Forced to go to school, Dee grumbled every morning. Ma was worried; her powder had merely forced Dee to stay in class. It hadn’t fixed the problem. She needed to find a long term solution. She racked her brains trying to imagine how attending classes could be fun. She realised the problem lay in the approach to learning and the method of teaching.
That day when Dee returned from school, Ma had designed a new game for her. She closed Dee’s eyes and led her into her room. In the room she found her solar system had come alive. There were balls of many shapes and sizes suspended in mid-air. Mesmerised, Dee ran towards them. But they rose higher than her reach. She looked from them to her mother to see the firm eye contact she maintained.
“Do you know how many balls are here?” she asked. Dee began to count out loud, “One.. two… three… four.” She stared blankly at her mother after. “Come. We will count together. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine!” Ma said. She clicked her fingers to increase the number of balls. Dee looked at the floating balls with her mouth wide open. With two consecutive clicks, Ma separated the balls based on their colour. A quick Math game was before them. Ma sat with Dee and used the balls to finish her Math homework. English wouldn’t be so much fun. But Dee got into a rhythm and worked meticulously.
At the dinner table, Dee asked, “Where did you learn these tricks?” Ma told her the story of a stormy night without power for several hours. She had wondered out of her house by herself. There, she bumped into an old lady who was starving. She brought her home and fed her a modest meal. The lady was grateful and as a thank you had given Ma her families oldest secrets with a solemn promise, “To use them scarcely and use them well.”
Ma had never before used them till the day she had caught Dee lying. Dee listened to her mother earnestly. She wondered if they would relish these secrets everyday. She couldn’t ask as that would ruin the surprise. But at least this way, she was now a believer in magic.