Ashwini was waiting at the door for her children, Amit and Anika. It was the last day of their exams and she had prepared tasty snacks for them.

“Yeeh!! Mom…..Mom…..Mom…..the exams are over. My teacher liked the crafts project. She said I did it in the best possible manner.” Anika screamed in joy.

“Mom, thanks for helping me with the Maths problems. I solved all of them. Full marks guaranteed!” Amit said smartly.

“Very good! I am happy.” Ashwini exclaimed and continued, “I have a little surprise for you.”

“PavBhaji.”Anika guessed.

“Masala Dosa.”

“Idli.”

“No, kids. Three guesses are over. I have prepared yummy, cheese pizzas for you.” Ashwini declared finally and the kids cheered. They just loved their mother’s cooked dishes and pizza was one of them. The kids and their mother relished on hot, yummy pizzas and kept talking about the day.

“Mom, you know Rishit from my class. He always disturbed others during the exam and copied from them. If they didn’t, he used to keep disturbing them all the time. Finally, he was caught today. I am glad that he won’t disturb others from next time.”

“Hey, let me speak now.” It was Anika, getting irritated by the constant talks of her elder brother. She studied in 2nd standard while Amit studied in 5th standard.

“Mom, one of the girls in my class had prepared a matchbox instead of a soapbox.” She said and kept giggling all the time.

“Have you done? Now, let me speak.” It was Amit again.

The kids continued speaking, giggling, and feasting on pizzas till late evening. Ashwini was pleased to know that her kids shared each and every thing with her. She had inculcated healthy and productive habits in them. Moreover, she maintained open lines of communication with the children. If the kid faced any problem or had an interesting piece of news, they always shared it with their mother. They were not scared or nervous about their mother’s behavior. In fact, she was like their friend.

In the vacations, Ashwini’s elder sister, Sunita visited their place along with her two kids, Pranjal and Kanchan. Sunita observed Ashwini’s friendly behavior with her kids and budged against it.

“What is this, Ashwini? You never scold your kids. They are not scared of their mother.” She asked her in fury.

“Didi, kids should never be scared of their parents. They should feel free when they communicate with parents.”

“Weren’t we afraid of our parents? Don’t you remember you used to be nervous while talking to Papa? Yet we had better communication.” Sunita continued.

“Well, we are not living in the same age. We need to be more open-minded with children now.”

But Sunita was not satisfied with her explanation. She continued complaining about how Ashwini’s kids were dependent on her mother for each and every thing.

“You don’t have to make tea every day. Look at my girl, Kanchan. She is of only 6 years but she knows very well how to use a microwave.”

“Why do you have to prepare different dishes each time when they are hungry? Pranjal straightaway calls the nearby hotel and places an order. You don’t have to spend time for it.”

“Did you help Amit with his Maths studies? You could have enrolled him to a reputed coaching class. Your worry ends there.”

Till her departure day, Sunita had almost brain-washed Ashwini by constantly reminding her that she was not bringing up her kids in the appropriate way. When Sunita left, Ashwini heaved a sigh of relief. But her attitude towards her kids changed a bit. She was worried whether she had been right in bringing up her kids or not.

As the school commenced, the kids were busy with their studies. When one day, Amit asked a Science related doubt to her mother, Ashwini replied flatly, “Amit, you should know how to study on your own. If you want, I will get you enrolled in a good coaching class. I don’t understand why you have to seek help from your mother each and every time – to find your geometry box, to buy a new uniform or to prepare tea or coffee. See how your cousins, Pranjal and Kanchan are self-dependent. Their mother goes to office the whole day and they manage everything on their own. Why can’t you be self-dependent like them?”  She finished and the kids watched her with their mouths open.

From the next day, their behavior changed completely. Anika was no more asking her mother for evening snacks. She used to buy something from the shop while returning home with the pocket money that her mother gave. Amit never asked any academic doubt to his mother. Instead, he simply used to make a call to his friend and get the doubt resolved. Amit started teaching Anika how to prepare tea or coffee for herself.

Ashwini noticed this sudden change in the kids’ behavior and was deeply moved. She felt that she was completely wrong. One evening, when Anika was stuck in her new drawing project, it was Amit who helped her. The kids no more asked for help. Moreover, the house had become quiet as there was no chitchatting between the mother and the kids.

Amit was searching his tie while leaving for school when Ashwini tried to search for it.

“Mom, I will search it on my own.” Amit said coldly.

“What’s the problem, kids? Why are you not allowing me to help you?” She asked in irritation.

“Mom, you said us that we need to take care of ourselves and we are trying to do the same. We are trying to be like Pranjal and Kanchan. But Mom, you didn’t notice that they don’t share anything with their mother as we do. We ask for your help but it is a form of love. We love when our mother helps us in our doubts or concerns. We like to eat food cooked by you because it is very tasty and not because we can’t cook on our own.”

When Amit finished saying this, mother took both the kids in her arms and wept.

Ankita Patil

Ankita Patil is a prolific writer and an avid reader. By qualifications, she is a Company Secretary and a Law graduate. She quit her full-time job and took up freelance writing few years back. She is also a novelist. Her fiction novels include Frustration Reloaded (a hilarious guide for a job seeker) and ‘C’ before my name with a ‘S’ (the first witty novel about CS profession). Apart from writing, she loves to travel, play with her pet dog and listen to her favourite music.

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