Vikram's parents were overjoyed when he got admission into nursery. But now the troubles of schooling unfold. Read on...
K. G. Rangarajan
"I'll see what I can do," said Sheela. After all, Vikram was an intelligent child. He knew the names of all the cars and could even recognise them. He had been given a book on prehistoric animals and astounded people by identifying dinosaurs and pterodactyls. He knew a number of rhymes. So she would get him to do his homework.
She brought a notebook and pencil and said, "Now Vikram, let's do our homework." "No," said Vikram.
"You must. You are a good boy, aren't you?" said Sheela.
"No, " he repeated.
Sheela pleaded, cajoled threatened and scolded. But it was of no use. In despair she rang up her friend Usha whose son was Vikram's classmate.
"How do you get your child to write a page of homework?" she asked.
"It's tough," she said. "I have to bribe and scold and bully him. I have to spend my whole evening trying to get him to write that one page. It reduces me to tears. I can't even plan an evening out. Why should a three year old have to write?" So Sheela did what Usha did. She bribed, scolded, bullied and threatened until at last the homework was done.
Sheela picked up Vikram from school the next day and looked at his notebook. "Untidy" "To be done again" were the remarks. Sheela's face turned red with anger and embarrassment. That evening she put aside all her work for Vikram's homework.
She called him but when Vikram realised that he had to write he got up from his chair and ran away. Sheela chased him round the house and dragged him to the table.
"You have to do your homework," she said.
"No" said Vikram
Sheela tried all evening. She did not succeed. She placed the pencil in Vikram's hand but his fingers would not move across the page.
Nikhil had just come home and a desperate Sheela said, "make your coffee yourself. I am busy with Vikram's homework."
She had to get Vikram to do two pages of writing. All evening was spent at Vikram's side as he slowly and painstakingly wrote out the two pages. Sheela had never spoken rudely to Vikram before and now she called him lazy and stubborn. At last itwas over and Sheela triumphantly showed Nikhil the book. Like all good fathers he had left Vikram's early education to Sheela. Nikhil looked at the ugly red marks of yesterday's homework. Then he looked at the work that was done and said, "Vikram's handwriting has not improved and the teacher is sure to ask him to rewrite."
All hell broke loose. Sheela exploded. "You make him do it and see what I have gone through," she shouted.
"What do other mothers do?" Nikhil asked.
"I don't care," said Sheela. "And from now on you to take an interest in your son. You see that he does his homework. All you do in the evenings is to loll about."
This was their first quarrel. And it was only going to get worse. They realised with that there were many more years of home work to be done and years of domestic discord before Vikram grew up.
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