In the first parents-teachers meeting held with Tuneer’s class teacher in May last year, the first line of the report read,
“Tuneer is a soft-spoken and sweet child with sharp observation skills.”
Until then, the family members already had experiences with his nature of observing things. He rarely adapted to new situations spontaneously or made friends with new people instantly. He preferred to stay at a distance noticing the happenings and then deciding if he liked it enough to get involved or preferred to stay away. Even in his preschool, he had no inclination to try anything new until and unless he knew the final outcome of his efforts through someone else’s performance. Yet when he finished his preschool in March, he knew the names of all his twenty-four classmates along with their preferences in things like sports or puzzles. It was a startling revelation for me. The final report card started with,
“Tuneer is a bright and sensitive child with a natural flair for keenly observing people and his surroundings.”
Other than the basics of education, my boy had well utilized his time at preschool to hone his hobby related to observation.
While it sounds like a great quality to possess, it gets a little difficult to cook up stories to help save us embarrassing situations quite often. Like last week, he refused to shake hands with one of our acquaintances who had paid us a visit. He claimed that the uncle had eaten rosogolla with hands. However much the poor man kept saying that he had washed his hands after eating, the boy insisted that this uncle had wiped it in his handkerchief instead. Thankfully, I brought tea at that moment putting an end to this unnecessary argument. This is just one of the many times when the boy has held on to his stand rather than giving in to our cooked up theories because he had observed the truth.
There’s also another aspect to this trait that he possesses. Initially, he would come back and enact most of the things that happened in his preschool in the form of pretend play. Some of these were quite hilarious like his imitating the helper didi who dozed off whenever the kids played outdoors and the way she was rebuked by the teachers, whenever caught. This felt funny until that day when my father-in-law casually remarked about how if the boy could divulge so much about his school at home, it was possible that the teachers knew about the proceedings at home as well.`
In the meanwhile, the boy had started taking a keen interest in the pets of Gods. The boy had always been partial towards his favorite Ma Saraswati and her swan but the owl in picture books accompanying Goddess Lakshmi turned out to be a matter of great curiosity for him. In Bengali, an owl is called ‘pencha’ and he kept pestering us to show him one. I had a picture of an owl from the trip to the Lady Hydari Park in Shillong but that didn’t come across as interesting to him. Co-incidentally, when we went for Saraswati puja to my in-laws this January, he saw a white owl on the parapet of a window in the house. He was so happy to finally see his dream coming true. Until then had no proactive interest in learning English words, yet he kept asking me to teach the English word for pencha.
Immediately after we came back to Kolkata and were scheduled for the first round of interview at the school featuring on top in our list. By then, Tuneer had already learned started identifying familiar animals like tiger and elephant, and birds like a crow and parrot among others. I had not attached any particular importance to the word owl. When we went for the interview, Tuneer was taken aside and amidst the four pictures that were shown to him, one was that of an owl. Even in the second round of the interview held the following month, he was asked to randomly pick some picture cards and identify the animals. The second one was that of an owl, who by now had become his friend. This happened to be the same school where he attended the interview wearing his pink shirt and is this is where he started schooling since yesterday.
The logical part in me says that it was Tuneer’s observation skills that piqued his curiosity in knowing and identifying the owl finally giving him an upper edge in the interview. But a part of me feels disturbed by the uncanny sequence of events. I keep wondering if the white owl, who Tuneer had been wishing to meet for so long had turned up to give us the cue about an impending ray of hope in this brouhaha of school admissions. Whatever be it, It is better to stay a secret because if the toddler figures out any more information about the owl, I would be bombarded with questions again. Of late, his observation areas have shifted towards assessment of my reactions related to his creative antics.
Hope you enjoyed reading my post. I will be back with a post on ‘P’ tomorrow. You can find the rest of my posts in this series here.