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How many of you still remember their kids’ first day of school? I do. I remember the day so vividly. That was a hot summer day. The scorching heat was enough to set one on fire. Waking up my son in that intensity of heat, the trip to the washroom and cold splashes of water on his face was enough to blow my ears out (of course because of his ear-screeching cries).
But before all of that, I had to get to get up with all the zeal and enthusiasm. The love of children is so strange. It gets you easily even on death hanging. So it was just a matter of war in a hot kitchen.
A soldier was all ready for a war which was to be fought in a kitchen. Yes, I am talking about myself. That morning, I prepared a beautiful and full of protein breakfast. After all, it was the first day of his school, so his breakfast was ought to be full of energy. It took ‘another’ lifetime to prepare for his lunch. His lunch box had been bought with the pure love of the owner. His favorite cartoon character was beaming back from his lunch box. So the lunch had to be that pretty too.
When I came out of the kitchen, it felt that I had just taken a bath. I ran to my chilled room. The chilled and crisp air made me lazy. I laid down and was about to sleep and get lost in my land of dream. Just then, I forced my mind to reel back to the last image I could recall. I bolted awake remembering Mujtaba’s first day of school. I got up hurriedly and woke him up. He was reluctant to get up, so I picked him up and took him to the washroom.
As we got out of the washroom, I felt him getting ‘chaq-o-choband’, so I ran to fetch full of protein wala breakfast, which was being half eaten by him (much to my disappointment). With a heavy heart, I opened my mouth to make him understand that it was being made in ghazab ki garmi of kitchen and my blood’s been shed while preparing this beautiful breakfast (I mean paseena. Did I sound like being over dramatic?) I gulped my words down assuming his ‘pissed off mood’ going more pissed off. So I promised myself to eat this left-over breakfast soon after dropping him to school because my hard work couldn’t get wasted.
Jhatpat, I got him ready and put his lunch box in his school bag. I glanced at the wall-clock, only to realize that we were getting late. I gave him a water bottle, took my handbag and hurried to the car. All the way, I recited every dua I could remember and prayed that I hadn’t forgotten anything.
I found all the kids crying in the school, as it was their first day. Only my Mujtaba was the kid who wasn’t crying at all. With the head held high and pride in my eyes, I took him to the end of the corridor, crowded with the consoling parents of their crying babies. I gave him a kiss and poured my advice to pay attention in class, not to misbehave and be friendly to other kids.
He was still standing. I kissed him again and promised to come soon to pick him up. He was again standing with a question in his eyes. I asked him to go. He said, “Amma?” I asked what’s the problem. “Where’s my bag?” I looked down on his tiny shoulders. Right then, I felt an earthquake under my feet. And a mini heart attack too. All the pride I had in my eyes suddenly started to drift away.
All the crying babies started to laugh at me (lame but I went through that way.) Our eyes were asking the same question with each other. The ringing of the bell broke the ice between us. And so many buwas and aayaas came to get all the kids.
“Go, Mujtaba! I’m bringing back your school bag.” This was the only sentence I could utter at that moment. With all the desire to eat that leftover breakfast, to go back to a chilled room and enjoy some minutes of sleep, crushed under that sentence. And I welcomed the shedding of my blood again. (Sorry! My Paseena)