July 5, 2019
Day 30 of 100 | 71 Days to go
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At the start of the day itself, I knew it was going to be eventful and full of what-ifs. What if she didn’t wake up on time for school? What if she didn’t poop? What if she didn’t sleep in the afternoon? What if she slept late? Or slept too much? What if we didn’t get a cab? What if it rained too much?
I know I sound paranoid, but when you step out once in 6 months or so, and have an agenda to stick to, you have to worry about all of this. We had huge plans for the weekend. Friday was going to be about catching up with our school friend and later, for me to catch up with my Insta friends too. On Saturday, we were to go to my sister’s house during the day and then to my Chacha’s house for dinner. The whole plan did seem daunting, but it was exciting. I felt like I was about to set out on an adventure.
And boy, what an adventure it was!
We started off well, and most of the morning is a blur to me, probably because it was fairly routine. I know I didn’t cook that day because I planned to leave late in the afternoon and we weren’t going to be back until the following night. I think I did some writing when Laddoo was at school.
In the image she’s busy with the Dot-to-dot Wipe Clean Activity Book*.
During pick-up, when I asked her what she ate at school, she said, “Laddoo ne Cutlet hi nahi khaaya. Sirf bohot saara sauce khaaya.” Translation: Laddoo did not eat any cutlets. She only had lots of sauce.
Yes, she refers to herself in third person.
Knowing her love for sauce, it’s quite possible. Back home, I quickly made Paranthas for both of us and after a little bit of drama, Laddoo was finally asleep at 1:45 PM. It was later than I had planned, but I was glad that she slept because I knew she wasn’t going to be able to sleep at her bedtime and if she didn’t nap, that would just make her extremely cranky. In hindsight, getting her to nap was the right decision but I did it at the wrong location. I should have let her sleep in the cab on our way to Andheri, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
While Laddoo slept, I quickly posted a Book Review on Instagram (I’d written 80% of the caption when she was at school), then I washed my hair, got dressed and waited for my hair to dry, and applied a fresh coat of colour on my nails (one that matched my dress). It was almost 3:30 and laddoo still wasn’t up. So typical of her to sleep on when we are on a clock but wake up after a short nap when I’m in the zone and getting something done and NEED HER TO SLEEP FOR A BIT LONGER!! Can you tell I’m annoyed? Yes? Good!
Anyway, I decided to use a few more minutes to apply kajal (and because I get asked this very often, I’m sharing it here too. I use Maybelline Kolossal Kajal*), eyeliner, a little bit of lipstick, and pick earrings to wear with my dress. The second I was done, I woke her up.
She saw I was wearing a dress and said, “What a pretty dress, Amma! Round round karo.” And I twirled, just for her. 🙂
The two of us were dressed and packed in the next 30 minutes and I asked Sandeep to book a cab for me. And even though we were downstairs by 4:40, it was almost 5 PM by the time we got into the cab because the driver was inside Palava but couldn’t find our building despite the exact location pin. But his confusion allowed me to go upstairs and change my footwear.
You see, I thought since I was wearing a pretty dress, I could take it one step further and wear pretty shoes too since we were taking a cab. But the shoes I wore were old (at least 4 years) and by the time I reached downstairs the heel started disintegrating, literally. I realised it when it felt like I had stepped in mush on one side but I was standing on a stone pavement. Then I saw that all 73 kilos of my body weight had managed to push the old platform heel of my Catwalk shoes down to the floor like an accordion. Upon examination, I could see small beige chipped pieces on the floor. It took a little over a minute to go upstairs and come back down. My regular footwear was right outside the door, so I just had to slip out of the old one and into the new one, and thankfully, I made it back downstairs before the driver found the building.
When the journey began, the map said 1 hour and 33 minutes. I added another 30 minutes to that and told Kamya we’d be there by 7 PM.
45 minutes later, the map said 1 hour 22 minutes. And another hour later, we were still nowhere close. We put on some music on Ola Play and Laddoo entertained me with her chatter by asking intersting questions like, “Amma, why did you say davaai?” after she heard me tell Sandeep that we were near “Powai.” She sat, she stood, and at one point, she even decided that she wanted to sleep (she didn’t.) The vehicle was moving at snail’s pace (I was convinced that we’d have reached long, long ago if I’d walked instead, but whatever) so I saw no imminent danger in letting her do a little bit of gymnastics in the car.
Finally, 3 hours since we got in, and 2 re-routes later, I finally caught up with Sandeep somewhere between Chandivali and Saki Naka signals, and we all got off the cab at Saki Naka metro station. The time now was around 8 PM.
From there we took the metro to Andheri Station, and from there we walked. From the metro station to the railway station, from east to west, through Nadco market, on to SV road, then climbed on the 2 feet high divider and crossed the road to finally reach Shree Ram Nagar, which, by that point had started to feel like Promised Land.
My step count at the end of that day was 4,811 of which 2,430 steps were between 8 and 9 PM, and I hadn’t even started my diet plan by then. I’d like to think that I’m so bloody committed to losing weight and getting back in shape this time that I decided it was a good idea to have a two-day head start on my new diet.
Once inside the colony, I messaged Kamya that we were finally there and like a good host, she came downstairs to see us. Upon seeing Laddoo, Kamya extended her arms to her, and Laddoo happily went to her. Did I mention that they were meeting each other for the first time EVER? I was only glad that it was my childhood friend she went to and not some creepy stranger off the road.
In a minute, once we entered her building and there was light in the staircase, Laddoo realised that she was with someone new. She looked at us both and said, “Amma, Papa, my friends,” but still stayed in Kamya’s arms.
Once upstairs, it only took a few moments for Laddoo to warm up and dance around the house. That Kamya and Shekhar gave her some toys only made it easier for her to like them more. And while Sandeep and I caught up with Kamya, Laddoo was busy entertaining and playing with Shekhar. Since we’d reached so late, we got busy talking and didn’t realise that we had to order dinner.
Here, she’s showing Shekhar her baby videos on her dad’s phone.
I messaged Namarata and let her know that I had just reached and I wouldn’t be able to meet them anytime soon. It would be 11 PM, maybe later, by the time I would be able to leave from here. She said they’d try to wait for as long as they could.
And finally, I got to see Kamya’s little baby in person. She’s only 7 months old, and when I held her, it was almost like I’d forgotten how little they can be. I was cooing at her and she was cooing back, and then Laddoo came up to me and said, “Amma, usko de do uncle paas. Mujhe uthao.”
Amma, give her back to Uncle. Pick me up.
I didn’t think it would matter to Laddoo if I played with another baby, and to be fair, this was the first little baby I’d held in my arms since Laddoo’s arrival, so I hadn’t really given her the opportunity to feel anything. But looking at Laddoo Pisuku-thattufy-ing (it’s a Tamil term my mom uses, and I guess it translates to “jealous enough, but not seething with jealousy”, and “jealous” doesn’t have the same feel to it, so I’m using Pisuku-Thattu only) a small part of me loved it.
My baby wanted me to cuddle only with her. Awwwww. But I was amazed at how gracefully she handled the situation. She was very calm and sweet when she asked me to give the baby back, very matter-of-fact-ly. She did not raise her voice, she did not twist her face, she did not even seem upset. As I write this, I realise Laddoo’s reaction could be considered mildly sociopathic, but what the hell! I’m going to call it graceful and dignified.
So I held the baby for a moment or two, and out of respect for my baby’s wishes, I gave the other baby back even though I wanted to hold on to her for a little bit longer.
It also made me think about how Laddoo would react if I had another baby. It’s something I have been thinking about for a few months now. With this baby, I could give her back because she wasn’t mine. But what if I have another one, and Laddoo has the same reaction? Bah! I’ll deal with it when I need to. I’ll have a lot of time to prepare her for it.
It was 10 PM-ish when we ordered dinner, 10:30-ish by the time it arrived, and almost 11 by the time we actually sat down to eat, and close to midnight by the time we were ready to say goodbye.
In the middle of all this, I let Namrata and Mahak know that it was very unlikely that I was going to be able to meet them, so they need not wait for me and could carry on with their plans.
Before we left, we did a mandatory photo session to remind ourselves many years later that it actually happened and we all did meet. As usual, Laddoo did not co-operate.
“I don’t want to be in the photo.”
“But I WANT to be in the photo.”
You know what, Laddoo? WE DON’T CARE!!
We’re taking a picture together whether you’re going to be in it or not!
She’s in the picture though. Can you spot her?
Like I said, in hindsight, I should have left earlier and let Laddoo nap in the cab. That way, we would have avoided the traffic jam and the resultant three-hour cab ride, we could have reached much earlier (Sandeep could have joined later), I could have spent more time with Kamya and the baby (who would have been awake and more alert when we reached) AND left in time to meet Namrata and Mahak.
If only I had the power to see the future and know this. Sandeep will say he knew this was going to happen, and that I should have ignored her nap. But then guess who wouldn’t have been able to meet Namrata and Mahak anyway because a cranky baby would need me? I. Me. Only me.
Luckily we had booked an Oyo for ourselves that was right under Marol Naka Metro station, and past midnight, it took us less than 15 minutes to get there from Andheri West. The pictures of the room on the website looked decent, but when we saw the narrow double-door entrance to the hotel from across the road before we took a U-Turn, we thought we might be in a “Hotel Descent” kind of a situation. It didn’t look like it had that many rooms and we wondered where we would go at nearly 12:30 AM with an almost-sleepy baby if this place turned out to be shady.
But, to our surprise, as soon as we were inside the main door, it was like the entrance to 12 Grimmauld Place – the corridors were narrow and long and just kept going. From the outside, it seemed like a tiny, shady place, but inside it was deep, elegant even, and the insides of the hotel looked just like they looked in the pictures, and we breathed in relief.
We quickly checked in, changed into comfy sleep-friendly clothes, and before any of us had the energy to count till ten, we were all asleep by the time the clock hit 12:45 AM.