Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sentimental Little Fool !

Ruhi goes to a 'new' school that just started this year. Its a beautiful school and though its an hour's school-bus drive away from home, everything else about it makes up for that extra distance. At least for now. 
They do not have an auditorium yet and they make do with a large open space for a special assembly each week till their fancy audi gets the final touches. Since the Kids have been with them a couple of months now, they are having each class to host the special assembly for the parents each week. Last Wednesday was the turn of Ruhi's class. I was excited as hell and had been anxiously waiting for the day and I planned meticulously to leave home well in advance to account for every traffic eventuality. 
Office time in the morning, the traffic is a bitch and the BRT is well....I don't need to swear, anyone who lives in South Delhi already know what I mean. I insisted on driving since I didn't trust the driver or the husband enough to get to school just as my precious darling begins what she had told me was a big 'surprise' for me. We were moving at a snail's pace but I had accounted for this delay...but half an hour later, I knew it was impossible to make it before the assembly. As the traffic became more stubborn I wouldn't as much glance at the watch. I couldn't hear a word of the conversation my husband was having with me. My heart felt like a log and I wondered what it is that makes me so silly, so weak. Why is it that my husband who loves our daughter as much as I do,if not more, is so matter of fact about these things? Am I strange ?

We reached school half an hour late for the hour long special assembly. I drove past the screaming guards at the school gate, right into the porch, abandoned the car and my husband to pacify the guards and ran my fastest race to the assembly. There was a row of children up there with tall masks covering their faces, taking the final bow just as I reached. I spotted the Pink shirt that I bought for her just a day before and I quietly stood at the back fighting my tears and taking pictures till the masks went off and she noticed me. 

Her face lit up like sunshine. I pretended as if I had been standing there forever. She was with her class, following the teacher's instructions to walk in a file, stand straight, sing the national anthem and all through her eyes were fixed on me with that silly sheepish smile. 

I got to speak to her for a few minutes before the children ran away to their classroom. She told me she had been crying under her mask since she had thought I was not going to come at all. And that like an idiot she had not seen me standing at the back. 

I told her she was a sentimental little fool.

Yeah !

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This is my family ! (post inspired by my children's' home work project last week)

This is Ruhi, who will turn seven this November. Ruhi suffers from many happy delusions. For instance she sincerely believes she is a Gobsmacking beauty. Therefore she lives up to that role by dressing up in festive finery, even when she goes to the park. She is often spotted on top of the rickety DDA park slide with her shiny 'Gharara' pulled above her bony knees and christmas trinkets hanging from various points on her head.

She also thinks she is not thin enough and digs wearing clothes that can make her look even thinner, when she is not wearing festive finery. I call her my "boo boo sticks, pointy bums' ! She thinks it a a compliment !

A born activist, she wants to save the planet, the poor and the old to begin with. In crowded malls and cinema halls she has the spooky quality of spotting senior most citizens and make pretty eyes at them. Upon getting a hint of any response she will shyly fold hands in a greeting, resulting in a great deal of affectionate reciprocal activity. Ruhi wants to be a 'household help' when she grows up ! Since she thinks Kirti 'didi', the girl who works with us, has a really cool job to do ! Cook, clean and watch TV and no going to office ( the dirty word for her) and no homework either !!!

This is three year old Rayyan Wasi, who likes to be addressed by his full name. Rayyan Wasi adopted a tattered blue 'Jaipuri Razai' when he was one year old and the two have since been inseparable. The 'Razai' goes to cinema halls, vacations, school, weddings, birthday parties and the mall, which is his most favourite place. Rayyan Wasi is a potential TV channel Talent Show aspirant. He poses and sings on a toy mike with his Razai wrapped around his neck. He also plays on a small cartoon network guitar, a "tabla" set and a tiny 'dholak' that is his most recent musical acquisition. Whenever he can lay hands on it, he also plays upon my precious harmonica. His father is convinced down to every bone in his body that Rayyan Wasi will be a talented singer / musician when he grows up. I hope and pray that Rayyan eventually does not break his father's heart ! 

Rayyan & the Blue 'Razai' !
Rayyan's other passion is cars. He has accumulated several by various means - gifts from doting relatives, gifts from me and his dad, shameless blackmail in Malls, shameless anarchy during visits to Gurtej & Kabir's homes ( his 8 year old male cousins). When he is not singing, playing on his musical contraptions or sucking on to the dirty blue blanket, Rayyan Wasi runs his battery of cars on my bed, from one corner to the other while giving a running commentary about an imaginary traffic situation.

This is my husband. He is always, always, always the man on the phone. When not on the phone, he is generous, soft spoken, sentimental, kind and funny. Hates airplanes, lifts, cinema halls, malls, vacations, hills, the sea, parking lots and being alone at home. And like Ruhi, he suffers from many happy delusions. He thinks he is the world's greatest musician, perfumer, cook, husband, father, son, brother, friend, designer, movie editor, driver...etc etc etc . He would have been insufferable if he hadn't been so vulnerable and naive. He leaves wet towels on the bathroom floor, he is more messy than the kids are, he drives me nuts. 
But he also lets me win every fight and spoils me silly, more than he spoils the children. Naaaaaaaaaaaaah ! I am not going to make this a 'senti' post. That one is for later.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Everyone's children are the same.

A bengali woman started working as part time help in my house recently. She is as bad as they come, dishonest, unreliable, lazy, incompetent and I wonder why we have her at all. The last time I told her that it was not working out she almost fell at my feet and she really does seem very needy so the story goes on. Anyway, four days ago she got her 3 months old daughter along to our house. Her husband had hit the child so she could not bear to leave her alone with him.

I peered at the dark, malnourished kid. She seemed reasonably clean but very weak. I made her lie down in the drawing room under the fan on a small padded mattress that Ruhi uses for her dolls, carefully covering it with a plastic sheet and a piece of cloth. She lay there happily gurgling while her mother went about her chores. No one except me and the other girl who helps me run my house, came near the child.

Before leaving, the woman left Ruhi's small mattress in her room and put the cloth away for washing. Nothing of great consequence till I realised that my mother in law was greatly upset with what had happened. That I had made 'that' kid lie on Ruhi's toy mattress.

I have a pact of silence to all things disagreeable within my rather volatile joint family. So I quietly went about collecting my things to leave for our weekend getaway. When she became particularly nasty, I softly told her " sabke bachche ek jaise hote hain" (everyone's children are the same). She did not say anything to that.

Half way through our road trip, I got a call from my father in law. He is nearly ninety, and always graceful. He sounded livid with me. He said his wife had told him that I let an infected, dying child lie down on my daughter's mattress. I asked him how he had arrived at that conclusion. He said the diagnosis was based on my mother in law noticing from farthest way that the child's limbs were rather thin compared to her head and body !!!

But she had not even as much come near the poor child. How did she know it was a fatal, infectious disease ? Unless the disease was called abject poverty. She had also noticed that the child's leg had touched the carpet on which she sits down to read namaaz everyday. Everything had been soiled it seems. And I am the freak who allows pariahs into my house, on to my carpet, on to my children's playthings.

I kept burning in an indignant fire till hours afterwards. I am not class conscious. I eat from the office peon's tiffin. I have inherited this from my mother who is beyond care for anything and anyone at all.

I always turn to my husband in such times to give vent to my feelings. He patiently explained that the issue was not class but hygiene related.

I know that's not true but I will be a coward and let it pass.