Sunday, September 13, 2009

The School Yard

J's elementary school is just across the street from where we live. When my parents visit, we often take a walk to the school in the evenings, so they have the open space to walk while J plays. My mother loves to get on the swing set with J and her delight in the activity is no less than J's evening after evening.

They make a charming picture together - a petite gray-haired woman in a sari and a seven year old swinging joyfully in the school yard. My mother says, it takes her back to her childhood each time she gets on the swing. She grew up in Calcutta and the parks near her home were always too crowded for any child to get their heart's fill of swinging. They had to stand in line, wait their turn and then be urged to make way (altogether too soon) for the next child in line.

Having unfettered access to the swing had remained an unfulfilled childhood dream that is realized each evening at J's school - she can never have enough of it. Each time she is deeply thankful. When I see my mother in the school yard, return to her childhood for a bit, I think about my biggest unfulfilled dreams from childhood and youth. The thing that stands out most prominently is the desire to learn for the sheer pleasure of it without being tested and graded for ability to cram and regurgitate.I was never a good test taker but I always loved to learn - a combination that did not work so well for me in the Indian school system.

I am willing to wait any length of time to be able to return to school to be a full-time student and study one or more subjects I am passionate about knowing fully well there will be little to no return on investment. Like my mother, I may end up being the most enthusiastic grandmother in class of twenty year olds. When I picture myself in that context, it feels as if it is a blessing to have some dreams left unfulfilled - it makes the wait so worthwhile. Not every grandmother is able to become seven in a school yard.

2 comments:

Vikas Gupta said...

I also love the swing as much as J and her grandma!

If I am not incorrect J's birthday is knocking! Happy Birthday to J in advance! :)

Heartcrossings said...

Hi Vikas - Thanks for the birthday wishes for J. She had a wonderful one