5. Learning together

०२ सप्टेंबर २०२०

That day when Mum came to school to pick up Anu, she found her with a red, sad face.  Anu controlled herself until they were in the bus.Then she started to cry.  Mum got worried. She hugged her tightly to calm her down.

“What’s wrong? What happened?”

Anu gave her a note from the teacher. Teacher wanted to see Mum. She looked at Anu questioningly.

“Did you fight with anyone?”


“Did you reply back to the teacher?”


By that time, they reached home. Anu got down and raced home before Mum could say anything. Mum opened the door. Usually as soon as they reach home Anu wanted her afternoon tea. Today she went to her room and lay down on her bed. Mum asked her to come to the bathroom to wash her hands, feet and face. Anu did that, and she again went back to her bed. Mum sat by Anu caressing her hair.

Anu burst into another feat of crying.

“My teacher said I had a disease ADHD. One of my friends said I am going to die because of that.”

Anu thought Mum looked worried.

“Oh…. why would your teacher say that”?

“Not sure, but she has been telling me off lately.  She said I talk over people all the time and don’t sit in one place.I wanted to help with the answers.”

“How do you know the correct answer?”

“because I remember what teacher taught us last week.”

“Aww…darling I am sorry to hear you had a hard day at school today.” Mum gave her a big hug and a kiss.

In between sobbing she also told that one or two of her friends from the neighbourhood didn’t want to talk to her either.

“They want to watch TV all the time and I want to play. No one likes me because I have a disease. Am I going to die Mum because of ADHD?”

“No, you are not. Don’t worry, you don’t have any disease.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. Let’s have afternoon snacks.”

“But I am sad.”

“I know you are. But it has nothing to do with the snacks. So, come on…”

Anu thought it was absolutely true.She was hungry. After having afternoon snacks Anu felt a bit settled. She sat in her window to draw.

Next day Mum met with the teacher. She told Mum that Anu lacks in focus and attention in class. Teacher expressed that maybe Anu is dyslexic.

“How is Anu in class? What is she learning?”

“They are learning alphabets, addition & subtraction in math, reading about volcanoes,etc. She is brilliant otherwise. She does her homework every day. She is an excellent drawer, a storywriter and a good friend. For her age she has a great vocabulary. “

“So, you are saying that she has no learning difficulty hence she might not have dyslexia? Yesterday you told her that she suffers from ADHD.”

The teacher looked surprised that Anu remembered the word. Mum told the teacher it wasn’t very wise of her to tell such a thing to a child. She told the teacher that Anu had been worried that she was going to die of that disease.

“Oh…no! I am so sorry.”

“Anu has never been diagnosed with anything until now. But I will take her to the doctor to get a referral to the psyche services.”

Luckily, they could get an appointment with apsychiatrist within a fortnight.  He explained to mum what is the meaning of ADHD – Attentiondeficithyperactivity disorder. He found nothing wrong with Anu. He said maybe her grasp is above average. Maybe she learns faster than the other children. He suggested Mum to keep her busy physically and mentally.

After the appointment Anu heard Mum talking to her friend on the phone,

“It was a relief when the psychiatrist said that I shouldn’t worry. He told me, justto keep her busy in doing something constructive.I am going to look at music or dance classes, maybe tennis for Anu. She is growing up pretty fast. She needs to be busy.”

Luckily one of Mum’s friends was getting rid of bunch of encyclopaediaswhich Mum picked up. She knew Anu couldn’t read and understand some of the words and language of the encyclopaedia. Mum taught her how to use a dictionary.Mum enrolled Anu forthe piano and art classes. Little projects in art kept Anu excited.Mum also explained to Anu how she should behave with others. She must learn to let other people finish what they are saying. She told Anu that not everyone can be her friend, so don’t force people to be her friends.

“Why do you go to school darling?”

“To play with friends.”


“Because you are not home.”

Mum smiled, “That’s not right. You go to school to learn. One day you will go to auniversity to study something you would like.”

“What is a university?”

“It is just like your school but bigger in size and older children study there to become teacher, engineer, police officer, nurse, doctor…”

“What about bus driver? I want to drive the big red bus.”

That took Mum by surprise.

“Really? Yes, you can become a bus driver or a train driver. That’s why it is important that you focus on studies in school.”

“But what about playing?”

“You can play, make friends…but main thing is studying and listening to the teacher…okay?”

Few months later, one day when Mum came to pick up Anu from school, she noticed Mum didn’t look happy. During the bus travel, she was engrossed in her thoughts. She didn’t look sad though. Later that day when Anu was doing her homework, she heard Mum on the phone with her grandparents.

“I don’t know what to do with my job. It is just a clerical role. They are not going to increase my hours anymore. Because they are restructuring.  No, I will still have my job after that. I might start applying for other jobs. It’s just that we are so set here. Anu is happy in her school.” Mum was worried that frequentchange of residence might affect Anu adversely.

After dinner Mum was sitting on the couch, still looking worried. Anu took one of her encyclopaedias to her.

“Mum, read my book. It is interesting and funny. It will make you smile.” It was a book about fun facts in the world. It was interesting. It distracted Mum from her thoughts a bit.

“Why are you so worried Mum?”

“Am I?”

“Yes, you are. I heard you on the phone. You are worried about your job.”

“Oh…well…, don’t worry baby, I will find another job.”

“Mum you told me if I go to school, I will get a big job. Did you go to school?”

That startled Mum.

“Yes, I did.”

“Hmm…” that made Anu think.

Mum realised that this was going to be a make and break point for Anu.

“I went to school sweetie.But in India, not here. People who give me the job want school certificates from here.”

“Then why don’t you go to school here, to that university you told me about?”

Mum looked at Anu.

“What happened Mum? Are you okay?”

Mum lifted her. She was excited. She kissed Anu.

“Yes, that’s what I am going to do.  Work part time, complete a qualification and get a more stable job.”

"Yay, we both will go to school….la la la “

“Aren’t you a clever little girl?”

Both were laughing.

  AnaghaKawley, Auckland, New Zealand


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