I posted this to parents at my kids school today…. sounded like it should feature here as well”.
So I got scolded at school today…. had to happen I was misbehaving. As we were inching our way to the gate I asked my daughter to hop onto the front passenger seat (the rear ones we have child lock enabled on to prevent any accident), put her bag on her shoulders put the bottle in the pocket (you know how kids are sometimes even the shoes come off in the journey from home to school)…. all this while waiting for the red BMW in front of me to finish dislodging their child and moving along. As I pulled up to the gate I realized it was going to be slightly irresponsible to open the passenger side door and having the 3 year old nursery kid get off on her own and make her way to the gate through the crowd gathered around seeing off the kids…. so I pulled up the hand brake jumped out of my car ran to the other side, opened the door, took out my baby and walked her over to Rekha maam standing inside the school receiving kids…. then I rushed back to the driver side but by now of course there was honking, and I suspect rich swearing, going on from the cars behind me…. this was really irresponsible of me…. Anyway so I started driving on but this persistent lady kept honking and trying to draw my attention…. I knew I had done the wrong thing but creating a scene right in-front of the school gate by parking and talking to her would’ve caused more inconvenience for other parents already in queue rather than solve any real problems….. I took the turn and the lady came dangerously close to running down other cars/students walking into the school…. a little distance away I slowed down put on the hazard lights and let the still honking car pull up beside me. The lady vigorously motioned for me to roll down the glass even while I was trying to locate the button to do that (yeah clumsy me but then that’s already been proven by the manner in which I held up traffic)…. she told me that she had been honking at me for a very long distance and that it was extremely irresponsible of me to have parked my car to drop off my child as there were other people too who had to drop their kids off at school….. now I could’ve gotten into an argument stating how the BMW in front of me took way more time than I did or how does she propose I drop off my kid when there is no parking space around school or how this is too small an age to put the kid in a school bus (personal opinion even though a lot of children in nursery do come by bus) or how the school should provide attendants at the gate to open the door and take the children when we come to drop them off….. however I really am a very mild mannered person, always try to avoid confrontation besides I knew I have done this to many people who park at the school gate and bid farewell to their kids for ages while the queue grows increasingly impatient…. so I held up my hand, smiled and apologized profusely, assuring her it will not happen again. That placated the lady and I hope she was not as agitated while driving home (I was disturbed all the way back and had to drive extra careful to avoid any mishap)….. Once again I am apologizing to all parents who were in the queue as well as to the lady who flagged me down….
There are two takeaways from this incident (and the fact that I wrote it all out)…..
1. This is no way for us to be when we’re dropping off the kids at school. Our anxieties rub off onto the children however minor the incident may have been. To avoid such and similar incidents in the past I used to park near the garden (Rajiv Gandhi Udyan) and walk to school with the girls everyday. Nowadays the sidewalks are so full of dog poop besides the threat of rain that I try and drop them off at the gate instead. I might resort to walking again, after all what are shoes, umbrellas and raincoats for but to protect us from dog poop, rain and slush…. besides a short walk before school does wonder for the retentive powers of a kids brain…. the point being though that we need to be more relaxed and calm while dropping off the kids just so that they too can pick up the vibe and continue the day calmly…..
2. we all want to drop our kids by car at the school gates for various reasons the two that come to mind are “we feel they’re safest with us driving” and “we would like them to feel cared for all the time”… however the situation in front of the school gates every morning and at pickup time is such that it becomes difficult to stay relaxed. Frantically hunting for a parking spot at pickup time then snaking ones way through, sometimes, double parked lanes is hardly a recipe for calmness…. similarly incidents like the one above are bound to cause a degree of agitation…. these rub off onto the child as well…. are we really successful in caring for the kid or would the child have been better off in a bus? I think we all need to introspect a little bit, reflect on what we are really trying to achieve and then find a solution. I’m sure the daily mess that all the drop off vehicles create is an irritant to surrounding residents as well.
I think one of the simplest solution is to try and reduce the number of cars that drive up to the school every morning and afternoon. Car pooling is really not a dirty word given the situation. It’s practical and responsible. I feel that is one option we all should work to explore. Maybe we could form a rule that cars with registration numbers ending in even digits come on certain days and odd digits come on other days. Of course if you have both those options on your cars you are going to drive up both days but then the idea is to work out a solution….
The other solution is to ask the school to position staff on the road so that they can take the children directly from the cars and walk them in. While this is already done on rainy days I did not notice anybody standing today (which is why I had to jump out and walk her to the gate myself). Maybe I’ll talk to Rekha maam and get that regularized.
Then there is the part about walking to the school. I feel it can be done but then all those cars parking somewhere will cause inconvenience elsewhere as well…. it’s not a practical solution because of the sheer numbers involved. Maybe if you find a parkable spot near the garden you park and walk just so as to prevent crowding at the gate. Basically a collaboration between everyone to make life simpler.
Anyway I once again apologize to all who might have been inconvenienced specially the lady who was agitated enough to chase me while honking profusely. I hope tomorrow will be a better day for all of us. If there is anybody who lives nearby and would like to explore the option of car pooling I would love to give it a shot. Two people in the car one driving the other helping deposit the kids at the gate can help avoid a situation where a dad has to jump out run around and then get shouted at (for an obvious mistake of course). Lets try and find a solution at the end of the day it’s all about making things better for the children.