Wednesday 23 March 2011

The butterfly

Founder's day at Y's school and Y's role as a butterfly in her first ever public performance at the ripe young age of 2 years and 3 months = a red-letter day for us. Her costume was a yellow and blue affair - a halter-neck blouse and a frilly skirt. She paired it with a pair of black tights and sparkly yellow shoes and I sent her off on the school van on the day of the function. S, Ads and I followed an hour later, agog to see our princess on stage. Have I mentioned before what a lovely serene place Y's school (I should say ex-school now) is? Low buildings surrounding a large lawn flanked with lots and lots of trees and saplings. A duck and geese-pond as soon as you enter. A couple of gazebos where rabbits frolic. A good chance that you will spy their resident peacock. A walk-in aviary. A hen-house and a birdhouse. Stone sculptures of animals dotted all over the place, which children can climb and play on. It's paradise, no two ways about it and my enduring regret will be that Y could not spend atleast another year in that special place. However, we got to experience it for a few months and I am thankful for that.
Y's performance was the second one and consisted of about 10 2-year olds dancing to the well-known Hindi song, which I remember parroting at school when I was a baby myself - Kisne banaya phoolon ko.....ishwar sab mein hai. The song talks about God who made the leaves, butterflies, birds, flowers, mummy, daddy, you and me; so each kid was dressed up as one of these creations of God. Oh my God (pun intended), they were all so unbearably cute!!!!! It was heartbreaking. Y was right in the front, along with 2 other butterflies. They had stuck a large pair of polka-dotted wings on her back and some antennae on her head. The antennae kept falling forward onto her glasses and she had to keep pushing them back :) She did a decent job of miming. Every now and then she would forget what she had to do and just stop and stare into the audience. Then she would look at the girl who was next to her (and who, incidentally was awesome - a born performer) and start copying her. All the other kids were in the same age group that is, the babies of the school - between 18 to 30 months old. Some were crying for their mom/dad and had to be either whisked off the stage (if inconsolable), or else cajoled into staying put by the concerned parent kneeling clumsily in front of the stage and shouting bright words of encouragement! Later on, Y's teacher told me what a big achievement it is for kids of that age to simply get out there and do something - anything - rather than cry to be let off. She's right of course. I can't imagine being all of 2 years old, dressed in something uncomfortable and asked to dance in front of a few scores of people under dazzling lights.
I don't have pictures of Y from that day. The school asked that the parents not click their own photos since the small kids would get distracted and distressed if they spotted their parents in the crowd. They were supposed to give us the photos clicked by the school photographer. I'm a little bummed because I can't wait to share the photos with friends and family but apparently we have to wait until April for the pics. C'mon....nobody told them that the world has gone digital?????
She looked so vulnerable and small on stage. A little lost, a little confused, but bravely plodding on, doing what she was supposed to. She didn't smile or have the easy confidence of her neighbour. She was just a 2 year old baby searching for her family in the audience, in between executing a few dance steps. All I wanted to do was to rush up there and fold her into my arms; however that impulse was successfully resisted and I watched her with pride, joy, awe and just plain love. What emotions these kids can excite in us silly parents!!!!

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