Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Vulture’s Prey

“I worshipped Baba with an intensity approaching the religious. But right then, I wished I could open my veins and drain his cursed blood from my body.”

The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini

He came inside the room with his head hung low, trailing his mother. He is applying to be a Grade 5 transferee. His report card, hand carried by his mother indicated that he will be a repeater. He is 14-yr. old and his body language speaks of shame and sadness. He seems surrendered to any chance he could have to be in a new school.

I informed his mother to be back after an hour of interview and admission testing. She said she will stay in the room. I reiterated that as a testing procedure, she must leave her son. She was still sitting on the couch, gazing at me as if telling me why she is reluctant to step out. I met her stare with a replied look that the one-hour testing is not going to cause harm to her son.

I wondered what could have caused this boy’s delay.

His sister stopped schooling for a year as punishment of his father to his sister’s romantic tryst. He and his brother were not spared from the wrath his sister earned. I was alarmed to hear that. He continued that the plan of his father when he gets to high school is to enroll him to a home study program allowing him only lesser number of hours to study. Throughout the interview, he kept talking with eyes on the floor and his head downcast. With each awkward moment, I’d pause and ask him to look at me and he managed only one or two quick looks.

Actually, his businessman father does not want him to go to school anymore. He said it’s a waste of effort. He is resigned to the boy’s fate. If not for his mother’s persuasion, there won’t be another chance for him to study.

The boy displayed a waning self-esteem. He may have a learning disability or may be perceived as a slow learner, he wouldn’t know. His parents’ expectation weighed on him. By his father’s judgment, he is no good. Can there still be wonders to be expected of him if he is treated like a recluse mutant?

At 14, the world shouldn’t be harsh to him. Not in his own home. His being different, by standard, makes him already ashamed of himself. His father who is to give solace is too cold, too detach to feel. To be ridiculed even in school casts him on a bleak canvas. A child is na├»ve but never unfeeling. He can sense when he is truly wanted or when his trusted people have given up on him. All he needs is a clutch of gentleness, a feed of good word and a stroke of constant encouragement to soar. Redemption is to the vulture’s prey. He can’t alone. He can if help comes his way.

Monday, May 12, 2008



“Nobody understands when a woman makes a choice to marry and have children. In one way, her life begins but in another way it stops. You build a life of details but you just stop and stay steady so that your children can move. And when they leave, they take your life of details with them.

You’re expected to move on again but you don’t remember what it was that moved you because no one’s asked you in so long…Not even yourself.”

Bridges of the Madison County Movie

The nurse handed her baby. She was heavy with milk and for the first time, she will feed her little one. The baby latched on to her for what only she can give. This is one of the wonders of life, she thought, that in between the pain and the joy of nursing is the acknowledgment that giving birth means losing herself for the baby on her cradle.

Years passed and many vaccinations witnessed, she quietly finds bliss in raising not a child but brood of her own. Motherhood is the sum of her sleepless nights, resourceful days and incessant prayers for her children in school (eventually at work), away from her.

To raise her children soundly, a mother’s character includes endurance and ability to bounce back to every pain she faces. She hides her discomfort and shrugs her fears to embolden her children to dream big. Her traces of uncertainty are revealed to her children as cautionary tales to anticipate the worst in the course of finding opportunities.

There are stage mothers who build fortress to protect their children. There are nagging mothers to children who refuse to listen. There are absentee mothers who work overseas for a living. Having any of the above type is better than not experiencing any kind of mothering.

Some mothers discard their would-be-babies even before they’ve come to full cycle of life while some abandon them right after they were born. There are abusive types of mothers, too, who are tyrants to their own children. In the sly pretense of goodness, did they ever yield to their conscience to alter their behaviors? All Mothers, after all, are work in progress. They evolve to become the best fit guardians they are supposed to be for their children.

A mother has the keen ability to feel her children and to know their weakest. Because she instinctively knows well, she blows through each of them. Her remarks matter even if it sounds obscure. Time can prove that she is her daughter’s complement and her son’s counselor. A mother is worth every gesture of gratefulness, not in her twilight years but while she can still smell the flowers.