Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Escape to Adventure

While I was growing up I was the swashbuckling heroine of many a thrilling adventure involving brutal killings, kidnappings, piracy and war. Dressed all in black, with or without a black cape with red lining, I would fearlessly fight my way through disasters, lead loyal men in uniform (who  owed allegiance only to me)  into the jaws of death  and emerge unscathed. Of course I wasn't short and fat, I was tall and slender and most men and women alike looked up to me in admiration and wonder while I would send villains to their death with a careless wave of my hand.
Of course a husband, family  or (God-forbid!) children never featured in any of my adventures save to be stunned when they came to know about my secret life as I raced off on my sturdy motorcycle, yacht or private jet (I disliked horses, I could never visualize myself elegantly or smoothly jumping onto one!) headed towards the Himalayan dirt tracks or rain forests or into the open sea in the eye of a storm to rescue the world or whatever... you get the drift?
Now having said all that, marriage was obviously not a feature in this long running fantasy. I imagined a steady stream of boyfriends and lovers who I would discard at will. Love, commitment, romance were trashy emotions for the weak-hearted and feeble-minded. So when I met my husband and found myself actually contemplating a commitment, believe me, I almost disowned myself!  But the fancy stuck and there I was, slowly adjusting myself to erratic domesticity. Yes, it got to me, that marriage thingie and that violent leading lady  raised an eyebrow and retreated into the wings.
Before we had kids, understandably, I thought about it for a while. I saw those cute little cherubs in ads and in movies and I decided I wanted them, not just one, but at least two, maybe three. Preferably twins. Two little ones smiling cheerily in the crock of my arms, sitting on my lap while I effortlessly went about my chores, smiling at me through their meal, running about in the tall grass with me, snuggling up to me and sleeping contently smelling of soft love and baby powder.....I was ready for kids. Yup. Two little angels who would love and cherish each other and be friends and companions through life.....
Now firstly. I did not have twins. I had them one after the other though and that made me feel as though I had twins so it had the same maddening effect of twins. And they did not smile cheerily from the crock of my arm. More likely they were bawling in my arms, after having pulled my nose and brought up milk in my hair. They never sat still long enough for me to get round do any chores with them on my lap and more likely spewed food and spit out of their mouths while at their meals.
No. I never had kids like the cherubic angels on TV but they were cute enough. And I loved them. Most of the time. Okay, as long as they were not smelling of puke or poo. But yes, they were sweet, I had my 'aww' moments and 'let's melt mommy' smiles. I will not forget how each one felt in my arms when I held them that first time or how their tiny fingers felt on my cheek and I wish that I could hold on to each smile and each hug from those tiny arms.
I remember when the older one, Isha, started going to school. The younger one, Amisha, who was just 13 months younger would toddle up to the head of the stairs and wave and their baby voices would go "ta-ta, ta-ta" till they could not see each other anymore. Then Amisha would run to the window, clamber on to the sofa and go on saying 'bye' to her sister and her sister would reciprocate with equal enthusiasm. See, a mother's heart can swell with all those baby coos and all the sisterly affection spilling out.
More than a decade has passed. This morning Isha left for some social service thing she goes to sometimes. She is  grown-up now, about my height (which isn't much) smartly dressed in jeans and kurta and dangly earrings that  I swear I have never seen before.  Amisha had just  woken up and was yawning her way out into the living room. I suddenly remembered my babies from years ago. "Ami", I said,  "Isha's leaving, say bye". Isha didn't wait, she just left, muttering something incomprehensible under her breath.  And Amisha? The one whose adoring eyes followed her older sister as a baby?  She didn't even stop rubbing her tummy over her shorts, much less run to the head of the stairs. She just pulled a face and loudly said "Bye, Isha...diidii," sarcastically. Very sarcastically.
You see, there is no one quite as awful as the other sibling. There is never any real peace in the house. Always, whenever both girls are at home there is the constant low hum of "stopits" and "shuddups" interspersed only by sounds of slapping and kicking. And then there is that special whine saved specially for me when I return home after a long day. Along with that high pitched shriek that is for my ears only ...should I make the mistake of imagining that they are doing something peacefully together.
I should just kick start my bike and drive into the wild to save the world, it's friendlier (and quieter) out there!

No comments:

Post a Comment