The apparent parent

I chose not to have children. So I have never had to go through the rigmarole of attending parent-teacher meetings (PTMs as they are called) and have no clue of what this entails. Until now. My niece, Aditi, has come over to live with us since the last couple of months. She has made the shift as the schooling facilities are better here than where she lives. And yesterday she told me that I had to attend the first PTM. We had to submit her Aadhar card and some certificates.

“The certificates have already been submitted. And I remember this was decided during admission. That I will not attend any parent-teacher meetings. Please call Dad and Mom and ask them to attend.”

“I did inform them. But they are busy and won’t be able to come. You have to come!” she demands.

“Listen, I am trying to concentrate on my work. I can’t come. In any case, I’m not your parent. I’m just an apparent parent.”

Aditi stares at me with big eyes and turns on her most theatrical beseeching voice.

“You wake me up in the morning in time for school. You pack my favorite dishes in my lunch box every morning. That makes you a parent,” she declares.

Nautanki!” I mutter. Her words don’t cut any ice with me, and I get back to my laptop. She continues her efforts to convince me.

“You don’t have to worry. You will hear only good things about me. I have done well in the last tests and topped in three of five subjects.”

“All the more reason why I shouldn’t waste my time attending PTMs. I know you are doing well in school.”

“But come na. When they praise me, they will eventually drop in a line or two praising you too!” She is relentless.

“I have work to do. Saturday is not a holiday for me. I have reporting to do.”

She disappears into her room. And is back in fifteen minutes.

“I asked my teacher. She said you can come a little later. The meeting will be until 2 pm. I’m sure you can come after work. It is your half day after all.”

Tired of her pestering, I finally give in. “OK, I will come. Now let me work.”

She is back a moment later. Standing with her arms akimbo she says, “There’s one more important thing, you have to do.” I raise my eyebrows. “Dress nicely and wear a pretty saree. I have selected the one I want you to wear and placed it on the hanger in your cupboard!” She grins at me and skips away to her room.

Phew! The pressures of parenting in this era!


  • Vijay

    Hello Dr Anshu
    Parenting is complex and similar to medical education . The outcome is not known .
    It has been labeled as tiger, helicopter and lately bulldozer parents.
    There was recent book – don’t remember the name – suggested parenting should be more like Gardner and not like carpenter.
    What we need is to be ‘good enough parents’- as per author from 1960s

  • Tamkin kgan

    Love this one. I celebrated the day i attended my last PTM— what an ordeal ! The worst part was other parents and their competitive mindset you had to endure.


    I loved it. She knows very well how to convince you. And see, she is saving your time by choosing the attire for you. BTW, how was the first PTM?

    • Dr. Nisha

      Nicely penned down. When I go to my child’s PTM it’s like re living my student hood time. A cocktail of feelings of excitement, turmoil and vying.

  • Dr Monika

    What a wonderful write up !
    A bubbly sixteen year old is just the person to be with … especially to listen to their daily chatter of all school stuff etc
    Enjoy these moments while they last
    Missing my daughter … she is studying abroad .

    • Amit kumar Rai

      Great narrative, i almost lived the conversation!

      I had similar situations for my niece but i willingly goes everytime as she was a teenager staying with us, and i owe lots of policing to my sister in law.

      Very relatable.

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