Kids are really good at it. For starters, they keep their demands deceptively simple and seemingly affordable. For another, they are pros when it comes to bravely holding back those tears brimming in wee eyes... and if you think you can just look away and make a run for it, they cling on to whatever body part they can reach.
But let me not describe it backwards: it all starts at the door.
I worked late on Wednesday, getting home at midnight. So I left late for work on Thursday. Rahul came home, saw me on the premises, rolled around on the floor for joy (what is it with the rolling anyway?) and asked me every five minutes for the next two hours if I were going to stay with him all day. The only times he stopped asking me this were when I asked to be cuddled. Bah.
We had lunch together and he saw me get ready for office. Came up to me with this grim look on his face and told me, "Mone-y hoye tumi office jaccho na."
Taking his tone into account, that would roughly translate into, 'I don't think you're going to office, young lady.'
As I scooted round the house in my usual mad last minute round-up of handbag, wallet, keys etc. I saw he had prepared the siege. He was sitting calmly in front of the front door, all set to block both the shoe cabinet and the opening of the door. To make matters worse, he had even packed a little boxful of toys to entertain him for as long as it took.
When coaxing didn't work he was bodily picked off the floor.
Then came the wails.
In all this I hastily made my escape.
That was Thursday. On Friday morning I decided to do my half-day in the second half, so when Rahul came home, he saw me lazing around yet again.
The previous day's scene repeated itself, from the determined siege of the front door (with supplies!) to the repeated questioning to the final defiant order not to go. And I ran down the stairs and turned back to the windows for a final goodbye, hoping against hope he'd wave and be all right. Only to see a very little boy bravely blinking back tears, trying to summon a smile that wouldn't hold.
Just three years old. Asking his Babu to stay at home with him.
And I stood there on the road feeling my eyes fill up.
Who needs a career anyway.