As I pointed out last month, ever since he was born The Bhablet has travelled a lot. Five trips to Madras alone. Why do I do this? I certainly don't it expecting to get a break. I do sleep a lot in Madras but I don't come back to Calcutta feeling much more refreshed. That is in part because The Bhablet takes his time adjusting, and for the transition period I can't just hand him over and shut myself in my room. And it is also because my father keeps getting on my case -- is his grandson eating right, why is he crying, are you sure he's warmly covered -- you get the idea. But I kept going back, and will (when I have the money and the time) because Rahul needs it as much as his grandparents do.
For the last few months he has been meeting them every month or so, and each time he has has recognised them, jumped into their arms, spent his trip happily playing with them. The transition period has become more brief. Earlier it amazed me that he met certain people without remembering how well he had got along with them on an earlier meeting, and still managed to retrive that old bonding in a day or two. Remember, I'm talking of when he was 3, 4 months old. When he was about 4 months old I took him to Madras for a week because V was off on a business trip. Prior to that he had met my grandmother when I was in Madras during his 2-3 months. So he next met her over four weeks later. After a few hours though, she had gone back to being his bestest friend ever -- as she had been on the earlier trip -- even surpassing his relationship with my mother.
He is now fourteen months old and has got used to travelling. Doesn't like the journey or the goodbyes (well, nor does his mother) but he enjoys new people and places. When we went to Hyd he was perfectly cool. A little down with a sudden fever, but otherwise in a great mood. He seemed to know that we were heading back home soon, and that his father was therefore not very far away.
Vicky went to Guragaon on Thursday morning. The Bhablet missed him all day. Kept waiting for him to appear. But from the next day he has been back to normal. Just clings to me that little bit more. Because, you know, if Em-ba can run away, so can Em-ma. I've had rehearsals every day since V left, but that first evening I stayed back because The Bhablet looked like he was running up a fever. I'm glad I did because I realised he really needed me. I've hated having to pack him off to Giga's since then. He hasn't wanted to go either. Normally the car stops in front of the house and he's jumping with impatience, but these evenings he has even refused to go to her because he knows she is going to take him away.
[For the record, Giga spoils him silly. Cooks him a variety of fun things to eat, gives him whatever he wants, doesn't allow anybody else to scold him. And Giga's daughter i.e. my Cousin J and his aunt Imma is his favourite aunt. So visiting them isn't exactly comparable to a stint at Tihar. But I digress.]
I find this amazing. He has always been a very responsive, absorbing child. Very interested in his environment. Since he was born. It used to amaze allof us how sharply he turned to follow conversations -- and this when he was only a day old. I'm now realising that this very same keenness will also cause him a lot of grief. His relatives live all over the world. Close people, people he has known and loved. Giga will be leaving Cal maybe, in another two years. Sometimes I feel like keeping him away from all the people he will ever get to know and love, just so that he doesn't feel the pain of their going. I know, it's stupid, but whoever said mothers are rational beings?
Reading about Kodi coping with the departure of his grandparents made me write this post.