Sunday, 24 November 2013

The failure

The year 1995
Day – A sunny Saturday
Date - Hmmm…..Sorry can’t recollect

"Ammu get up it is time to light the lamp," I said.

It was 6 pm and my daughter was fast asleep. I had reached home a little early that day hoping to go out shopping with her. But here was ‘Valiyamma’ (literally meaning elder mother in Malayalam . By the way ‘Valiyamma’ was the lady who took care of my daughter when I was away at office. She had joined us when Ammu my daughter, was only 10 months old. ) telling me that Ammu had not changed, nor eaten a morsel after coming from school. Now that was strange. The happy – go- lucky person that she was, Ammu was not one to brood or act like that. "Maybe sick," I thought. I went to the bedroom only to find her lying on the ground between the wide open doors of the steel cabinet. I touched her forehead. No, not a fever. Then what? 

I searched through her school bag only to come across her first unit test answer papers. I knew my answer was there. She had scored well in all but Physics. I understood why she had acted thus. I realized that this was the first of the many failures she might have to face in the coming years. I felt sorry for her yet,was also thankful that it had come early in life. This was her opportunity to understand that life was not a smooth ride. It was a combination of failures and successes and that while she took successes in her stride she had to cope up with failures gracefully . Ammu was one who was always in the top five in her class. So I could well imagine what a shock it might have been for her when she did not manage to make it in physics. 

She finally woke up. I led her to the dining table where a hot cup of tea and snacks were waiting for her.She was silent. I coaxed her to have something. I did not ask her about the papers on purpose. I wanted her open up when she felt so. She could take her time.

Suddenly she burst into tears. I let her be. Then slowly in between the tears she mumbled, “Amma, I failed to make it in Physics.”

“Ok. We will talk about it later. First have your tea and then go and change.”

“Amma, do you hear I failed. Are you not angry with me?”

“No I am not angry with you. Now have your tea. We will talk about it later.” Thus consoling my daughter I waited for her to have her tea and change her school uniform. Then slowly we got to the topic.

“Ammu, tell me dear what went wrong?”

“Amma, you know it is the first time we are studying physics. I cannot understand what the teacher teaches. In fact that is the case with all of us.”

“How many got through?”

“Only two.”

“Well then, if you don’t understand what she teaches why don’t you tell her.”

“We tried several times. But she gets angry with us, scolds us. So we no longer ask her.”

“Then you should have told us dear, we would have talked to her. In fact I will speak to her tomorrow itself.”

 “No. Don’t do that," she pleaded. "She will be angry. Promise you won’t talk to her.” I gave in.

“Then promise me the next time you don’t understand something you will tell me or dad. We will clear it for you.”

She agreed. A light lit up her face. She gave me a tight hug and left to read her favourite magazine. 

Monday morning on returning from school she told me how the other parents had reacted to the failure of their children. No one was spared. In fact everyone was surprised that she had got off without anything, neither a harsh word nor any kind of humiliation. They told her she was lucky.

One month later

The next unit test results came. She scored the third highest marks in physics. I knew she had prepared well. But I was not prepared for this. I congratulated her only to be told with a smile, “Thank you amma for having stood by me. This was the least I could do for you. Do you know all my friends were surprised. They asked me how I managed it. I told them it was you who helped me. Your confidence in me and my abilities spurred me to take on the challenge bravely.  ”

Two months later

The half yearly exams were conducted. This time she raised the bar and the result was there before us in ten days time. She had topped the class and had also topped in the physics paper scoring an impressive 95. I was happy the failure had not disheartened her but had motivated her. I knew she was ready to face failures, take them as challenges and surge forward. My little girl also taught me a very valuable lesson on parenting. She taught me that love and understanding instill a sense of confidence in a child. It motivates them to give their best whereas harsh words and humiliation demotivate them and make them take extreme steps, steps we parents later regret in life.

Failures are no doubt the stepping stones to success but to convert them to success one must also be willing to take on the challenges they throw at us.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for 
Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda


This time we had to write a post including the sentence - 

"This time she raised the bar."

Thank you for walking in. By the way don’t forget to leave your footprints in the form of comments and suggestions. 
Your words mean a lot to me.


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