Chapter 4 – School Days

Somehow I always perceived the first day of preschool at the Hajee Joosub Creche as a punishment for the fire incident. At the tender age of four it was standard that I would tag along with my Mum or Dad all day. “Going to school!?” My Mum taking me to school seemed most absurd. I was not even weaned off my drinking bottle as yet, famously known as my 'dudu'. Not having it with me was the most horrendous thought! However, my Mum had it all worked out. She hid my 'dudu' at the bottom of my school bag, underneath all my stationery and packed lunch. I could not understand why she had to hide my 'dudu' until I got to school and realised that most four-year-olds did not drink from a baby bottle, but rather from drinking cups or glasses. It was time to grow up.

And growing up indeed it was when I also had the realisation that I was going to spend a good part of my day without my Mum. Nothing could console me on that first day; not the polite young boy who constantly tried to befriend me, nor the annoyed lady who I had to address as “madam”. Some days later, I seemed to have adjusted as I could not recall being upset in the mornings. I enjoyed the company of the other young children and, more than anything else, the playground that was embellished with the brightest colours.

And two years later I was ready for real school – I think my dad was more excited than I was. He woke me up every morning with a gentle whisper in my ear, prompting me to wake up and prepare for school...

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