Calculator of Prahalada

This is an update on the school days of Sibi. Sibi is now finishing his fourth standard and I believe, is having a blast doing it as well. At times, I am left wondering what I need to do to facilitate a channel for his energy. At times, he makes me wonder why he is such a lazy boy. I think the real Sibi is somewhere in between.
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The blog title is a indicator of this conundrum. He is called in his class as the 'Calculator of Prahalada' (Prahalada being his section name, his school names each section with a puranic character name) for the reason that he handles big numbers at ease and is able to do the calculations fast and without using a notepad. Nothing is a challenge to him as he understands the intricacies of Mathematics and raises a thousand questions as well. At the same time, his exam papers are full of frustration vented by his Maths teacher trying to come terms with the fact that he seems to be unable to score a centum. In fact in his half-yearly exam paper she just wrote 'Why? Sibi, Why?'. That kind of existentialist tantrum seems to be the norm for anyone coming across Sibi.
In that paper, he simply forgot to do a sum and that cost him the centum. He does not put any weight to it and just shrugs and moves on while his mother is left fuming at his absolute indifference. I am flummoxed to figure how to take it. Talking to him, he is all earnest and says the right things and promises to be more careful the next time. And he goes on to do the exact same thing. It has all the qualities of a farce. And of course, there is an element of innocence still left in him which I don't want to destroy by putting him into the grind.

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Today he told me of a dream he had last night. It was about a front page news bulletin saying 'Muthu Prakash has won the noble prize (he is the grandson of Thangamani)'. He was all sincere explaining about it and we had a good laugh together.
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This academic year, he cleared two exams in Hindi. The first one is 'Pariksha' which is a basics test and he cleared 'Prathmik' last month. He was actually complaining that everyone was talking to eachother in the 'Pariksha' exam hall and were sharing papers. Though he scored a bit low marks (66), he had no regrets about not copying his way through. 'Prathmik' was conducted more professionally and he scored the first mark in his class and was ecstatic with a look saying 'Now who is laughing?' kind of smile. Though I have lots of small fights with him, I never had one over trying to fix his moral compass. He got that right always.
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During this year's sports day, Sibi has won a second prize in Relay running and came out winner in Kho-Kho. Given that I've never participated in any kind of sports, it is a wonder that he managed to do this without any encouragement from us.
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The latest obsession he has is story writing. Last count he has written about 84 pages of different stories (starting with his all time favorites, Moguls to the Indian freedom struggle to a letter to the woodcutters about not cutting trees). It even includes a chapter in Hindi. He keeps writing without watching TV or spending time in computers. The reason he has come up with is to 'become famous'. It is amazing to see the kind of focus he puts into these activities. He cannot think of anything else and every free minute he has is going into the writing of this magnum opus. And with his absolutely loaded schedule, it is amazing that he managed the 84 pages in about 9 days. (Planning to get some of that typed in..)
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And in this year's fancy dress competition in his school, he dressed as, who elxe, but the Moghul emperor Akbar. And amidst the standard Abdul Kalams and the God/Goddesses of his class, he stood out and won the applause. Whether he won a prize, we do not know as it was never announced. His closest friend is a kid named Madhavan (whom he calls Maddy). Since this fancy dress competition took place, Sibi and Maddy are named the Akbar-Birbal of the class.
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There are a hundred other things he has done or not done. But at times, I am always left to wonder whether this is the same little boy who shied away to talk to anyone. The other thing that he likes most these days is to visit the 'Anna centenary library'. It is when I see him running around the shelves picking up books and running through them in the couple of hours we used to spend there, I always feel like looking at a piece of myself.

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