The alarm sounds insistently on my phone indicating it is time for the kids to start walking to their bus stop. A combination of shouting and herding them out the door does the trick.
“Hug and kiss?” Pattu lingers by the door. I rush to gather her and Ammu joins in. As I wrap my hands around the two of them, I feel the rubbery finish of a doll in Ammu’s hand. A few months ago, I would have grabbed it from her hands, scolded her and sent her walking to school in a cloud of self righteous anger.
Today I sighed, kissed the doll as well and sent the kids skipping and running to catch the bus. Closing the door behind me, my eyes went automatically to the monthly calendar. I marked today off counting the days down to the summer break. I spy the bag of cherries as I open the fridge to grab the green chillies. I flush as I remember the corn puffs I packed for snack this morning. Earlier in the school year, I was diligent about packing fruits.
I clean up the kitchen after Saathi leaves and a sheaf of papers by the telephone catch my eye. Instructions about field day, a concert of some sort and the homework sheet for this week lie in a pile.
“Write a letter to me on why I should not be assigning homework” instructs the sheet. I go back to Friday when Pattu sat with her sheet trying to express why homework is not a great idea.
“We are already doing reading and Math at school. So, we should not have to do it at home. Also, I don’t like homework!” she concludes. Ammu is zen about it. “I like homework” she says and leaves her sheet blank.
The clothes are faded from repeated wash. Their sneakers gape open at the toe. The slip on shoes are grey at the tip and the sole is thin. Two more weeks I remind myself. Mentally, I am done. Done with school. Done with routines. Done with being particular about packing food. Done with rushing through the morning. Done with keeping up with random projects and school work. Done with spelling tests and reading. Done with the mantle of responsibility that presses heavily on me day in and day out.
The weather is finally warm. The sun is out. The days of indolence are ahead of us. Midway through the summer, I will long for the full days of the school year, but for now, all I can focus on are the lazy mornings, the glorious days of nothingness.