Mothers of teenage boys beware!! Do not be carried away by those innocent eyes and try to defend them unless you are absolutely sure. Oh yes, I agree. He is your son and right from the days of Lord Krishna mothers tend to believe that their sons are okay and it is these ‘others’ that are trouble makers and lay the blame on your poor innocent child. Isn’t it aptly described in the famous ‘Main Nahin makhan khayo’ song. Poor Krishna, the gopikas would smear his lips with butter and blame him of stealing it from their homes! I learnt my lesson when my son was in his XII standard. And remember I was a teacher myself.
I was getting ready for college when my son said that his computer Science teacher wanted to meet me.
“Me?” I asked, Why?”
“She is refusing to accept my record work and is threatening to give me a zero in my practical exams.”
Now my son has or rather had the habit of dropping bombshells at the most inappropriate moments. Like when I am giving finishing touches to my cooking or the exact moment I put on my slippers to leave home or any time when I hop from the kitchen to the bedroom and am frantically looking for my keys. Those are the precise moments when my mind is kind of confused and I pay minimum attention. My conversation is conveniently restricted to monosyllables or ‘oh’s and ‘I see’s. We talk of understanding child psychology and these brats are experts in analyzing parent psychology.
“Listen son” I said “I’ll talk to you in the evening. When does she want to meet me?”
He was also getting ready for school.
“Today” was his reply.
And you tell me now?” I was beginning to lose my temper.
“I forgot” he said. “ I remembered only when I was arranging my bag.”
“Why is she refusing to accept your record?”
“”I had to submit it on Friday. Father Principal sent me along with M… on Friday to invite the Principals of different schools for our annual day. I was late in coming back. There was a traffic jam in the Adityapur bridge. You can ask M….’s mom if you want to.”
M…..’s mother was my colleague so the facts could be verified.
“Did you explain this to your teacher?”
“I did, ,but she refuses to see reason.”
“What about M…?”
“He is in the Commerce section. I wish I had taken Commerce. It would have been so much better. Those guys have such fun.”
I agreed to come to his school in the afternoon and sped off to college. I took out time to find out from M…’s mother whether the boys had indeed gone around distributing invitation cards and she confirmed my son’s version including the traffic jam. My heart filled with pride at the thought of my son being entrusted with responsibility and that too by the Principal himself. How could his teacher be so insensitive, I wondered? After all my son was given a job by the Principal. I then thought that perhaps the teacher did not know that it was the Principal who had sent him. Rahul ought to have explained. She’d have surely understood if he had excused himself before leaving school.
It was with a biased mind that I went to meet the teacher. She sent word for my son who came looking like a lamb being led to the slaughter house.
“ Ma’am,” I began “I hear that you refused to accept his record work……’
She interrupted me mid sentence.
“He had to submit it on Friday., did he tell you that?”
“Oh yes ma’am” I was certain that I was on firm ground. “But he was sent to distribute cards by the Principal. On his way back there was a traffic jam in Adityapur and they were late on account of that. The bridge is narrow and a jam in the area takes hours to clear. I agree that he should have excused himself before leaving….”
I was again interrupted by the teacher. This time her question was directed to my son.
“Did you tell Father Principal that you had a practical class in the afternoon?”
Turning to me she said, “Mrs. R………. let me complete the story for you. He went along with M……. because he wanted to have some fun. The school was providing them with a van and in his place I too would have liked to go about distributing invitation cards instead of attending my practical class. More so if my assignment was incomplete. Yes I strongly suspect that he hadn’t completed his assignment and offered his services the moment Father Principal started looking for someone to take the responsibility. Had he told him that he had a practical class, the Principal would have sent someone else. There were many others who could have done the job. If his assignment had been complete he could have guiven hit to someone to submit it on his behalf.”
I did not know where to hide my face. I was myself very particular about my students finishing their record work on time and I was stupid enough to get carried away by my son. I don’t even remember what I mumbled as response to the teacher’s claim. I remember asking my son to apologize and hurrying off from the place resolving never to take his side before hearing the other side of the story.