I go to sleep around 10 PM in the night. I used to be a night owl when I was a young man and never hit the sack before 12 AM those days. I was a bachelor then. But nowadays I have no choice but to go to bed sharp at 10 PM just in order to prepare for the madness that ensues in the mornings.
Of course the primary reason for going to bed at 10 PM is to be able to wake up at 5.30 AM the next morning. Every morning I hear the strident tones of the alarm in my iPhone ringing at 5.30. I try to drag myself out of bed but somehow manage to steal another half an hour before finally jumping out of my cot with a start at 6 AM.
Her perpetual ability to mistake everyday of the week for a Saturday or Sunday never failed to baffle me.
“No it is not Sunday. It is actually Monday today” I tell her.
“No, It is Sunday” she would insist stubbornly.
“It was Sunday yesterday dear,” I say gently at first and then firmly point to the calendar which we have hung in front of her bed just in order to remind her of the day of the week.
She would glance at the calendar and smile sweetly at me and address me in a beseeching tone “Just five more minutes Daddy!!!”. Powerless against her smile which melts my heart, I would let her stay in bed for another five minutes.
After five minutes and another round of chivying, my daughter would jump out of bed: sprightly and full of energy. She would start brushing her teeth and as she does this she would walk around in circles much to my wife’s chagrin.
“Stand in one place and brush Sweety!!” my wife would command to no avail. Meanwhile I would have finished my morning chores.
My daughter would open her cupboard and pull out her uniform which consist of her skirt, tops and all the other things that schools seem to demand nowadays. In the meantime, I would hurriedly place a few things she needed; like her belt, her hair band which has to be white in color on Wednesdays and black on other days of the week, clips and the box of bindi, in a neat pile on the table.
My daughter would then go and have her bath which takes a minimum of fifteen minutes and I would keep looking anxiously at the clock as the school bus is supposed to pick her up at 7.30 AM. Thankfully, this rarely happens as the bus is usually 5 to 10 minutes late.
In the meantime my wife would have packed lunch and snacks for my daughter and I would neatly arrange two bottles of water, the lunch and snacks into my daughter’s school bag. By around 7.15 my daughter would be out of the bathroom and start having her breakfast.
“Make it quick dear!!” I would urge her and she would look at me serenely in that unhurried way of hers and smile her lovely smile and inform me “There is plenty of time Daddy!!! Don’t worry”.
After breakfast it would be time to dress her up. This is my wife’s job. It goes very smoothly. My daughter after a few hiccups has learned how to tie a tie around her neck expertly. At 7.25, with me hopping like a cat on hot bricks, my daughter would go through her school bag and make sure she has put in all the text books and note books needed for the day and we would leave our apartment and reach the bus stop exactly at 7.30.
The 5 to 10 minutes I get to chat with my daughter at the bus stop as we wait for the bus is one of the best times of the day for me. With a cool breeze rustling her hair, in an animated voice she would tell me about her school, her teachers, her violin lessons and her friends. She would tell me about the lessons she has on that particular day and what she was looking forward to.
Finally the bus would arrive at 7.35 or 7.40 and my daughter would get in and wave to me from her seat. In-spite of being the most hurried hour of the day it is the the one time of the day I would not miss for anything in the world. The joy of getting a lively, happy-go-lucky child of ten ready for school is something that gives me a great sense of fulfillment and happiness.