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This post was first published on March 22nd 2009.
Here I go again!
So over the past couple of years apart from the usual birthdays and graduation parties we get invited to, there’s been a flurry of baby showers around. It’s raining babies amongst our friends and friends friends who’d technically qualify as the rarest of acquaintances. Then there are these sudden sisters and brothers of these acquaintances who decide they’d just go have babies coz well, you know, the world’s a great peaceful place to be, the economy is doing well, everyone’s portfolio’s are brimming and real estate’s skyrocketing! I mean, we are living in the best of times.
Over the last summer or so, I have noticed that I had at least two of these parties to attend every few weeks. I was making more trips to Target, Toys r us and Babies r us than to the grocers. Every after-school activity drop and pick up’s time of 45 minutes to 30 minutes was spent rushing to pick up the perfect baby blanket, socks, little rattles and then working my head overtime on the colors and perfect gift choices. Don’t ask why I put myself through this nightmare of perfect gift, but I do. Something I’d like to not leave as legacy along with my fat nose and curls, as per the daughter’s request.
In any case, the invitations kept growing. People who knew my acquaintances were beginning to invite me. It was becoming rather annoying. It was well meaning lovely ladies and their mothers, sisters-in-law, and husbands who would ever so gently send me a mail or call me and say “Please make some time to come over this Saturday? We’d really love to have you over, even for just 30 minutes, we know you are a busy mom.”
How could anyone say no to such polite requests? So I’d go. Squeeze into my packed schedule, and drop in and wish them luck and more likely than not stuff my face with the goodies and blue cream or pink icing, before I beat a hasty exit.
Sometime in December, at a housewarming event (yes, people still buy homes, we are desis and hey, didn’t I just say the economy was doing well?) one happy couple with fair ribbing of their aunt whom I knew distantly, walked over and introduced themselves. Conversations veered around family, work, and then landed at kids.
After knowing everything there was to know about me, except for my History teacher’s name in 6th grade, the elderly lady did some major eyebrow raising towards the younger woman. In a manner similar to how a person may fall if a sudden stroke overtook their faculties, the young woman bent down and touched my feet. Still thinking she’s fainting from all that jewelry and heavy work sari or even perhaps she fell to save herself from the constant ribbing, I exclaim and bend down.
The older woman sheepishly grins and tells me: “Please bless her.”
In my mind I go, what the heck?! Now am a senior citizen? Didn’t I just color my hair? Do I look old? Christ, am still in the 30’s! What’s wrong with this lady?! Is 30’s the new 60? When did that memo get sent out? Crap Crap Crap.
The questions must have written themselves out in bold large Times New Roman size 20 on my face, coz the young woman who finally decided to get up told me in a hushed whisper “People said you are lucky, we have been trying to conceive for 4 years now….”
Am speechless. My open mouth is frozen and my eyes form large white saucers. My already weak knees buckle. Head spins and I put my hand to my now sweaty forehead (hoping I looked like a distraught Waheeda Rehman going “chakkar aa rahi hai ma”) and bring forth a smile and surely not wanting to make sense of what was happening. I bolted from the scene.
On a cold clear January Saturday afternoon, while sipping some tea with a couple of girlfriends, in the course of the entertainment I diligently offer as the designated entertainer/clown/jester of the clique of girlfriends I belong to, I mentioned this rather awkward bizarre incident, including play-acting.
Apparently, they found my predicament and expression comical, but completely understood the young woman’s behavior. I made a mental note on trying to find more compassionate girlfriends, ones who’d lie and cluck their tongues and not snort a hefty dose of tea into their nostrils or fall off their chair clutching their stomachs immersed in silent deep mirth. Frankly, if you ask me, they looked like they were having a stroke, and as livid as I was, I had no plans of calling 911 either.
After the euphoria of my jester-giri subsided, the questions poured.
GF1: So the girl really, actually, seriously bent down and touched your feet?
Me: Yeah. I mean, I think she did. I donno, I was busy hyperventilating on why she fell down.
GF1: How old would she be?
Me: Late 20’s.
GF2: That’s young. What’s their problem?
Me: Like I’d know, or ask?! But seriously, who does this?
GF2: Oh enough folks Rads. What world are you la-la-ing in? Okay, so tell me, she actually told you “you lucky..”
Me: “Yes. I know” ending in a whine.
GF1: Well, you are a mommy.
GF2: Three times over.
Me: Thanks, I needed reminding.
GF2: Well, you could be a good luck charm for many you know.(ending in giggles)
GF1: Is this really the first time someone said this to you?
Me: Wait. O Lord no. no. No. Yikes, no. Now I get it! All those calls. Oh MY GOD! (The incidents and statements, blessings and eyebrows and old ladies and young women and pregnant ladies, all were falling rapidly clearing from a crazy collage to a perfect picture)
GF2: heh, this isn’t the first time someone did this to you now was it?
Me: no. (in a sulking miserable tone)
GF1: aw, look at you pouting. Don’t worry Rads, you are a lucky charm. You are like Mother Mary. Like Santhanalakshmi. Three kid mommy. Of course you are blessing-worthy. Nobody calls us and we are moms too!
Me: Oh, shutup. Now I feel like a fertile walking uterus.
GF2: No, you need a crown. And a silver bowl full of payasam. Rads is our very own family deity. Kula deivam.
Me: Right! Gold frame my portrait and put a garland around it!
GF1: Come now, what’s so bad? It is cool when you think about it right? Three sweat-free pregnancies, I suppose you give comfort to ones who want to experience what you have?
I let that thought absorb within me and when I attended a baby shower of a distant acquaintance this afternoon, and placed the akshatas on her head, and she looked up at me and smiled, I wished her the very best being a mom. I am learning to sit back and enjoy my new found knowledge of how others view me. ..and if in some small way my good wishes, and hands can give comfort and warmth to anyone who wants it, in my capacity as a mom and person, am here. A hug and a comforting smile is always on the house.
And just to clarify, yes, I do have three children aged 13,12 and 4. Yes, am in my late 30’s. Yes, do the math quick and don’t faint on me yet. No, I doubt I’d ever feel old. Not haughty, but a simple state of mind.
Yes, go ahead, picture me with the crown and baby or two or three, in tow, am used to costumes!