Last evening, I bumped into Mrs. Arora. I could read the discomfort which was writ large on her face. I knew the reason.
Kritika, Mrs. Arora’s teenaged daughter, had stopped attending our PD sessions. “Mom, I have done all those things… I know all that,” Kritika had told her mother. “I don’t want to continue.”
Mrs. Arora was not ready to agree with her young daughter’s argument. “Beti, you might have done some of those things… But, please remember, you have so much more to learn,” the mother had tried to prevail upon.
“No, mom. Please understand me. I don’t want to continue,” Kritika had made it very clear.
What could Mrs. Arora, the mother, do? “Well my dear, it is okay if you wish to drop,” she had told her daughter, “But, at least, meet your sir and inform him about your decision. Remember, he had specially come to our house to invite you for the course… He had reduced the fee for you by two-third of the amount… just because he is close to us… and, he seriously cares for you…and, most importantly, don’t forget my child, you have already attended four sessions without paying him a rupee. You have to see him before you quit.”
“No, that’s okay,” Kritika had countered, “What difference would it make?”
Mrs. Arora had slipped into a silence. Her young daughter was challenging her with the question, “What difference would it make?”
“Sir, I have no face to show you,” Mrs. Arora expressed her guilt when I chanced upon to meet her last evening, “I remember what I had told you.”
“That’s okay, ma’am,” I quickly attempted to ease Mrs. Arora’s burden. I added, “Let’s not forget that they are teenagers… They take their own time to appreciate certain things in life… It is best if we could give them that space to grow up.”
“But sir, I still feel guilty,” Mrs. Arora confessed. “She should have at least met you before quitting.”
“Ma’am I understand your feelings and I really appreciate that,” I told Mrs. Arora, “But, let me tell you, I am not hurt… I understand how teenagers react to such situations… Let’s not judge them from such yardsticks… They will change their views when their time comes. Just drop…All is well.”
“It is so generous on your part sir… Still…” the heavy stone on the mother’s head was refusing to come down.
“Come on ma’am, yes, even I remember what you had told me when I visited you house,” I tried to reassure the disturbed mother, “But, that’s al right… Kritika is a fine young soul.”
Tears rolled down Mrs. Arora’s cheeks on hearing what I had just said. “Thanks sir, I still wish, she had met you before she quit.”
I remained quiet and expressed my empathy. In my silence, I expressed to her, “Yes, ma’am even I feel young Kritika should have shown that simple courtesy. Yes, even I am angry, though I put on before you a magnanimous front… No, respect, gratitude and communication are simple values these teenagers should inculcate early in their lives… They should not take their privileges for granted.”
The mother had gone. The words which she had so confidently used to please me some days ago began to haunt me. “Ma’am, I have come personally to your place to invite Kritika… She should benefit from the course immensely… That’s my only wish,” I had told her. Then, a pause later, I had added, “But, Kritika should ‘value’ all this… She should not take the privileges for granted.”
Like an all-protective and proud mother hen, Mrs. Arora had let me know about her two children. “Sir, touch wood, so far my children, both my son and daughter, have grown up with those values. They will not do any thing in life to disgrace their parents… and, I am proud of that.”
“That is really great, Ma’am,” I had exclaimed in response, “You have been such an excellent mother.”
Against this backdrop, a daughter was sent to a place where, it is claimed, that they ‘develop personalities of young souls – like Kritika.”
This was also the reason for a mother’s tears!