she's been 2 weeks now and she shows no signs of being bored with it;-D

  10. I can really relate to Naina's feelings.. because I always wanted to be the class monitor who writes the names of the students who talked in the class. And guess what, in seventh grade the teachers fulfilled my wish. Not because I was excellent in studies and smart otherwise. Because I was the noisiest one in class and making me class monitor was the best solution to that.

    Clearly Naina is the type who loves to take initiative and not hide under the desk. She is such a cute child !

    And yes...I love crisp sun dried clothes. Thats the only thing I like about summer.

    1. I can so easily imagine u as monitor Anita,
      I can also imagine myself sitting in the last bench of the same class and talking away when u r not looking;-D.

      Naina has never taken any interest in leadership till a few months back. She was always content to tag behind her sister. Which is why this came as big surprise and it was confusing us. Hoping these changes are for the good:-).

  11. Here mother has big role to inculcate a quality about handling responsibility but not the position. longing for recognization are natural if these 'kutties' are taught to long for responsibility, yes world will get two good leaders. big hugs to both 'kutties' for their talent.

    Naina's act inspires me in not giving up.

    1. Gulp Venkat u r scaring me. This mother doesnt have much clue....she just does her best and hopes the kids have better sense than her;-P.

      U knw I always went around saying Naina was just like me but this one act proved she is made of sterner stuff. I wd have never gone up to a teacher and asked for anything. I was/am impressed with her act too:-).

  12. Loved the way you started power as in authority and went to power as in energy.loved it! And the phantom leaks funda. i was mighty sure something like that should be there(as was my dad :D) never bothered to look so was always sushed when i (or dad) mentioned it. Now we got the arrow in our quiver :)
    Good luck to dearest Naina on being assistant board monitor :) Such a sweetie she is.

    I love the conversational way you write it. :)

    1. And I love ur nice of you to tell me that u noticed...well I was quite pleased how I manged to connect them tooo;-D.
      LOL abt the funda...seriously just same to same here and now we got proof eh;-D.

      Thanks Amrita:-)).

  13. So sweet, your daughters are full entertainment and their mom knows how to write a crackling post too:)

  14. Naina will be a damn good politician I tell you!!!

    Psst does she take on you???

    1. I thought she did Smita but with this one act she proved we are different. Seriously I wd have never had the guts to walk up to a teacher and ask for something;-o.

  15. I really liked the picture post and thought it very clever but I enjoy much when you write from a page in your life. Kids will will be kids and that is what makes life fun:-) I wish Naina to be the monitor of everything she wants to be. We know she can do it. Now the teachers will too once they see how well she does her assistant job:-)

    1. I heart ur comments Lan...u just know to say the right things:-)).

  16. Thats an awesome post!! :)
    I am smiling broadly!!! How cute of Naina!!! Hugs to the child!!!

  17. Everytime, every single time your posts end up bringing a smile on my face! You have quite a way with words, Nancy!
    Pass on my big big congrats to the Asst Board Monitor! Way to go Naina! Goshs she sounds so much like Namnam, Nance! She has a tendency of leaving her stuff- pencil, eraser, sketch pen- with her friends in school and then hesitate to take it back from them! :)

    As for conserving energy, yes yes and yes to all that you have said! Thats a very nice poster there! Well done, Nikita!

    1. Whatever I find amusing or funny I love to share with all of u;-D. Aaaah Nannam's problem is Nikita's problem too...she lends money to her friends when they need it[smalls amt ofcourse] and then hates to remind/ask for it;-/.

  18. Your kids are so adorable, Nancy! I know I have said it many times before. But every time you write about them (with your vibrant humour), I feel my heart melting. Through your blog, I feel I know your family so well. Like I am your neighbour :D Haha..

    Well, I remember the "pride" of being the class monitor. I think I was made the monitor only once in my whole school life. But it lasted only for a week or two. I could not handle the class though :P (my 6 yrs elder sister was the school prefect tho, ha! *sigh*) We didn't have board monitor, but I loved writing on the board :) Naina is a sweet heart! Your kids remind me of my own childhood.

    1. Awww S why dont u comment more often...u are sooo good for my ego:-)).

      When u mentioned ur memories I remembered mine tooo...I too was made monitor just once[I thk] and I remember giving everybody permission to talk in a whisper and yeah I posted another girl at the door to warn us if anybody was coming;-D.
      Ur sister was school prefect and u think thts terrible, my sister was president of her college, how do u think I felt;-P.

  19. Hi Nancy...its so much fun to read your posts..Naina and Nikita remind me of my childhood.girls are growing and how :-)... energy bit.. I agree..I am labelled the MAD WOMAN in the house as i keep switching off mains of gadgets not in use :-)

    1. Ohhhh Arti so good to see u here, any chance u've written a post???

  20. I just love these tales about your lovely daughters. Your perfect sense of humour is the best packaging ever too!
    I know the feeling of being selected as the monitor only too well. I was the monitor only once and I got ragged by the naughty boys till I swore I never wanted to be a monitor :-0 And, of course the sister was always one of the star performers in her school. I really thank my stars that we went to different schools after the initial few years ;-)
    And, what do I say about conserving precious resources? Here, we are faced with severe shortage of power and water and yet, many are least concerned, esp. the government!

    1. Thanks Uma:-)).
      Yeah I knw wht u mean...sometimes I've seen in the height of summer when there is water shortage everywhere there will pipes leaking and corporation takes atleast a week to mend it:-(

  21. comment moderation, eh??

    1. It automatically comes on 10 days after posting:-D.

  22. Hi,
    I love your lovely daughter's tales of adventures. :)It is so well written that I could pretty much picture the entire conversation. :)
    It brought back so many memories of the whole saga of school monitor's and the "importance" of being a monitor that we used to have!! :D
    Glad it all worked out for Naina and that she is enjoying in her new powerful role. :) :)

    1. Divya, Divya so good to see have u been??? I'm so happy to know tht u r still reading me:-)).

    2. Hii...I went on a bit of break from everything but back now! :) Its so nice to see your posts still have that same positivity and awesomeness. :)


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