This incident happened when Vignesh was in his Pre-KG. He was fortunate to have a great teacher in Ms. Parveen. She was a lean, short figure. My husband and myself, we used to think, “It is very tough to look at one child at home. How do these teachers(especially the kindergarden teachers) take care of the entire lot of 30 or more kids?” . For Vignesh, joining school was a big blow. Firstly, it was because that was the very first moment of time, that he was away from home, away from his known faces, and having to be for a few hours with same-aged kids, and a lonely teacher, whom he was seeing for the first time. Secondly, I was at home, contrary to what he had seen earlier, when he had been at home. I had my second baby Karthik, just a few days, after his school started off. School began on June 12th 2002, and Karthik was born on 18th June 2002. Everyday, I used to say him “Good bye!!” cheerfully, but he would keep a long face to leave me and go to school.
Almost till the end of the first term, a few children were found crying and not yet getting adjusted and Vignesh was one of them too. May be, now I could attribute this to the fact that he was the smallest kid, in the whole class, apart from another kid, Sri Ranjani. These two were just two and a half years, while most of his class friends were either 3 or 3+ upto three and a half. There used to be another boy called Vishnu. The teacher always used to say, “These two kids, Vignesh and Vishnu, always follow me wherever I go, catching hold of my saree pallu.”
Later, when the teacher started telling small stories to these kids in simple English, Vignesh, used to love narrating the same to us at home, the same evening. One fine day, immediately when he entered home after school, he came straight to me, and said “My teacher has asked us to apply the newly learnt words, whenever we try to speak in English. I am going to speak mostly in English at home.” We all said, “He can speak so if his teacher had asked him to. He said “Amma, I am feeling Jangiri. We all were wondering what he was trying to tell, and again asked him. He cooly said, “Amma, it has been a long time (romba neram aachu!!) since I ate my snacks in the school. Please get me some food, I am really very jangiri.” I told him that the word was not “Jangiri” but it was hungry. But he argued with me saying that his teacher used that word, while narrating the story of “The Lion and the jackal”. I asked him to tell the story and he started with, “One day, the king of the forest lion, was feeling very Jangiri”. Only then, realised he mistook jangiri for hungry. But he never bothered to listen. Only, the next day, when I went to leave him in his school, I told the teacher about the incident. It took her some minutes tomake Vignesh understand the difference between the words jangiri and hungry.