.. by mama.
As luck would have it, I needed to travel for work for the first time since I started working, this week, missing the OA’s birthday, yesterday. *rolls eyes*
I got plenty of pep talk from friends. On how I needed to do this, my kids were 3 and 5 and old enough to stay without me, that my husband is brilliant with them and there was nothing to worry about. That was all very well. It was myself that I worried about. I didn’t know how I would react to leaving my kids and going on work. I found out soon enough.
I spent 2 weeks getting tense over a 2 and a half day trip. I’d feel my chest constrict and my breathing get laboured each time I thought of leaving my precious brats for something as trivial as a job. And it would bother me hugely. But what must be done, must be done. And I’d remind myself to breathe and get on with the day.
Two days before I left I’d laid out clothes for them for each day, sorted out their meals and snacks and basically done all that I could to feel that I was still in charge of their lives.
And then another something started to happen. I began to panic and imagine the worst. After the Mangalore crash there have been a few more near disasters like this and this. I was just not in the frame of mind where I wanted to travel at all.
I told the Brat I was going and he nodded casually and told the OA – “So we’ll go swimming when mama is away.”
The Bean ignored me.
I packed, I am proud to say, really well. All my stuff came into a biggish handbag I own, including a change of footwear, toiletries and gifts for friends. I felt quite professional 😀
And then the morning of my departure dawned bright and clear and I began to get nervous about everything. Basically transferring my misery over leaving the kids to everything else. Thankfully the kids were asleep when I left and that was one less thing to worry about. “What if I lose my ticket? What if I get onto the wrong aircraft?” I asked the OA who grinned, remembering the girl he married, who would travel ticketless, hop off trains and on to running trains, fly around on work and do all of that without a thought, until she gave birth to her brats!
I reached the airport and felt rather lost. I had barely any luggage and my hands felt weird. I gave it some thought and realised what was missing – the kids! I am so used to holding two little hands as I check in that I didn’t know what to do with mine! I looked at my reflection in the window and the girl who looked back at me in black tights, a loose grey shirt and gladiators on her feet didn’t look incomplete at all. She looked just fine.
Reassured, I continued on my way, picked up a book at the airport and plugged in my iPod and gave myself up to the pleasures of Van Morrison’s music. Almost missing my flight. My colleague who was late herself, frantically called me to say she was clearing security and running to the departure gate. They were announcing for us and I of course had missed all the announcements! Damnit – to arrive an hour early and still almost miss your flight is a bit much! We made it just in the nick of time.
I landed in Bombay and my cousin picked me up and took over where the OA leaves off so that I didn’t need to do anything but get out of the humidity, settle into air conditioned comfort and go back to having someone take care of me! I had mailed him my tickets and copied him on all mails to friends so he just took me from one venue to another and indulged me while I caught up with college friends I hadn’t met in ages. Ah- this is what family is all about!
The thing with meeting college friends is that you just go back in time and you’re back to cursing that bitch of a professor who flunked your entire batch, the class ice queen, the joker who made it big and so on and so forth. Not too many of my friends are married and its always nice to have them look at me approvingly and say – “Thank God, you’re not like those mothers who can’t stop talking about their kids!” At which point I mentally thank my lucky stars that I have my blog to vent about my kids and my real life conversation is pretty much sanitised of all mommy-talk.
Two days were spent on office work and the nights spent partying it up from one restaurant to another and spending time with my cousin and his friends. I think I needed this. Simply because in Bombay, I was just a woman who was down from Delhi on work. Which means the single men are a little more charming than they would be, should you mention that you’re a mother of two. And other girls chat about everything under the sun, unhindered by the assumption that you are incapable of talking about anything beyond your spawn! I guess 31 isn’t all that old since they kind of assumed I was single too! And I nervously checked my forehead to see if the tattoo saying MOTHER was still there. It seems to have disappeared.
The kids were fine. I thought they’d miss me but the Brat spoke to me very sweetly on the phone. “It’s not Bombay, it’s Mumbai,” he corrected me, little Shiv Sena brat! The Bean refused to talk . “Are you angry, darling?” I asked. No, she said, “I’m not angry, I’m sad.” It’s amazing how early women are in touch with their emotions and how clear they are. The night I left though, was a bad one for the OA. The Brat had a terrible ear ache and it took 3 people to hold him down for the drops. He fell asleep whimpering and soon was out of his pain. At which point the Bean figured it was time to show her father what her mother often has to go through, by throwing up all over the bed. When I called the OA at 1 am, back from the partying, he whispered into the phone ‘Shhh… I’ve just put them both to sleep, cleaned them up, changed the sheets, and now I am pooped.” I grinned into the phone. The kids have this knack of falling ill each time the OA travels and I go nuts handling them both through the night. It’s good to see they didn’t discriminate!
The trip back was uneventful until the cabin crew locked the door and the captain announced that we were going to be flying lower because of a ‘technical problem’. If I weren’t strapped in and the doors not armed, I’d have bolted right then. What kind of sadist tells you there is a technical problem, as he starts taxi-ing?!
The OA was picking me up and I was hoping to land in Delhi before midnight to atleast wish him in person before his birthday got over. It was not to be. I missed his birthday by a half hour and now I am thinking of ways to make it up to him. Suggestions are welcome.