Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Fathers and Others


I just posted this picture on my Facebook because it makes me happy. It's one of my father and uncles-in-law keeping vigil outside my father-in-law's nursing home room as he recuperated from yet another surgery during his final illness. Of course, when I say they were keeping vigil I mean they were drinking tea and discussing the world and Calcutta as She Used to Be. Because they're Bengali like that.


At a time when every day was a struggle and we only survived because things moved too fast for us to brood, when we never knew from hour to hour what the next hour would bring, I took this photograph to remind myself of my father-in-law smiling because he could hear them outside his window. 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Junk

Rahul, in his eternal worldliness, called something junk at the dining table.

I raised my eyebrows and asked him if he knew what the word meant.

He airily told me that he did: it meant rubbish, something unwanted... then, with a saucy look at my mother, he added, rubbish, like he was to his Diddi.

The mother, needless to say, found this adorable.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Of Tantrums and Parties

We went to Triple S's fifteenth birthday party last night. The boy has three perfectly nice names (one of which is my father's, since he was named after my father) but as a family we tend to call him Triple S. Why? Because we can.

Rahul had a nice day yesterday, on the face of it. He watched TV and I think also managed some iPad time in between. He played with his toys. But he fought with my father over lunch and decided his day was ruined. In his sadness he rolled under the sofa and stayed there too. Things looked up briefly when he thought we were going to the beach to the Park Hotel Durga Puja but then we found out that they had mixed up the timings so that they had finished the pujo hours before the time they had given us. So we didn't go to the beach. He was about to return to his under-the-sofa mood but in the nick of time Vicky suggested a trip to Rahul's beloved aquarium. V, Dada and I had hot chocolate watching the crowds while Rahul and Baba went to the aquarium.

Side note: I am sick of that ruddy aquarium.

Afterwards we all wandered down to the beach. Baba dropped us off and headed back home. They live so close to the beach, repeat trips are no bother. Rahul threw tantrum after tantrum because we refused to down to the sand and allow him to get wet and sandy just before the party. It all ended in raised voices and a tremendous scolding from me.

Eventually we made it to the party. Rahul went around looking like a whipped puppy for the first half hour. Then he made friends with another little hellion his age and decided to become the life and soul of the party instead. He took it to the point where Vicky came quietly to my mother and me, carrying Puchke, and asked if we'd met his ONLY son. We may have also turned our backs to Rahul so as to not see what he was up to.

What did he do? Well, among other things he

1. together with the other hellion took the balloons off the walls and then proceeded to lose or burst them all over the place.

2. joined in the family photo -- he never joins in photos without begging and threats -- and wriggled his way right to the front, standing next to one grandfather. When the old gentleman tried to put an affectionate arm around him for the photo, my horrible child stared at him coldly and said, "I don't know you."

3. lustily sang "Happy Birthday to Triple S Dada" while the rest of our family scrambled around trying to remember his formal names.

4. insisted on introducing the hellion friend to his little brother. The conversation went something like this:
Rahul: This is my little baby brother. You can call him Puchke or Aditya or Adityo*. I have given him those names. You can call him what you choose. What do you want to call him?
Hellion: I don't want to call him.
Rahul: (persevering) You can also give him a name by yourself. What do you want to call him?
Hellion: For what I will call him?
Rahul: (stumped)

5. threw crumpled water bottles, picked a phuchka shell off the roof and tried to eat it, grew red in the face when fed some chowmein (it was rather spicy I admit) and in all sorts of ways made quite a clown of himself.


Puchke on the other hand, worked the crowd like a boss. First he slept in the sling on Vicky, looking rather angelic. Then he woke up and was taken around the roof to see the sights. He met lots of grandparents and then one chubby grandmother in a bright pink saree asked to hold him. He was entranced by her gold and black beaded necklace. From her lap he blinked at all the assembled ladies and proceeded to charm them by being totally unafraid or whining for familiar faces. He cooed to some and gave his darling smiles to whoever chatted with him. Then, and only then, did he mildly indicate that he would like to be fed.

Once we returned upstairs he went back to overseeing the party from either his father, mother, mama  (my brother) or grandmother's shoulder. He seemed satisfied with all he saw.