The one where G’pa and Nana abandon us

It’s been a crazy, crazy week. My commute has shot up to 2 hours, carving a 4 hour chunk out of my day and throwing it in the garbage. I have a house full of cartons. No place to walk. No place to set down a glass of water. Gurgaon is hot, dusty, arid desert for as far as the eye can see. Which is probably why they plant palms all over the place. The curtains are up but they don’t shield us from the harsh sun beating down relentlessly. The kitchen is a mess. The tiles have some weird design that make them look permanently dirty and I sat on my haunches and scrubbed them with acid till my knees ached, my back groaned and my hands were raw, but to no avail. My iPhone speaker stopped working and so I had to talk to everyone on loudspeaker!  Here’s the clincher. I get no signal in certain parts of the house so I am anyway unreachable most of the time and I’ve had to give out my home landline number to people against my better judgement.

The kids have loved the house, running up and down the stairs, swimming twice a day, playing on the swings and hiding in nooks and corners. I’ve had my heart in my mouth as they peer out of windows on the 14th floor and say they want to jump down. The Brat says he will open his glider wings and fly away. I am hastily putting latches on all of them. A storm two days ago lost us three SHUT windows. That should tell you something about the force with which it came.

And to top it all I still have to put in as much work as ever, with a fewer hours at my disposal, most spent in the commute. My parents were horrified to see me this time. Apparently I look haggard, am snapping more than usual at the OA and my eyes are puffy.

And so while I was at work, they took the kids for a swim, put up all my pictures, unpacked a dozen suitcases, hung up paintings, made me a dressing table, shifted two fans, fixed bamboo chik behind my curtains for added insulation and hung up the TV. I came home and almost burst into tears.  I am always amazed by their energy, their generosity with their time and money and their ability to keep up with the times. Its not everyday you see a grandfather heft up a huge TV, go at a wall with the drill and figure out the wiring and put it on, unpack cartons of stuff and then take his grandchildren for a one hour swim on his back. Its not everyday that a grandmother runs up and down the steps of a duplex, bargains with vendors to get stuff fitted and sets up your phone lines before she cooks lunch for you.

Ma also got me her spare blackberry and here’s the icing on the cake. It got lost. The last straw, I hunted hysterically and then burst into tears. I think that told my parents how exhausted I was. I was scolded firmly, told to stop working myself into a lather and just breathe. And then, after filling our fridge with food, slipping some housewarming gift money into my hands and filling our home with their love and laughter, they left.

The Brat started getting cranky as evening neared and he realised it was time for them to leave. He’s spent almost a month with them and he kept crying that Kipper needed him. And for the first time since I left home for college, I cried to see them leave. I know. Juvenile. But its overwhelming to have 10,000 things to do and for the first time in years I felt like a child as I left my worries and cares in their hands for a while. I felt awful for having lost Ma’s phone, considering it was an expensive one and had a lot of her contacts on it.

I picked up a sobbing Brat and hugged him, the Bean climbed on to my knees behind him and I sat there hugging them and rocking them as my parents hugged this teary lump of humanity that was their flesh and blood. And then they left with the OA for the 1.5 hour drive to the station, shutting the door on three sobbing babies.

A little later I washed my face, put on some music and the kids and I began to dance. The Bean joined me but the Brat kept sitting down and saying.. “But I’m missing my G’pa..” Finally it was time to sleep and I let them sleep with me, this being early days in a new house and them having just been abandoned by their grandparents. The Bean cuddled up to me while the Brat shifted to a corner and put his head under a pillow. A while later I saw the pillow quiver unmistakably. I lifted it to see the Brat sobbing uncontrollably, moaning G’pa, G’pa… I took him in my arms and he fell asleep crying, his cheeks tear stained.

I couldn’t have asked for a better relationship between my parents and my children. Sometimes I physically feel the love that runs between the two generations, being the bridge that I am. It’s like electricity and sometimes I feel that even as a wire, I have no more use here. My work is done.  And yet, when I see the children break down each time they’re separated, I am almost the villain of the piece. It makes me wish they cared less, just to stop the pain. But there’s a line from a song I’ve been tripping on recently – ‘ Yes, I’d rather hurt than feel nothing at all… ‘ (Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now) PS: If you haven’t heard it, please do. I quite like it.

Speaking of which, the Bean’s current favourite is Soul Sister by Train. It’s damn cute to watch her running around the house singing at the top of her voice, “Hey Soul Sister, Aint that mister mister on the radio, stereo…” It’s either that or the other extreme –  Tere Liye from Prince. Ugh.

I think its in the genes. The OA and I were driving some place and I was nagging. And when I finally ended my litany of complaints and asked him what he does for me, he gave me a wicked grin, took a deep breath, and just in time, began to sing along with this song that was playing on the radio , ‘Jannatein sajayi maine tere liye.. ‘ Complete with filmi expressions and hand movements. Totally ruined my nagging wife moment.

So yes. That’s pretty much where we are. A reading lamp on, the room cool after the hellish heat of the day, my computer functional, a phone lost, about 10 kms of various wires and cords tangled and lying on the floor, waiting to be sorted out.. and in the midst of it all, a mattress laid out and two little children fast asleep, dead to the world and free of care. And somehow even while I typed out this post and looked at them, I began to believe that we’re going to be alright. Things will work out. Until then, there’s always the music.


42 thoughts on “The one where G’pa and Nana abandon us

  1. Awww..we moved from Madras to Vizag when I was 7 and my sister, 4. Thatha accompanied us and he was given the job of escorting us to and from school. It was a new state, a new language and the fact that we were joining 2 months after schoool had reopened, was not helping much.
    A week atfer, when it was time for him to leave, we witnessed the big old man of the family, break down (for the first time ever) – my baby sis was struggling at school, with not even a common language to communicate in and the sight of her, had reduced him to tears. This, from a man who redefined strict and stern, all his life.
    Grandparents are just made that way, MM. I am so glad for mine and I love the G’Pa and Nani – they are being such awesome grandparents.

  2. MM, that IS a hell lot of work. See if you can ask for a couple of days off? One suggestion I do want to make – being the queen of long 4.5 hr commutes per day – account for atleast half the commuting time as work time and carry some work to finish on the way. Just helps to get home at a more reasonable time with lesser on your mind 😦

    Your parents are really sweet and if you hadn’t said it, I would have definitely asked where they get all this energy from?

    Love the Bean and OA’s choice of music. 😉 It is right there on my playlist too, along with Kajra Kajra Kajraaaaaaaaaare – which the husband thinks says more about me than I let on 😀

  3. I understand what you mean about the generosity – I am amazed by how much my parents manage to do for me, even when they’re extremely busy, and then say, “It was nothing, really.”

    I only wish I will be able to do the same, when they’re too old to be running around doing things for themselves – though, knowing them… 🙂

    Hugs, and touchwood!

  4. MM,

    Hugs!!! It will be alright. You are still trying to get settled down. It will take time. You should be glad that the kids like the place. Just take one day at a time.

    Take care

  5. Oh Boy!!! this must be so tough on you. I felt so sad after reading this. Could your parents have stayed some more? Just till the kids got settled in and you had set some routine?

    BTW why did you move? you were so settled in your old house and so were the kids.

  6. I love yu, MM! It is nothing compared to how much you have to sort out, but this post reminded me of the first time Ma came to Bangalore to help us set up the house, and when she left I was horrified at the thought of having to manage home and more on my own. The “OA” here helped. But nothing like Ma’s expertise. Hmmm. She is here right now too. Let me go give her a big hug. Am sure your home will be up and functioning in no time and it’ll be just as much fun! I can’t get the picture of Beanie’s sing along out of my head by the way 🙂

  7. Take consolation from the fact that I moved in to my new flat which is a 2 bhk 1000sq/ft only from a 4 bedroom 3000 sq/ft sprawling villa. Why am I pointing this out? Well, it is more than 3 months now and 50% of my cartons are lying around just like that. Unpacked and uncared for. The 2nd bedroom has become a dumping room. I have no maid and a toddler who tries my patience to the max. I dont work outside but I can still feel your pain. It is overwhelming and I curse the days I went shopping and ended up collecting stuff. I am going crazy trying to find storage. It is totally crazy. But then you know what, it will settle down in a few months time. It will be better and soon you will have established a new routine.

    Am so happy the kids are enjoying the new house. Thats what matters in the end. As somebody suggested, cant you take like 2-3 days off and combine it with a weekend, so you have time to fix it all? Think about it…even if it means loss of pay. Although I suppose you will know better….

    chin up
    Hopefuly the next time you guys shift, brat and bean will be nice and tall and big enough to help????

    • nope 😦 I wont get any leave. And here’s the last newsflash. Its been raining for 24 hours now the house is flooded. We’re ankle deep in water, bailing it out furiously and everything is wet up to about 3 inches – furniture, curtains, cartons… everything. gah.

      • HUH? Honey, donchya live in an apartment? No superintendent? And you aren’t on the first floor are you? Take care. I’m jsut a teeny weeny bit worried after reading this.

        How does my gorgeous gal get haggard?:-(

      • 😦 Sounds like a bad phase.. how did the water flood the 14th floor? the 3 windows which were destroyed in the storm?

        Hope things perk up soon!

  8. MM, bhagwan jab deta hai toh chappad phadd ke deta hai. The rains and flooding? I know if i said ‘it will get better’, you might want to strangle me. So will shut up now and pray for some thing to give.

  9. Oh honey, things are really going to hell in a handbasket, arent they? hang in there! It’ll take some time to settle in and there’s nothing you can do about it.

    You might be able to do something about your phone calls though! See if your phone/service provider offers call forwarding i.e. forwards your calls to your home number if it doesn’t get picked up after a certain number of rings. That way you won’t have to give out your landline number.

    And get some thicker drapes for those windows!

    I’m trying to think of a fix for the flooding but I got nothing. Think of it as an adventure?


  10. Hey, Cheer up MM!!

    You have the curtains and the TV and the paintings up.Your kitchen is functional. Your kids love the place. focus on these +ves. And knowing you (through your posts) you will have the place up and running in no time at all!

    And Gparents will visit again! That is what they are best at doing- coming home and filling it to the brim with sunshine 🙂

    I amnot sure what your nature of work is, and if you can do it while travelling, but even if yu cant, you can use it as “me-time”- read, list down chores, close the home budget, call up friends/family ( if you travel in anything non noisy and wont bug others) I do this everyday in my cab when i am alone. its afixed time for calling parents/friends/ relatives. once i even painted my nails on the way back home.(sheepish smile)

    Good luck with the storm though! how did water get to the 14th floor!?

  11. oh gawd! does sound insane. Hope the mess gets sorted out magically! Realllie!

    n ya…as for love for G’parents go… as children EVERY summer vacation my sis n i staryed at my G’parents. We would leave the night of the exam and return only the day before school started. As we got into college n work n vacation was no more that regular…we yet visited them, tho it wasnt for long durations. n till date EVERY single time we have said good-bye to them,,we and our nani have cried.. A LOT!
    gosh! this post makes me miss my G’parents soooooooooooooo much!

  12. awww… sniff. this too shall pass. and i can share commute tips with you – even though my direction is opposite yours :))

    huggz and love…

  13. MM,

    this blog moved me to tears… my g’ma is no more but jus the thought of her brings tears to my eyes and fills my heart with love….

    its a blessing to have g’parents to love and be loved by….

    hope everything falls in place for u soon….

  14. I totally get what ur saying! I travel nearly 4 kms a day in a bus and I whine everytime I begin my commute 😦

    Before I got married, and when we bought our flat, I bought so many things to make it look like our home. But the in-law’s completely blackmailed the husband into coming back home and I had to give so many of my things hand-picked and brought after looking for bargains all over Bangalore to my relatives and friends.

    I haven’t forgiven the DH yet!

    I hope things work out for u and cannot wait to see the beautiful house, that I am sure u’ll make 🙂

  15. Oh, dear. All the best, MM. I have a two-hour one-way commute, too, but my bosses have been kind enough to let me work from home a couple of days a week, and that makes a big difference.

  16. eeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

    you just mentioned three songs i’m hooked on!!
    “need you now!”, “sould sister” and yes, my guity pleasure, “tere liye”

    the brat crying under the pillow broke my heart! you breaking down broke my heart.
    hope you settle in! BIG HUG!!!

  17. Hang in there..everything will fall in place. I can understand what you are going thru..

    And a WOW!! Amonst so much chaos you still manage regular posts for us readers 🙂

    Take care

  18. I love moms and dads. They are the best EVER!

    Btw, if it’s not too late (which i guess it is, but nevertheless can i pour out unwanted advice?)… did you consider living in the DLF phaseI and phase II bungalows/floors? Given you’re used to staying in row houses than in apartments, they’d be a better bet. ample lawns and terraces. non-cookie-cutter ambience. lots and lots of greenery which is way beyond palms (I stayed in a house 5 years back, it had a mango tree, a papaya tree, an amrood tree and an anaar tree), and are closer to delhi. drainage and roads are way better than other places in gurgaon. the only issue is electricity but if you get some high-power gensets its worth it.

    really if its not too late, phaseI and phaseII are extremely nice places to live in.

      • Oho.. sorry to hear. Well wherever you are, i bet it’s a kickass place to stay in, too.. it’ll just take some time for the Delhi ghosts to die. You can throw peanut shells from your top floor on lesser mortals below you. Yay!

        If you need any morsels on which non-malls places are nice for a visit, do put up a post and see a flood suggestions. For starters, Drift at the Epicentre is nice for a Sunday brunch. The spread and the wine are okay, but they’ve got a largish place for kids to run around in. In rains it can be quite pretty.

        And on Sundays Barbeque Nation plays live music which is nice, too. Not too involving for the kids, though.

        Huda markets in sector 56 and sector 14, and vyapar kendra in sushant lok are your bets for cobblers, tailors for an errant seam, zip menders etc… which you won’t find in any malls or in galleria.

        Welcome to Gurgaon 🙂

  19. I hope you guys settle down soon and I certainly hope you get good help(if you haven’t already). That always helps! Hugs to the Brat and the Bean, and you really are lucky to have such wonderful parents 🙂 We moved cities when Nikki was just 6 weeks old, with no help whatsoever and it was a terrible few weeks.
    Hope the craziness passes soon! Oh and ‘tere liye’ is a big favorite with the husband and Nikki at my place too. Sigh.

  20. loads and loads of hugs MM! i’m counting on the brat and the bean and prayers to give you the much needed strength and patience.

  21. “Totally ruined my nagging wife moment.”
    – I swear I hate it when my husband manages to make me smile when I want to sulk and fight a little longer (sometimes). These guys just know how to do destroy that moment 🙂
    I hope you guys are feeling more settled now. All the best!

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