Friday, 23 June 2017

A School for Dwayne

- Brian Mendonça

Tears stung my eyes when I saw my son sit proudly on the bench, in his new uniform, on the first day of his new school.

It had been a long journey. Shifting my son Dwayne (6) from his school near Vasco to one in Panjim had been no mean achievement. Family wisdom had derided the move, as being whimsical at best. Besides how were we to account for an elder who we were staying with?

But putting Dwayne in a school of our choice was our dream. It was a long shot, no doubt, but we were definitely going to give it a try. So the first week of January saw me standing in the line for an admission form in the wee hours of the morning.  At the interview Dwayne faltered at some of the activities, but Queenie waded in and said he had not been taught to spell numbers one to ten in school.

The much awaited letter, terse though it was, saw our joy break forth. Dwayne had got admission. Things were still in uncertain though, in Vasco, with the elder fretting about how it would work out. He even put it in writing.

As captain of the ship I had to steer an even course. I was taken aback when I received an email from a relative anxious about the trauma that the elder would be facing. I objected to the word ‘trauma’ because it gave scant regard to our own aspirations in life. I replied saying that those who preach to us about how to live our lives, should offer to take care of an elder themselves.

With the days flying past I scanned the calendar anxiously. Nothing seemed to be happening. Then I said that on 1 June we would be shifting. The elder was free to decide what to do.

Time stood still when one day I lobbed the question again and the elder said that he was ready to come to my place in Porvorim.

It’s been several days now and my son loves his school. He should, I was in the same school in Bombay and would vouch for it.

A fortnight in our new home, and we have got our systems in place. We even fixed the transport to and fro to school from our society gate.

Wet blankets are not limited to the monsoon alone. To survive, I prayed to Mary Help of Christians. I also ramped up my communication with the family circle, (rather than being silent and evasive) through calls and WhatsApp pictures of how it was a better option to shift.

When your heart is set on a goal, the universe will align itself to your purpose.

We are very happy in Porvorim. The elder watches the lush foliage outside his balcony. He has a room to himself.  Dwayne has a new circle of friends. I enjoy my swim in the pool when I can. The lift makes things easier for Queenie.

In some sense, we have arrived.
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Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday 18 June 2017. Pix of Dwayne taken by the author on 5 June 2017 - the first day at school.

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