It was our school Annual Day that day. Annual days were always fun. First of all a day when there are no classes, home works and also in the name of preparing for the annual day we would be away in dance and drama practice for a long long time. And to add to that I was this studious active girl in the school that I will always get some prize on the annual day. Active in the sense not sports!! That is still a nightmare to me. I have convinced myself that my hand and eye coordination is super bad that I don’t go for volley ball or any ball. But extra-curricular activities were always of much interest to me. That day I was receiving a prize. Possibly for singing competition for I was too young and I don’t think it would be for speech or essay writing competition. And it is the day when parents are allowed to come. Yayyy.. Otherwise parents were allowed only till the gate!! Sad na.. Well may be that is why parents visiting on one day seemed so special.
I had to be at the school early as they will make us sit according to the prize distribution order and so on, while the parents can come once the function starts. My mom was getting me ready! I was, hmm, in third or fourth standard.. She had neatly put two pony tails which were dangling on both the sides of my head. It must have been more special a day to her than to me. These are one of the special days that I look forward to for only on these days I get to use my mom’s make up kit. She had applied compact powder on me followed by some rouge. You can call it as blush. But for me it is rouge! The pink cake which I loved to smear on my cheeks and smile to get apple like cheeks. And then she applied some lip stick. She never paid any heed to the fact that the teacher will give a weird look and she will scold me for applying makeup. She bluntly replied, “Who is that miss, I will talk to her! You should look pretty in the photo noo.. Listen, you should look at the photographer uncle when they give the prize ok, otherwise the photo will not look good .ok!” I obediently shook my head. And then she brought out one artificial neck piece which had multi colored stones. This was also not allowed in school but today is annual day na, no rules. I was all set to go to school. She assured me hundredth time that she will be on time to the award function. I waved back good bye to her and happily went to school with no school bags and with my pony tails dancing around me..
My friend was also getting a prize and she was sitting next to me. She kept looking at me and me and me. I silently pushed my neckpiece behind the shirt collar and moved my attention to other side. She then called a teacher and showed my face. My frightened face made the rouge turn even pinker. “What you have come for, some drama or acting?” she pointed at my face. Thankfully she had much more work to do, so she didn’t stop any further and moved on. A sense of happiness spread on my friend’s face and mine turned into a scorn! Parents had started arriving and my mom was yet to come. I no longer wanted to entertain conversation with my friend so I was looking towards the parents arriving area. It was one of the sophisticated schools at that time but its auditorium was small. There was place for kids, chief guest and a little more place for parents to sit and then they had to stand jam packed!
The auditorium was getting filled up and still my mom had not yet arrived. We were moved into the auditorium and were made to sit in order so that it is easy to collect the prize. Now I could not even get a proper look at the door that I had to turn around to check if she had come. The crowd was pretty large that I could hardly see her! The chief guest had arrived and the function started with lighting of the lamp. Those were the pleasant days when I did not even know what was welcome address, speech, vote of thanks, etc.. Somebody came and spoke because they had a mike and time and all I had to do was look around!! So I had plenty of time to look around for my mother!! SHE WAS NOT THERE!! Do you know how it feels? When your friend ridicules your lipstick and rouge and your mom is not around to complaint about it! The prize distribution had started! The queue was moving forward and I was hardly moving my steps looking back and forth and back and forth! My turn came! There was some confusion with one girl missing and they gave of her prize to me! I was looking at the prize not knowing what to do. It was not mine na. Should I ask my miss? Oh in this confusion I did not pose for the photo!! And to top it my present went to my friend who was standing behind me!! My face was now shrunk like a peanut. I looked around and around!! I have one more thing to complaint about! It was clearly a geometry box that my friend was holding with my name on it! And in my hand was a pencil box! Whattttt!! Geometry box is big or pencil box?? Tell me?? Soon we both were murmuring as whom the prize belongs to while somebody was talking in the mike. We were having a tug of war with the geometry box when my class teacher intervened. She pulled the geometry box from our hand, saw my name on it, gave it to me and hushed us to be quiet. Now this is not a sweet kid’s movie ok, don’t expect me to return it like an angel!! It is mine!
Victory over one!! But then my mom! In this tug of war for the geometry box I forgot my mother. And again I turned back looking for her, the crowd were smiling and looking at their kids. With my face down I turned in slow motion and there! There she was! Her cheeks stuck to the window and her hand waving at me through the window grill. Aww.. My mommy came, mommy came! I raised my hand to show her the prize and she gestured to me that she saw! She saw? She was there at the right time to see me get the prize! I had to wait all the time for the person to stop speaking in the mike so that I can meet my mom. I was more interested to see my mother and kept looking at her direction. She was literally pressing her body against the window, ready to break down the wall. Finally the ladies and gentleman were done with their part of mike and we were free to go home.
|Painting by VenuGopal|
I ran to my mother, eager to show her the geometry box. There she was, brighter than ever, just couldn’t stop her smile and pride.
“Mummmy,look I got a geometry box!”
“Woowwww, it is so big!”
“Why didn’t you pose for the photographer uncle?”
“That is a big story!! Amma.. They gave my prize to her, somebody prize to me, I did not know what to do!!”
“Awww.. Now we will go out for lunch? Ok”
“Yeahhh.. Paneer butter masala!” Well, it was a luxury to have paneer butter masala then and there were just two three restaurants serving it.
“Yesss.. Before that, first we shall take photo!”
My dad was ready with the camera. It was not digital camera then and to take print of the film was costly! So have to pose the right way, with the right smile and not blink! My mom looked at me, retouched the powder, combed my hair, took my neck piece that was hiding behind the collar, wiped off the lipstick from the teeth and there, we were all set for the perfect picture.
“Smile at daddy” Say cheese and all I don’t know from where it started. At count of 1,2,3 we smiled broad and we believed the perfect picture was taken 🙂 After a week we did have a good memory recorded in the photo.
Ever since then, from the time I started remembering things, she was and is always there for me. Extending her hand as much as possible reaching out to me. Ready to break the walls to protect her kiddo. Ready to stand up for me whether it is right or not. Ready to speak and argue for me whether there is logic or not. Ready to extend her shoulders for me to lean in though separated by distance.
Happy Mother’s Day.. I am blessed 🙂