“ All will be well, Shivani. Come here and sit with us” Vivek called out to his wife who was pacing up and down the school corridor.
Their daughter Aparna had given her interview for grade 5 and Shivani was very anxious.
What would she tell her friends if it did not happen? She could imagine all the smirks and taunts that she would have to face in the mommies group.
“ It doesn’t matter whatever others talk about us or our child, Shivani. When are you going to understand?” Vivek told her.
“You don’t understand Vivek. I cannot face anyone if this goes wrong” She blurted out whatever was going on in her mind. If Aparna does not get through, it would be such a shame”.
“For you, or for her” Shivani could not hear Vivek mumble. She was panicking.
Her daughter was sitting calmly on the chair doodling in her notebook. Shivani glanced at her and thought “ Will she save my face?”
Shivani could not sit for more than a few seconds. She saw a clerk from the school office walk towards them and she would have fainted out of anxiety. What was he going to tell them?
The clerk spoke.” I am sorry Ma’m. The Principal has to leave early because of an emergency and so we will not be able to convey the results today. Tomorrow is a Saturday and we are not working. Please give us a call on Monday.”
“ Oh no” Shivani thought. What was happening?
As Vivek thanked the clerk and the trio started walking back to their car, Shivani stopped Aparna and asked her “ Are you sure you wrote all the answers? Did you miss anything? You should tell me once again what you did, from the time you entered the interview room and about all the questions they asked.”
Aparna replied, “ Amma, I already told you twice about it. Can’t we talk about something else?”
Vivek smiled at his lovely daughter. She was the apple of their eye, no doubt, but Shivani was so particular that Aparna should not miss out anything.
She had enrolled her in all the classes possible where she could learn to play chess, perform martial arts, traditional dance, swim, draw, sing and what not.
She had charted out everything for her daughter — the university she would attend, the courses she would enrol, her career and so on.
Vivek tried telling Shivani how it all seemed so pushy and ambitious on her part to do that, but Shivani would not listen.
“ Let her enjoy her childhood, Shivani. Don’t do this to her. Childhood comes only once” He often reminded her.
Shivani was so obsessed that she would never allow Aparna to watch TV or read.
“ Why aren’t you learning this? Or that” That was all Vivek heard Shivani asking Aparna.
He really had to do something. But first, he had to stay calm, otherwise things would go out of control.
Outside the school, they noticed an elderly lady struggling to open her car door. She was holding a small boy’s hand and also carrying other stuff.
Shivani noticed Aparna run ahead to open the door for her. Aparna held the little boy’s hand as the lady placed her things inside the car.
To make him feel comfortable, Aparna was trying to talk to him in all the languages she knew.
Something struck Shivani’s mind right that moment. How did she miss this?
She noticed with pride all that her daughter was — kind, compassionate, loving, friendly, helping and more than everything — she understood how to connect with everyone.
At that moment, Shivani knew for sure that no piece of paper, be it an admission letter from the best school or a national award would mean anything.
Her daughter would always shine in her own way.