I had returned from a day of work in the city and gone straight to school to pick up the children. I hadn’t slept the whole night before because I had the column to submit…and that’s how I almost always write the column to its penultimate deadline on Tuesday morning.
Kanta had been home alone the whole day and she had scrubbed and cleaned the home really well. She even sorted out some of the junk in the backyard that I have been meaning to sell off to the raddi-waala.
The children and I returned home. Ali had not eaten her medicine in school and was whining about it. Sahar had to concentrate and eat her medicine scheduled for 4pm instead of eating anything else. Nam wanted something.
I sat on the stairs, raised my voice and delivered a spiel on how everybody was only going to get as good a deal as they deserved and I expected discipline and order and I wasn’t going to waste my time…blah blah blah.
Naseem started looking down at her hands with a very sad face at some point. Pin drop silence and stillness in the room when I had finished. Then Nam looked up and said, “Aapko pata hain, school mein sab mujhko very good girl kahte hain.”
Do you know that in school, everyone calls me a very good girl, she said.
A trailor of 15 years of my childhood replayed before me in surround sound.