Monday, April 28, 2008

April Shower

It's been a weekend of showers. After the big treasure-hunt baby shower The Doula Gang threw for Boo, Moppet's Mom, Kodi's Mom, Desigirl, Lavs, RV, Planet Halder and Rohini, I hosted one for my friend Gayatri who's expecting her second baby in six more weeks. She's Punjabi, married to a German and they have a 16 m o daughter, Tara. Preparations for the Doula shower made me consider going ahead with one in real life so I contacted Andi (G's husband) and we started scheming. From stealing phone numbers off G's phone to going into the intricacies of making a chicken salad, we emailed and phoned and I tried not to get scared. Because a Bengali baby shower, a traditional shaad, is something I've not really had, so I was pretty shaky on what's done. Add to that a total lack of knowledge of Punjabi rituals.

So I asked around, and picked up a custom here, a dish there. Called up a couple of G's friends and they rallied around with enthusiasm. Called up my favourite non-granny too. Brought out the silverware, the dinner set and the enthusiasm from storage.

Here's the gang:

From l to r: me, with Tara on my lap, Steffi with her younger daughter Shreya asleep on her, Gayatri looking pretty, Adriana of the beautiful smile and in front, her daughter Tamires who reminds one of how wonderful daughters can be.

First Adriana started a game where we all tried to guess G's girth. Guess what, a pregnant mum, look she never so huge, is still much smaller than you think! We all misguessed like mad, obviously.

We sat around chatting some, then G cut the cake brought by Adriana. It was delicious, softly melting and wonderfully chocolaty. In short, quite perfect. You can see Dipali's alu chaat behind it, to the left, and the dhoklas she brought just above. To the right is a plateful of salsa and cheese crackers, most yummy even if I do say so myself. The silver glass contains water for G, but there was also some watermelon juice made by V before he, along with his son, was kicked off the premises.

Apart from all this, there was un-payeshlike payesh I had made. Am quite crestfallen about that one, because that was pretty important ritual-wise. Oh and since Andi and I had discussed a chicken salad, there was a nice, cold egg salad on the table.

Dipali and I served it on the silverware and Tara fed her mum the payesh. Traditionally, a little boy does it, to ensure that the baby turns out to be male too, but in this case it seemed silly and I also wanted to make this a special evening for T, because pretty soon she's going to be an elder sibling and that's as permanent as parenthood!

So she had a little plate of her own, and was seated in the high chair and fed by Dipali. Apart from the payesh-feeding, we did the Marwari thing of whispering into the mum-to-be's ears of what her baby was going to be like; I also handed out some bangles to all. Not sure where that's from, but I like bangles! You can see people wearing them, green and red glass ones.

V had blown up lots of balloons and Tara and Shreya played around with them.

Steffi's youngest is an extremely pretty child, with the most arresting grey eyes, as you can see here. Last I saw her she had a headful of pretty hair so imagine my shock when I saw this!

I wavered for a minute but I don't think I can bear to contemplate The Bhablet going bald. Even though it's hot enough here.

Tara has got used to our new place and made herself right at home.

The bat and bright orange ball you can see in the foreground were The Bhablet's share of the spoils. Dipali refused to leave him out of the gift-giving. Did I ever mention she reminds me of my parents? That's their philosophy too.

And lastly, here's a shot of our photographer-babysitter:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

If you like Enrique Englasias...

or even if you don't, you're bound to love this.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My maid's left, and I'm back to housework. In case I'd fooled myself into thinking I'd ever been away.

So while my knees adjust to the workouts, I remain in pain and that leads to a foul temper and that leads to less blogging. Otherwise all is well, V is as daft as ever, The Bhablet as, well, Bhablety, and life is a fairly decent mixture of good and bad. Work is interesting.

Slight feeling of anti-climax now that the hunt is over.

See you later.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Riddle-me-Ree, Who can she be?

Greetings wonderful MTBs!!!
and good work to all of you!
For having solved the riddle before
I give you all this clue.

The letter " E "

Write it down, add it on...
And let’s move on to the next little song.

Fiddle dee dee fiddle dee dum
She fiddles with hardware till kingdom come
Housed in Houston with her chintu son
One of us mommies, she blog hops for fun.

Solve it and you get your lead
Misguess, and you lose your speed
Solve it slow but solve it now
And before you go, take a little bow

Go to 'Comments' and leave me a clue
Tell me which blog you are off to.
Good luck! Good luck! Be on your way.
You have your work, cut out for the day!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The map feature of is a lot of fun. It's good for my self-esteem, if not my geography.

I have a reader from Sail, J and K, who's busily reading right now. Hello. Do de-lurk.

Monday, April 21, 2008

That's MY Father!

Click the second photo to enlarge and you can grin at the last two lines. Considering that this is the man I have spent the better part of my life fighting, it's also tremendously reassuring!

Did I mention I'm so proud of him?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

And she's back, doing the happy dance (Yay!)

It was a very a nice trip. Scratch that. It was a Very Nice Trip.

We set off only about half an hour than planned. (Yeah, wow is the right word.) Drove into the er, well-risen sun with a half-asleep Bhablet and 4 sleep-deprived adults. For one reason or another, none of us had managed to get into bed early. But we were all chipper and happy. Anindya is an old colleague of V's, and somebody who I'm very comfortable with, and I found his childhood friend Niladri to be cut out of the same funny, comfortable cloth. Stopped for breakfast where sandwiches, luchi and alur torkari (fried flour flat breads and potato curry) were eaten. Tea was drunk. And we stopped once later, to stretch our legs. All four of us have knee/leg problems, so I was most impressed that we managed with only two breaks.

There was a fracas before Kolaghat, with a moron who didn't know that when there's a median you can overtake from the left. Otherwise the journey was peaceful and comfy. The last ten km were terribly bumpy tracks through the village so we went really slowly.

Reached in time for lunch. Had some excellent pomphret. Food was expensive but pretty good all through. Just don't order the tea or finger chips. Went down to the sea once more a few hours later.

It was a minute's walk away. The beach was pretty but not extraordinarily so. I've grown up in Vizag where the current may be treacherous but the scenery is very attractive. Here, the beach was aesthetically ho-hum and the water muddy. The great thing was the lack of current so I went in pretty deep (for me) and generally frolicked. The sea water stung my eyes but I got used to it after a bit. The Bhablet loved it all and swallowed half the sea (although I don't think he liked that so much.)

V really let his hair down. We spent the first afternoon sitting around chatting and he proceeded to get happily drunk. I slept a little and joined them as they sat around chatting.

The evening was spent partly in the sea, partly on the beach afterwards, having some tea and omlettes and then inside the resort, having pakodas and much later, a dinner of mutton curry and leftover luchis. We had taken along some potential beach toys but the only one The Bhablet needed was the little yellow bucket that MM's bricks had come in. His father hunted down some shells for him and by and large, he was happy enough fooling around in the water, occasionally going under an extra large wave. When we first went in, V and I were sitting on either side of him and V told him to hang on [to the bucket'] so that it didn't float away. Even while I was mentally nodding along to this, I saw The Bhablet floating away, bucket and all, carried away by a wave. Luckily, where my child is concerned, my reflexes are pretty good (they have to be) so I yanked him back by his vest.

Did you know, if you take a little boy into the sea dressed in a vest and underwear (proper grown-up underwear, like his father wears, no less), when you bring the grubby little boy back to your bungalow and strip him prior to bathing him, he'll have a pant-full of sand to surprise you with?

Mandarmoni has a motorable beach, so we saw an idiot drive his Baleno into the sea and get stuck when the tide came back in. Oh well, it did give us something to talk about and generated some temporary employment among local youths. We were warned that some local hoods dig up the road and replace it with soft sand so that cars get stuck and need their help to be pulled out. So Ally stayed away from the beach. I don't think she minded it much. She's nearly 8 now, and getting a little grumpy now and then.

The village has no electricity so we survived on two generators. Which were switched off early in the morning (5-8 a.m.) and late in the afternoon (5-7 p.m.) Not nice at all. In the morning in particular, because the mosquitoes woke me up and I stayed up, fanning father and son. It was fascinating seeing the greenery though. Lovely hibiscuses, banana plants and mango trees as common as, I don't know, they were all over the place. I miss trees so much here in the big city. Eventually I went out and found A raring to go to the beach, so we popped in only to decide to return in our bathing clothes. I'd taken my swimsuit, but found it prudent to wear Vicky's ridiculous shorts over it. Eventually, they were so loaded with sand, I chucked them off and walked back to the cottage wrapped in a towel.

The morning was spent fooling around in the water. The Bhablet woke up and found himself undiapered, underweared and in the water. N kept us company, while V and A decide to take an hour having some tea on the beach (because the resort tea was terrible) and then do their morning stuff. An hour, I tell you.

It was a pleasant morning and I only realised that Bhablets need food when I saw mine visibly drooping around 9.30. The bath woke him up. The cottages had lovely, large, convenient bathrooms and he romped around in ours while I bathed us both and tried to get the sand out of our stuff. He was mildly tanned from the sun but not as badly as I'd expected. I cleaned him thoroughly, dried, creamed and powdered him and he went around looking his usual self once more. Took him to the restaurant, made him some mosambi juice (luckily I'd carried the fruits because they had none) and he had that and a biscuit and looked happier.

After a late breakfast of luchi-alur torkari, we left Mandarmoni. We managed to leave just after noon, so we had a relaxed ride back. Took 45 min over lunch at a nice dhaba.

Reached Cal, wandered into the Sector V CCD and had some coffee and chocolate cake. Been a while since V and I did that, too. I mean, both of us having separate cakes.

It was a good trip and I got what I needed.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sue's leaving the building

...because she's *gasp* going on a weekend holiday. We're off to the sea, to Mandarmani, for an overnight trip. V will drive the 4 odd hours and I will eat. We're going with two friends of his, and Anindya and Niladri have promised to keep me company on the eating thing.

Four adults and a toddler will be a little cramping in tiny Ally, but hey, anything for a holiday. I'll try to take pics of this, at least. See you later, alligator(s).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I just gave myself a holiday

I've been hard at work all day today and I feel like I've been tired for so long now. So I just gave myself an hour-long break, and it feels so good.

I come home and see that precious child sleep and all I can do is wonder why him. What did I do so right? I spend the long drive back home thinking about seeing V again but when I do come home, I invariably go to my son. Because he shows an enthusiasm for my company that his father never does. Perhaps V feels it, but it never translates into hugs and kisses. I stopped welcoming him with those many, many moons ago, when I realised that he didn't care one way or another. Why didn't he?

Shuki and I were talking about the problems at home, and she said, "I can still see the love there. Whatever problems you have, the love is clear to see." She sees something I don't. Why don't I see it? Inside me, there's a little voice saying that it must be there, but... I would like the old, spontaneous hugs back.

I know, I'm a nag and a terror to live with. But I'm a nag who likes being kissed. Not when I'm busy losing my temper but at other times.

I believe that in order to bring about change it's very important to be be the change. In this case though, I fail to practise what I preach. V and I are falling into the routine of showing our love in other ways, in little considerations, in coming home tired and heading into the kitchen to make him a dish he likes, in whisking The Bhablet off when he's driving us nuts. There's still too much stress in the house. We've had a maid since the beginning of this month, and she's really good with The Bhablet. Plays with him, and he likes her. She does a great part of the housework too, and is mostly good and fairly clean with that. But even so, I seem to be perennially stressed out and so tried all the time. It's only now that she's doing so much that I realise how hard I worked all of March, with no help, managing jobs, household, cooking and baby.

I've taken on some work this week and that's what I'm taking a break from. It's proving hard for me to meet deadlines after two years of lazing around.

The V thing... I know it's not a one-way street. And I don't think we've lost too much. But all I really want to do right now is cuddle up to him in bed. It's hard lines to have to work late, even if he is working hard himself, right behind me.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday... Yawwwn...

It was the Bengali New Year (naba borsho) on Monday.

Went for my last Cal Walk, with Philip and Almut, early in the morning. Purba came along for the training. It went well and I walked more than usual, taking in sights I don't always cover. Saw my first ever Charak hook-swinging and was that ever an experience! Came home, cooked some keema kofta curry in coconut milk (recipe courtesy Aunty Hy's lessons), made lunch and ate it. Bathed. Got dressed and nagged V's clients (Ifte and Pritish, so I refuse to be formal) into leaving so that we could go out -- a whole hour later than I'd hoped to leave.

Wore the pretty cream and blue tangail that Linnetpishi gifted me on my wedding. So many sarees waiting to be worn for the first time. So many blouses need stitching. Rahul looked as handsome as ever in a blue t-shirt and shorts set from his mashidimma (my mum's sister); I'm inclined to think his father beat him, though, in the handsome stakes in his plain white kurta-pajamas. V's parents had gifted us clothes but since mine was a t-shirt, I preferred to wear it to work today and wore a new sari on Monday instead. Rahul's clothes were a mite on the small side so he didn't wear his gift either. I'd bought him three new vests to wear at home because my parents asked me to buy him something for Poila Baisakh. (1st Baisakh, i.e. New Year.) He wore one of those all day.

Visited Mukherjee jethima. All the sweet shops in our area were cleaned out by 6 p.m. so bought some shonpapdi from Ganguram's at Golpark only to remember an hour later that she is diabetic. How idiotic. My parents would never make a faux pas like that. Must hold this fatal flaw in my upbringing against them.

The dinner at Jodhpur Park afterwards was nice. Pleasant and the grandparents were delighted to have R to themselves for a whole evening. My father-in-law has come up with a new line of defense. Whenever anybody protests against him handing R a Swiss army knife, or a lighter or some such equally suitable toy, he insists that R won't put it into his mouth or chew on it or break it because "he doesn't do such things now, I watch him carefully and I've noticed, he stopped doing such things when he was younger, he's very careful now and only wants to see how things work." I've offered to make the two grandfathers two t-shirts saying "My Grandson is a Genius". That seems to be their general philosophy.

Between them, he and V's mother had arranged for a hugely varied dinner for R. Two kinds of curds, payesh, fish, dal and rice and a little coconut pudding. There may well have been other stuff I cannot remember. Mosambis lay around in case His Bhabletness wished for a little juice. Dinner was great. Not because of the food, cos I've got into the habit of expecting great stuff when V's mother cooks, but also because his father liked my kofta curry and asked to keep the leftovers. Right now, he's so deep into my good books, you couldn't dig him out with a trowel. V's mother and I compared rueful notes on how she couldn't help but cook rich stuff while I can't cook anything but super-light dishes no matter how hard I try. Like I said, good times.

The brother-in-law was in town and came away from his friends now and then to fraternise with the family. He's a good man. An idiot but an idiot I'm very fond of. And I'll never forget how he bravely waded into the mess in the early months of our marriage and tried to make things better. Showed way more sense and understanding than his [even more] idiot sibling ever has done.

Niyogy pรจre disappeared with R for a bit and reappeared with the latest Outlook from the letterbox downstairs. For me. For the record, I also suspect he did this to get some private time with his understanding grandson, away from the interfering family, but -- I'm awfully touched.

We came home tired and late.

The next evening we spent with Gayatri-Andi-Tara. After buying R some very nice sandals (which unfortunately squeak but hey, nothing's perfect), we had momos and girly chat at Golf Green. Another late and tired night.

And it's one tonight. Good night, all.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Letting Go -- Of Pain

The work we do in Call Cutta is more than just acting out a story. The real work, the actual theatre, lies more in the interplay of human emotions, in the bonds you form in 50 short minutes, and that is the actual focus of the play. The technological gimmickry, the little surprises, the games, they are all aids to this interplay. And it often happens that the people we talk to tell us that our conversations really meant something to them. I've rarely felt the same, because I'm always acting, so I often make up little things about myself, so the person they talk to isn't always really me.

My last call last night was to Erica Steiner, an amazing old lady. At 66 she's not so old, but she's been through widowhood and cancer in the last six years (in that order). It's amazing how happy her voice sounded, and I mentioned it, saying it's not often you hear such joie de vivre in any voice, no matter how happy (or not) a person really is. And she said such wonderful things last night. Things that sound cliched as I try to blog them, but things that I needed to hear. I'll be honest and admit that these are things that I've heard already from friends, but last night, hearing them from someone who's been through a bit of hell and escaped with a glow, really made these things meaningful to me.

We talked mainly about priorities and how a near-death experience makes you count your blessings. And I've been thinking, there have been times when I've been in fairly dangerous situations. The time I walked out of the house in the middle of the night, upset and heavily pregnant, without a phone. Couldn't get back home because the stray dogs who acted as local guards sense my fear and wouldn't let me back into the neighbourhood. I was eventually picked up by the police, but these were policemen from the Lake station, a place avoided by most South Calcuttans because the policemen there are so bad. I was lucky and they treated me very nicely and took me home. But for the half an hour that I waited outside the station for the paperwork to be done, I sat in the jeep with a stoned pusher who kept insisting that I was a call girl he knew. I was so grateful for my salwar kameez and wedding jewellery that night!

And there was a time last summer , when I cut my wrists. I was upset (obviously) and didn't cut deep and was in no danger of coming close to dying. But I sat there staring at the blood and all I could feel was dazed, my only thought being, I was to visit Madras the next week, how on earth was I to explain the cuts.

Maybe these aren't near-death experiences. But they sure as hell made me think about the repercussions. And they made me think of what was important to me. There is only one thing
that really matters -- my family. And by that I mean Vicky and Rahul. So long as they are healthy and comfortable, I can compromise on everything else. I told my mother this (about the re-thinking of priorities, obviously not about the two incidents) and she said it was very natural and very right.

I was thinking about all this on the long drive back home last night. This year, 1st April passed by and I didn't remember to mourn. I was busy with my family. So I guess I'm finally ready to let go. I've always known it was necessary to let go but I couldn't, all this time. Now I think I'm ready. I don't want this memory to be one I end up milking for tears whenever I 'want' to feel sad.

I came home and had a long talk with V. A colleague of his has been in a coma since Monday morning and things have been rather chaotic with that. Gayatri, eight months pregnant, was rushed to the hospital on Tuesday with severe diarrhoea, and I've been worried about her. We talked about all this, and then about what I'd been thinking. It was so comfortable lying there in the darkened room, talking things over. Rahul was awake in his cot and he fiddled around while we talked, but I didn't mind him being awake for once. It felt nice to have that little, peaceful family time together.

He told me ten days ago that he really wants to quit smoking. I didn't believe him, because you know, if you want to do something, you just do it. That's how I live. Last night I tried to believe it. I think the hardest part of all this has been to accept it as a weakness in him. An addiction is just that, a chink in your armour. And my man? My man has to be strong enough to take on the world. Without any chinks in the armour. But in the real world, I guess heroes are the men who fall and keep getting up and going on. So V doesn't have to be a hero so long as he really does try. He's cut down, I know, so maybe, one day, he'll manage to quit. It took a mail from another smoker who's trying to stay clean to make me wonder why I'd give her, a stranger, the benefit of the doubt and not V, my own husband.

Us blogging mothers seem to be really hard on ourselves right now. We agonise over a small and an actually unimportant lie. We don't like the people we find ourselves being. I know I do these things too. I think that too is an offshoot of the general stress. If we weren't so stressed out by everything, we'd be in a position to appreciate the worth of what we do, and yes, we'd certainly pick our chores as well as our battles.

This seems like a good time to remember my New Year's resolution -- to de-clutter my life. I've thrown out and given away a lot of stuff. I've been clearing cupboards at Moore Avenue (my grandfather's place and our general warehouse) and cleaning out rooms. That's pretty much why I haven't even been blogging on weekends, because my weekends have been so busy, this last fortnight. I guess it's about time to take the de-clutter drive into my mind as well and have a nice old spring-clean.

All of you, thanks for the wishes. Things are back to normal here. Vicky is getting yelled at for leaving his clothes all over the place, The Bhablet is getting alternately yelled at and cuddled as deserving, and I, well, I'm happy. :)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Letting Go

That Bhablet is hurtling towards his 18 month birthday and it's a big day for all concerned because his grandparents want his head shaved then. I'm aghast at the prospect of losing that wonderful combination of straight hair in front and horizontal rows of curls at the back but V only sneers and asks me if I wish to tie plaits with those selfsame curls. Someday, when he spends months itching with those curls growing inside him, we'll discuss this further. Until then, I refuse to recognise his right to speak.

Anyway, so as I was saying, The Bhablet is now reaching an age that I'm familiar with. I've dealt with toddlers and young kids, but this whole newborn and infancy time was a bit of an unfamiliar nightmare for me.

Yesterday evening we went for a walk in Golf Green with Gayatri and Little Star. It was a pleasant evening, with lots of rides on swings and slides, and afterwards, The Bhablet and I had an extra half hour in the Central Park, playing with all the kids there. I came away feeling more than a little ashamed of myself. I've been displaying a silly kind of snobbery at the recent discussions about school, especially to the Mad Momma. My take being, look, the schools are OK but I'll have to blend into the atmosphere and watch him blend into being the typical boring Cal schoolkid.

I've always been proud of my cosmopolitan background. I use the word loosely, because we haven't travelled all that much, but it's true that the places we've lived in have been so different from Cal, that we learnt to adapt to very different styles of living, of thought and learning. It has been a point of sadness to me that marriage meant the end of this life, because V is not interested in moving anywhere out of South Calcutta. And I did fret within me that The Bhablet would grow up thinking that Cal was all there is to see, that he'd learn to be xenophobic and poke fun at anybody who came from a different language and culture. Because that is what I was on my way to being when we moved to Hyd. Four years after we left we were still calling Cal 'home'.

And you know, the Cal mothers are so typical. Obsessed with their offspring, and the homework and the teachers, and they seem to have a life that doesn't go beyond this. They are all overweight and badly made up and, and... You can see why I'm ashamed of myself.

Last night at the park we met a bunch of kids, all of whom were older than Rahul. They basically ranged from about 2 to 10 years. And they were all so sweet to him. Running to include him in their games, doing tricks to make him laugh, keeping him entertained, pulling him into their fun. Their mothers were friendly to me, and I chatted with a few parents. Their concerns were the same as mine: when will they talk, what does he eat, he walks so well etc. Bolstered by the blog-reading I do in the mommy-blogosphere, I sounded calm and knowledgeable. And I was comfortable with the whole thing. I hadn't expected that at all.

I was dreading school because I wasn't at all OK with anybody but me (or V or Giga or the other grandparents) disciplining R. I didn't want him studying with a bunch of prissy bores from boring Bengali families. I didn't think these schools were interesting enough for him.

I guess a half an hour at the park did what all the talk didn't. I'm perfectly comfortable now with him studying with kids like these.

Note: This post was written on 14th March, that's almost a month ago. Since then the Bhablet has had his curls cut off and he looks such a little boy. But I didn't go ahead with the shaving, I couldn't. He's a year and a half old now, but I still tell his age in months. V says I should get out of the habit now at least. Perhaps he's right.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Of Friendship. And Fear.

The other day, I was rather upset about some family stuff. Nothing particularly new and it may not have bothered much another time, but on this particular day it did and I fretted about it off and on all day. I'd read in my horoscope in the morning that talking to an old friend would help, but no old friend turned up. I didn't call/email/meet any and none got in touch with me.

Came home unexpectedly early from work, so I got to feed and cuddle The Bhablet before he was packed off to bed. Then V and I sat down and had dinner together -- a very rare occurrence. Usually he has his in front of the Mac and I sit with a book. These days, now and then I see him hesitate before he turns to the Mac, but mostly it's too much of an effort for me now to break my habit. I used to want to sit and chat with him, but how long can you make conversation with somebody who listens to you with half an ear and doesn't pay attention to what he hears?

So I really appreciated him turning to me and asking me about my day. And I found myself telling him all about it, how the whole family thing had been on my mind, nagging at me. It helped so much, and afterwards, I felt so relieved.

Long ago, before April 2005, Vicky and I were truly friends. Years ago, we'd felt a mutual attraction. There had once been mutual respect. It had all combined into an interesting friendship. Then everything changed and marriage didn't bring the friendship back. There has been love all these days, but not that cheerfulness, the back-slapping affection. Not that I want him to back-slap me particularly, but I remember how he could distance himself from my problems and come up with effective solutions. Both he and I have forgotten how to do that, perhaps.

In the last couple of weeks, since the last big fight, our relationship has been changing. I know I've considerably changed the way I react to him. Like I said before, I don't know that this is for the worse, and perhaps it isn't; I just want it to bring the companionableness back.

It's a good time to write this post. We aren't fighting right now. But these days I have begun to look at my husband and look for the man I fell for. Not the man I married, because I don't think I like him so much. But the man whose visits I used to wait for, lonely and alone in Garfa, that man I miss. We both lost out way and I know when and how. I badly want to come back to what we had. Rahul can't ever help us reach it, because he's never known us to be the people we were back then. We don't spend too much time now with the people we hung out with then, so nobody really marks the difference; those who do attribute it to getting married. In our case though, marrige was only one more step on the path I don't want to follow any more.

I find myself thinking thoughts I don't want to think. Shouldn't need to think. Because V had it in him to be all the man I need. If he had it once, surely he has it still? And while I wish for some of the old Vicky to re-surface, I try to remember the girl I used to be, whose trust hadn't yet been found misplaced, who was looking forward to the future, and who had no reason to not try her very hardest. That girl whined but never gave up. When she couldn't beat it, she joined it.

I've been struggling with his smoking for so long now. It's stupid to mind it so much. When my colleagues smoke, when my friends smoked during Proof rehearsals, I stood around inhaling the second-hand smoke. I still love the aftersmell on a smoker's fingers. But now it's become a symbol of Vicky's callousness and double standards. Having made me stop he continues himself. He sneaks in his smokes when he counts on me not wanting to kiss him. It results in me wanting to hug him but telling myself not to, because I don't want another scene and there will be one -- I'll make it -- if I smell the nicotine on him. The stained teeth repulse me. It feels like he's constantly lying to me. It all feels very uncomfortable.

I know, the dust is still settling on this one. I know, it's an addiction. I don't expect him to have the mental strength of the Roys. I do know that's a rarity. But I haven't been able to accept it and I am still fighting the attraction myself. I gave in once, in January and it was so hard not to do so again. And that was only a cigarette. My smoke of choice is ganja, which I haven't had in two years now, I think.

Alongside this I'm trying to work my way out of this fear that comes between him and me. Fear of his violence. Fear of my own. Fear of making my son bleed again. Most days, it feels easier to cave in, claim to be wrong, apologise and carry on. That's not the relationship I want or respect and some days I'm scared I'm putting up with this until I have the strength to walk away and start afresh, but I don't think I'm going any where. I can see what's going wrong here, but I'm still only praying for the strength to set it right, from my side at least. In between all this, there is always a little boy caught in the cross-hairs. As my brother and I were, once.

Today started out promising, almost didn't live up to the promise but ended rather nicely. Maybe tomorrow will end as well, too. I'm willing to live this a day at a time.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Reading, Writing And -- Oh, Never Mind!

I have a confession to make at the start of this post. I sounded very bindaas when Kiran was worrying over her brat's lack of interest in reading, but I've been known to fret inside me that The Bhablet has never shown any 'proper' interest in his fairly big library of plastic and cloth books. Obviously, after the earlier, harrowing incident I stopped letting him near real, paper books.

When he was ill and listless last week, I decided to strike while the, er, forehead was hot. He was too feverish to sleep and too whiny to play so I put him in his cot, put the side down, pulled him and the cot up to the bed and lay next to him showing him pictures in the book that he was gifted by my favourite second-hand bookseller. And get this, he was interested. I nearly jumped out of my skin with the excitement. I nervously offered him a Dr. Seuss (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) and he liked that too. He read it upside down quite often but pointed out all the bibbis and the kukkus and the daddas, not to mention the buteis and the babababas. We discussed, fairly civilly by our standards, how kukkus say "bow-bow". All in all, we were fairly merry for two people down with the virus.

The next day we were both better and I was taking a quick gander at the blogworld after V left for work. I figured if The Bhablet would co-operate, I could have half an hour before getting down to the chores. But he wasn't interested in his toys and wanted me to play with him. Bolstered by the previous day's success, I found him some paper, dug out an ancient crayon from my brother's schooldays, if I'm right, and showed him how to make marks on the paper. Was feeling pretty pleased with myself. Had got as far as planning out the consequent blog post when he came to me with guilt writ large all over his face and a mouth smeared with suspicious looking purple flecks. He hadn't liked the taste of it at all and so spat out the rest of the crayon.

It was right then that I decided to hand over his education to those who are paid to endure such trauma.

The interest in books continues but he won't have them read to him and he'll certainly turn his own pages, thank you very much.