“At every parent-teacher meet, my daughter’s teachers would tell me that she was slow and seemed bored in class. She wouldn’t follow instructions and wasn’t able to colour between the lines. They would mention that she always coloured outside the lines or tried to make new ones. To top it all, some of her teachers would say, ‘She is a backbencher, someone who will get low grades.’ I didn’t understand that. After all, someone has to sit on the backbenches.
I wasn’t concerned about the teachers’ statements and complaints about my 10-year-old. As a matter of fact, I knew that she was experimenting. She was trying to draw new lines that she could color in with her imagination. What I was concerned about was whether she knew what her teachers and other students thought of her. When she told me that she knew and wasn’t worried about what they thought, I became apprehensive. I realised that my daughter was trying to hide her pain of rejection behind her smile.
Once, she participated in an inter-school drawing competition. Some children painted landscapes and some flowers. My daughter stood last. She had drawn a smiling face. When her school principal asked her to explain the drawing in front of the other students, teachers and parents, she hesitantly went up on stage. What she said not only surprised me but everyone else.
She said that she wanted to draw different emotions on the page but she couldn’t because there wasn’t enough space. So she thought of drawing a smiling face that summed up all the emotions together. She wanted everyone to smile and she herself wants to become a person who spreads happiness and brings smiles to everyone’s faces.
I had tears in my eyes . I knew that my daughter wasn’t answering the audience but indirectly telling me not to worry about her. Before I could say anything, there was a huge round of applause in the hall. Her principal and teachers finally seemed to understand her vision.”