The Holy Trinity of Schooling

I’m sweating, my heart is palpitating really quickly… I have a million butterflies in my stomach. Oh wait! They aren’t butterflies! They are like obnoxious toads causing a ruckus in my tummy. I think I’m going to be sick!

She got in, she got in NOT? The prayer that one repeats while fingering the rosary beads every morning. Your jaap when you sit in front of your mandir. Nursery admission time is the time when the haves are separated from the contemptible have-nots. When the cream is spooned off and the rest of the milk is thrown, of which rivulets try to spread around, willing to settle in any crevice that will take this undesired milk.

If I had known earlier what separates the creamy mommies from the not-so creamy ones in Mommydom, I may have married differently. I had no control over the fact that my parents decided not to send my sister and me to the very prestigious Cathedral school, despite her having gotten in but I did have control over my marriage. If only I had known that the criteria upon which we choose a life partner (love for me, wealth for some, looks for others) has been all wrong. What we really should be giving sole importance to is Schooling. The first question one should ask before dating a guy: Which school did you study at? (And then demand to see a leaving certificate to make sure there is no story fabrication and conning involved).

My marriage to my husband was one right out of the movies with all the pre-marriage craziness: psycho-mad-possessive love and family turbulence, and break ups and make ups over 5 years of seeing each other, but I often joke with Nandy that I made a mistake: I shouldn’t have married him for his elite sports club membership but instead should have married someone from the holy trinity: Cathedral School, BIS and Campion, if you have a son, and Cathedral, BIS and JB Petit, if you have a daughter. Of course, Cathedral figures right at the top of this holy trinity, and in the school admission evaluation process, if you studied at these schools, they roll out the red carpet for you. If you didn’t, your existence has no meaning. You’re simply rubbish that no one wants to touch with a pole- unless you or your husband are NRIs, foreign expats or investment bankers and then the schools see dollar signs! Ka-Ching!

Filling out school admission forms are so stressful for me because the part in the form that I thought would be the strongest for my hubby and me, turns out to be the one I quiver to fill in.
Nandy: B.Com, M.Com (Best college in Bombay for Commerce), Chartered Accountancy- Intermediate, MBA at University of Pittsburgh.
Me: BA (Best College in Bombay for Arts), MA, M.Phil both in English Literature.
No one gives a damn! Did we study at the holy trinity of schools? No! Kicked to the curb.
I have gotten so used to getting reject letters from NURSERY SCHOOLS (yeah- it starts there!) that I don’t even know what an acceptance letter looks like (I hear it’s a call though. Letters are for losers!) The quivering hand now opens the letterbox every morning, so happy to see loads of wasteful junk mail but no rejection… for now. But it comes eventually: “We are sorry that we will not be able to accommodate your child right now as we have limited seats.” I have read those words so many times, I could write the letter in my sleep.

The one thing we have to our advantage is that my parents sent me to the best nursery of that time, and that’s the only reason why Baby A goes to a good play school/ nursery. If I hadn’t been from a great Montessori school, I’m sure we’d be looking at a big RED reject stamp on our foreheads again!

Sometimes, in interviews, they ask the parents, “Do you have any questions for us?” and when they do, every parent is baffled because when you grow up in SoBo, you grow up knowing that you don’t have questions for schools because you don’t choose schools; they choose you! Unless you’re from Cathedral School, and then you can swagger around and tell them that you don’t give a flying f*%k what they have to say because your kid will get into Cathedral anyway, i.e. The Holy Cathedral of cool kids and cool moms.