Monday, March 03, 2008
*****Another little girl grows up....
I remember her as a little chubby girl in a cool looking ,radially flaring summer frock, holding on to her mother's hand, and walking, alongside her , with a definite purpose. Skipping along a road dappled with the rays of the evening sun trying to venture through the lush foliage , she was probably just immensely pleased, that her mother was home from work.
One word that simply shouts to be heard in her case, is confidence. She always had, and continues to have, oodles of it.
A girl who did very well at school, not just in studies, but also revelled in perfomances on stage. My children went to the same school, and, as is the tradition , all of us parents religiously appeared once a year in a huge auditorium, and watched in wonder as they sang, danced, acted, peformed, and went smartly striding up on to the stage to collect their annual awards, academic and otherwise.
A vision in a white sari, next to a statue of Lord Krishna, oblivious to the chattering of first grade types in front, and fake smart types at the back, she acted out her Mirabai role , full of concentration and attention to the music; several minutes later, she was back, school uniform and all, going over to the podium to accept her academic awards, to the complete amazement of the chief guest.
Many moons later, now a senior at school, she faced a very different exam in life. She now had a younger school going brother, of an age, where listening to elder sisters is something you did not happily do. The elders in the family were involved in handling a medical situation, which would take some time to resolve. She was old enough to know the significance of the problem, and wise enough to realize that the best way to help, would be to manage everything in the house herself, so her parents did not worry.
So, while an entire generation of school seniors , got fussed over by family members, tiptoeing around the house, making tea at unearthly hours, and snacks on demand so as to enable the seniors' blood-glucose to cross the blood-brain barrier and aid in igniting the spark of knowledge, this little girl, attended to her academics, managed the kitchen, supervised the staff, and most important, was always there, for her little brother, anticipating what he needed. Household help existed, but there wasn't anyone then at home who could wait and rustle up some stuff for him at odd times, and she did that too, between thinking about polynomials,conjugation of verbs, and electron energy levels.
And she studied and managed the house, and excelled at both. Once in a while, my daughter and I would run into her on a visit to the local temple. Probably there, to have her own conversation with the One who Sees , she would be sitting down for a short rest before a trek back to a worried house. My daughter was much younger, more enamoured of the temple prasad, unashamedly hankering after it, and this girl always made her feel that , it was ok to be that way. My daughter never had a clue, that behind the wide grin and twinkle in the eye, was a worried mind.
Early summer, found us at the pool, where we would occasionally run into her. My daughter was learning to swim, doing better than average, and I like to think that some of it was due to genuine encouragement from this girl, who actually had interesting conversations with her, about the various strokes and tricks one could do in the pool.
By and by , it was springtime, the sun shone again, health issues were resolved, and the family was back together. The little girl had grown up in more ways than one. She had had a unique training in recognizing a problem, and then solving it. (She would need that later, but for problems of a different kind).
She went on to college and did engineering. Unlike most girls her age who spent hours negotiating public transport woes of this city, she stayed in her institute hostel. We moved house, and her way home from college , most weekends, took her past our building.
We would often cross paths, as i needed to travel some distance for my daughters new school, and for someone who excelled at studies, was a top ranker , and considered a promising student, she had an amazing empathy for another young girl, who was still coming to terms with what society called inabilities of the academic kind. In a closed society, where there are supposedly more doctorates per square metre than elsewhere, and less understanding about "underachievers" than elsewhere , it was refreshing to meet someone who seemed to know that there are different types of successes, not all academic.
She is now pursuing a doctorate herself in the Queen's land. Those in her field take great delight in her progress. Its not enough to be clever; you need to be able to communicate your immense knowledge at all levels of proficiency. And today she finds herself as the Resident tutor, teaching the British youth , all about pressure, flows, obstacles, eddys, resistances, and how to handle these, academically.
She should know. She has learnt how to study and predict the various flows in life.
Today, she stands , resplendent in her silks, waiting for the young man, who went to college with her, and then onwards to England. Both worked very hard, and will continue on for a doctorate. In the meanwhile, the hall resounds to the chatter of excited relatives, glistening in their silks, with a whiff of jasmines and sandalwood pervading around.
She stands , surrounded by her family, in a paithanee and jewels, in the vividly decorated wedding hall, waiting for the young man to arrive with his family, on the Big Day. There is a constant chattering of relatives, folks moving around offering glasses of cool drinks; her mother, in an effort to handle conflicting emotions, trying to balance the "acquisition of another son" (as they say) vis-a-vis a departing daughter and assorted grandmother types, lifting their kanjeevaram palloos, to surreptiously wipe their eyes, as the prepare to witness the wedding of a wonderful girl.
Indian weddings and jewellery , go hand in hand.
And I would like the young man to know, that he is getting the best jewel out of them all......
With our Blessings.
*** An earlier blog about another little girl was "The little girl grows up..."