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.