Sunday, June 24, 2007

Locked out!

It happened this Friday – which is the weekend, in this part of the world. 5.30pm, I handed my hubby his evening cuppa and marched upstairs to hang the clothes to dry in the balcony we have outside the master bedroom. As is his habit, sonny followed me. In a fit of fatherly affection, hubby has handed over his cell to sonny, set it to sonny’s nursery rhymes, so now sonny can carry his boom-box wherever he goes. So now ma has to listen to 100 nursery rhymes, non-stop!

Fortunately ma is adept in the art of tuning out and is humming to herself as she hangs the clothes out to dry. Sonny marches into the balcony, sits on the lil edge at the end of the grill and places his boom-box almost at the edge at the grill. A bit of breeze and the cell will sail to the ground – where it will meet a sure death on the concrete floor below it.
So I turned and grabbed the phone and asked sonny to keep it away. Of course, who listens to ma these days. Her favourite word these days is no. So sonny went back to his seat and kept the phone back in its precarious perch.
This time I decided to take some ‘affirmative action’. So I picked up the cell and marched indoors and kept it on the bedside table. Sonny barged in after me, picked up his precious cell.

Meanwhile I went back to my clothes drying. The next thing I know, sonny has walked over to the balcony door and shut it from inside. There! I have been locked out on the balcony of my own house, by my own beloved 2 year. It’s a glass door – so sonny can still see me. Hey, I bang, sonny open the door. But its one of those self-locking ones. Sonny walks up to the door but cant budge it. Ok I yell, go call your father. Sonny looks at me – and walks over to the AC. What was that again? Don’t touch the AC? Ok, on, off, on off, on, off! And now ma is making threatening gestures through the door – ok better leave it on – it sure is hot in here. Yeah go ahead and turn the AC on – after you’ve left your mother to bake on 40 dec C heat.

Again I start banging on the door – hoping to draw hubby’s attention to the situation. Meanwhile, hubby has turned on the TV – got his laptop onto his lap and is busy sipping his tea – completely unaware of the drama that’s being enacted upstairs. I bang the door non-stop until it strikes my dehydrated self that the doors are sound proofed. Hubby wont hear a thing. Fortunately there’s sonny here – maybe get him to call hubby upstairs. Ok baby – go call your father. Sonny thinks this is some game. He kisses the glass on the other side of where I have placed my hand. As I mouth ‘father’ he kisses some more. O drat!!! This luv-shuv is fine – but hey – go call your father.

This entire drama carries on for an hour. Sonny lolls on the floor – next to the door. At least I can see him here – at least he’s not getting into trouble. Oops said that too soon – sonny canters off towards the table lamp. Sonny, I resume banging the door. No!! He sees the intent in my eyes and leaves the lamp alone. He opens the drawers – yeah diapers! Each one is individually flung all over the room. And whats this? O baby wipes. He opens the package and pulls out the entire set of wipes, wipes his face, pulls them onto the floor like a huge train – generally he’s having a blast. While I watch from the other side of the glass door, just watch!

Then I hear the muezzin’s call for prayer. Sunset. It must be 6.45. I’ve spent more than an hour getting roasted on this balcony. Just how much longer will it take for hubby to realize that his wife and beloved son have been missing in action for way too long. I spy my neighbor out for a walk – hey I yell. Hello! But they just march off.
I keep returning to the balcony ledge to see if I can spot someone – who can ring the door and let my hubby know about his wife’s predicament. 2 maintenance workers walk past – hello I yell, hey listen, can you hear me. My brain yells – say ‘help’. But help sounds real desperate, doesn’t it. And I’m not so bad off. After all hubby has to realize his wife hasn’t said a word in the past hour and half and more – and that is rare! Turns out hubby’s not missing anyone. Sonny starts crying now – he’s hungry. Ok maybe hubby will hear him cry and come upstairs. Sonny continues to cry. This time I decide to yell help to whoever walks past the house.

After an agonizing 15 mins of sonny crying and me trying to tell him to go to his father, sonny walks off towards the bedroom door. Finally light on the landing stairs. I hear hubby walking upstairs, picks up sonny, surveys the mess in the bedroom and turns towards the balcony.
Yes, after an hour and 45 mins, I finally got back into the house, to sonny’s delight – who ran circles around me. Phew!! End of drama.

Yes, it could have been worse. What if it were early in the day or worse afternoon? Temperatures in the day touch 45 deg C – even more at times. What if it wasn’t a Friday? Hubby wouldn’t be home – and there would be a stark raving sonny inside the house and a stark raving mom outside. They would have to break the door to get in, if I did manage to get anyone’s attention at all.

Lesson to be learnt. Don’t mess with sonny’s nursery rhymes phone. He is bound to take revenge. Seriously though – have decided to get a cell for myself and keep it 24/7 with me – even while drying clothes. And keep a keener eye on sonny.


Friday, June 15, 2007


I’ve been seeing a spate of birthday parties happening of late. And this set me thinking.

When sonny turned 1 we were traveling, far away from home and no prospect of returning soon. We were staying in a hotel and didn’t know anyone beyond the hotel staff. And yet we wanted to have memories, special memories of the day. Our first born was turning 1. More than anything else – we as bumbling, inexperienced, hyper (me) individuals had not only managed to give birth to a child but we’d gotten him as far as the first year. So we ordered a cake – possibly the smallest one the shop made. But we took half an hour at the cake shop to agree on the cake design. This after taking 2 hours to select a design from their online site. We bought a card that expressed our feelings for him. Bought some paper ribbons and balloons to decorate the hotel room. We stayed up the night before to decorate the room for just the 3 of us.
Hubby woke up at 7am (on a Sunday – that’s a stupendous effort) to get the cake so that we could cut it at 8.32am – which is when sonny was born. And that was it. Sonny played with the ribbons and the balloons and refused to touch the cake – which we shared with the few hotel employees we knew. In the evening we took him to downtown Chicago and we strolled in the parks and took a lot of pictures.
That was it! That’s how we celebrated his first ever birthday.

I promised myself his 2nd birthday would be a lot special.

Sonny turned 2 early this Monday. Once again, we were in a new place. Didn’t know anyone. And didn’t want to throw a party for strangers. More importantly, I didn’t even know of a cake shop (whether one existed at all) in Riyadh. So I bought a marble cake from the store. A marble cake – plain, no icing, nothing written on it – in a plain tin. Sonny had other plans though. He woke up at 3 am. Howling, for who knows what. I yelled at him (haven’t I already told you – how much I hate my sleep being disturbed) before hubby reminded me – that it was his special day. We played till 6 in the morning, which is when he fell asleep. Hubby left for work – reminding me to capture sonny’s reactions to his gift – a brand new tricycle. Sonny has been running after other kids’ trikes here so we knew he would want this gift. Sonny woke at 10am, I presented his trike to him. And he just started walking around with it – no excitement. Hhhmmppff!!!
Hubby returned from work early – we cut his marble cake in a plain tin. For the second year running, sonny refused to touch his cake. No loss, mom and dad love marble cake :) We took him swimming at the pool, came back, fed him dinner and he went off to sleep. That’s it! Birthday no 2 – over! Of course his aunts, his grandparents all called and wished him, his cousins sang for him – but no drama beyond that.

Yesterday, I saw a news item about how some parents celebrated their 5yr old’s birthday. They rented a candy store! I bet the guests had a sweet time :)
Another set of parents spent 50000USD for a kids 1st birthday. Complete with a buffet and orchids and the works.
And then I saw another birthday party being celebrated here – a pool side party. And I wondered. That I love my son – is not questionable. And yet, we’ve just gone through 2 exceptionally simple birthday parties – his first 2 no less. I re-assure myself, we’ve been traveling, we didn’t know anyone. Besides no aunts, no uncles, no grandparents, no friends. We’ve celebrated his birthday with the 2 most important people in his life – who were present. Besides he wouldn’t remember anything, anyways. Forgiveable? Maybe.
When sonny is 8 or 10 or 12 and he hears from his peers about their first birthdays I wonder if our reasoning will hold. Or will he guilt trip us into throwing him lavish birthdays –just coz we didn’t throw him grand birthdays earlier.
My heart churns with unsettling guilt. My mind asks me – to take a chill pill!!


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm back!

I know its been a really really long time.

But consider this. We left our home in the US, intending to go for a short vacation to India. The vacation extended from 5 weeks to 8 weeks. Then instead of returning home, we had to go on straight to Saudi Arabia. Our time in Riyadh was spent first in a cramped hotel room for 2 weeks and then in a spacious villa for 3 weeks. Barely had we adjusted to life in Riyadh, we had to pack our bags again and head back to India for 3 days.

From India began another series of travel. We flew to New York, then to Boston. Then drove down to hometown Montreal. In each city we stayed for 5days to a week. After winding up all our bases in North America, we finally flew back to India, to get our visas re-issued(do not ask me why. The visa systems here are the strangest I’ve heard of).
In India we shuttled between Delhi and Lucknow and finally flew back to Riyadh last week.

And here I am! Back to blog-sphere. I know I have a lot of reading and catching up to do – and I’m all set! And I have loads of stories to tell you. For all those who checked up on me (I hope there were some) – thanks! I promise not to vanish like that again.
And all those who’ve read this……please do come back and check for more :)