I can do it all by myself again.
‘Raghav…Wake up!’ his mother called out. ‘You have to get ready for school.’
Raghav covered his face with his blanket and squeezed his eyes tightly.
‘Come on, beta, you don’t want to be late on your first day of school,’ his mother said, tugging at his blanket.
‘Mummy! I don’t want to go to school,’ he whined, throwing off his blanket and sitting up in bed.
‘But Raghav, you love going to school,’ she replied sweetly with a worried look on her face.
‘Yes, I do. But I don’t want to go to this new school Mummy,’ he said. ‘I already miss my old school. And our old home. In Mumbai.’
‘Oh, my little champ! It’s going to be great. The kids are going to love you there...I’m sure you will make some new friends,’ she added. ‘And I hope you understand why we had to leave Mumbai. Daddy got a job transfer. Now he’s going to be flying out from Delhi. Not Mumbai.’
‘But everything seems so different, Mummy. I don’t like it,’ Raghav whined.
‘I’m sure everything will be just fine,’ she said, wrapping her arms around her little six-year-old boy. ‘Come on, chop-chop! It’s a new day, and it’s going to be a great day.’
‘Oh, alright,’ Raghav sighed and dragged himself out of bed.
On the way to school, Raghav and his mother played their usual car game. She had her own way of keeping him busy hoping he wouldn’t get too anxious.
‘It’s my turn, Mummy,’ he said excitedly. ‘Eye spy with my little eye something that is…… blue.’
‘I see a blue car coming behind us,’ Mummy said, looking through the rearview mirror.
‘Mummy! That’s cheating. I wasn’t talking about that blue colour.’
‘Then which blue colour were you looking out for?’
‘The blue sign,’ Raghav frowned.
‘You also have a new blue school bag,’ Mummy said.
A few minutes later, they reached school. Mummy parked the car and looked at Raghav.
Raghav silently sat firmly in the passenger seat, looking straight ahead. ‘That was so fast.’
‘Are you ready?’ she asked.
Raghav nodded slowly as his mother unfastened his seatbelt.
‘You’re going to do just fine. Just be you. Always remember that,’ Mummy said, getting out of the car. She walked to the other side, helping Raghav from the car.
He looked at her with worried eyes. She held his hand firmly and walked him into his new school.
‘I’ll pick you up as soon as school is over, ok?’ Mummy smiled.
Raghav nodded and headed inside, following his mother.
Raghav’s new class teacher appeared from the back office. After a round of hellos and introductions Raghav’s mother whispered, ‘He’s a bit apprehensive,’
‘That’s ok. I’m sure he will settle down soon.’ The class teacher reassured.
Raghav’s mother nodded with a smile and said goodbye to her son. His class teacher walked Raghav to the classroom. He looked over his shoulder and saw his mother heading out.
On the first day, Raghav was quiet. He didn’t want to speak to any one or make any new friends. He found his new school to be dull and boring.
As time passed, Raghav eventually got used to his new routine.
One afternoon, on the car ride back home, as always, Raghav and his mother chatted about his day.
‘How was your day at school?’ she asked, focusing on the road.
‘It was fine, Mummy,’ he replied.
‘Did you have art class today?’ she asked. ‘I remember helping you pack your paint box in your bag last night.;
‘Yes, we did. And our art teacher made us draw a picture of the mountains,’ he replied.
‘Oh, that’s nice. Did you enjoy drawing it?’
‘No, Mummy,’ Raghav pouted.
‘But why. You love drawing and painting,’ Mummy frowned.
‘Because she made me draw what she wanted to draw. I didn’t get to draw the mountains the way I wanted to,’ he grumbled.
‘Oh, I see. Maybe your teacher wanted you to learn to draw the mountains in a new way,’ Mummy said.
‘But I’m going to draw a picture of the mountains the way I want to after we get home,’ Raghav said.
Mummy smiled and said, ‘Of course, you can. But first, we need to wash up and get you some lunch. I’m sure you must be starving.’
The following day, Raghav took his version of the picture of the mountains to school and showed it to his art teacher. She nodded with a smile and gave him a pat on the back.
‘Next week, we are going to have a pottery class,’ she said. ‘I’m sure you will enjoy that.’
Raghav beamed and went back to his classroom.
The following week, Raghav attended art class and couldn’t wait to get started. His art teacher welcomed the children and gave them each a ball of clay.
Raghav loved playing with clay. He could make all kinds of things. Snowmen, snakes, shapes, little people, houses, cakes, flowers and dinosaurs. He enthusiastically began to punch and pull the clay.
‘Wait, Raghav. It is not yet time to begin,’ his art teacher said.
Raghav paused and felt his ears go hot.
‘Gather round students. Today we are going to learn how to make a bowl,’ she announced.
‘Oh goodie! I like making bowls. I can shape them with my elbow,’ Raghav thought to himself excitedly.
Raghav began making bowls out of the ball of clay. He moulded them into different shapes and sizes.
‘Wait! I’m going to show you three ways to do this. First, we’re going to make a pinch pot. Push your thumbs into your round ball of clay,’ the teacher said as she demonstrated how bowls were supposed to be made.
Raghav looked at his teacher’s bowl and his own bowl. And then he then looked at his friend’s bowl. The bowl looked just like the teacher.
‘I like my bowl better than hers,’ he mumbled to himself.
Disheartened, Raghav rolled his bowl into a ball of clay and made the bowl just the way his teacher expected it to be.
As time passed, Raghav got used to the process of waiting, watching and learning, making and doing things just the way the teacher wanted. Raghav stopped taking any interest in doing any craft activities at home. Mummy found this sudden change surprising since he had been spending hours making all sorts of things. Raghav had a knack for drawing, colouring and creating all kinds of things.
‘Maybe he’s just bored of it and needs something new to do,’ Mummy thought to herself. ‘Maybe I should take him swimming in the evenings or maybe it’s just a phase and he will get over it.’
But he didn’t. He didn’t get over it at all!
After two years or so, the family moved to a new city when Raghav’s father got transferred again.
The family had a tough time settling down in their new home. Somehow they managed to get Raghav’s admission to a school near their home.
On Monday morning, Mummy dropped Raghav off at school. She walked him inside and whispered, ‘I’m sure you're going to be great.’
Raghav looked at his mother with concern and left for his class. He was back to square one. Adjusting to a new school. Surrounded by new faces, new walls, a new playground, new teachers, new rules and new regulations. New everything! Although he had dreaded the idea of moving, his mother comforted him and tried to make him feel better.
This new school was even bigger than the previous one. Raghav felt the entrance of the school was more welcoming, colourful and bright. There was more sunshine in the classrooms. There were more students in the school. The teachers seemed to be less strict and more friendly.
During the second half of his school day, Raghav had art class. His teacher welcomed Raghav to the class, happy to see a new student in her class.
Today we are going to draw a picture,’ the art teacher announced as she paced the room.
‘Oh, good!’ Raghav thought to himself as he took out his drawing book and box of crayons from his bag. He sat silently in class looking at the board and his art teacher, patiently waiting as the rest of the students started drawing their pictures.
‘What are you waiting for Raghav? Do you need help with anything? His art teacher asked, heading towards him.
Raghav appeared perplexed as he looked up at his teacher.
‘Don’t you want to make a nice picture?’ she asked.
‘Yes I do,’ he replied, nodding his head. ‘I love drawing.’
‘Then why don’t you begin?’ she said. ‘What are you going to draw?’
‘I don’t know until you make one on the board and tell me how I’m supposed to do it,’ Raghav replied.
‘Raghav, you can draw whatever you want. However you like,’ smiled his teacher.
‘And I can colour it any colour I want?’ Raghav asked.
‘Of course, My Child,’ she replied. ‘If everyone made the same picture and used the same colours …how would I know who made what and which was which?’
‘I don’t know. I didn’t think of that,’ Raghav replied as he began to draw his picture. He made it the way he wanted it to be. And filled it with his choice of colours.
The art teacher could see the joy and enthusiasm on Raghav’s face as he finished his picture. She smiled to herself and soon dismissed the class. All the students submitted their drawing books on her desk.
Later that afternoon, Mummy picked Raghav up from school.
‘How was your day Raghav. Did you like your new school?’
‘YES, I did Mummy!’ Raghav smiled. ‘I like this school way better than the old one.’
‘How come?’ Mummy asked curiously.
‘Because I can do it all by myself again,’ Raghav grinned.