Sunday, September 6, 2009

During our times ..........!!

"During our times....it was much different ...!"
Hey! Do I sound like an old grandma? But, I am not ... and I am already using the above quote more than often. The other day I heard myself uttering these to a group of women in our apartment who were seriously discussing about the way they groom their kids .... and these words do slip out my mouth around our dining table once as we were reminiscing our childhood days ...

Have I already stepped into the next generation so soon? Or has the time lapsed so soon?

School admissions were never a hot topic of discussion among our parents when we were young. We were admitted into a school close to home. And we just grew along with the flow .... today parenting has taken a different turn altogether. After hunting for a suitable school for my kids for a whole year in a metro city, I could see changes in me ....My thoughts always hovered around schools, admissions and our kids future.. I joined many online groups which discussed schools and I was lured into more and more confusion. My spare time was set apart to visit schools ...When some schools were ready to take in my kids, the fees was too exorbitant: some schools were so crowded that each class room was packed with around 45 kids and each grade had divisions from A to I ... (a good way for the pre schoolers to learn their alphabets!). Many schools just did not respond: many schools had vacancies but were only moved by the sight of US dollars ....

Queue during admissions outside a school

My elder one was admitted to an "international" school last year ... as it was the only school willing to take him in when we returned from US midway during the school term - we thought of trying our luck next year in a better and "normal" school . I had a narrow escape from a severe heart attack when I visited his school for paying the term fees, two months ago. After paying the term fees the person on the counter requested me politely:
"Madam, this year you will have to pay extra for the school essentials..."
She handed over a slip to me which gave details of 2nd standard school essentials .. which included books, pencils,scale,erasers,crayons and a few work sheets for the year...
At the end of the slip was a figure which I tried to decipher.... My heart missed a beat and I leaned on to the counter ....
"Please pay the amount at the cash counter before collecting his books ..." I heard her say ....

I slowly walked towards the cash counter and enquired... "are all the parents OK with this school essential fee ...?"

The lady at the counter just stared back at me as if I was from some other planet ....

[Can any of you guess how much I payed for "school essentials" alone for a 2nd grade child?]

My helplessness, shock and prayers were all answered a week later when I got a call from another school - my kids got through the evaluation tests and were enrolled for vacancies in 2nd grade and Lower KG respectively. It was so sudden and no less than a miracle .. I feel relieved and relaxed now after a whole year of anxiety ....

When I heard my friend's story of her kid's school admission, I knew that it was a blessing indeed to get admissions for both into a normal reputed school in the middle of the year.
My friend, "B" was 4 months pregnant when she was dragged into a "reputed" school by a relative for booking a seat 3 years in advance. She told me that she felt so stupid to be sitting in front of the school officials and asking for a school admission for a child who was not yet born. The school officials jotted down her due date and calculated the year of admission and after much thought said, "Sorry ! your child is wait listed!... we will let you know if a vacancy arises !"
She did not feel stupid any more.... After three years .. the school expanded adding two more sections to their primary wing and thus her son got admission into the school!!.

"During our times ........it was much different.....!!!!!

13 comments:

Dhanya said...

:O Now I know why my colleagues discuss school admissions as if it's a life n death decision!!

mathew said...

hahaha..you know what without being married i already say sometimes lines like that..;-P

Since i studied in a central govt school my parents had to pay only 30 rs a month for a long time as school fees..and even when i reached my 12th fees was still just around 100 bucks a month....Now when i hear the school fees it feels like my education was dirt cheap..;-)

Jaishree said...

I have the same question always..Now I feel relaxed my kids have grownup.. but i recalled myself how much i spent for my kids from school to higher studies .. How true !during our times ........it was much different.....!! Beautifully Written Nanditha!:)
Thank you for visiting my space:)

:: flyingstars :: said...

I can only sigh Nanditha...but this is the reality today...today education is getting more and more of a priceless commodity, where it will be affordable to a handful....I also simply can't really see the logic of those exorbitant fees charged today....I don't know where our human senses are prevailing...I had a similar encounter in a so called "international" school where you have to pay One lakh a year for tution fees only and then there were other charges also which was completely un-imaginable to us...and still could find a huge line of parents waiting to admit their child to that school....I was just wondering, has money become so cheap, or our senses and logical thinking falling into some kind of a trap....it really was much different during our times....and most importantly we enjoyed learning....but now its just a priceless commodity!

Uma said...

LOL! Yeah, I keep saying that very often too. School! It's such a racket these days! Any school on OMR/ ECR is in the range of 1 lac per annum + ..coz only the IT folks would live there and send their kids there!

krystyna said...

Really Nanditha ....
"during our time it was Much different".
My two grandsons will start school soon. Pre-school's fee is $70 per week/for only 2 days/. They decided not going to pre-school.


I wish you and your kids the best!

Madhura said...

My son started his Kindergarten today ... the first day of big school :) and I read this post today ... what a coincidence ...

how much ever I liked the pre-school here in US I am now relieved we don't have to pay that hefty monthly fees in $ ... but then there is always a question ... what if ... what if we come back home to Mumbai in middle of a school year ... and I have heard similar/worse stories of school admissions back home ... parents having to queue up at 2 AM to even get the forms that are distributed at 9 AM next morning ... pay hundreds/at times thousands to just get the form ... fees after the "very crucial" interview process is a different story altogether ... probably the kid gets selected when the parents agree on the "donation" figure or if the family has "contacts" ...

you are not alone, I am sure just being parents makes everyone say the same " it was not like this in our times" ... whether its getting admission to KG (KinderGarten) or PG (PostGraduate) and everything in between ...

Pacifier Returns said...

Ohh....we are going in wrong direction....a child who is just -5 months old and he/she is waitlisted. This is disgusting though its reality!!!

Now, let me guess school fees..
Rs 80,000/ year?? Am i correct?

Smiles :)
Prashant

Nanditha Prabhu said...

Dhanya,
It is a like a life and death decision ... You will know more when you go thro all this drama yourself..

Mathew,
My schooling was almost free ....and we had great teachers .. I guess its the teachers that make the whole difference not the infrastucture of the school and high class facilities....

Jaishree,
seems like we have to save separately for the kids education ..thank you for your warm comment:)

Flying stars,
It is for sure a priceless commodity now.. as you said we always loved learning when we thinkl of it now because we had genuine teachers ... in the so called international schools there are a bunch of teachers who teach as a time pass or are trasformed into teachers from bored house wives ... and i pity the state of the kids ...just wish things were much different ....

Uma , welcome to this space ... as you said we don't find schools less than 1 lac in those areas...

Krystyna ,
thank .you ! wish you and your grandkids all the very best ...

Mathura,
wish Neel all the best on his big days in the big school.I wish you don't hsve to rush back at the middle of a school year ...

Prashant,
school fees is much more than that ..:)the essential fees (i.e the books and worksheets) alone comes to 24,000.....:(it is disgusting as you said ....

Cynthia said...

I'm smiling at your comment about constantly saying, in my days... isn't it incredible how the time flies?

harimohan said...

the rat race is eternal
nice post

Linda said...

Incredible information!

Dima said...

This post is pretty nice, so I want something like that in near time