The holidays: it’s the dreaded time when moms start shivering just thinking about how they are going to occupy their short-attention spanned kids for one and a half to two months. It’s a time as awful as when the baby’s Bai goes for her annual holiday, and if, by any chance, both these events happen to fall simultaneously, then that spells the end of any mommy fun that was planned for the next month (or a few)!
During vacation time, moms spend fleeting free moments by reading blog posts that entice them with words like “10 activities to keep the kids busy during holidays”, or hurriedly signing up at summer camps, wishing that they were prolonged camp-outs, rather than 2 hour classes. You find women furiously typing on their mommy-support what’s app groups, trying to figure out if any other fellow mommy has some magical activity box which would keep them busy for hours (and keep them away from her make-up box, the idiot box (TV) or worse yet, some Pandora’s box that they manage to get their hands on). And this is when the “I-don’t-waste-my-time-in-idle-mommy-chitter-chatter” anti-social mommies are cursing themselves for not building a larger network so as to be able to parcel their kids off to another mom’s house every evening of the week in return for babysitting their monsters for one evening.
Most mothers are only happy about the holidays because it means that they can sleep in, a tad bit (especially if you have a toddler like mine who obediently steps out in the morning to do ‘seva’ of Bhagwanji with dadi or to watch her dad read the paper and slurp tea, while I snooze). Moms also see it as an opportunity to push their lazy husbands to spend some cheese and take the family on a holiday. Although, before and after the holiday (and possibly sometimes during), all they do is pray to the Rain Gods & School Gods, hoping that the former comes soon as it would signal the start of the latter. When I was growing up, 6th June was the date circled in all mommy calendars as the day we expected monsoons in Mumbai and the day when schools would usually reopen.
Now of course, I pity myself, and the other IB* moms the most: For the longest time, I couldn’t fathom why kids (in ICSE and SSC boards) had holidays in the summer but went to school through the monsoons. Why would the Government want the kids to trudge to school at such a mucky time, when traffic ran amok and kids woke up several mornings, got completely dressed, wondering whether they should wade through floods and get to school, only to find out that it was shut or stay at home, and brave getting a demerit for playing truant when “all the other kids made it”.
Now, I understand that we underestimate our Indian Government by disregarding all their decisions as illogical but in reality, they have been very kind to us poor moms! They probably decided upon summer holidays so that kids, during vacation time, could at least be left to their own devices; to run about in building (or area) gardens while their moms put their feet up.
Now with this IB system, the holidays start just as the rains do, which means you’re stuck at home all day with your little terrorist, and there’s no relief as the weather doesn’t allow them to step outside. This is the worst kind of torture that anyone can inflict on moms (worse than “are-we-there-yet” questions on a long road trip). Perhaps this is a conspiracy by the U.S. Government and a way of eventually using American torture techniques to break an entire breed of affluent Indian moms. All I can say is that we fell for it!
I often wondered why my mom would recite her Hanuman Chalisa so animatedly, diving in obeisance over and over again, like she was evoking mercy from someone, nearing the end of our summer holidays. Now I know that she was invoking the Rain Gods so that it would mean that my two siblings and I would soon be off her hands, and her mind, from 8 am to 3:30 pm.
As I venture into the first week of BabyA’s IB school-timed vacations, I find myself doing a Lagaan-style dance, but this time not pleading “kaale megha, kaale megha, paani toh barsao!” (Dark clouds, bring down the rain showers!) It’s my version of a summer dance, my very own Surya Malhar, which begs the Sun God to ascend upon us soon, and clear away the clouds over Bombay city, and over my personal life! I pray, every day, “May the Sun again reinstate my child into school so I may never have to hear ‘Mom, I’m so booooooored’ ever again” (or at least for a year).
Could that be a ray of sunlight that I see at the end of this slushy, mushy rainbow? Oh no! Can’t be! After all, the independence of this country and us, IB mums, is still a month and a half away:
Around the 15th of August, at the stroke of the 8th morning hour, when the world sleeps, IB moms will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes which comes but rarely in history… when the soul of a mother, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to entertaining our kids, just until August, when we shall finally send them off to school, and attain our freedom!
Nehru couldn’t have said it better!
*IB- International Baccalaureate