To my big little teachers, with love

My big little teachers are my kids. I have been learning from them  for free, since they were born. Surreptitiously, openly and shamelessly

It’s a programme I signed up for by default when I morphed into a mommy.

Reverse mentoring.

I look around as nouveau phrases and designations leap out to grab my eyeballs on social media and beyond. From fitness commitment gurus to workstation environment architects to brain fog diffusers and supply-chain analysts. People have found new vocations and carved different niches while grappling with the challenges in the wake of the pandemic. 

I, too, did a bit of unlearning and relearning to streamline my own processes in life. I’ve been learning from my kids, for free, since they were born. Surreptitiously, openly and shamelessly, I cartwheel and piggyback on them—gleaning the involuntarily imparted lessons, the concise tutorials unfurling through their behaviour, moods, emotions, feelings, happenings… during the manic humdrum of each day. It’s a busy life, being mentored by little people.

The art of negotiating relationships comes easy to them. I’ve watched my 12-year-old sidle past the room, headphones clasping the ears, as his grandparents call him for the nth time to bail them out on an iPhone glitch or Netflix hiccups on the flatscreen. Low-grade errands like answering the doorbell aren’t Angad’s forte as he strategically disappears into the washroom at precise moments.

He systematically makes time for copious volumes of homework, tennis classes, judo training sessions, and Marvel movies with discreet alarms on his phone, while his FitBit clocks the calorie-chomp. Junior politely asks for Starbucks or phone recharge bills to be footed just when I dive into the elevator, rushing off for a meeting, fetching me chamomile tea to soothe my agitation when things go awry. He trades my ‘class-famous’ chicken sandwiches too in school for homemade lavash and pesto when he wants to.

Shilpi Madan for The Sunday Standard

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