“Can you please put some sense in her?! She can’t be failing a subject in 1st grade! I’m going inside to cook and leave you to handle this situation.”
I vaguely remember this conversation, command rather, from my mother to my father. We had just gotten back after picking up my report card from school. The red mark of 38 % next to the word Nepali indicated that I failed in that subject. A subject based on my native language.
It was and still is a complex one for sure. It didn’t follow the syntax or sentence structure of english grammar. The object came before the verb so I eat food would translate to I food eat; you could add strokes to vowels and completely change the tense of the word.
No matter how hard I thought the language was I knew failing was not an option. Especially for a father, who in my age had to walk barefoot to another village just so he could attend school and get an education. He was not so privileged like me. Obviously he had to make me aware of this; make me understand the agonizing pain he felt everyday on his delicate feet and the price he had to pay for education.
He had to make me feel grateful for the amazing learning opportunity I was getting, after-all the princess of our country attended the school. I was also to feel guilt and repent for my carelessness and rudeness for not taking advantage of this opportunity by failing a subject. All this had to happen before my mom was done cooking.
To my dismay, he didn’t scream like my mother before she slammed the door on us. Instead there was a moment of silence. The pause made my thoughts go haywire, anticipating what words would come out of his mouth. Finally, he broke the silence with these calming words, “You need to focus and try harder next time ‘Baccho’ (little kid). It’s your life and you have to give it your best now to succeed in the future.”
I can’t remember what words followed next but I remember the moment like it was today.
Born in Nepal. Moved to NYC at the age of 12. Currently residing in Richmond, VA working at an Advertising and Marketing agency.