I have often spoken about my relationship with Sr. T. We grew up in the same small town in Bengal. We were batchmates studying in different schools, had labeled each other as arrogant based on other people’s perceptions and went on to study in Kolkata in two adjacent institutions for three years before I moved out to Delhi. We suffered heartbreak in our individual relationships coincidentally at the same time and finally got in touch through Orkut in 2009 when he was working as a Doctor in Kolkata and I was heading a Bank branch in Mysore. It took us very little time to realize that we were meant to be together and in June 2011, we became a couple officially (a detailed post on our love story is available here).
Our honeymoon period barely lasted five months before I lost Ma to pancreatitis. Our relation underwent a sea change as he turned out to be my Rock of Gibraltar in the most vulnerable stage of my life. The loss was irreversible but the pain became bearable with time. Eventually, like almost every other couple, we started having fights about my OCD to keep things in place (read books only) and his frustration at my refusal to give up on eating out every alternate day. But our similar priorities and outlook towards life made the foundation of our relationship strong enough to survive tough times.
This was until Tuneer popped out into this world in September 2015. Trivialities suddenly started becoming issues. The decision to run the AC at 26 degrees(as I wished to) against 27 degrees (his idea of a perfect temperature for a newborn baby) almost led to a war-like situation at home. The kind of diapers that were to be purchased for the baby (disposable v/s reusable) and the need of a baby carrier(his refusal v/s my insistence), were few of the many items that put us at loggerheads. Penguin Dads like Sr. T definitely deserve a shout-out but the truth is that a few of them also end up giving tough times for opinionated mothers like me.
In my fifth post E for Examination Expectations, I wrote about a certain school following a ridiculous assessment methodology. That post had details about the final steps of the evaluation process while the first step of a Group Discussion involving the parents and decision-making authorities of the school follows here.
In his tenure of being a medical student and then working as a Doctor in various cities, Sr. T had never even heard of the concept of Group Discussion or GD, as we prefer to call it. As a B-school student, I had been part of this terrifying process twice in my life. The first time that I was a part of a GD group was to get through ta B-school and the second time happened as part of the campus recruitment selection process by a certain organization. This school was the only one who spoke of a GD and our curiosity to see how crazy things could get landed us in the school on the date of interaction.
On the scheduled day of the interview, there were a bunch of parents with their respective kids sitting in a posh air-conditioned conference room waiting for their turn. Post verification of the documents, a group of five parents and their kids were asked to walk inside a meeting room that had the Head of the institution and a child counselor already waiting for us.
The Head welcomed the kids with a toffee each wherein she expected every child to say ‘Thank You’ after taking the toffee (later she claimed to be checking the social skills of the child). After the initial formality of introducing ourselves, she threw the forum open for discussing the old and new parenting practices. Sr. T had a wide grin on his face as he looked at me. All through my student life, I had been the kind who raised her hand first in response to a teachers question. Also, I happen to be quite an opinionated person. He knew that I was raving to go at this topic. Little did I know that the group composed of someone who was more enthusiastic than me.
I have always been my Daddy’s girl. So much so that all through my school life, the moment the bell rang at 6:30 pm, I would run downstairs to welcome Baba back. In the three minutes that took us to climb back to the first floor, I would finish narrating my day at school. Ma found a special mention in case I had received any scolding from her. At times she would get so annoyed by it that she would refer me as his ‘chamchi’. I lost Ma seven years back but till date, my father is my biggest support system.
Sr. T grew up in a joint family amidst his paternal grandparents, uncles, and aunts. He was shielded from any form of scolding by his grandparents. He shares the warmest relation with my mother-in-law. With my father-in-law, he shares a relationship full of respect including a comfortable distance in their involvement in each others’ daily life.
After Tuneer was born, the general perception was that he would eventually turn out to be Mamma’s boy. Shattering another stereotypical thought, Tuneer turned out to be a complete Daddy’s boy (not a very pleasant thing to admit, I must say!). Sr. T had picked up his four days old son for the first time when the newborn continued hiccuping for a straight twenty minutes. That day had sealed a life-long bond for the father-son duo.
Sr. T’s posting outside the city enables him to stay in Kolkata a day to two at the maximum. Every week, when he returns from his outstation posting, the two meet in a way akin to long-lost friends for a decade or more. In the entire duration of his stay, the boy refuses to let his father out of his sight even for a minute. Not that the father has any problem in such an arrangement.
Last year I entered into this crazy A2Z challenge hosted by Blogchatter without having any idea about the madness that was going to define my life April onwards. I also had no clue that my blogging journey was finally going to get a direction through this campaign. This year I voluntarily decided to go through the grind again to get myself back to regular blogging after a critical phase of health issues. If there’s anything that’s common between April 2018 & 2019, it is that last year my 2.5 yr old started his preschool on 3rd April and this year the boy who’s now 3.5 yrs is slated to begin his nursery classes in the third week of April.
Other than my sickness, the other thing that kept me occupied throughout the end of 2018 until now was my toddler’s school admissions. While selecting the theme for A2Z challenge this year, it was my husband’s idea to talk about the eye-opening experiences that defined our journey before making it to a coveted school in the city.
At the onset, let me clarify that the posts are going to be based on our experiences related to school admissions in Kolkata though the intent is never to demean any particular institution or the education system. Also, technically this is not an informative series but more of a relatable experience if one has been through the process anywhere in the country.
While I aim to keep my posts coated with humor, on some days they might make one think deeper. Probably by speaking about such thought-provoking issues, we might together come up with some ‘game-changing’ ideas. I hope you have a fun-filled ride full of laughter and joy as you read some rib-tickling and some eye-popping experiences associated with school admissions.
P. S. – Even if you aren’t a parent, you can still enjoy the humor quotient of these daily stories.
Here’s introducing the main characters of this school hunt saga –
The boy – Junior T Banerjee (aka Spiderman/Superman/Batman and also Hanuman)
His tormented parents –
Father – Senior T Banerjee -A hapless doctor posted in some strange town of Bengal. Mostly distracted, attained a level of acceptance towards the wife’s whimsical nature and son’s ability to cling on to him
Mother – A confused writer erstwhile Banker. Also holds two irrelevant postgraduate degrees and refuses to change the surname from Chatterjee to Banerjee. Shares a Tom and Jerry kind of relationship with the boy.
Location – Kolkata
Don’t forget to hop on as we begin this fun ride journey on April 1st and continue till April 30th through twenty six posts on everyday (except Sundays).