There, I said it. Now it’s out in the open and can’t be taken back. For years, I have followed Desperate Housewives like my life depended on it. One might judge me on the taste for the scandalous but my focus was always on the glamour of it all. The American Dream seems to be pretty to the eyes – So, a housewife cooking lemon meringue pie in a spotlessly clean kitchen created waves of appreciation in me and a size zero housewife decking up to visit a party evoked feelings of glitz in my so called quiet life.
What we watch and feel is what we become. I started washing dishes with a scrubber and cleaning washrooms with gloves; started connecting with my old girlfriends and basically gave my life a makeover. (This all was done consciously and in good taste). The self love amongst the characters and power of their friendship rubbed itself on me. The calm voice of the narrator soothed my generally -frayed nerves and when the so- called unconnected pieces of the episode got tied up neatly into a thought provoking theme, I was all cheers for the director.
And then , one day this make believe play that I was so tuned to watching turned itself on me. On this day, this show stopped being a respite and became a power house of energy.
Let me back up a little.
My first introduction with specially abled children was way back in school when we got the opportunity to visit Cheshire School. Too young to understand and process the significance of the trip, we made a picnic out of it. (Though my school must have done something right if I still carry snippets of that day with me till now!)
A trip to the Blind school happened a few months later. I sincerely think we drove that batch of the visually impaired crazy with our noise and our demands for song requests. Yet, they entertained us with love and true happiness. Gratitude.
So that was the sum total of my experience with specially abled kids. 6 months into a reputed Teaching course, I understood that
1) the word handicap is a big no-no.
And 2) that compassion is the way to go.
And during the last leg of my Teacher’s Training Course, my internship landed me in a prestigious all-inclusive school. Day after day, I sat in a class of young children being managed by a class teacher and couldn’t help but be constantly disturbed by the parallel teaching by the special educator.
My concentration went back and forth and finally settled on the special educator who had eyes on the back of her head when it came to her student. I saw her pester him, bully him, coax him and coach him very single minute of his time in the day. It was as if nobody else existed for them. The circus went on, minute after minute, leaving me dumbfounded and in awe at the level of commitment needed to handle a 6 year old who had no clue as to the world around him. Respect.
I generally advocate J Krishnamurthy’s teachings of creating a nurturing environment of fearlessness around a child but what I saw in that single month taught me that “Often the hardest lessons are the scariest for the child to learn”- mainly because the student is just not in a mood to jump out of their comfort zone.
Back to the video which encapsulates a trial which every parent goes through in one way or another.
The son demands a sandwich and all the mother asks for is time to make one. At first, humor is her go-to weapon. Upon seeing the child’s scorn evident in his face, she decides to get assertive and asks him to make one for himself. In the eye of all his excuses, she encourages him to try .The parents of special children don’t have it easy and when Lynette, our character feels under appreciated, she has the guts to ask for an acknowledgment.
“ONE DAY I won’t be here and…” sentence has reverberated in my eyes for as long as I can remember.
The mother finally brings out the big guns as she ultimately refuses to make him a sandwich. The anger, the frustration, the madness, the tears and the horrible feeling of having lost it all completely submerges me as I looked for the real meaning of this clip.
And I concluded- Special child or not, there are some really tough lessons we will have to teach our children and sometimes, you literally burn along with your kid to drive home the crucial lessons.
And if the law of karma is anything to go by, it will be the lessons we would have to go through again- only this time to teach rather than to learn. And this is where true learning happens, right?
“ONE DAY I won’t be here and…who will make their sandwich then?