To strong mothers who raise strong daughters……

Two tight slaps were lashed on the cheeks of an eight year old girl inside her own grandfather’s restaurant by the angry mother of that 8 year old.

It was a partially cloudy day in the end of month of September when the monsoons traditionally start receding and people look forward to the October sun. The schools were busy with the students and teachers preparing for mid term exams before Diwali holidays. The new school year would start in first week of June with the big break expected in October/November just before Diwali.

This year was extremely challenging for the little 8 year old right from the beginning of her grade 3. The only reason being that her twin sister was separated from her in this academic year and was placed in a different division of grade 3 in the same school.

The little girl just couldn’t come to terms with this separation. Her days would start with severe anxiety followed by grief at not finding her sister in her classroom. All the previous four years from Jr. Kindergarten to grade 2 these sisters had shared same classroom. Now suddenly some villainous character at the school had decided to place them in different classrooms. The little girl begged her parents to speak with the principal to reunite her with her sister. But the strong minded and strict mother didn’t pay any heed to her woes and told her to cope up with separation and learn to be independent.

The traumatized girl would find any excuse to go to her twin’s classroom, tell her classroom teacher that she needed to speak a word with her sister. Then she would cry to her twin and the twin sister would console her explaining that soon it will be short recess and we will be together. After the recess got over the little girl would again make an excuse to go the washroom and go to her sister’s classroom to have a word and tell her that she misses her in that class. The other twin would again explain to her that soon there will be long recess and we will play and eat together. Between the long recess and the school end same actions would be repeated. The class teachers of both these girls were kind and would let the little anxious girl carry out this drama every day.

One fine day, that day of September, the little 8 year traumatized girl decided that it was enough!! She couldn’t bear this separation. She had to do something to convince her mom to talk to the school to place her in her sister’s class. So she made an excuse of stomach ache in the long recess and walked back towards home with the tiffinwaali lady.( It was common in those days for students to get hot lunch from home, a few tiffinwaalas would get about 25-30 Tiffins from different neighbourhoods to the school)

On route to home came the grandparents’ home and restaurant, where the girl went. The mother was summoned immediately at the sight of this girl in the middle of the school day in the restaurant. The walking distance from the school to the restaurant was a little short of 2 kilometres. The mom knew that if the stomach ache was real this girl couldn’t have walked such a distance. On enquiring the real reason, when the little girl said that she can’t continue in a separate classroom than her twin, two tight slaps were lashed on her cheeks!! The poor grandpa tried to convince the daughter to let the girl stay home and deal with this matter later on. At that the mother said- I can’t let my daughter be dependent on her twin. She has to understand that it’s ok to be in separate classrooms and still have her sister by her side. She cannot use her twin as a crutch. I am not raising a sissy little girl. I want her to be confident enough to walk alone in life.

Immediately the auto rickshaw was called and the girl and her mom went to the school. She was made to apologize to the teachers and the principal! After that day all the anxiety, nervousness and grief laden behaviour came to an end and the girl managed to live and thrive not only in separate classrooms but in many walks of life even after being physically away from her twin!! The girls studied in different colleges, worked in different institutions and later on married not only in different cities, or countries but in different continents!

This is the story of a mom being strong even at the sight of her sad daughter and taking the right decision to make her independent and confident.

This is my story. That 8 year old dramebaaz girl was me. If that day my mom had not lashed at me, I would never become confident enough to venture out alone in the world.

This incident is why I jokingly tell my mom – kar diya na hum ko judaa, ek Canada mein aur ek Australia mein!! Ab Khush ??!! 😂

Happy Mother’s Day to such strong mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, friends and everyone who make their families and friends fiercely independent and confident!!

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, to my motherly Aunty my Geeta Joshi, always loving and caring sister Sheetal Joshi, who showers unlimited love on me and my children, to my sister in law Shruti who goes over and beyond caring for my niece.

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