Children who know me as didi, a senior in dance class, often have trouble figuring out whether I belong to their generation or their parents’ generation. Sometimes, I have trouble with it too.
I was teaching two children with exactly the same problem. Often, they believed that I was in their generation, on their side, so to speak because I came from the same school, had some of the same teachers and all that. Yet, I was their teacher, so could not possibly be one of them.
Once, while I was teaching them, it was pouring. It was not a thunderstorm, but a typical monsoon shower that peters out into a drip-drip-drip but does not stop. With a weekend ahead and no tests coming up, the idea of holidays made the girls restless. I finished five minutes early, much to their relief. I looked out of the window and said, “If it stops raining, you can play all evening today!”
They threw me a look of pure disbelief. “We are waiting to play in the rain!”
That explained their restlessness. They explained to me that since they did not even have any exams coming up, they had every right to fall ill. Everything – their words, tone and expression – clearly told me that they had placed me firmly in the mother-generation, if not the grandmother-generation.