Our daughter is just two years and three months but keeping in with the family tradition we have decided to push her into hell when she least expects it. After all, why shouldn`t we revenge what was done to us?
Rekha`s initial list has ten play schools – play schools that made it to the quarter finals. After speaking to a few parents, reading up the internet on playschools in Gurgaon…she finalized the three semifinalists – Modern Montessori International Gurgaon, iDiscoveri Gurgaon and Kara For Kids. You probably wonder how can there be three semi-finalists? Well…in my house my wife decides…so park your thoughts please.
The first school we visited was Modern Montessori International at Sector 40 in Gurgaon. Just as we entered the gates, I heard the security guard say, “Hi….baby. What is your name?”
“I am not a baby, ok?” Rekha retorted.
“Sorry madam, I wasn`t talking to you.” The security guard responded.
I had to intervene. Rekha was finally convinced that the reason was the new face pack she had bought for Rs 800 per 100 grams.
Let me tell you that education being the money churner that it is, even the security guards are trained to ensure the right image is conveyed to the parents. We were even impressed when we spoke to the receptionist.
“Mr Jamshed, we ensure the wholesome growth of your child,” she said when I told her that we were exploring playschool options for Rhea.
The innocent girl that Rekha is…she ended up asking: “You mean, for the fee that we will pay…you will also feed her Complan, Horlicks & Bournvita?”
The receptionist didn`t respond, but directed us to the Principal`s room. Even as we turned our backs, we overheard the receptionist say to a teacher standing nearby: “I pass on the difficult cases to the Principal. She handles these rich-without-education types.”
We were amazed by the way the Principal spoke. Let me tell you…this Principal would have been a failure in the Corporate World. She was a measured talker…and didn`t speak faster than her ability to think….in a corporate she would have been branded a slow thinker. She didn`t speak loudly…she would have failed to contribute in any of the meetings. She didn`t force her views on us…which meant she would have had difficulty getting her things done in a corporate set up.
When I got out of her room, I started hating the life I had been chasing so far – so fast…so furious…so useless. Don`t believe me? Try making a conversation with a Principal of a Playschool. Now, don`t you go around sleeping around for a child…just pretend that you already have one and call up a play school.
The next day we went to iDiscoveri, Gurgaon and the experience there was also revealing….and I am NOT talking about the moms who had come there with their kids.
Being the meticulous planner that my wife is…she fixed up a meeting with the Principal of Kara for Kids, Gurgaon on the third day. Thankfully, she called them up before leaving the house and dropped the plan when she came to know that Kara for Kids, Gurgaon doesn`t have a transport system. (Though they are planning for it now).
To cut the long story short, we were impressed with both Modern Montessori International and iDiscoveri and decided to let Rhea decide. Being the adamant girl that she is…she just refused to answer the question.
Rekha repeated the question for Rhea: “Rhea, which school would you like to go to – Modern Montessori International or iDiscoveri?”
Rhea said: “Mumbo jumbo…..”
“Rhea your future relies on this decision…please don`t take this lightly. What you become 25 years later depends on this…now tell me which school will you want to go to – Modern Montessori International or iDiscoveri?”
Rhea repeated: “Mumbo jumbo…..”
The sad part about being the parent of an indecisive child is that you have to make all the decisions. We decided on Modern Montessori International.
We then went to confirm the admission in Modern Montessori International, where we were told that the fee was Rs 33,000 for the first three months of her play school tenure. There after, for every three months we had to pay Rs 15,000.
I checked with the Principal: “Madam, when I started off in Kendriya Vidhyalaya in 1984 I used to pay Rs 15 every quarter.”
“I know. I am also a Kendriya Vidhyalaya student,” The principal`s tone was assuring.
“That`s great to know. So, why is it Rs 35,000 now?” I insisted.
The principal smiled & said: “It was Rs 15 in the early 80s…in late 80s…they increased the fee to Rs 45 per quarter. Do you remember that?”
“Yes madam, I do. I also remember my mother freaking out and making adjustments in the family`s monthly budget. I think after the hike in the fee we stopped getting eggs for lunch.” I was happy I remembered my past so well.
‘Precisely my point. My assistant here will pick up the Rs 35,000 cheque from you.”
Before I could say anything, she was gone. Her walk besides the gentle sway of her hips also had a tinge of victory in it.
July 6, 2009 will be Rhea`s first day in her play school. Yes, the girl whose birth her father proudly announced on Ouchmytoe, the girl who taught her father how to shop when she was just two days old, the girl who was her father`s first walking partner, the girl who changed the rules of engagement in the house she was born in, the girl who is her father`s Super Hero, and the girl who has taught her father so many things…will be starting school tomorrow. Wish her luck.
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