It is a cold winter Monday morning in Khandarpur. Khandarpur is a city in Khandarganj state that lacked the usual hustle bustle. Roads are quite clean and the traffic also did not seem to be a problem due to its wide roads.
Manu, an eight year old, is sleeping comfortably in his bedroom upstairs, at the Khagal house. After a sumptuous meal at the party last night, Manu is reluctant to wake up in the morning. Mondays are usually very difficult for him after a weekend break from his school. This seemed to be the routine at the Khagal household every day except for the weekends when Manu has his break from school.
“Manu wake up. It’s time for you to get to school” shouted out Manu’s mother, Akhila, from the kitchen. The tasty fragrance of hot parathas on one side and Akhila’s efforts to wake up her son is on the other side. Akhila, a young lady who has just turned 32 last week, is short, dark complexioned and is wearing a faded blue salwaar kameez.
Manu pulled the blanket over him and pretended to ignore his mother’s repeated attempts to wake him up.
“Manu! Please wake up! Its already 6’o clock and your school bus will be here by 7. So please wake up and get ready.’ Manu continued sleeping. Finally, Akhila walks up to the bedroom. “Manu, wake up! Its time you at least learn to wake up on time and do your early morning chores without much effort from my side.” said she.
After much pestering and pampering, Manu, a short, lean and dark complexioned boy in white pyjamas, wakes up from the bed and starts getting ready for his school lazily. The school bus is already honking in front of his house while Manu is brushing teeth. Akhila requests the driver to wait for a few minutes. She quickly helps Manu get ready and helps him get to his school bus.
Akhila says, “Manu! Please have your lunch during the lunch break and don’t keep playing. Concentrate in your class and study well.”
‘Phew! Manu did not miss his bus today.’ She sighed.
Akhila is really concerned about her son. Manu would not do anything on time, be it waking up in the morning or any of his daily tasks. It is getting very difficult for Akhila to get her son to be disciplined.
Akhila thinks to herself, ‘What do I do with this boy?’ I need to work out a plan wherein he learns to be self-disciplined. ’ Repeated advices and warnings have not changed him.
Akhila thinks of a plan to teach Manu the lesson of self-discipline.
Manu is back from school at 4o clock. Akhila says ‘Manu freshen up please and have your snack. After you are done, please finish your homework and then go out to play.’
Manu as usual ignores his mother and continues playing with his pet, Boji, a chubby looking cute pug with an innocent face. Manu said, “Mamma! I will do it. Let me play with Boji now.’
After playing for a long time with Boji and Akhila’s repeated attempts, Manu freshens up and has his snacks.
Finally with much effort, she helps him complete his work. Manu has his Math test the next day and he is exemplary in studies.
The next day, it is the usual scene at the Khagal household except for that there is no effort from Akhila to wake up her son. The piping hot parathas of the kitchen plus the silence in the house is definitely welcoming for Rajesh, Manu’s father. A young man around 35 year old clad in his formal trouser and shirt reads the newspaper in the balcony of his house. Articles in the newspaper seem to be making sense to him today precisely due to the unexpected silence. The time is 7 and Akhila still makes no efforts to wake up Manu. The school bus honks and Akhila, unlike her usual self asks the bus driver to leave.
“Bhaiya! You can leave. I will drop Manu to school” said she to the bus driver. The bus driver is surprised because he does not see a mother who literally pleads in front of him every day for the bus to wait. There is an unusual confidence on Akhila’s face.
Manu finally wakes up at around 9 o’ clock. He looks at the clock hanging in his room. He runs down to the kitchen and cries out, ‘ Mamma! Why didn’t you wake me up? The school bus would have already left and I am really late to the school today.’ He could not stop crying. ‘I have a Math test today and Mangat madam will punish me if I miss her class and the test. Why didn’t you wake me up?’
Mangat madam’s fear seemed to have taken a toll on the little eight years old. The serene face of Akhila makes Manu all the more tensed. “Mamma, what do I do now? Please help. I promise that I will wake up every day on time if you please take special permission from the school for today’s test.” said he weepingly.
Akhila could no longer see her son crying and thinks to herself, ‘I think he has learnt his lesson.’ She says, ‘Just promise me one more thing that you will do your entire daily task without me pestering you to do it.’
“Sure Mamma! I promise.”
Akhila says in a loving voice. “I have already taken permission from your Math teacher and she has accommodated my request to allow you to take up the test today.”
Manu hugs his mother. “Mamma! Thank you.” He quickly gets ready to school without any effort from Akhila. On his way to the school with his mother in the old auto rickshaw, he thinks to himself “My mother has not only saved me from Mangat madam’s punishment but also taught me to be self- disciplined.” Although there is khad- khad noise from the autorickshaw, there is a silence between the mother and son. There is a smile on Akhila’s and Manu’s face. She drops him at the school gate.
Needless to say, Manu enters the class with fear. Mangat madam surprisingly calls him in politely and allows him to take up the Math test. The day goes as usual at the school. That night Manu decides to use the alarm clock gifted by his mother on his previous birthday. The alarm is set to 6 o clock in the morning without Akhila asking him to do it.
The scene next day at the Khagal household is a little different. Manu has transformed to a new leaf. It is the usual time in the clock but there is a difference today. Manu is exercising in the terrace and after that he gets ready to his school on his own. For a change, when the school bus arrives, Manu is there already waiting. There is no longer the morning rush at the household and what seems to be common between Manu and Akhila is the calmness on both the faces. That day Manu returns from school and plays with Boji after completing his daily work. Finally, Manu learns the value of being self-disciplined.