Mine is a middle class Tamil family. My wife and I are blessed with two kids- Kavita, the elder one and Karthik, the younger one (Well obviously!). I heard people saying girls are ‘easier’ than boys but didn’t believe it (how naïve!) until Bablu (as his mother fondly calls Karthik) turned irreparably wayward.
The manifestation of his willfulness started when he was 3. We took the kids to my in-laws’ for Thai Pongal (Umm.. a harvest festival). Valli (Yes, she’s my wife) left Bablu and his 4 year old cousin Chitra (daughter of Valli’s younger brother) on the terrace so that we could make arrangements for celebrations in peace. No later than 10 minutes, we heard Chitra shriek and ran out of the house to see why. There he was, on the landing of the staircase with an evil smirk, proud of “teaching her a lesson” because she didn’t give him her toy. Yes, he’s just a kid. But the fall off the stairs broke Chitra’s nose.
The next major incident(or is it an accident?) was soon after he got into middle school. Just as his new teacher came to their class, Bablu stood up and said “Ma’m you don’t teach properly”. (Wish I belonged to this age).The teacher moved closer to him to speak, only to find the whole class standing up at once and repeating the same! The poor lady was terribly upset and resigned the very next day. The school came to know later that it was Karthik’s plan to hurt her so that until a new teacher comes in, they wouldn’t have to study. Valli and I were called to the office and warned about ousting him from the school (Naturally).
As he grew older, his instincts did too. We got used to being called by the Principal to discuss Bablu’s conduct in class. Every year he changed schools (No, not the Principal. Bablu). When he was in tenth standard (My son is good in academics too), his class teacher rang me up one day asking me to meet her in the Principal’s room. I left for his school early and the Principal confronted me with all bitterness he could muster. Bablu would not be allowed to appear for the out board exams from the school if they find no change in him soon. I was lost in the humiliation my son’s insolence caused me.
I didn’t talk to him for several weeks. A month later, I received a call from his school (again!). As soon as I walked in, the 7 teachers who were inside the Principal’s office started leering at me and the Principal said “Mr. Shekhar what do you think is your son doing after all these days of nurturing?”. Enough. I couldn’t take it anymore and strode towards Bablu (Of course he was in the office too) when he convulsed with laughter. I was about to slap him and the others in the room started laughing too. Confused, I asked them what was wrong. His class teacher said “We’re sorry sir, Karthik wanted to have this his way. We called you to congratulate you on the serendipitous change in his behavior. But alas! He didn’t change!”. My son held his ears and mouthed sorry as the revelation dawned upon me.