D said, reading Bobo’s school diary ‘Bobo has to take pictures of some farm animals to school. They are making a collage in his class’
D sounded grave and serious.
‘Uh huh’, I acknowledged without paying much attention. Bobo’s playgroup had been doing farm animals all month. Bobo had taken a toy horse to school earlier. Bobo had also been repeating ‘rooster’ endlessly for a while. It was hardly a topic for grave and serious conversation.
D continued ‘I am going to write a note saying we don’t have pictures of farm animals’
I looked up shocked ‘Wait a minute. We have plenty of pictures of farm animals. My mom used to cut pictures out of Span magazine all the time when we were kids. Of course he is going to take pictures of farm animals’
I was not going to let my son fail at homework this early on.
D continued, still despondent ‘We don’t subscribe to Span. We subscribe to the Economist. They don’t have pictures of farm animals’
D had a point. The previous week I had foolishly attempted to read the magazine with Bobo on my lap. Trying to surreptitiously censor the pictures, I had noticed the astounding number of guns that had been pictured in the issue. Certainly no farm animals. But I was not going to lose an argument.
‘Of course they have pictures of farm animals. They had pictures of cows all the time during the Mad Cow disease’
D did not bother responding.
Suddenly something struck me ‘I will google the pictures and take printouts at work?’
D did not respond this time either but that was because he had the look of ‘my wife is such a genius on his face’
‘Gosh you are so brilliant’ he finally spluttered.
We agreed on that point.
Post-lunch, when the office is usually quite empty, I began to google for ‘rooster’. I was quite sure I did not want to get cutesy cartoons of farm animals. I wanted the real thing just so Bobo could see what the animals looked like.
I stuck gold in the first hit. I printed a glossy colour picture of a handsome and proud-looking rooster on an A4 sheet.
Then it was onto ‘cow’. This did not look so good. She was massive, almost like a black and white brick wall. The problem was that she looked a bit disgruntled. The cow was from an article on the mad cow disease (Ha. Take that D) and maybe that is how mad cows look…? Still, I was not going to spend lunchtime looking for cows with mellow expressions. Bobo could take what I found.
Another glossy colour A4 printout.
Then it was the picture of a horse. I picked the first one I spotted - an insipid looking light brown mare. Bobo could do well with learning that not all animals are handsome or majestic creatures.
At this point I began to wonder how big was the collage that the school intended to do. Surely the kids would not be able to work on such large-sized pictures. And surely the school should not think I was some sort of non-tree hugger who took such large and wasteful colour prinouts for a pre-schooler?
I considered reprinting everything on a smaller scale but figured out that that would infact make me a non-tree hugger.
I assuaged my conscience by finishing off with a small picture of a pig.
In the evening, I told Bobo that I had got the pictures of farm animals.
He obviously had no clue that he was supposed to take some to school. Still, he was excited by the envelope (Used one. Note - Environmentally conscious) that I waved at him.
We went through the pictures one by one.
‘Rooster’, Bobo cried looking at the first. I gave him a big appreciative hug.
‘Penguin’ he cried next.
I flipped the paper to see if I had printed the wrong picture by mistake. But no. he was looking at the massive, disgruntled cow in black and white. The only animal he had seen in real life that was black and white was the penguin. And he had last seen a real cow in India during his infancy, the memory of which he clearly did not retain.
It looked like my choice of getting pictures of the animals instead of cartoons was already providing an education.
Still considering he got the horse, rooster and pig right, I began to wonder if the picture of the cow had been a good choice.
I showed the pictures to D, obviously waiting to hear more praise.
‘What huge pictures!’ D exclaimed ‘how big do you think the collage is going to be?’
‘Aha’ I replied ‘that is why I also got this small picture of a pig’
D said ‘This pig looks like it is quarter the size of a rooster. How do you explain to kids who have never seen farm animals which animal is larger?’
I protested ‘Hey. The teacher should think of that. That is why we send Bobo to school’
D continued ‘God, why does this cow look so weird?’
I was beginning to feel like the massive, disgruntled cow myself. I think D picked up the mood since there were no more comments.
The next morning I handed the envelope with the pictures to the teacher at school, cow included.
I am yet to hear how the collage is turning out.
I hope I get atleast one star for my effort.