Tamanna came back home, her hair open and shirt half coming out of her skirt so dirty as if she worked in a garage instead of going to school. Her mother looked at her with utter helplessness. She had given up on her. Tamanna was a naughty, cheerful, loving and a caring girl. She had loads of friends, maybe because she was generous and would go out of her way to help anyone she thought needed her.

She was an avid painter and danced beautifully. But who really bothers about these qualities in school. Only the report card decides where a child stands in class. She was definitely not bad in studies and managed to work hard at the last moment to get decent marks but Maths was not her cup of tea. She just managed to sail through it.

The teacher’s complaint against her was that she was talkative and did not pay attention in class. Her mother had to listen to it in every parent teacher meeting and worse, she was compared to her brother all the time. He was the class prefect and an ideal student.

Sometimes her mother tried to explain to Tamanna that studies should not be taken lightly but how much would a twelve year old understand. Things took a turn in school when a new maths teacher joined. She was very strict but taught well and was famous for all her students getting above eighty percent. Tamanna could not achieve the class target and gradually the teacher started getting irritated with her. She would scold her and ridicule her for her performance at every possible chance. Tamanna started becoming quiet. Her chirpiness seemed to have gone.

Tamanna’s mother noticed it and asked her but she was too scared to tell anything. Once again the parent teacher meet came and her mother went to school. The new maths teacher was waiting for her.

She started in front of Tamanna and other parents and kids, “Ma’am, your daughter is least interested in studies. She is wasting your money and my time as well.” Tamanna’s mother felt humiliated. She could not say anything. She looked at her daughter who was almost in tears.

Something shook inside her. She held Tamanna’s hand tightly and said, Ma’am, I know my daughter is not up to your expectations but I still love her. Every child is unique. She dances like a diva and paints much ahead of her age and most importantly, she is a generous and loving child. Last year, when there was a small fire in school, it was  Tamanna who rescued a cat from a room without worrying about herself. For others it may be a forgettable incident but I am very proud of her. If you ask a fish to fly in the sky, it’s not the fault of the fish. I believe in bringing up a good human being which is far more important than getting high grades.” The teacher and parents were stunned, and then someone started clapping. The teacher was embarrassed but realised her mistake. Tamanna was so relieved. Her mother was the best in the world. “I love you Mama”, she said hugging her tightly.

The support that her mother showed that day, transformed Tamanna’s life. She became more attentive in class and in the next term scored more than eighty percent. Her teacher was really pleased. She called her and said, “I’m sorry, I did not realise your talent”.

“No Ma’am, please do not say that. Had you not said those things to my mother, I would never have witnessed her unconditional love for me and would not have worked on my weakness” replied Tamanna. Everything happens for good Ma’am.” She smiled at her teacher and ran towards her school bus, hair unkempt and shirt half coming out.

Word meanings

  • Ridicule – to criticise
  • Transformed – changed or modified
  • Unconditional – without self-interest
Fish can’t fly
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