a very special birthday gift

This year I got my birthday gift a day in advance. It was a very unexpected one and a wonderful surprise. Let me share it with you.

It was result time for our little boarding school stars. Like all parents I must admit I was a tad nervous. We reached the school early laden with bags for the new term: summer wear, new school bags and lots of tuck. After a brief stop at both hostels - the boys and the girls - it was time to go to each class and collect the reports.

First stop the prep class and the results of three kids: Meher, Yash and Manisha. The teacher was all smiles as she handed over the report cards. They were replete with Excellent, Outstanding and Very Good and of course the promoted to Class I! Meher had stood first. She was jumping with joy. Then it was class I and Aditya. Again more Excellent and Very Goods and promoted to Class II. Vicky did well too and was now in class III and Utpal, Babli and Nikhil in class IV. I must admit I was a very gratified parent. All my kids had done my proud. As I held the 8 report cards in my hand and looked at them over and over again I was overwhelmed. The children had really done well exceeding all expectations.

This I realised was the most perfect birthday gift and I wanted to savour it fully so I decided to postpone perusing the reports till I got home. Later in the evening I sat with a cup of tea, my precious reports in hand. It was time to enjoy my present. I read all the reports. There was the scholastic assessment and the attitude and values part with headings like: shoulders responsibility, respects other's feelings, confidence and so on and ALL our kids had straight A+ses. And everywhere the results were stunning. I was amused by the appreciation that said that Meher recites with expression. I wonder if our lovely imp would turn out to be an actress, she is such a star already!

Babli's report only had Excellent and Outstanding. How could I ever forget the little girl with a broken heart who told me many years ago that she wanted to be a Police! Did I see a budding administrator! My little Utpal brought many Very Good and Excellent and earned the remark of being a well behaved and obedient child. This meant a lot as the past year had been difficult for this child learning to cope with his moms disappearance. I kept on reading, my smile getting larger by the second. Vicky had done well even though he was a tad mischievous but boys will be boys and slow Nikhi was improving and getting better by the day.

I held the 8 bright blue report cards in my hand for a long time. What a journey it had been for this very special children. Utpal and Meher had to pass the fire test, Manisha grew up following her mom rummaging garbage dumps, Yash grew up in the most dysfunctional family, Babli had to undergo complex and life threatening surgery before they could enter the portal of their boarding school and reclaim their hijacked childhoods. And today they proved once again that they were worth the gamble and silenced all those who felt that this programme was too ambitious.

For me these report cards were the best present I could have hoped for.