Can't say I wasn't the teeniest bit terrified when I entered my kids' school yesterday. The thought of having to interact with a regulation size battalion of 2-4 years old can shake the steeliest of hearts. I was imagining Arnold in Kindergarden Cop.
A few days back, the owner of our kids' school requested for numismatist parents to appear at school to talk about and display their collections. Being proud of my 173 countries' coin collection, I volunteered. Doing this was the most fun filled and invigorating 30 minutes of my life. Kind of shows how exciting my life is otherwise I guess!
Walking up to the room, I suggested to the school owner that, maybe, he should show the coins and I can just kind of fade into the woodwork. He would have none of that and insisted I do the deed. Entering the room, I was met by the most beautiful faces I've ever seen. There were probably about 15 youngsters who were sizing me up to see how much they go shatter my already fragile nerves.
Not knowing where to start, I just opened up my coin album. Immediately, I realized that how wrong that was! This wasn't a work meeting!! I quickly closed the book and began anew by getting everyone's names. I tried to do this systematically, but you know how that would go. One kiddo, who insisted on saying "Dollar" every few minutes, responded with "Dollar" even when I asked him his name. There was also a trio with an above average hyperactivitiy level persistently climbing atop any furniture over 3 feet tall.
The formal introductions completed, we got down to business. I was amazed by some of the questions these little ones had. One wanted to know how long I was collecting these coins, another informed me that a serrated looking coin was shaped like a flower. One coin which had a hole in the center was promptly called a drainage (kind of ironic thinking of the adage of money down the drain!). Russian currency was regularly referred to as "Rupa". One little girl wondered why I had so many (same) coins and was partially appeased when I told her that each coin was from a different country and they were not all the same. Man! We just don't get these refreshing and unbiased thoughts as we grow up.
The energy in the room was great! My inviter showed the relevant country on a large wall map for each coin that I showed and the interest was immense. A kid inquired as to when I had started collecting coins and hearing my reply that it was at the age of 10, looked crestfallen. I hastened to assure him that he needn't wait for that long but can start right away! One never thinks of the impact of statements and made me aware how much like sponges little kids are. Everything you say is gospel and they hang onto every word. You really need to be a role model!!
The next batch consisted of younger kids, probably the 2-3 years age group as my girls walked in demurely. I was even more lost as I had no idea how to talk to so many of them. These were people who did not believe in sitting quietly on chairs and waiting for me to say something intelligent. They swarmed on me like bees, turning the pages of my coin books; unsuccessful in their attempts as no two little people wanted to turn the page the same direction. Momentary panic as being only grown-up in the room for about 2 minutes , I was rendered powerless by the onslaught till the owner came back and restored order.
A great great experience. For the umpteenth time, I envied people who run these types of facilities as a career. It's such joyous, energetic and entertaining work! I know I learnt a lot more from the children than they did from me. It was such a wonderful feeling to leave work early and get an opportunity to do something so enthralling. Moreover, I still can't get over what darlings kids are and how uninhibited we all once were. All in all, a moment to cherish in my life for such instances are rare and priceless.
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