So where were we? Yes. Christmas in Melbourne. Khaaya Peeya, Bahut maza aaya. Opened the garage door to take a look at the suitcases and furniture and reminded myself once more "See you can spend four years without needing all this", then promptly rolled up some rugs and books, Chalo let me show you what Delhi is all about. Arey, they have feelings too.
We spent most of January in Bangkok, well the Dad and Bub did. I was in hell. Somehow it is difficult to go all haha hee hee or get hysterical over a three year old eating shrimps and puking his guts out if there are 80 families sitting in -8 cold, their loved ones in coffins waiting waiting for anyone to wake up and take notice. Lather, rinse, repeat after a fortnight. And the heavens poured, and the earth renders apart, and people have babies, lose babies. And you wonder, wonder how do you get through the day ...all the time responsible for making sure you do not muck up your kid's childhood. I am really confused most days, do you start hinting to kids Hey It Is A Scary World Out There And You Really Lucked Out (with what a dear friend one joked as the "sperm lottery") or do you just keep it at bay and tell them, say when they are 8, "Surprise ! we fucked up and things are really bad outside your little bubble". Or again we could roll up our sleeves and clean up whatever we can before they grow older and wiser. That would be a lovely gift you know, making it a better world and they never have to know how scary things were for a while. I have been thinking really hard about the ripple effect and taking responsibility and perhaps each one of us ("knowingly or unknowingly" as they say) could have been one cog in the wheel of hate, it could be that I was the snowball that set this avalanche into motion and now we are waist deep in it. So I have started by apologizing to all whom I know whose lives have changed by what is happening. Picking up the phone and apologizing before condoling. And being more conscious. And ethical in my life choices (I hope).
There was a time I could tut tut and tell myself Ah Well It Is A Sign The World Is Ending, See! See! All Signs. Qayamat Ki Nishani. Kalyug, Kalyug.
But frankly once you have weaned a child, toilet trained him, got him into his own bed and (YES! Mithai all around) GOT HIM INTO BIG SCHOOL. the world cant end on you. Well just not yet, OK!
There is so much of AR Rahman and Lata I can listen to as therapy (read previous post); so I got through horrible horrible January by hanging around at cat cafes. Such a brilliant idea and if you see from the images we are all smiling and happy.
Of course if you are not a cat person (but why aren't you, huh, huh) you may find sitting in a bouncy castle while three dozen small children somersault around you, also quite therapeutic.
You should also get some Stella Gibbons in your life. Combine that with sitting in one corner of those indoor play area in malls, you know the padded rubber cages, and you could be in heaven. Or at least I was, when I would take one of her books and curl up in a corner while Arhaan hurtled himself down slides into the ball pit, or climbed monkey bars and bridges. the joy of not worrying about sharp edges or the boy hurtling himself into a wall or running away from me and sticking his fingers into an electric socket or climbing up the fridge chasing an animal , Oh all the joy! that a nearly 4 year old brings to your life. SO YES SURROUND YOURSELF WITH RUBBER AND INFLATABLE PLASTIC, PERHAPS WITH SOME NETTING AND A SECURITY GUARD AT THE ENTRANCE. Damn so this is what being in a padded cell is all about. Best two hours ever! I have never felt safer and more content.
We returned to Delhi
and I started yoga classes where I discovered there are three Pakistanis in my class...perhaps the Aman Ki Asha is mostly asanas.
I had hidden the paper puppet Sita (of the pulling her ghunghat to her knees fame) before leaving Delhi so on our return we had one week of a paper Lakhan calling out Sita is Lost. Sita is Lost Againnn. Though when Arhaan's Lakhan called out I WILL FIND YOU SITA , it sounded like a threat. Walks Stealthily, Hoarse Whisper.
Arhaan turned 4.
In keeping with the past year's (and the year before that, and the...gulp!) theme we took a cake to school and had-no-party-afterwards.
But we did take him and a friend to the National Rail Museum, where they went totally crazy, but it was fun. And they played Hindi film songs about all things trains (yes! they played Mere Sapno Ki Rani , also 'Jaipur se nikli gaaRi, Dilli challi halle halle') There were the standard issue "Weigh Yourself" apparatus and Arhaan's weight came printed out on a card that categorised him as a shy, peaceful sort, and the film star Govinda . Yup, his expression in the last pic says it all
And some time in Feb I came down with a terrible terrible Im Ready For My Last Rites To Be Administered bug, and I was up nights worrying how Arhaan will grow up to whimper "and my mum never made it to any of my birthday parties"
so I planned a picnic, where my friends could sing a song for him as a present, and someone could put up some children's theater, and there could be candy floss, and perhaps a monkey and a juggler, until G-man asked isnt that a birthday party YOU want for yourself.
So I decided upon a day out to the Rail Museum for his friends, followed by a picnic in Nehru park where we could have kites and a football. AND IT RAINED EVERY WEEKEND FOR A MONTH. So this weekend the kids were bundled up to go bowling and they had popcorn and pizza and cake and noodles and chips and Arhaan and his friend fought over one green balloon. Also the birthday boy spent most of the afternoon dancing to D.I.S.C.O in front of the long mirrors. It was noisy and chaotic and they played so much loud (and totally inappropriate after a while) music. We had a Noddy cake and all the kids asked for choice parts "Noddy's eye!" "His hand, his hand". "I WANTED HIS FOOT, BHAAAAAEEEE" ,they could have totally put the best of Pindi fighting over the qurbani goat to shame. His friends got puppets and books in their goody bags (and most probably Arhaan got beaten up in school the next day for that).
And later Saturday night when we were tired and grubby and hoarse from screaming at each other I kissed him to sleep and asked him what he had liked best about his day. "Oh when I fought with my friend, and we stamped on that balloon. THAT WAS SO GOOD!". Oh well
And now for the song