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Pran Nath and Priya Nath were disillusioned by the nuns of the school who appeared to be without love and feeling for the children, and deemed it fit to rule over them with an iron hand in the name of discipline. Accustomed as the children had become to the deep and abiding Love of Shri Nathji and Mateshwari, everyone else in the world appeared to be without love.
Shri Nathji was the only father in the whole world, who had never–not even once–in his entire life, chided the children for anything, anything at all. He embraced them and patted them on their heads every morning as they went to school, and brought all manner of toys for them from the market even in the most inclement weather. He spoke in an intensely loving tone to them and always added the respectful suffix of “ji” to their names. He would call them “Paanji” and “Piyaji” with affection, omitting the ‘r’ in their names. He never contradicted anything they said and catered to even the slightest of their whims.
Pran Nath and Priya Nath did not know how to address their parents. They did not like the “mummy and daddy” mode of address, which they had learnt in the convent school, and instead referred to Shri Nathji and Mateshwari as “Pitiji” and “Mo”. However they had no idea whether to use the formal “aap” or the informal “tum”–you–in addressing their parents. In fact they felt shy of using the formal “aap”, and in the confusion referred to their parents with the informal, if less respectful, “tum”. This was what they had heard boys calling their parents in the Hindi films. Neither Mateshwari nor Shri Nathji ever corrected the boys. On the contrary they went on calling the children “aap”. Many parents would have thought they were “spoiling” the children by being so lenient and loving with them, but for Shri Nathji and Mateshwari this was a way of life. Far from spoiling the children, the loving attitude of Shri Nathji and Mateshwari only made the children more dutiful and caring, if a trifle impertinent and bold at times.