Monday, September 16, 2013

The sky is falling, and other less-dire updates

Yesterday, Zach enlightened me about hookers.
We were working on the non-pollution related effects of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations for a school project, and discussing – delicately, on my part – how women get felt up in processions and other crowded places and how there is a higher risk of pickpocketing and other crimes at this time.
Yes, he said. There are hookers.
We discussed other things for a while, then I gingerly came back to the topic.
“Hookers, Zach,” I said, “what are hookers?”
“People who hook your wallet from your pants, Mama,” he said, with the air of telling me something I had not encountered in my sheltered life.


It’s been a rough few months here.
For those who are keeping up with Zach’s learning difficulty (LD), we have re-tested him at Maharashtra Dyslexia Association in order to secure the concessions and exemptions for which he will be eligible in the std X board exams.
With the results, we have – in conjunction with the school – applied for the following:
·         A writer (an amanuensis – who knew?)
·         Evaluation for content, not presentation
·         A calculator for mathematics
·         Extra time
He has also dropped the Sciences, and his 6th subject is Technical Drawing – which none of us understand. We have also been asked to test for deficiencies (Vitamins B12, D3 [in which he is deficient]), attention deficit disorder, and a hormonal imbalance – all in progress.
What is most significant is that he may not be able to drop Hindi – because he no longer, it seems, suffers from Dyslexia.
Such a mixed blessing.
So currently, we are struggling with new subjects – Economics, Technical Drawing…
We are wondering about Hindi…

We are not going near The Merchant of Venice; a wonderfully flamboyant tutor is handling that…
And we are looking again at some subjects – History and Geography (me) and Eco and TD (Kevin).
It means the walls of our cupboard are covered with timetables again… and my Friday night sessions with my friends seem particularly well-earned.


One of the good things of this reassessment is that Zach finally has a remediation Math tutor – someone who will help him apply theory and formulae to real life and decipher what they are going on about in word problems.
We were referred to Smita Agarwal by another educator who specialises in learning difficulties, Ms Mirchandani, and she turned out to be a person who, in a significant way, saved my sanity many years ago.
Soon after we had received our LD diagnosis, and I was drowning in all its implications, I attended one of those mandatory talks for parents Campion organises. Smita introduced herself as the mother of a student who had just passed the ICSE with 86% – and he had a learning difficulty too. She said that Campion was one of the best schools to support children with LDs, something we have been fortunate enough to realise for ourselves. I remember sitting there, stunned with relief, finally believing that we would be okay.
Over the years, I have comforted myself with the thought that it could be so much worse, talked myself – with much help from husband and said friends – down from the guilt that I have not handled the situation better, chastised myself with the knowledge that it is my need for control that makes it all so much more difficult, that all I need do is reconcile myself to the fact that it will only be fewer marks…
Some days, I do better than on others.


We are on the home stretch now – in October this year, Campion begins the std X portion, so the boys have a longer time to get used to it. Zach’s teachers – at school, at home, and especially Fatima Martin at MDA – and his friends and their mothers, and our own family and friends could not have been more supportive runners in this race.
Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.


He grows, slowly in height (shortest in his class, which is something that worries him immensely) but with great strides in affection, expression and sociability. And retains a rare innocence: this is a poem he wrote last year for school; the same naiveté that imbues the ‘hooker’ example is evident.

Why I love her
I felt she was my fate
On our first date.
We went for a dance;
She left me in a trance.
She’d make me run a mile
For such a sweet smile.
I’d run a race
Just to see her face.
I would cry
If she said goodbye.
As soon as I got the time
I wrote this rhyme.
She just had to leave
When I had a trick up my sleeve.
The time was dire
I threw her pictures in the fire.
She was someone from my dream;
When she left, I had to scream.

Zach D’Souza
8 A



  1. I can't imagine the little baby I saw so many years ago in the creche downstairs at our TOI office, is now writing such beautiful poetry! :) My warmest wishes for Zach!

  2. That poem is beautiful! Can't believe little baby Zach has grown up so big!and wonderful. God bless. All the best to Zach, Prima. Don't worry, he'll be just fine! :)


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