All of 4 years old, kuttan fell in love over the summer. 'She is so pretty amma', he said. 'I like her a LOOOT', he said, his eyes widening. He hid under my dupatta and blushed painfully when she smiled at him. 'Why don't you cut your hair like her amma?', he asked, looking down his nose at the few wisps of hair that still cling to my scalp after all the hair pulling. 'Why don't you wear sarees like her amma?'
'She' is his class teacher. The love affair happened over the summer as he joined LKG and went to class, all apprehensive and nervous. June was a busy month for the Bangalore household with Kuttan's new school and little princess's arrival. I was worried about how kuttan would adjust to so many changes at once. As it turned out, I need'nt have. Ms.B smiled at him gently as I led him to class on the first day and kuttan took one look at her and I knew things would be ok, in school at least.
He would come from school and sing Ms.B's praises. If I said anything contrary to her words, I would be summarily shot down. 'You dont know anything amma'. And when we went for the PTA I could see the feelings were entirely reciprocated. Kuttan seems to have shared all his feelings, his joy and sadness and fears with Ms.B. A cheerful, warm young woman who was sensitive to my baby boy's needs and knew just how to deal with all his childish fears and anxieties.
Last week, kuttan came back from school and said 'Amma, I have 2 madams in class now.' The husband and I exchanged glances, fearing the worst. 'Maybe Ms.B is going to leave kanna', I suggested gently. 'No', came the explosive shout. I wisely kept quiet.
Tonight the husband had a call from Ms.B who said she was leaving. She called because kuttan was so attached to her and she was worried about him, about how he would adapt. Could you please explain to him, she asked. What do I say, I thought to myself all the while thinking how graceful it was of her to call in the first place.
Husband and I called kuttan and told him Ms.B was going away. When is she coming back, he asked innocently. She isnt baby, I told him. And watched realization slowly dawn. And tears fill those big, soft eyes of his. Call her amma, I will tell her not to leave, he begged. A long talk followed. About how people sometimes have to go away and new people come and we learn to love them as much. About the need to adjust to changes even though it may be difficult at times. At the end of it we ask, 'So are we ok honey? What are you going to tell Ms.B tomorrow?'
Pat comes the reply, 'I am going to say I love you and don't cry too much when you leave me and go, ok?' Someday, my darling, you are going to find someone who cant resist that charm of yours and who will decide to stay back with you. Forever. Till that day, well, you have your mom and dad.