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‘Apeejay, Kharghar was quick to support my daughter when my husband and I were busy with Covid duties’

Dr. Kirti Gharat, mother of a class 7 student, Aashi Gharat, shares how the health crisis brought the school and her family closer

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A radiologist practicing in Panvel, Navi Mumbai, Dr. Kirti Gharat, has a close-knit family. Her Husband, Dr. Amit Gharat is a gastroenterologist and their family owns the MITR Hospital in Kharghar, Mumbai. The couple’s daughter Aashi studying at Apeejay School, Kharghar since class Nursery is a single-child. Unsurprisingly, the pandemic brought with it a set of challenges for the family. But Dr. Kirti and her husband ensured that their daughter Aashi’s mental and physical well-being were successfully addressed during the crisis. Edited excerpts from an interview:    

Fulfilling the roles of a doctor and a parent must have been difficult for your husband and you. How did you manage it?

Yes, it was very challenging. As per my specialisation which involves me to take X-rays and mammograms, I did not come in close contact with the patients but my husband did. During the health crisis, we maintained strict precautions at home and stayed on separate floors in our house. We used to do video calls with Aashi in the same house. To help her and let her know that we are around, my husband used to write letters to her and put it up on a common wall at home. She used to paste her response on the wall by evening and that is how they used to communicate and connect with one another.

How has been your experience with Apeejay School, Kharghar?

Two years ago, just when the pandemic hit, most of the schools in India were grappling with online setups and classes. Apeejay became a frontrunner at that time to make this transition easily. I realised this when my friends’ children who study at different schools hadn’t started their classes at all. Bang on! It was April 1, 2020 and Apeejay started its online classes. There was no confusion at all. As parents, we were very happy and I want to thank Madam Sushma Paul Berlia, Co-Promoter & President, Apeejay Stya & Svran and Group Chairman, Apeejay Education Society, and the Apeejay management for it.

Also, during the Covid-19 first and second wave, my husband and I were busy with Covid duties. For weeks, we could not meet our daughter. That time, Apeejay started an initiative called ‘Happy Hours’ in which children were allowed to share their thoughts and speak their mind. It was heartening to see how teachers were willing to be there for their students even after school hours at that time. The school staff responded even at 6 in the evening and fixed extra classes and special sessions to clear our doubts. Teachers at Apeejay made a smooth online transition and were equipped to meet the demands of the new method of learning.

Given your long association as a parent with the school, your best memory till date?

Well, I remember the very first time I went to Apeejay School, Kharghar to enroll Aashi in class Nursery. At that time, the school’s Principal, Ms. Indu Mathur asked us what our expectation was from our daughter. As new parents, we began to talk about academic and sports achievements at length. She listened to us patiently and said, “The only thing you must want your daughter to be is to be happy” – and that day I felt that it was my first day at school. I want to thank the current school Principal, Ms. Tejaswini Katdare as well for her continuous guidance.

Any special achievements of Aashi you would like to mention?

She has won gold at the International Spell Bee competition from her school. With Apeejay, she is doing very well at academics and is a good badminton player.

Have you observed any positive developmental changes in your daughter in the last one year?

Yes, very much. Earlier, she used to be a very quiet and shy child. But with initiatives that the school took in the pandemic, she has started to mingle well with others, become more jovial and now she likes to participate in the classes. She is really looking forward to her offline classes at the school.  

Would you be keen to send her back to school?

Absolutely! As per the recent notification, the school should start physical classes from April 1, 2022 and I would like for Aashi to go. She must meet her friends and increase her social circle.

Your tips for fellow parents?

Let your kids be and don’t pressure them. My only tip to parents would be introduce financial education to them so that they can meet future challenges.

Mrini Devnani is a Senior Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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