It was a grueling wait for Sathya. He was waiting to meet the state minister of education. He badly wanted to get his letter of recommendation. Day after tomorrow is a big day and he had to go to office night shift. Half dozing in the bench outside the minister’s office, he was thinking about his childhood days.
Born in a joint family, he was always surrounded by his cousins. He was the youngest of the lot and they play with him all day. Suddenly the heat began to subside one day and they were all gone for the whole day leaving Sathya alone in the big house. His grandma would tell him stories but nothing like playing with cousins. His aunt told that they went to a place called school. She also said that he would be going to one in two years and will find great friends to play with.
The minister was not too boastful and didnt even ask for money. He heard his side and gave his letter immediately wishing him all the best. Perks of having a friend as minister’s PA. He had already got the General Secretary’s letter and now he wanted to get the loan approved. Then it is all set. He started his bike to reach office.
His thoughts again drifted back to his childhood days. His mother would even now tell with big laugh that Sathya joined the kindergarten school all by himself giving his dad’s office address. The school sent a peon to collect the admission fees which was 20 Rs. His father was overjoyed to know his son was so interested in studies. Something went wrong in the middle. Sathya didn’t even finish his graduation.
He reached home and asked his wife if everything is set. She was already wading through 100s of xerox copies and lot of passport photos. Her certificate is ready. She looked at him questioningly.
“If something goes wrong tomorrow, it will be entirely your fault” she said
“My fault?” he asked.
“You could have finished that damned degree”
“See! I was working then. I learnt what I do now to feed this family at that time.”
“Whatever! They wont give your daughter a seat for these stories”
Sathya had worked hard to get into the position he is. He has provided good living to his wife and daughter till now. It was like yesterday her daughter was born and from nowhere he has got the responsibility of admitting her to school. His wife wanted to get seat in the best school in vicinity. She succeeded coaxing her husband. Day after tomorrow is the interview.
The things he heard in office only added to his nervousness. By now he knew all his colleague’s kids name, school name and the donation they had paid. Few colleagues also suggested him to buy a new, crisp shirt for the interview. Why are they conducting interview for a two year old kid? And why should I get ready for it? he asked himself. Though he was not a graduate Sathya was well read. He can talk about anything ranging from maths to management, physics to philosophy. His colleagues often came for his advice. But now he has interviewed all the colleagues who had school going kids.
The day arrived and they were in the school before time. The kids were busy with their Rubic’s cube and the parents were furiously preparing for any questions. He had filled the application form. There was no specification about the donation but they had asked him to fill the amount he is capable of donating. Clever move! Sathya thought.
His turn came and they took the daughter to the principal room. Sathya himself was scared by the lady but the lady offered a candy to his daughter without a smile. After general questioning about colors, shapes and other stuff to their daughter the principal turned to them.
“So where do you work?” she asked.
“I work for an MNC madam” Sathya wondered from where all this humbleness came all of a sudden.
The principal gave a long pause looking at something in the ceiling.
“You see Mr. Sathya, if you were in office whole night, how will you take care of your kid’s studies?”
“My wife has devoted herself for the family. She is well educated and will be able to handle things well” Sathya answered.
The principal had a look at the file they gave her. Sathya’s wife is a Master’s degree holder and had done her degree in some renowned institution in the state. The principal smiled for a nano second and then began searching for something else.
“There must have been some mistake Mr. Sathya. I dont see your certificate”
“I have not given it here Madam. I’ve given it in my office” he lied.
“Sure you can bring them for one day. Lot of parents do that”
“We actually didnt have much time”
“I cant admit your daughter till I see your’s Mr. Sathya”
“With all due respect Madam, I work for a reputed company and I believe you are convinced about my wive’s capability to take care of my kid’s studies. Why do you still need my certificates?”
“That is the rule of the school Mr. Sathya. We are a prestigious institution and we are very particular about our pupil’s upbringing. We want to make sure if the parents are educated enough”
“Do you mean to say the teachers are not capable doing that?”
“Yeah! Because my barely two and half year old kid is going to spend most of her time with you and I am paying a bomb as fees for you but still you cannot assure me that your teachers and the syllabus will make my daughter a better person. But you need to verify my credentials.”
“But all the other parents are cooperating with us. I am talking to you just because you have come with a recommendation letter.”
“Since I am here now, Can you provide me the credentials of all your teachers and a personal one on one interview with them? So that I can just make sure that my kid is in right hands.”
“I am sorry Sathya, you will have to look for another school. Now if you may excuse me, I have few other appointments to attend”
They came back in silence. His daughter was still chewing the candy and showed her tongue to him to see whether it has become red enough. His wife in midst of mild sobbing “I am sure our daughter will also not graduate”