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Schooling : Monday Morning Blues - Another Article In Short Story Format

Discussion in 'Schoolgoers & Teens' started by varalotti, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    This is an actual experience of mine embellished sufficiently to cover the privacy of the people involved. During the time my daughter went through this phase of school-sickness I was in hell. But all of us patiently waited and therefore the story had a happy ending.- Varalotti

    Monday Morning Blues

    Malu, it’s already 6. Wake up Preethi. I am afraid she will be late for school.”

    “I have been trying to get her up from 5:30. She says that she has a headache and wants to sleep a little longer.”

    It was 6:30. Preethi kept on saying that she was not well and could not get up. The school van would be there at 7 AM. Even if Preethi got up now she would miss the van and had to be dropped at school.

    Preethi was in Seventh standard in a posh school in that neighbourhood.

    It was the beginning of the week. A typical Monday morning. Both Rajesh and Malathi were office-goers. They had their own Monday morning blues. Now Preethi refusing to get up aggravated the tension which had already built up in their system.

    Finally at ten minutes to seven Rajesh and Malathi forced Preethi to sit up on her bed. They were shocked by their daughter’s appearance. Preethi’s eyes were blood-red. Looked like the child had not slept the whole night.

    Preethi was sobbing uncontrollably and was rushed to the Doctor. The Doctor diagnosed speculatively that it could be a minor infection or some allergy. The prognosis :a dose of anti-biotics and anti-allergy drugs and rest for a couple of days would be more than enough. The parents heaved a sigh of relief. They dropped Preethi at her grandparents’ place and left to work on that day.

    When they came back in the evening to pick up the child, they were pleasantly surprised by Preethi’s appearance. They had expected a weak, bed-ridden child who had to be coaxed to get up and leave. Instead they found Preethi very robust playing with the children of the neighbouring flats.

    The next day it was business as usual. Preethi got up on her own well in time and insisted that she would go to school on that day. Thereafter it was the same enthusiastic Preethi who went to school everyday and in the evening regaled her parents with tales from her school.

    During the weekend they went to a movie, visited a theme park and ate out on Sunday night.

    On Monday morning, Preethi did not wake up. And when her parents forced her to sit on the bed, they found blood-shot eyes. The girl was complaining of severe headache again.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> This time the Doctor ordered a battery of investigations – blood tests, urine tests, x-rays et al. As the results revealed nothing he referred Preethi to a neuro-physician who advised a CAT scan. But everything was all right. The whole process took about two days within which time Preethi became perfectly normal. But Rajesh and Malathi kept consulting the Doctors about the peculiar happening on Monday mornings.
    When the same symptoms were manifested on the third consecutive Monday their doctor suspected for the first time that the problem might be psychological. He referred the case to the city’s leading psychiatrist.
    The consultation lasted for one hour at the end of which the Psychiatrist said:
    “It’s pretty basic. The child used to the comfort of holidays is too stressed up to face the Monday morning blues. You see your daughter being your only child has been brought up as a spoilt kid. And she wants a three-day weekend. And for that she mimicks some illness on Monday morning. The problem is with the child, and to some extent with your upbringing.

    When she fakes the headache next Monday, just ignore her and pack her up to school. She will be cured.”
    The parents could not fully understand the import of these words, let alone digest it.
    It was a heart-rending scene the next Monday. A crying, sobbing Preeti was dragged out of her bed. She was forcibly bathed, dressed up and dragged to the school van in the early hours of the morning.
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> Rajesh thought the problem was solved once and for all when his handphone rang. Preethi’s school called him to tell that she had fainted.
    Preethi was rushed to the ICU of a nearby hospital. She had vomitted several times during the day and was put on IV fluids. It took three days for her to return to normalcy.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> Rajesh met the Chief Doctor of that hospital in the evening. He was a kind person in his fifties with his greying beard and fatherly looks. He patiently heard the history and reprimanded him for the harsh treatment meted out to the child. He also condemned the psychiatrist for suggesting such a brutal treatment.
    “I shall refer you to Dr.Namrata, one of the best counsellors I have ever seen. I am sure she will come up with something.”
    Dr.Namrata was not a medical doctor. She had done her doctorate in psychology. Her dissertation was on child psychology. She was in her forties. But her kind face, her relaxed, unhurried approach made her look much younger than her real age.
    She had been dealing with school children all her working life and in the process had developed a compassionate affinity towards them.
    She patiently listened to what Preethi’s parents had to say. Then she sent them out and spent two hours with Preethi. Then she called the nervous couple again.
    “Patience is the buzzword now. Preethi is a very intelligent and a sensitive child. She is not a spoilt child, but a very caring and a gentle person. But as of now she has not thrown any light on this peculiar problem.”
    I need to see Preethi tomorrow for about an hour. I want to see her school bag, any school photographs, the school diary and everything connected with school. Don’t force her to attend school this Monday.”
    The next day Namrata and Preethi went through every item in Preethi’s school bag – her books, her notebooks, her timetable, her pens and pencils.
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2006
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Schooling: Monday Morning Blues II

    Dr.Namrata made Preethi to talk about every item and recorded the conversation. She took a very deep interest in looking at the school diary which laid down the rules and regulations of the school.
    After a week’s time Dr.Namrata called Rajesh and insisted that she should be allowed to talk to the school principal on this matter. Rajesh arranged for the meeting with great difficulty.

    Dr.Namrata called up Rajesh after the meeting.

    “Mr.Rajesh, The Principal has promised me all help in this matter. Now it’s our duty to cajole Preethi to attend school coming Monday.”

    As a very special gesture Dr.Namrata was there in their house in the early hours of Monday morning. She sat in Preethi’s bed and gently convinced her to attend school. But Preethi was adamant. Namrata held Preethi’s hands and told her.<!--[endif]-->

    “Just this time, Preethi. If you attend classes this Monday, all Mondays will be holidays for you. But if you don’t attend this Monday then they will kick you out of the school.”<!--[endif]-->

    Preethi did not want to change schools. She was very much attached to her circle of friends at her school. So she reluctantly agreed to go to school that Monday.
    Rajesh and Malathi were unduly worried. They had a premonition that something was going to happen that day. Rajesh was looking at his handphone fearing that it would ring anytime. <!--[endif]-->

    It did ring. It was two in the afternoon. Preethi’s school called to tell him that she was sick. He rushed to the school and took Preethi to the hospital where she was given immediate medical help. One surprising thing was that the hospital almost expected that would happen. Rajesh later learnt that Dr.Namrata had alerted the hospital the previous day itself. <!--[endif]-->

    Two days later Rajesh and Malathi were sitting with puzzled looks before Dr.Namrata in her Counselling Centre.

    “Congratulations! The problem is solved.”

    “ “

    “I examined everything connected with Preethi’s school. The pertinent information came from her class timetable. I wanted to know what was there on Monday which was not there on the otherdays of the week.

    “She had her games class only on Mondays. I met the games teacher. He was a nice man and had a natural way with the children. So that was not a problem. Then I found out that she had about three hours of science classes on Monday which was not there on other days. I guessed that the problem should be there with the science teacher, one Miss Mythili. I talked to her for a while. Well, I was not happy with her attitude. Then I sought the Principal’s help in the matter to find out what exactly was the problem. <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->“With the Principal’s blessings I had a powerful camera installed in Preethi’s class room. I was shocked to see the recording. This teacher is a sadist. Of course she does not indulge in physical violence – any more than striking the students with a notebook. But the words she uses – My God! – and the way she delivers it, is sure to frighten even adults let alone children.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->

    “And she chose only the brightest and the most beautiful students in her class for a particularly cruel treatment. Preethi is a very soft and sensitive child. She could not bear this harsh treatment. She was afraid of complaining against her teacher. Mainly because the teacher had frightened them with dire consequences if they complained.

    “Unable to face this inhuman treatment, unable to withstand this agony every Monday morning, Preethi could not sleep on Sunday nights which gave her red eyes. Thinking too much about this torture had given her a real headache.

    “The psychiatrist was terribly wrong in assuming that the problem was with the child. And the worst thing we did to the child was to force her to school. The fear in her was so overwhelming that when she heard Miss Mythili talk for a few minutes she fainted.”

    Rajesh was furious. “How dare can she do this to my daughter? I will see to that she is thrown out of the school. I am going to give a complaint to the Director of Schools against that dangerous woman. I am even thinking of filing a harassment case against that bitch.”

    “Mind your words, Rajesh. Please. I have requested the Principal to give her three months’ leave with pay. And then give her non-teaching duties for a while.”

    “But honestly,Dr.Namrata, should she not be given a harsher punishment for her wickedness?”

    “You are wrong, Rajesh. It’s not her wickedness but a disease or a problem similar to the one your daughter had. And as in the case of your daughter, the root cause of the problem lies in her circumstances.

    “She hails from a low middle class family. Her father was a drunkard who deserted her family when she was very young. Her father used to beat her mother in front of the children. <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--> Miss Mythili has not had a childhood at all. That’s why when she saw bright and beautiful children from happy homes in her class, she felt a sense of deprivation.

    “She thought that they had something which she could never hope to get in her life – a happy childhood. And was determined to do something about it. “You know something – she is my next patient for the day. I see her as another school-kid with a different problem. She will be here in half an hour.”

    Rajesh and Malathi saw the compassion in the Counsellor’s eyes. They were confident that even the cruel and sadistic Miss Mythili would one day emerge out of Dr.Namrata’s clinic as a loving teacher. Dr.Namrata’s unconditional love would work miracles on her as it did on Preethi.

    They shuddered to think that but for Dr.Namrata’s intervention what would have happened to their daughter. Their eyes were wet when they folded their hands as a mark of respect to the wise and loving Counsellor. <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
     
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  3. Sharada

    Sharada Senior IL'ite

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    Alive magazine

    I read this story in "Alive" and found it relevant to our times. A friend's daughter in Chennai committed suicide two years ago because of such unresolved problems in school. Many children must be going through the trauma that Preethi did. Fortunately in her case her parents nipped the problem in the bud.
    A must-read for all parents.
    Sharada
     
  4. AGR

    AGR Bronze IL'ite

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    Re:If only.......

    Just reminds me of my school days.........I used to insist that my mom should be in the house when i return back from the school......will narrate her all the incidents that had happened during the day........that would include our comments on the teacher......would also tell her how I hate a girl because she always manages to score more than me in maths........my mom would just listen to every thing and wherever required would give her views.......u try to concentrate on what max u can score........comparison is the cause of all unhappiness in life........etc......I had someone to speak with........probably this is lacking with the mother also working.........of course even if grand parents take care of the child there is that generation gap.......which i can sense in the aforesaid narration
     
  5. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Sharada,For The Nice Words!

    Dear Sharada,
    As I told you earlier this is a real life story but it did not happen with so much drama. Preethi, my daughter, used to call sick two days in a week when she was in her 8th grade. We had a full round of medical investigation. It did not help. Then I had the last minute intuition (thank God!) to check her time table. Then I saw that she had Physics classes on these two days. I confronted the Principal with my information. I threatened him that unless he does something to the teacher I'll shift Preethi to another school and make it a big issue. Fortunately he obliged and the problem was solved.
    Most of us parents have a tendency to always blame our children instead of looking outside for the causes.
    I am going to send the photostat copy of the article to that principal (he's in a different school now) as a token of my gratitude.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
  6. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks AGR!

    Dear AGR,
    I am happy that I was able to kindle your school day memories. You are very right. School children look forward to meet their mother/father to tell the school tales. And that's a very powerful time to sow the right seeds in the minds of the children. Your mother talking about comparison at that time would have gone deeper into your hearts. It would not have had the same effect even if she had talked to you when you were in your college.
    I am very sorry to note that the present day children do not have the luxury of talking to their parents when they return from their school.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
  7. purnima_2k

    purnima_2k Senior IL'ite

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    Better Late than never!-- happy that i read it!

    HI Varalotti,

    By Chance i glanced through this article of yours! Wonderfully written.. being a young mother, these kind of articles are sure shot eye openers!

    Thanks for posting this. Brilliantly written!

    Regards,
    Purnima
     
  8. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Purnima

    Hi Purnima,
    thanks for the nice words. As I have already told in this thread that is a personal experience of mine.
    regards,
    varalotti
     
  9. neets

    neets Silver IL'ite

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    nice writeup..how true that it happens always,teachers should never be rude.they should understand about child psychology before starting a teacher career.kids are too sensitive and whatever happens in their childhood will have effect when grow up.torturing teachers can make a child's life.Good to hear that you sought out the problem by taking time to investigate.very less parents bother to do so and rather end up blaming and scolding kids at home which can make the situation worse.


    neethu.
     
  10. sutt

    sutt New IL'ite

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    Hi,

    Beautiful article. A real eye opener for present day parents like us.
     

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