… the Brat and the Bean are living it up in a town that is not All-bad (bwahahaa… stupid joke!)
The trip there was fairly painless and surprise, surprise, the OA and I didn’t throw infants into moving trains or sit up all night with sick kids. What is becoming a pain though, is sharing a berth with them and the Brat is definitely getting his own berth next trip. For the Bean, I plan to make a little nest on the floor between the berths and I don’t care what anyone says about it. I have had enough of balancing on one butt cheek all night, shivering because she’s yanked the blanket off me and generally arriving home cranky and sleepy (which is not very different to the way I normally I am).
Kipper, the new Alsatian brought in to replace Patchy (May his soul rest in peace. Do dogs have souls?) is a couple of months old and as nippy as a teething baby. Which means on the first day he drew blood from the Brat’s leg and the Brat took to his heels every time Kipper made an appearance. Our slippers and shoes were in mortal peril too and the Bean took it upon herself to gather up stacks of footwear against her chest (groan, the laundry!) and keep it safe from Kipper. One of my favourite sights is of her glaring at Kipper, rescuing the Brat’s slippers from his jaws and handing them back to a decidedly nervy Brat.
Within minutes the OA and I were persona non grata. We didn’t care. We slept. Correction – I slept. And I have no idea what he did. He could have been swinging off the chandeliers and I wouldn’t have cracked an eyelid open to look.
We left the next day with no fanfare. The freshly bathed Brat had exhausted himself and fell asleep in the OA’s arms before we left. The Bean, well I’ve been saying she has a new option in terms of career – bar dancer. Don’t look horrified. As we collected our luggage and left, she had climbed up on a bar stool and was dancing merrily around my parents’ bar. For some reason she believes it is her calling in life to entertain. And she performs this task to the best of her ability. Singing, shaking her booty, reciting rhymes even without being asked to, holding puppet shows, talking to herself, reading stories out of books held upside down… and more.
Of course they’ve been playing up hell with the old folks and my dad lets them get away with murder. Ma on the other hand is forced to be the bad cop and is constantly having to discipline them. So Nani is completely blacklisted which is rather unfair I guess.
One of my fears, when the kids were born, was that they’d grow up to dislike my small town, being big city kids. No doubt you have grandparents to spoil you, but once you get hooked on malls and clubs, its not so much fun to climb trees, atleast from what I’ve seen of a lot of kids.
But the kids haven’t had a spare moment since they went there. They were picked out of their beds sleeping, at 5 am, strapped into the car and driven to the Ganges where a boatman rowed them across a river, which is when they woke up, to find themselves at a natural clear water pool. This boatman and his adolescent daughters are teaching children to swim and my parents know little kids who are now swimming across the river effortlessly. And he teaches them without swimming tubes/arm bands etc. I think it is brilliant. Both the kids immediately took to it and had a blast. But it took them another hour to get home and by 9 am they were exhausted and ravenous as were my parents who had to start their work day by 9 am. I guess its just too strenuous for old grandparents as well as little teeny kids to do. So now the kids are going to a local swimming pool and this is going to have to wait for a couple of years till the Bean is atleast 5.
They’ve also been to a local mela, they’re cycling around the block, climbing trees, going for long drives to mango orchards by the river and gathering raw mangoes, playing with all the dogs and generally living it up.
The Bean of course is unable to stay out of trouble and was fished out of a filthy drain two nights ago. All dressed up for a party, she got out of the car, shook off Nani’s hand and made a dash for it, in the dark, falling waist deep into a drain. She had to be hosed down in the host’s garden and put into some old clothes that she was too tiny to fit into. (I laughed till I cried when I heard it, although the OA was rather worried – what if it had been deeper or she’d broken a bone? Valid points.)
I’m angry with you, she tells my mom.
Why, asks Nani.
Bean: Because you scolded me.
Nani: Well you could have hurt yourself – I told you not to let go and run.
Bean: And I am sad too
Bean: Because I want to wear a pretty frocky, not these dirty shorts!
Nani: Well let that be your lesson then!
One hopes vanity will prevail, if not self preservation.
Also, the kids seem to think my little hometown is a big sandpit made for their enjoyment.
All the old bungalows around are being torn down and replaced with dozens of ugly, grey little flats. My brother and I would play hide and seek with more than 15 kids, across the locality, hiding in each other’s homes, eating lunch with someone and dinner with someone else, massive old homes with ample opportunity to hide, mango, jackfruit, guava and litchi trees to climb. But all my kids have to do is run out of our gate to play in the sand piles lying outside each compound for construction and I look at them in disgust, wondering how many dogs have pooped or peed in it. Ugh.
They go to our main market and once again, discard their sandals and climb into sandpiles, paying scant heed to good clothes and any shred of reputation I might have there (bwahahahaha)!
The Brat who drives me nuts refusing to write here, has been spelling like crazy for Nani – Ironman, Batman, Mushroom (?!!! Why?!) and more. Apparently I am unworthy of his effort. I read an old but apt line that says -” Grandparents and grandchildren get along so well because they have a common enemy.” You don’t say!
The last trip they went for picnics by the river, horse riding and *gulp* at a Rajput friend’s home, tried their hands at shooting too. Come night they are so exhausted that they collapse into bed. The Brat sleeping directly on G’pa’s chest. And the Bean curling into Nani’s stomach. The poor old fossils are probably going to die young at this rate. But hey, I gave them grandchildren at 47 or so, simply so that there would be some life in the old dog(s) and no excuses. Speaking of dogs, there have been some major negotiations happening as the grandparents finally drew the line at having dogs in the bed . And the kids whined and wailed, wanting to cuddle them as they sleep (But whyyyy not Nani?!!!!! Kipper is small and he misses his mama and dada and he’s scared of monsters and the dark!!). As for poor G’pa, after the Brat declared 3 years ago that he would get his bum washed by G’pa or else perish on the pot, I think he’s given up any pretence to a life when his G’son is around. His sanity is being questioned because most evenings their locality is witness to two little children cycling around while a man follows them around, a strange purple elephant tucked into his armpit. Yes, the Bean insists that Lumpy goes for a walk with them and poor old Dad just goes along with everything. Well, G’pa, you’re a better man than I, Gungadin!
And Nani, although she is the Bean’s worst enemy, is also her best friend. There is a thin line dividing love and hate and the Bean told me on the phone that Nani is her angel pudding. This of course when they’re not arguing over whether the door should be left open while the AC is on, how old one should be to wear lipstick, whether its fair to use Nani’s lip gloss and then wipe your face on the counterpane, whether marshmallows count as a meal or not and many other such earth shaking matters.
The OA and I after the first 24 hours of getting home and whooping wildly at the freedom, have promptly slid into depression. We’re like life sentence prisoners who are suddenly released and don’t know what to do in the outside world.
Oh we party it up – be it going to watch Indian Ocean live or Agnee, eating out, and watching movies till 3 am. We’re reading books in record time and eating ice cream in bed. I’ve got my hair chopped to a layered bob and highlighted with copper. But there’s a part of me that wakes up at 4 am and looks around in the dark wondering why no little squirmy body has come padding down the corridor and sneaked in between us yet. We wake up in the most leisurely manner and are shocked at having only our own set of teeth to brush and bums to wash. Food doesn’t need to be shoveled down throats because there is so much time before we leave for work. And yes, as I mentioned 3-4 years ago, the worst part is that the nursery is dark.
Stay tuned for more tales from a small town. I leave you with some snapshots from the 24 hours that we were there.