One of my dear friends, Geetu, when I appreciated a lovely portrait of her with her daughter, stated –
“Yes Vasan , it is only when we are in our parent’s shoes that we appreciate them even more. Am thankful to my parents for being there for me and also to God for giving us the opportunity to impart the similar love and affection to our little ones “,
I responded – ” I understand – the rebel is introspecting!! ;))
Geetu- “Vasan , I almost forgot abt the grief I gave my parents”.
This interaction made me write this piece. Thanks Geetu.
Indira, Mallika and I are waiting the arrival of our new family member any time. I have been completely grounded. It has been a fortnight since. I have been working from home mostly, in anticipation of the arrival.
As we have been waiting for our second child, I was reminiscing the last eight years of journey with Mallika. What a journey has it be along with Indira. It has been no less than a rebirth. I loved every moment. Indira, I am sure, enjoyed more than me for she has always been there for and with Mallika.
My forced break from hectic activities has proved to be invaluable in enriching family bonding – with a couple of false alarms on Indira’s front to helping Mallika find her feet in the real world. The fortnight has been very action packed and very significant in Mallika’s life too.
For Mallika, we were keen to find a school that is in sync with our value system, yet that would help her blossom as good a human being while stoking her creative self. One such school we identified was Sardar Patel Vidyalaya (SPV). As the luck would have it, suddenly SPV opened admissions in the middle of the year for classes 1-3 and invited us also to fill the form. Mallika was not so keen initially. She really enjoyed going to her current school, Billabong high, as she loved her friends. Indira was instrumental in softening Mallika by taking her to a couple of events at SPV. Mallika started liking SPV as a result, though still ambivalent. Slowly we convinced her to take a shot at it.
We filled the form and SPV took all the aspirants through the process of written exam. This was her first face-off with the real world, with about a 100 aspirants for 25 seats. After her written test, Mallika was a little disappointed as she herself felt, she could have done much better. She performed below her potential. But when the results of written exam was announced, Mallika made it to the shortlist of 40. It was a good boost to her confidence. She then jumped into it headlong. Then the face2face interaction followed. Finally, we found Mallika in the selected list. She found a good school for herself and hope it will turn out to be a great one.
While the school admission process was on, we came across an advertisement about the selection process for summer theatre camp of National school of Drama. We went ahead and brought two forms, one for Mallika and another for her loving cousin Anandita. We applied keenly for both, though we were not sure whether Anandita will be able participate in the month-long programme. An audition was conducted for all the applicants and results were announced. Anandita made it to the final selected list, but Mallika was wait-listed. Mallika was really dejected. Since Anandita made it and she could not, it was all the more hurting her. She came back home and started painting with purposefulness. Indira and I were discussing, that perhaps it was the best result that could have happened, as Mallika was taking things for granted – parents exposing her to too many avenues!! This is a great lesson for her to reflect upon and take corrective measures.
I went for the inaugural session of the summer workshop to see the possibility if any of the selected candidates do not turn up. It may give an opportunity for Mallika to squeeze in. Yes, indeed two of the selected candidates did not make it, and Mallika was the third in the waiting list. It is still a touch and go affair. NSD called us to be there in the evening to take stock and announce the status of the wait-listed.
Mallika was sitting beside me waiting for the status, praying with folded hands and closed eyes. I have never seen Mallika so eager. So desperate to have it. She wants to be in the workshop along with her loving cousin Anandita very badly. As luck would have it, again she just managed to make it as the last selected candidate… Her joy knew no bounds. In a matter of a week, she grabbed two trophies – School and NSD theatre workshop.
The journey of these eight years have been very very enriching. Got a great deal of opportunities to explore, experiment, experience and enliven our own lives. Music, dance, painting, photography, puppetry, poetry, story telling, unraveling science..traveling and living in country side, abroad… I recall every single moment with Mallika and Indira. My camera has been able to capture all these moments… What a journey it has been… The visual documentation is here for all to see..
Life and times of Mallika, a set on Flickr.
I am eagerly looking forward to years and years ahead, with Mallika and the young one who is going to arrive this week. I want to see how Mallika bonds with the young one. It was here insistence to have a playmate, a sibling, that made Indira and me go for our second child. I am sure the journey ahead is going to be doubly enriching…. Welcome life….
Thanks Indira and Mallika. Love you…