At the beginning of the school term

‘Why don’t you stand for School Captain?’ I asked.

‘Nah’, she dismissed the idea with a wave of her hand. ‘Too much work.’

‘How about House Captain then?’ I suggested.

‘Still too much work. My me time is precious’, she smirked.

Towards the end of the school term

‘Mom, what do think about me contesting in the school elections?’

*Surprised but trying not to show it* ‘I think it’s a superb idea. How come you decided to?’ I prodded gently.

‘Oh, everyone in my group is giving it a shot. It’ll be fun together.’ 

‘Super. Are you giving in your nomination for House Captain?’

‘School Captain’, she grinned.


I got worried. High school wars can be traumatic.

‘You do know you will be competing against the current Student of the Year winner, right? Why don’t you try for House Captain instead?’

I tried to ease the blow. 

‘Look at you trying to be all protective and all, huh’, she chided.  ‘It’s Ok, Mom. If I am going to lose, I might as well fight for the highest post against the best, no? And who knows I might just become the Vice Captain in that case.’

Even as I was wondering when did my little girl grow up, she managed to awe me further.

In fact, I will let the Student of the Year know that I am contesting and check if it’s ok with her. Seems only fair’, she added shrugging her shoulders.

True to her word, she did. I’d never felt more proud. How wrong was I only time would tell.

The following weekend her nomination was accepted, and she made it to the first list of contestants to be interviewed. Her interview went horribly, according to her, and she thought this was the end of the road. I kept telling her to savour the experience irrespective of the outcome. She did not want to bow out without a chance at a fight. Well, contrary to her fears, she made it to the final list of nominations for School Captain. However, none of her friends did, but I have to hand it to those girls who were all gung-ho about her making it. Well, she came home elated and with a list of to do for the campaign. We had our work cut out for us.

She is a big fan of black and white. Everything in her room is a testimony to that. So, it was evident we were going with shades of grey to colour our world. We decided that we’d work close to who she was and what she liked. So, we started out with all the A-listers she followed and got them to give us their testimonials. They were very obliging. 😀

student council election poster

Now that we had the who’s who backing us, we had our posters and placards sorted big time. Our campaign met with approval from students all over. Tiara decided her speech would be impromptu and straight from the heart because she was no politician.

Student council election poster

Oh, but the politics surrounding a school election was something we had not accounted for. Information was reluctantly shared while strategies had been in place from earlier grades. Why one girl apparently asked her bestie from another school to get a girl contesting for school captain to step down only because it was her lifelong dream to be school captain. Another vying for the School Captain post decided to settle for House Captain as it would be a sure shot win. There wasn’t anyone else contesting or so it seemed till the school changed a few rules and added competition in every sphere. Games were being played; groups were being made, and deals and barters were taking place. Oblivious to all this, we were preparing for another battle altogether – our UK & Schengen Visa. And as luck would have it we had our document submissions for the Schengen visa on the day the daughter had to go campaigning. A huge shout out to her girlfriends who went around asking for students to vote for her.

Well, as all good stories come to an end, so did this one. The elections happened. Judging by the positive reactions she was getting we braced ourselves for the Vice Captain position. Maybe Captain too, who knows? In our head, we were realistic. Unfortunately, she lost. As predicted the school captain was the student of the year. And the post of the Vice Captain was unceremoniously dumped by the school without any explanations. Did it break her heart? Did she cry? Of course. Did you think she was from Krypton?

I picked her up from school. Hugged her and said I was very proud of her and that we should celebrate none the less.

‘Mom, I know you are trying to cheer me up. Give me some time; I’ll be okay. I don’t want to talk about it now.’

I understood she needed her space. It was heartbreaking, but the only way was through it. I let her be. Luckily for us, our visas had come through, and we were flying out in less than 48 hours.

We went on our annual vacation and had a ball. I was dreading the new school season. The day arrived even as I hoped against hope. She went to school. All was well. And then it happened. The teacher asked her to co-host the investiture ceremony (the swearing-in of the new student council.) I was aghast when she told me.

‘You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.’ I said solemnly.

‘No Mom, I want to. I am good at this.’ 

‘Are you sure?’ I asked apprehensively.

‘Yes Mom, it’s not like it’s the end of the world. I am sure I will get other opportunities to showcase my talent. Losing does not mean you are a loser. It just means you are supposed to do better things in your life’, she rattled off.

Remember when I said I’d never felt more proud. Well, this moment just topped that by a huge margin.

PS: True to her word, she hosted the ceremony with a smile on her face, and congratulated the new school captain for a good innings. I have written this post after seeking her permission. Every day we share instances of how bright and beautiful our kids are which is great. We proudly share their achievements, but we never talk about their failures. Perhaps, if we do, it will give some child, somehwere, courage that this too shall pass. And that all battles can be fought irrespective of their outcome. And even if it looks impossible, you will rise above that loss. Nothing is permanent. And for all those times here is a little something I learned in school.

Prayer of a Sportsman

Dear Lord, in the battle that goes on through life
I ask but a field that is fair,
A chance that is equal with all in the strife,
A courage to strive and to dare;

And if I should win, let it be by the code
With my faith and my honor held high;
And if I should lose, let me stand by the road,
And cheer as the winners go by.

And Lord, may my shouts be ungrudging and clear,
A tribute that comes from the heart,
And let me not cherish a snarl or a sneer
Or play any sniveling part;

Let me say, "There they ride, on whom laurel's bestowed
Since they played the game better than I."
Let me stand with a smile by the side of the road,
And cheer as the winners go by.

So grant me to conquer, if conquer I can,
By proving my worth in the fray,
But teach me to lose like a regular man,
And not like a craven, I pray;

Let me take off my hat to the warriors who strode
To victory splendid and high,
Yea, teach me to stand by the side of the road
And cheer as the winners go by.

-Berton Braley




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