of baby talk

When I was young, I tutored a young girl three or four years my junior. Over time, we drifted apart, and she became nothing but a dim memory of somebody I had once found very amiable.

I ran into her at the mall recently. I saw her first – I could’ve ignored her if I wanted; I had all the time I needed to make a U-turn.

Instead, I waved like a maniac and invited her to coffee.

In 20 minutes, I found myself sitting cross-legged on the Café Coffee Day couch, trying very (very) hard to look interested in the one-way conversation about her daughter. It didn’t help that my drink was disturbingly depressing. Each sip tasted worse than the one before.

Wow! How old is she now?

Thirteen and a half.

Years? My eyebrows shrunk to half their size as I strained to do the math.

You’ll never stop joking, will you? She threw a cushion at me, smiling. Months, baba!

I rolled my eyes at her inwardly for the rest of the evening. How does the world keep spinning with a shockingly ridiculous person who can’t discount that one odd month (and fifteen days) off her child’s age? Is it so hard to say “a year”?

I pretended to count on my fingertips (yeah, I’m mean when I want to be) and said – oh, just over a year, then. Is she walking already?

Bad move.

She proceeded to take me through a list of ALL the milestones her baby had achieved, and then talked at length about how she thought her baby was going to be an underperformer because she had started to talk so late.

Then she started to show me 876,297,097 pictures of Little Miss G on the inflatable chair. Little Miss G on the couch. Little Miss G eating. Little Miss G smiling. Little Miss G frowning. You get my drift.

I ran out of there a fast as I possibly could. Just when I heaved the proverbial sigh of relief, my phone buzzed.

Friend request.

From Little Miss G.

Fuck my life.

Do you know any such child-obssessed parents or someone who has created an entire FB profile for their baby? What are the other annoying things that people from your past do now? How many photos of your baby do you have on your phone? 

of evasive pleasures

Bringing up a child when both parents are working is comparable to a café that operates 24 x 7, with precise time management and division of labour. In our case, since Mister specializes in sincere, single-minded pursuits (mostly of superbikes), I end up doing double shifts. Of course, the family set up is super-supportive with mom and our old domestic help pitching in to manage the little dumpling while I crusade on other fronts. However, days of pursuing my own simple pleasures still stand far out, just beyond the horizon of anything that I can actively plan right now.

So, I DEFINITELY have been craving a break to do some of those things. Fortune winked and Mister, Z, and I snuck out to the hills for a leisurely (as leisurely it can be with a 9 month old 10 kilo can of monster energy!) vacation.

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And on this vacation, it finally happened.

We were both pining for it and had clandestinely packed our stuff from the ever-curious eyes and pawing hands of little Z. After we reached the hotel, the realization of the possibility began to weigh palpably on our nerves. We could finally do it! All we needed was some privacy and some us time.

Over months of diligent persistence, I had mastered the art of putting Z to bed with a night feed and cozy cradling. At the hotel, after he was asleep, there would be no doorbell rings, no urgent office calls, and definitely no sudden barging into our room by our dog or maids. We had even asked room service to serve us a late dinner, just a couple of hours after the usual time our son dozes off to wonderland.

So, as I slowly crooned to Z and he reciprocated by gentle suckling on one breast and the not-so-gentle pinching on the other, my gaze perambulated between the clock and his slowly drooping eyelids.

Anytime now, he would fall asleep and the window of opportunity would open up for Mister and I. The realization of that approaching moment made my heart race. Mister kept passing me salacious glances as he very insidiously unpacked the stuff that we had so far managed to shield from the little ninja.

As Z dozed off, I winked to Mister and both of us tiptoed to the other end of the King-sized bed. We were both excited and terrified at the thought of indulging ourselves after such a long time. With a wicked smile, Mister slid his hands up the cover and opened it to reveal what lay inside, and as he did so, I felt giggly with that familiar musty smell that tantalized my senses. I had to bite hard on my lower lip to contain myself. Mister single-mindedly and masterfully made his way to the sweet spot. Both our pupils dilated as he found it and I gasped as he flipped open on target with a swish. We now found ourselves straining to remember where we had left off on the last encounter. As our senses assimilated the object of desire and we sighed the gentle wave of subtle but enduring pleasure, my trembling fingers found their way inside another world for a pleasure of a different kind.

As I found what I was looking for and brought it to my lips, the long forgotten world of simple indulgences radiated resplendently in phantasmagorical colours. And we both knew it the moment it happened without so much as a word or even a gesture. As Mister flipped the page and I bit into the next bite of chocolate, we both remembered how fond we were of reading a book together over little epicurean accompaniments. Yes, for a parent, the right book and some chocolate can mean paradise on earth, even if it’s just for a little while.

So that’s what I’ve been up to the last few weeks months. Gosh, it’s been long, hasn’t it? How have you been? What’s new in your world?

 

Eight

Childhood was so perfect! Sometimes I wish I could be eight again, she said. More freedom.

Freedom from what? I asked, curious.

Freedom from having to think twice about everything I say or do, of course, she giggled. You know how it is with in laws – they find reasons to get offended. I would fight back, but my husband does not tolerate that kind of stuff. Plus I can’t wear what I want anymore – can’t just step out to go meet a friend when I feel like it.

I understood.

R came from the ideal family – doting parents, independent children, enough money to keep squabbles at bay. I was jealous of the way her parents spoke to her, always lovingly and with concern. She married her college sweetheart and has the most well-behaved children but the most boring life.

Me, I come from a far-less-than-ideal family that liked to pretend otherwise. My parents hated each other’s guts, and ours. We were the reason why they had to stay together – this was my mother’s ultimate sacrifice, and we were painfully aware of the burden our existence was for her. But if you were to look at our photographs from back then, you’d see only oblivious children with glazed, glassy eyeballs. You’d have no idea how fucked up we really were. I grew up to become a socially awkward person with the decision-making ability of a saucepan.

 

And now, in my thirties, I am finally discovering what it is like to think and feel like an eight year old – a luxury I didn’t have in 1990. (Because when I was eight, I was battling agony, indignation, confusion, self-loathing, betrayal; and a few years later, even arousal.)

I am filled to the brim with love and contentment. I am truly happy for the first time in my life. Not because I have a family that loves me – but because I am finally able to understand and love myself.

Maybe my childhood is only just beginning. Maybe I was meant to live my life in reverse.

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What about you? Are you happier now that you are an adult? Do you miss your carefree childhood? Did you have a carefree childhood?

 

of trepidation

I’d like to still be pregnant when this post ends, so I’ll make it as short as I can.

My baby’s coming in two months, time’s flying faster than I can keep up, and I’m freaking out. I am so not prepared for this! And by ‘not prepared’ I don’t mean financially. I don’t care how much or how little I have, I know we will survive.

And no, I’m not even worried about not being prepared emotionally. I practically raised my younger brother, though he was one of the people that went and watched Prem Ratan Dhan Payo – a Sooraj Barjatya movie with three doorknobs (Salman, Salman, and Sonam) in it – I must’ve gone horribly wrong somewhere!

*shudder*

Anyway. I am worried that I don’t know how (and if) I’m going to teach my baby about spirituality with the shit that’s going on in the world in the name of religion. I see people all around me, intelligent people who have two helpings of brain but only half a helping of heart when it comes to accepting other faiths, and I don’t know what I can do to prepare my kid for the sheer stupidity of this all. Paris. Israel. Love jihad. Beef ban. All of it.

Besides, Mister, mom and I have three different perspectives on god and spirituality. Mom has a mandir in the house where she must pray every morning and evening with the utmost reverence. Mister is a yogi and his way of approaching divinity is through meditation and soul searching. Me? I’m just a creature of convenience. I don’t believe in idol worship, but I will accompany Mister and Mom to a temple if they’re going, sit there and think about where the world is headed. Where I am headed. But I will let them be.

Of course I want my kid to be spiritual, but how will I even handle this when he/she starts to get curious?

Like I said, I’m freaking out. How would you handle this?

 

of the dog that was such a bitch

AP and N celebrated Ben’s arrival like that of a newborn baby. It was like the beginning of a wonderful time, fresh hope, countless possibilities, and tremendous confusion. How often does he need to be fed? Is it time to start potty training him? How do we work our shifts in office so he’s never left unsupervised? They lay awake at night wondering what he was doing.

I wasn’t so excited. I missed the way things were before Ben came. I didn’t hate him, but we wished I could. My feelings were all mixed up; so mixed up that I have neither the intellectual apparatus nor the vocabulary to describe it.

Anyway.

Ben was the most moody dog I’ve ever seen. He had just about enough patience to suck up to us when he wanted to be fed, but as soon as that was done, he’d crawl under AP’s bed and stay there until he got hungry again, much like a bored husband would roll over and fall asleep after he is done having his way with the poor wife. Believe me, the dog was a total bitch.

Seriously.

When he was teething, we would come home to stuff that had been chewed up in ways you couldn’t imagine. Think half-eaten (raw) potatoes, bits and pieces of paper tissue strewn across the house, chewed up mattresses. And if that seems normal, imagine crotchless panties, toeless socks, heel-less slippers. I can’t speak for anyone else, but all this made me want to rip his precious little teeth right out.

Once, Ben slyly took little sips from my rum and coke, got drunk, and got the glass stuck on his face with the alcohol still in it. The fucker couldn’t breathe, but he thought it would be a great time to go hide under the bed. I didn’t realize what had happened until I realized my glass wasn’t where I had kept it. I thought I was going nuts until AP found the trail Ben had left behind. The bitch had passed out under AP’s bed with a glass stuck to his face.

I’m pretty sure it was the first time I ever used the words ‘dog’ and ‘deathwish’ in the same sentence. People laughed for the longest time. Until Ben proved me right.

Do you have a pet as crazy as Ben? Do you think dogs can be suicidal? Did you miss me while I was away? 🙂