The long car rides

Dear Bratlet and Beanlet,

We just got back from dinner  – a short drive from home and both of you insisted on sitting in my lap so I held on to you for dear life while we sang loudly and counted red cars.

I just want to tell you that these moments are precious to me. This being-in-the-car thing. It’s silly but it means so much to me. I felt it the first time when I brought you back to Chennai, Brat, and Dada and the two of us were out somewhere.

I love your father’s driving. He’s capable and energetic and safe – and I am very happy to sit back and enjoy the drive. And as I sat there holding you in my arms I knew you were safe too. In your mother’s arms and with your father driving.

And now as I enjoy holding the two of you close – your heads under my chin, one, a mop of unruly curls and the other, a silky smooth cap, a bigger, sturdy body and a smaller, delicate one, I squeeze you tight and can’t believe my good fortune. My dream come true, my little babies, my little girl and boy, excited voices chattering as you look out the window, pointing to the moon here, a plane there, a crane there – unaware that mama is thinking senti thoughts, her eyes misty, holding on to silly, precious, ephemeral, evanescent, fleeting moments. Because what’s the big deal with holding two babies on a bum knee for a short ride home?

You won’t get it. You may never get it. But it doesn’t matter. I just want to thank you for giving me that moment without even trying. For letting me know what it is to have my arms and my heart full at the same time.

I feel it at home when we pile on to the bed for a Sunday afternoon nap in the semi dark, cool bedroom. I feel it more keenly in the car. Perhaps it’s the confined space. The four of us sometimes lost in our own thoughts, at other times looking out of the window, singing songs, chatting, scolding, having fun, as we drive on to a destination. I feel so happy to have my world and all that is important to me, right there, within that 4 foot by 7 foot space. That if I were to die right then, I’d die happy, with my world around me.

I don’t know what the protocol is with your own spawn, but I thank you again, for making me so happy, proud and content. Maybe I am a non-achiever whose biggest achievement in life is procreating! So be it. In you I find more peace than I thought I ever could and in these car rides I find completeness like nothing before.

I love you,



42 thoughts on “The long car rides

  1. Hi,

    I read ur blog everyday…never miss it…and every time i read about ur kids my wish to have my own kids increases by 100 folds…everyday i go back home and tell my husband what ever u write, share what i feel with him…I lost my mother very young…and the thought of me becoming a mother scares he…but all u mommy bloggers…around make me feel that the day i have a kid of my own…god shall surely send help and help me walk thru this wonderful journey of being a mother…
    God bless all 4 of u may ur world be perfect forever…:)

  2. uff u say it so well. i just wanna plagiarise this page and substitute it with the 2 of them on my arms at night drifting off to sleep.
    thats what i like abt your writing. when u say it, u speak from your heart and at the same time speak for us! brilliant!

  3. Ah! This transports me back to my childhood. When I just started to read, my mum would make me hunt out words on billboards or stores or banners….and it was a game for years. Fond memories those. You always touch a spot, MM. And yes, get hale and hearty and up and running soon (if not already!)

  4. thinking senti thoughts, her eyes misty, holding on to silly, precious, ephemeral, evanescent, fleeting moments

    I have seen that looks sometimes in my mom’s eyes too 🙂

  5. “For letting me know what it is to have my arms and my heart full at the same time” – Priceless!! *sighs loudly*

  6. Marvellous! It is a big deal to hold those babies on your knee. They’re yours for just a little bit and it feels so good to thoroughly live the experience, doesn’t it?

    Btw, wicked question…what will you call them when they’re hulking teens you can’t hold on your knee?

    Me: monsters?

  7. yara, just think agar cycle hotee you might not have been able to write this senti post.
    Its beautifully written but you had two beautiful souls to inspire you as well…nazar na lagey

  8. Hi..discovered your blog very recently and enjoy it thoroughly.
    It is always difficult to write mush stuff without sounding sappy…i think you’ve got it just right here!!! Cheers! will be coming back for more.

  9. Wow… that was beautiful! An intimate post, and touching in a way that only Mums can understand!!

  10. I think it is kinda not safe to be holding two children in your lap in a moving vehicle especially on the front seat.

    Me: *Stands up and applauds* FINALLY!!! First dissenter of the day 🙂
    I was wondering when one of you would come up with that. someone usually does find something to find fault with in every SINGLE post. never mind what its about.

    yes, abroad it isnt safe (i think you’re abroad going by the time you usually comment) but we dont drive at those speeds here, its bumper to bumper slow traffice, and we don’t use car seats as a matter of course. its still safer to hold them tight than have two little kids rattling around in the backseat. its not a necessity like helmets or required by the law. and most people find them as silly as the little firangi kids with helmets and knee pads abroad. hopefully it will soon be a more common sight.

    right now its a common sight to see kids sit on the petrol tanks of bikes, be stuffed 8 to an auto on the way back from school and hanging off the back of rickshaws!

    that said, we DO have car seats, they’re usually in them but the reason i wrote this post was because it was such an unusual and rare feeling and situation to have them in my lap for once. 🙂

  11. another comment(3 in 2 days-stalkerish??)-bear with me-please…I also very strongly feel that kids should be strapped into car seats,regardless of our different standards of safety,esp if you can afford it-seen too many head injuries caused by toddlers going through the windscreen head-first,even at 40-60km/hr…at the same time,these touchy-feely posts strike a cord in this mom’s heart and bring back all my memories when both of ’em could squeeze onto the same lap…

    Me: 🙂 I see you dont live in india either. well there’s always more safety and as i already said, we do have car seats. but i also think the west is paranoid and the next you know we’ll have our kids in helmets and knee pads on their bicycles!! you have to realise there isnt that sense of urgency that you have abroad. take a drive down the roads in any city – particularly a B town and you will not see a single car seat. we dont function that way here…

  12. Awwwwwwwwwww!!! Touchy post. wish I could do that more often here in US. Thought I sometimes do that within our community where there is not much traffic, I ask my husband to slow down and I get the kids out of there seats. They love it.

    By the way be ready for the trolls for this post just like the maid one 🙂

    Me: no no… trolls are rude and vicious. others might just be officious – which is fine. I can deal with it. i realise people are concerned – but then you cannot apply the standards you use in the US over here. here its considered cruelty to put a 6 month old in a crib in another room but its routinely done in the US and its their way of life. we cant compare. similarly the car seat thing is such a non-issue here that it makes me laugh:)

  13. Beatiful post!
    I do miss the careless days when i could have my son in my lap while driving, when we were in India!

  14. oops,i din’t mean to say that I had my son on my lap while I was driving… not a safe thng to do anywhere!

  15. I agree that the West is paranoid about safety and in many more ways that just car seats. There comes a point when all those safety measures interfere with your enjoyment of what is being done, and that different cultures draw the line somewhere in between. America especially goes waaaaay down the line of safety.

    This coming from an Indian temporarily staying in America and hoping to come back soon…

    Me: no no – I am sure there is good in their measures… works for them i suppose. but we dont use corner protectors on our tables, we dont lock medicine cabinets, we dont use bath temperature thermometers. Well i admit us young urban couples get enthu and pick it all up, but we soon drop that nonsense and go back to the good old elbow in the bath water test ….

    similarly – i use a car seat because i dont want them opening up the back door and stepping out. not because we’re doing 180 mph on the freeway…

  16. Couple of years in the US, and it makes all the desis paranoid and all the issues which were non issues in India makes them big issues now.

    I am visiting B’lore in June and I am looking forward to taking the kids in an Auto. I mentioned this to my desi friend and she was like’Oh my god, you are taking the kids without the car seats in an Auto’

    Me: ROFL. see thats my point. my kids love auto rides!

  17. Hope you’re doing better now, you crazy woman :). Beautiful post, is making me want to drop everything and fly across the city to Baby’s arms, exams be damned.

    I was thinking about the front seat angle too, must admit – remembering Mom’s rules about SIT IN THE BACK WINDOWS HALF UP, lol. But in Kolkata or Delhi traffic, at 20 kmph… how likely are high-impact accidents anyway?
    (Although in Kolkata you’d want shock absorbers for the potholes, heh)

  18. hey bhagwaaaan!!! I grew up in India driving with my parents in a Premier Padmini at 100kmph without a seat belt (well Indian cars didn’t have them then OK!) without car seats. I remember summer vacations to a local hill station and I would be exhausted by noon and insist on being in the front seat (laying down on mamma’s lap). I was under 6 years old and I still remember. That’s the stuff memories are made of…not being strapped down and being all serious all the time!!!

    Anyhoo…in the spirit of this post…MM I wish you many more (sneaky), lap-top moments. I still go lay down in my mother’s lap and it’s the best thing in the world to be soothed by her. This was a very sweet post 🙂

    Me 🙂 me too. have spent many holidays lying on the front seat of the ambassador and kicking my dad or sitting in his lap and steering. it was okay in those days and this is all in the hills!

  19. That was one emotional post. Regarding Carseats and such here, as you said it is because of high speed driving and maniac and drunk drivers.

    My daughter loved it when we went to Hong Kong and then to India when she was 10 month old. It is a sense of freedom.

    Another thing I wanted to share is the Babyproofing paranoia here. I do have stairs at my place and my daughter who is now three learnt climbing and she is pretty comfortable with it and the reason is we never put a gate. Someone was always there to watch her and even when no one was there she learnt it that she cannot venture as it might be dangerous without some supervision.

    I am planning to contine the same with my son, but he seems to more active. Let us see how it goes. My point is all these safety measures must be adopted and it should be totally situational on case-by-case basis.

    So hell with the trolls.

    Me: you know I have loads of friends who live in duplex flats and dont put stairs on the top of it because that is the way they teach their kids. its a different lifestyle here altogether. our kids play on the floor, they dont wear knee pads, their shoes arent anti-skid… we give them honey and grapes before they’re a year old!

  20. Beautiful post MM!

    Since this beautiful post has been turned into a debate on safety and car seats………you know just two days back I averted a major crash and that’s when i decided to go in for car seat….

    Me: I read this post of yours Alok – thank God she didnt suffer any serious injury.
    and you know the kids went from infant seats to toddler seats and now the brat uses a booster seat while our neighbours laugh at us. so in general i use car seats. this was just a one off…

  21. MM, what a beautiful post. It brought back so many fond memories of times gone by with my family. And brought about one of those very very rare moments when I wondered what I was doing far away from home and family. You write beautifully, and I admire the way you express yourself. I just want to thank you for this.

    Oh, and hope you are getting some rest and taking care of yourself and feeling much better.

    Me: well thank you for making it easy for me to not be self conscious 🙂 with readers like you its easy to keep writing…

  22. “dream come true, my little babies, my little girl and boy, excited voices chattering as you look out the window, pointing to the moon here, a plane there, a crane there – unaware that mama is thinking senti thoughts, her eyes misty, holding on to silly, precious, ephemeral, evanescent, fleeting moments. Because what’s the big deal with holding two babies on a bum knee for a short ride home?”

    I get. I SOOOOOOOOO get it, because I feel the EXACT same way when my two worlds fight for space on my lap and eventually settle down in an easy truce, settling for a knee each! I wish you many more such moments of complete and absolute bliss.

  23. OMG. Nostalgia!!! Anyone who says the front seat huddles are unsafe has obviously never been to India. I cannot imagine it any other way!

  24. front seat huddles (only in India):
    The physics of it will scare me, but the chemistry of it will make me do it 🙂

    front seat huddles (in Europe/USA): no way.. I do not want to be in jail and my kids in foster care..

    There.. my 2 cents

    Me: you know, I didnt know they were called front seat huddles! aap toh UP waalon ke naam pe dhabba hain. scared of jail?! :p

  25. Outside India: I am scared of jail.

    Lekin UP mein abhi woh jail bani hi nahi hei jo humko andar rakh sake

    Me: LOL! well timed. yeh hui na baat!

  26. Huddles = sports. Sports = my colleagues. Working with a bunch of sports fanatics is finally having side effects! Good to know you are well enough to blog into the wee hours of the morning again. I used to always wonder where my mom got the energy to do all the things she did in a day. Maybe its a secret formula that only moms have. I was and still am lazy! Maybe when I procreate I will stop procrastinating! Maybe…….

  27. hey mad momma, i just stumbled upon your blog through Jammie`s and enjoying it thoroughly. i love the blatant honesty with which yo write. im a new mom myself and in the midst of all this turmoil trying to revive my once living blog…slowly but surely :)..
    keep blogging

  28. Hi MM, Long time reader, 2nd time commenting…You speak my heart….i have 2 kids a boy (6) & Girl (8 months) i have felt the same, esp when they r in bed inbetween me and my hubby playing together…felt completely content and satisfied. These moments r to be cherished forever and yeah they will feel the same, when they have their fmly and they have their mom’s blog to relish over.

  29. sweet post. 🙂
    can’t believe you found trolls on this one too!!

    me down with super high temperature… sigh. i think it’s in the air!

  30. first off, lovely post (so what’s new eh?!)

    second – after living abroad for 8 years with 1 and then 2 kids always strapped in car seats, the car seat rule got chucked out of the window in the first week after we got here. weird, huh?

    or consider playground equipment – everything is super safe in the parks in london. here, even if a slide is very steep with no side rails i don’t seem to mind it at all if my kids or even my 15 mo old nephew climbs up the sliding face.

    i cannot explain it – for some reason the sense of danger seems lesser and i seem to be able to let my guard down more easily here. maybe because everyone around does it and are fine so it must be okay type of thing.

  31. May God bless you and your little ones forever. 🙂
    You are a nice blogger, MM. I can say that from your writing. But if you are being dissented in, you must be an awesome writer. Considering that I have been following your blog for just a week now, I do not know you much!
    You know, people find faults all the time only when someone excel in something that they themselves don’t. Keep it going, amigo!

  32. Hey,I hope my comment wasn’t classified as a “trollish”one…as I said,I loved the post as I have “been there,done that…felt that”but unable to write about it in your inimitable istyle…it’s just that in my field of work,the sight of a stricken mom sitting on the side of a rain-soaked road,a still little body covered with a blanket next to her and a birthday party pack scattered on the road is one that haunts me and something which I’d never want any mom to go through if it were preventable…now that I’ve brought in my bit of “darkness”,we visit India every other year,travel in autos,which my kids loooove,do the front seat huddle(very cute:))if it’s an Amby(rare these days)but I must say that I’ll be praying to all the traffic gods every second of the journey that we arrive without incident!BTW,I don’t live in the US…;)

    Me: no no – it totally wasnt. dissent is not trollish. i understand your concern. but things are very diff in india. and no you’re not in the US – I can see that in your details 🙂

  33. I can’t believe people are dissecting this post! Good one, MM! I have a thing for car rides. And oh did I miss something? They’re bratLET and beanLET now?!!

  34. Hmm. Once in a while is fine yes but don’t say car seats are not needed in India because traffic is slow. I agree with not over-protecting the kiddos and babyproofing the entire house, but somehow feel that carseats are in a different league. Maybe because I am a total scaredy cat around traffic and cars (can take ages to cross a road if I am alone, drive very cautiously etc). I am a total car seat fanatic and am doing my best to convert all my friends.Anyhow, I know where you are coming from so no real disagreement.

    Me: of course you’re a scaredy cat. you disappeared yesterday when I asked you for a qoute for a story!! and I DO believe traffic is too slow for seats – i’ve yet to see a pile up in India although i see lots of accidents where you lost a headlight. not to tempt fate and all, I DO use them, but only because it keeps them sitting in one place and out of my lap. the average indian baby isnt in car seats you know – well of course you know! most of our common friends dont use them! i mean thats why you’re working to convert them, right?

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