So this time last year I was lying in a nursing-home bed, looking at my baby with a mixture of awe, fascination, love and loathing. A year on, he continues to inspire the same ghastly mixture in me.
The Bhablet turned a year old yesterday, and this was his cake:
Yes, I chose it, and yes, he liked it. He attacked it with a spoon before I could maneuver the cake-knife into his grubby little paw, and while I was trying to prevent him from carving the head up with that teaspoon, he sneakily attacked the plaque wishing him a happy birthday with his other hand. Luckily, my aunt (Cousin T's mother, in whose house the first leg of the happy event was celebrated) thrust a paper napkin between his icing-smeared fingers and so he ended up wiping his hand willy-nilly. Hah!
I don't seem to have any photo of the birthday boy himself, so here is one of us before the funeral last week:
Yes, that is a FabIndia kurta-churidar outfit.
The birthday itself was rather hectic. What with the crazy cyclonic rains we have been having since the weekend, I had been maidless for three consecutive days. So I was faced with the task of doing all the housework, the cleaning and the cooking. Our garage was flooded and the car alarm system ruined once more the previous night so Ally was parked in front of our place. Given that this is the season of thefts (with Pujo approaching) we left our windows open so as to keep an eye on her. With the cold breeze blowing in The Bhablet picked up a nasty cold and stayed up most of the night. Kept us up as well, of course.
Then the poor kid was fed khichdi which was too hot and burnt his mouth, so what with the ensuing meltdown and trying to figure out what else could be given to him without putting him in further pain, the afternoon pretty much fled.
We cut the cake at my great-aunt's, since she wouldn't obviously come to a party so soon after her bereavement. It was a quiet affair, with close family. My mother had made payesh (of which The Bhablet deigned to have a few spoonfuls) and we brought radhaballabi and alur dum for snacks. Diya (Cousin T's other grandmother) brought some little cakes. The Bhablet received a lot of gifts, including some money.
The next phase was at the in-laws' place. V's mother is still rather delicate, what with last week's surgery, so we took the remaining half of the cake and spent a couple of hours there. Dinner was Chinese, from the Anwar Shah Hong Kong (if you know what I mean). The Bhablet played with his grandparents and great-aunt (V's favourite mashi) and dined off a Gerber's chicken noodle dinner as a special treat. That and some more cake, of course.
The last phase was at Cousin J's place. This aunt of mine (my favourite, although we fight a lot, she and I) also happens to be The Bhablet's best beloved relative. They meet the most often and she is my baby-sitter when required. She couldn't come over for the cake-cutting because she wasn't keeping too well, so we dropped in at their place for half an hour. With the head of that blessed snake, which is all that remained of the cake by now.
Home sometime before 11, all exhausted. The Bhablet was given some paracetamol and Timinic and packed off to bed.
In the end, I think he had a happy birthday. He got to meet all his favourite people and played lots. He got, among other things, a rocking-horse, a new sweater set with lovely knitted shoes (not booties), clothes and toys. The gift that went down the best deserves a post to itself, so I won't mention it here now. When I had just finished uploading the second photo the power went off at our place so we are now at Uncle Tom's and I'm trying to finish this post. I have to send in my column tomorrow morning and have no idea how that is going to happen. Sigh.
The things I do for you all.