Naughty Boy: When English, Hindi, Social Sciences was done, the boy said “Baba, it is time for Bio Ma’am now. She is angry.” Baba smiled. “Let us see.” “No Baba, she is seriously angry.” “But why?” Baba asked. “You have not broken the three principles. Have you?”  “No Baba. That I have not.” “Then we will see. Do not worry.” And they climbed steps to second floor. P-T-M. When parents meet teachers.

“Your boy is a nuisance. Naughty. In fact, very naughty.” She said. As sternly as she could. The Bio Ma’am. Baba smiled. “And why would you say that?” He asked. “Oh, the way he is progressing, he shall not do well. In exams. In future.” “What did he do?” Asked Baba. “You know, in our class the windows are large. Pigeons enter and fly. I am teaching. Everybody is taking notes. He keeps on watching the pigeons. He even claps at them. And the whole class gets distracted. I asked him to leave the class. He walks out. And even when he is walking out, he watches the pigeons. He is very naughty. Makes the class laugh. With his antics.” Baba smiles. “I understand. I also did such things in class. My classmates laughed at me too. I think he has got it from me.” Baba says. Ma’am is dumbfounded. She says, “But his results are very bad.” “I know. I have seen his results. They are better than my marksheets. Do not worry. He will do well in life.” Baba says. Disgusted with the conversation, Bio Ma’am leaves the boy to his Baba. And leaves the room.

Such were PTMs. And the naughty boy waited for the PTMs. When he would come with his Baba. His Baba who trusted him. Understood him. And would be telling his teachers that naughtiness is a trait. Of students. Here. There. Everywhere. Yesterday. And today. And men and women do well in life in spite of their naughtiness in school.

Disturbing Boy: “Baba, do you have to go to office tomorrow?” The boy asked. Baba said “Yes. I have meetings.” The boy’s face darkened. Baba asked. “But why do you ask?” “Because our class teacher wants to meet Parents tomorrow. Then Ma will have to come. It would be better if you could come.” Baba smiled. Next day. Baba went. After school. In an empty classroom. Baba and the boy. Class teacher.  “Your son disturbs the class. I have reported to the Principal. I will not tolerate such indiscipline in the class.” The Class teacher says grimly. Baba asks. “Why? What has he done?” “He disturbs the class. And when I scold him, he gives lame excuses. I will not have him in the class.” “But what?” Baba asks. “Yesterday in Maths class, I had given a class test. And this boy he was not doing anything.” “But I could not solve any of those sums.” The boy feebly said. “How can you? Do you pay any attention in your class?” Teacher scolds. And then says. “And suddenly when everybody is busy in their tests, he stands up. I ask him why are you standing? He remains silent. And just stands. All students stop their work and watch him. After some time, he sits down.” Baba looks inquiringly at his son. “Why? Why did you stand?” “Baba, I thought I heard the National Anthem somewhere. And then I was singing it in my mind.” “See, see. Why should he hear a National Anthem? And, even if he has heard it why should he sing it? Is the classroom a place to sing the National Anthem?” Baba bursts into a laughter. “Disgusting.” The teacher says. And leaves the classroom. Baba and his boy trot home. The boy jumping jumping. Baba still laughing.

Worthless Boy: The boy was a big boy by now. Class twelve. One evening he came to his Baba. “Baba, once again there is a problem. You have to solve it.” “What happened?” “Our coaching class administrator wants to meet my parents.” “What have you done? Three principles not broken; I hope.” “No Baba. Never.” So, next day. After class. Evening, Baba met the administrator. “Your son is wasting your money. He is worthless in class. We will have to ask him to leave.” “What did he do? Does he disturb others?” “No. Not that. He is not attentive.” “Aah, but then why will you ask him to leave? He will be attentive. If he is not, he will suffer.” “No, we cannot have him. We will not have students who do not have any chance of getting admission in Medical school.” The administrator said. Baba smiled. “He will definitely get admission. Do not worry.” “Ok. Then let him get admission. I have my doubts. Another student from our Institute will be admitted in medical school.” “No. That you are wrong. Not from your Institute. He will take admission in another Institute.” As they walked down the stairs, the boy said “Baba you were right. I will get an admission in a Medical school. Pucca.”

 And they pressed their palms tightly as they have always done when a promise was made. Pucca.

Tomorrow is that boy’s birthday. February 18.

And his Baba and Ma are so proud of the fine young man he has grown up to be. Their son. Their love, pride and everything.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TINTIN. In advance. We wanted to wish you the first.

Baba and Ma

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