The boys, as I mentioned before, came home on Sunday night. Rahul left town on May 28 with M'pishi. He stayed with them in Delhi for over 9 days and then Cousin J, on her way back to her college, dropped him off at Madras on June 6. Vicky and I went over the following weekend: I to return that Monday morning, Vicky to spend the week there for Jamai shashti. So what with all this to-ing and fro-ing, I spent a week on my own at home.
I really looked forward to that week, despite wanting to stay on a wee bit longer in Madras, because I haven't had a week on my own at home since, oh, March 2005. I loved every minute of it, too. Even when it was boring and I missed the boys I wouldn't have changed things for a minute.
I got back to town on Monday morning. I found an AC bus waiting outside the airport terminus so without waiting for a prepaid, I sprinted for the bus and caught it and rode it all the way to Haldirams on VIP Road before being brought to realise that the bag wasn't mine. I jumped out under the bridge to Rajarhat, jumped into a cab where the cabbie charged me an exorbitant fare for the short drive back, hurriedly exchanged bags with profuse apologies and managed to find myself another bus. I still needed to take another cab from Esplanade to Kyd St and walk thereafter, dragging my bag behind me on those awful footpaths. Despite all this I spent less on the journey to office than I would've on a pre-paid. (Buses rule.)
It was a long, full day at work and I got home after 8. Brought the fishes back home, did some laundry, grabbed a quick dinner and went off to watch Rajneeti with Sen and Shuki. For once, after a movie I was too tired for coffee!
Tuesday afternoon I had a pleasant lunch with S-B-L. Had spent the morning feeling rather low about various things, but that lunch cheered me up no end and I went back to work all enthused. Another late evening at work, then a quick dash home to pick up nightwear and a change of clothes and by 9 I was being welcomed by the SRE at Dipali's. She'd gone to the trouble of making minestrone, pasta, cutlets etc with a brownie and ice cream dessert and that literally was the cherry on top of a total turnaround of a day. We chatted late into the night, she and I, and the next morning, E called and we chatted for nearly an hour.
Wednesday morning was mostly peaceful. D and I dallied over breakfast and she packed me a huge box of pasta for lunch. She dropped me off near work. There was nearly a crazy accident on the road but it was not as bad as it could have been, thank god. Another long, full day at work, but I managed to leave slightly earlier, dashing out just in time to watch Sex and the City 2 with Dana and Shuki. It was fun, although not the same as watching it with Maitra, and we had Subways for dinner afterwards. Went over to Nosh for coffee and french fries and then came home to dress fittings and a mad loot exchange where Dana brought out the stuff she'd got us from China while I brought out all the Janpath goodies that Ma and Mejopishi had bought for me and which hadn't fitted. We three went home happy campers, satisfied with our spoils. I got a lovely lacy parasol and a pretty folding umbrella trimmed with green lace as well as a dinky spaghetti top.
Thursday dawned with a more philosophical me. After three rather full days I decided to spend an evening at home and what was more, go home at a decent hour too. But you know what they say about the best laid plans of Sues and, um, mice. I not only stayed back late, I popped in to visit the mother-in-law afterwards, it being her wedding anniversary. We chatted and she fed me Maggi and it was a pleasant hour and yet another night that I got home past 9. I caught up with some of my sewing afterwards. My pile is neverending, though. Too many things need alteration or mending. No sooner have I tackled one lot than something else pops a seam or loses a button or is too tight to wear.
We had plans to party on Friday but decided to make Saturday night's plans bigger and skip the Friday. The washing machine technician came over in the morning and changed some pipe so my baby no longer leaks. Later that day I came home around my usual time, read a very little and fell asleep. Oh, how I slept. I woke up at 11.30 pm, groggy and with my errands not run. Spent some time gabbing with friends on the 'net so by the time I finally ventured out to drop off cheques and fill some petrol, it was 2. Still, the roads were free and it was all pretty peaceful, so I was home soon enough. I was up till the early hours, sewing and ironing and catching up on a week's worth of little things.
Saturday dawned bright and clear. I cooked like a madwoman, baking a chocolate cinnamon cake in my new Bundt pan from Shejomama, trying out a recipe for chicken butter masala from a recent recipe exchange, storing up on alu ke parathey and so on. In between I finished Shuki's famous dress and watched Julie and Julia. What a wonderful movie! Now I want to master the art of French cooking! The girls came over after 9 and it was nearly 10 before we settled down to dressing up and messing around with makeup. I haven't done that kind of thing in so long.
We tried out looks and lipsticks and discarded dresses until the bed was covered. Eventually we all found a look we liked. I tried out nude gloss and liked it even though it made me look very different from what I'm used to seeing in the mirror. Shuki fitted into that dress like a dream, thank god, and was forcibly made to wear crimson and blue and green glass earrings with it, much against her inclination. Dana wore the prettiest black and white strappy tube with bright red lips. Unfortunately, by the time we got to Park, our concert was over and nothing really exciting was happening anywhere else either. After some chitchat at Roxy and Someplace, we went in search of rolls. Wonder of wonders, at midnight on a Saturday all the shops were closed so we went home and had cake (since we couldn't have bread -- if you think about it, parathas are flatbreads) and tried to watch Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani but oh god, it's so bad. I fell asleep while the girls watched J and J.
Buttermilk pancakes made for a late Sunday breakfast and I let D and S do the cooking, feeling quite pampered as they served me. After they left around noon I fell asleep once more, only waking in time to have a quick lunch and a bath before setting off for the satsang for Dipali's father along with Evie. That was very peaceful and it was fun seeing the whole Taneja gang together. The youngest Master Taneja took some time to recover from my haircut. Evie and I got a lift back home with some common friends and I had one last hour left to me of my week, which I spent surfing the 'net.
Then Dada (my brother) arrived and we drove down to Dum Dum to pick the boys up. That was quite adventurous too, since I've never driven all that way on my own (Dada doesn't drive so he doesn't count) and I had to deal with raucous and hostile cabbies, a scary lorry and so on, but hey, I did it even if my knees felt rather shaky afterwards.
It was a lovely week. It felt a bit strange but not too much since Vicky and I don't talk much anyway and he is either asleep or in his own world in front of the Mac when he is home. Rahul had been away for over two weeks so I'd got used to even that additional quietness. And I freely admit I loved not having to pick up after them every evening, finding things just as I left them, not needing to cook or clean or wash unless I wanted to, being able to have people over or pick up and leave just because I felt like it... at one point, during an online chat, Vicky said I sounded like I used to do in college. The week really was like that. I fitted in as much as I could into every mad day, stayed back at work like I normally would if left to my own devices, had no-one to answer to and no responsibilities to hold me back. I didn't particularly want to carry on like that, but it felt nice to give rein to that mad girl inside me still. Some days I wonder if all I am is this sniping, carping nag of a wife and mum. Well, guess what, I'm not. Not yet, at least.
In general Vicky tries to free me for whatever outing I wish to go for and I can, in theory, do everything I did last week even when the boys are around. But obviously it's no fun if I'm wondering all the while if Vicky's discovered that curry in the back of the 'fridge for lunch or whether I have enough shirts ironed to see Rahul through the week or... you get the picture. I suppose the feeling of freedom is all in the head. And I know I wouldn't want it all the time. But sometimes, it's a nice feeling.
Talking of nice things, here is a photograph of Shuki wearing the dress.