Monday, July 30, 2012

The new normal


Nancy served pasta with a zero on her mind. Some of it spilled over.
Of late, Edith’s results had been slipping too. A usually good scorer, she now came home with barely passing marks.


Nancy wondered why. The cipher stared at her in response. A big fat zero. Jeering at her. “Your daughter is so dumb – she can’t even add.” She turned the sheet upside down.
She cleared the table and tossed the dishes in the sink. She would attend to these chores later, when her daughter would be playing.
“Mum, can I go out to play.” “Later. Let’s get done with the homework thing first.”
Edith let out a tired sigh. Nancy thought of letting her go. The red ink and the ominous zero steeled her.
“I will bake a cake for you.” “Promise?” “A good man’s promise.” Edith picked up her books.
………………….
“Now, look what you have done in haste. 7 – 5 = 2 and not 5. Again, 9 + 8 = 17.”
 “NO! You teach me all wrong.”
“What?”
“You never teach like Miss Hazel ...”
Nancy listened to the tirade. She picked up the answer sheet. 7 – 5 = 2 had been generously crossed out. The X might have put the calligrapher to shame.
She checked the other answers too. Her mind calculated the perfect 25.
So Edith did know how to add and subtract. Miss Hazel did not.
……………………….
Nancy sought her out the next day and placed the answer sheet on her desk.
Nancy looked at the teacher. The teacher looked at the answer sheet. “Please get her eyesight tested” her teacher tone strangely emotional.
“Excuse me?”
“She got all her digits mixed up.” Miss Hazel looked up this time. “She deserves a perfect 25.”
……………………….
Rounds to the doctor confirmed what Miss Hazel said.
A 3rd standard girl with spectacles, power -4.00.
It was their new normal. Was it not?
……………………
Miss Hazel slipped down in Edith’s ranking. Edith’s grades slipped up.

24 comments:

  1. I like this. It's amazing how much more sense math makes when you can see the numbers (well, at least it's clear until they start throwing letters into the equations...)

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    1. Thank you Janna for such kind words. I like your interpretation of math on the whole.

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  2. uh huh! There is a reason... now she will be on top!

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    1. Hopefully, fingers crossed :)
      Thank you Ma Connie.

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  3. Math, ugh! Not my favorite subject. Sweet little story. So many children struggle until someone finally notices that they can't see the board. Wish they could all be caught when they are young.

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    1. So true Tessa. Children struggle for they do not know there is problem with their eyesight. It is their normal vision and they kind of try to adjust with it. The situation worsens by the time the problem is found out.
      Thanks for reading and sharing your views.

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  4. A third standard girl with a power of -4.0, I feel for her. I never liked wearing glasses, let alone at such a young age. Nevertheless, she will always be on top now :)

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    1. Yeah, at least she will do good in life. That is the best thing happening to her. Specs can be very irritating at times but I still hold them to be better than contacts and surgery at all costs.

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  5. Reminds me of the time before I got glasses. I really had no idea I wasn't seeing everything there was to be seen! At least now she doesn't have to struggle with it.

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    1. I can relate to these thoughts. Absolutely no idea that there is something amiss in the vision and then one fine day it is all glasses.
      Good for the little one, she got timely help though.
      Thanks.

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  6. I really liked the rhythm of this piece. It seems that Miss Hazel could have dealt with this without all the drama.

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    1. Thank you. Now that you say it, I do realize that she could have handled it simply. :)

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  7. It is difficult to do Math when one does not see the numbers.

    And I am thinking, she must have physically suffered when she did not have glasses - headaches and all. But she's on her way to A's now. :-)

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    1. Vision restored, she will find math all the more enjoyable. Good thing she got timely help.

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  8. I think your use of "normal" here is perfect. I remember the first time I got glasses and could see the normal everyone else was accustomed to seeing. It was like magic. And now it's normal. I like this. Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Thank you editors. I am glad I got the usage right. I was a little worried about it. Looking forward to weekend challenge.

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  9. I like this. It's crazy what we can live with when it seems normal, isn't it?

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  10. I remember each time I got new glasses as the prescription went up, my new normal was always so eye-opening (pun intended)! The clarity of seeing every single leaf on a tree was just so splendid. I can appreciate your piece, since I'm so nearsighted that I cannot see the big E at the top of the eye chart.

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    1. Must be difficult to manage but then there are things we learn to live with. Thanks Sandra. Hoping for your eyesight to stabilize soon

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    2. They've stabilized, all right. I meant when I was younger. I'm getting old. Need those other kinds of glasses soon, ha!

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    3. The bifocal ones. Yes, many people in family do wear those glasses. I wonder though how they manage. Because for me one is more than enough to drive me crazy

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Since every thought is a seed, I am looking forward to a delicious harvest.