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Friday, January 06, 2006


We always remember first days. The day the baby was born, the day he or she smiled. The day they grinned, the day they said 'Mama' followed rather quickly by 'Dada' or vice versa. The day they took their tiny first steps, in the indeterminate way that only babies who are rapidly learning to walk can. The day they first put their pen to paper and wrote their first A.

Like the first date, it is a moment etched in one's memory. But there is one first day I'd really like to forget. And that was my son's first day at school. Now, Dhruv is no longer a baby. He is soon going to turn 3 and as a mother should have been more than prepared for his big steps into Nursery-hood.

Yes, the lil tyke was excited. He wore his Spiderman bag to the playground, on the bus when we were going veggie shopping and if he had it, he'd be a Spiderman in the loo too. There was that huge excitement about wearing the bag, boarding the bag and then heading to school.

But on the day, it was all supposed to happen, the pieces were to mysteriously fit in like a perfect jigsaw puzzle resolved, everything fell out. Since he hadn't been to play school, I decided to ease him into the whole process by accompanying him to school. Somehow, he knew something strange was about to happen. In the taxi he snuggled up really close to me and as I tried to build all the excitement about heading to school, he became increasingly drawn. By the time, we reached the school, my usually chirpy fella was all quiet and didn't even want to look out of the car window.

Things got progressively worse, when we got close to the class-room. First he refused to get in. After much coaxing and showing him a giant plasma screen, that didn't quite do the trick, he rather gingerly stepped in. The teacher gave us her broadest smile, but it wasn't quite helping. He still wanted to get out. Somehow, he knew, soon this journey with Spiderman is going to turn solo.

With that he held my legs in a way he's never held before. He gave me a look at tugged at more than just my heart strings. I tried to remember, but I couldn't. Was this the same look my mother would have encountered almost 32 years ago? Maybe that's why they say your babies never grow up.