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Work in progress!

Photos shot on my phone @ different moments
We live in a society which is very quick in making comments; if that is not sufficient it is also very quick in tagging (giving names). My younger daughter is an introvert by her innate nature. It takes time and someone close to get her out and express her true feelings. And I strongly feel it’s OK to be an introvert. I know she is listening and observing. And good at that. I also think asking an introvert to open up by going out of the way is like asking an extrovert to shut up and be self-arrested. A very unfair state!

As a very young kid, she would always open up with me, and people at home; but would never open her mouth with anybody outside her inner circle. If I think of the year in her play school and her 1st  and 2nd year in the school, I was literally scared. These 3 years she had not spoken a single word, not one with her teacher, not even in my presence. I used to go nuts after every Parent-Teacher meeting. Not because she was not opening up; but because she was constantly being judged against her elder sister. My elder being talkative was good at making her point openly. Both are different beings having their strengths and weak. What bothered me was these routine comments that popped out from people around, including the teachers during the Parent-Teacher meeting. They would not think once, forget about twice, to comment right in front of the kids, not realizing the fact that they are making impacts that would last. I don't blame them though, its human to compare siblings. We are surrounded and trained that way.

The very common comment I would receive was “She does not speak at all. Is she like this at home as well? Vibha was not like this. She was very bright.” While there are perks of having siblings, they do come with some side effects. I agree that my younger got an entry into the school because of the elder and her reputation among her teachers. My younger had made up her mind to not open up on the interview day for admission into the school. She knew all the answers though. I don’t understand the very idea of taking interviews for school admission. What are schools for? They are meant to prepare kids to face any interviews in life, not meant to select them based on their performance at that tender age. I dont remember something like that being done a few decades back. Interview for parents is still ok, to check on their time for kids, commute time, their fees affordability (Schools these days have become a business....... that is another debatable topic), their expectations out of the school; but interview for the kids is totally NO-NO.

Back to my younger daughter, I had this battle to not just shield my kid from all these comments which would otherwise lower her self-esteem but also to develop her into an individual who would fight back and have her stand retaining her true nature. They say kids have best of the impact while you use a sand-witch approach (sand witch a weak/bad quality of theirs between 2 goods) to help them improve themselves. And it works best when you talk to them during bed time. My small talks with her at bedtime had not shown huge changes. But I continued. The only way I know works, is to try and sincerely try. If it does not work, then try something else. I continued with it because I did not know of a better way to give that a try. After several months, came this gradual attitude change in her. She had started opening up with her teacher. I discovered that her teacher at school, had a role to play. I love her this year’s class teacher, Mrs Kavitha, a simple lady with different school of thought. Her first teacher who did not compare my younger with her elder; but had some positives to say about my younger. It probably had a very big role in bringing about the change in my younger’s attitude. She wanted to be on stage, participate, win and socialize. She has not changed into that outgoing kinds but she has started to come out of her protective shell. 

This innate desire of hers to come out of her shell, had made her consciously work on a few things over and over to get her recognition as a first-place holder for song recitation. She sung the song “Do Re Me Fa So” from the movie ‘Sound of Music”. Later she mentioned how her teachers congratulated on her small victory and how she thanked them back boldly. It did not end there, she wanted more of it. She then volunteered for fancy dress. She insisted that I write long dialogues and she would practice. It was in Kannada. I pulled the dialogues from net. Pronunciations were tough for her. But she kept her words. She did practice whenever she got an opportunity. And voila! She won her first place in fancy dress as well, enacting Kitturu Rani Chennamma. She bagged her appreciations again. Next was hindi poem recitation. I picked a poem from one of my all times favorite poets, Sri. Harivansh Rai Bachchan. She again stood first in reciting ‘Jo beeth gayi so baath gayi’. Her teachers appreciated her boundlessly. Ofcourse she was told 'N' number of times that all that mattered was her participation, results were secondary. God was kind, her efforts showing results one after the other boosted her confidence. She does talk to people now; but I also know she prefers her inner space given a choice. I have all smiles now when I see her write poems on her own in her space and also does not shy away from participating in small talks with people. I know it’s still an ongoing process for me to mound her in a way that the world outside does not shadow her strengths. A work in progress, I would say.

Yet again, my small wonder did succeed in making me wonder, she made me re-realize that mind is a wonderful tool, how we use it, is up to us, we only need to keep this tool away from negative minds and surround it with positive ones!


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