Today was Puttachi's first day at school. She was prepared to go in without me, and was very excited to wear her new uniform and shoes, and carry her new bag. She even woke up early in the morning, raring to go to school.
She looked heart-breakingly adorable - big, dark eyes full of excitement, short, unruly hair pinned down on either side by inadequate hairclips, wearing a uniform too loose for her in spite of attempts at alteration, unfamiliar shoes, and a no-nonsense brown bag - and she couldn't keep still as usual.
When we reached school, the watchman and an ayah took her from me, smiled at her, patted her head and cheeks, and led her away lovingly. She did not even look back at me.
I stood on my toes and watched her little figure until I could see her no longer. And then I stood right there and wept shamelessly!
She came out quite composed too, but the moment she spoke, I knew from her slightly heavy voice that she'd been crying. But the first thing she said to me was, "Amma, they gave me green milk! And something yellow to eat. It was sweet. I finished it all!"
Slowly, out it came without any prodding. "I cried just a little bit, Amma. I knew you would come and pick me up, but yet I wanted you, and so I cried. "
A new beginning, new feelings, new emotions. Decisions taken in the belief that it is for the best. A little girl going out into the world.