Category Archives: The Viking

Sugar and Spice

“It’s like you’re this really spicy dish. Not everyone can handle it. You know that eating can lead to discomfort and sure it can, but its so bloody good and its great to know that you are one of the few people who can handle the heat.”

My husband. A glutton for punishment.

Not quitting his day job to be a poet or flatterer of women around the world anytime soon.

Not so oddly, very loved by his sick and cranky wife.

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Molten

You know Pappa is home

a) when bedtimes never end

b) cuddles are aplenty

c) there are extended sessions of gazing at the world map on the children’s bedroom wall to gush over the magic of platetectonics.

d) Will Vanuatu stay afloat long enough for us to ever see it?

Now all I need is video footage of Armaan saying, “PLATETECTONICS” in all seriousness.

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Complicated

“So how was your morning?” the Viking queries from a random platform somewhere in the North sea. Suddenly he might as well be on the moon for all the difference it makes.

“Terrible, ” I reply. “Arvind awoke, cleaned up, dressed, ate breakfast, drank his milk and just WALKED OFF TO SCHOOL ALL BY HIMSELF. He didn’t even need a walking companion. And I watched him walk away till he was a little speck with a hint of an orange cap on his head.”

“This is terrible?”

“And Armaan. My self-toilet training little man shouting “You are SO CLEVER, Armaan! Flinke du!” in wild appreciation everytime he tinkles successfully into the toilet bowl. Dressing himself, feeding himself, frustratedly trying to belt himself into his car seat. Just in case I’m not being clear –  he wants to do EVERYTHING himself!”

“Awesome,” responds the Viking enthusiastically, ” You realise this is it, right? We’re almost past it. Diaper changes, broken nights of sleep, following their every move. We’re almost FREE! WE can actually do things *gasp* TOGETHER soon because they will be self-sufficient. This is great!”

“No, you idiot! It’s not!” I wail inconsolably, “This is part where you say, Oh dear, we no longer have any babies to snuggle and babble gibberish to. There is no little person needing us and we need to have a NEW LITTLE PERSON needing us right now!

The gobsmacked man at the other end of the line manages to force the words, “You really want another baby?” through the complex circuitry connecting us somewhat tenuously at this moment.

Oh boy, the silence.

” No, I don’t want another baby. I want YOU to want another baby desperately. Then I can be the irritating voice of reason shooting YOU down with how life is good now and how everything has gotten so much easier and LETS GET A LIFE already. Please want another baby. That way, all the time I spend thwarting that thought will be time spent not wanting to do this all over again.”

Even my subconscious didn’t know it was all THIS complicated.

Meanwhile, I have a feeling that the huge FAIL – ACCESS DENIED on my application form to the Viking can be attributed to my total and complete lack of mental health as evidenced by sparkling conversation recorded above.

I’m going to have to win one soon.

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India – 1

When we go down to India, especially for my brother’s wedding, we have an unspoken understanding that the Viking will handle the kids while I shop, organize and socialize. In case you think I mean the pleasant “meeting-long-lost-friend” kind of socialising – no.

I refer to wedding socialising which involves greeting and spending a certain amount of time with all the invited guests. A little more than a cursory hi and hello. It is not an unpleasant task by any means since most of the invitees are dear family and friends and this is a wonderful chance to catch up with everyone. But demanding nonetheless – not to mention draining, in the humid heat of Kerala, when you just want to dunk yourself in a tub of cooling water and curl up like a foetus.

During the parties and ceremonies, the Viking dutifully handled the boys, made sure they were fed, nappies changed on time and he let me be.

It took about two minutes before the comments started to rush in. What a wonderful father the Viking was. How well he was looking after the kids. HOW MUCH he did. Cousins playfully teased that I needed to keep my husband away from their wives because they would not hear the end of complaints otherwise. Our new in-laws gushed over this wonderful firang who was such a nurturing father.

It would not fricking stop.

After the first couple of times, I had to fight to keep my irritation from getting the upper hand. Choice retorts like

So? He should be more than just a sperm donor!

and

Jeez! Give him his bloody gold medal already! Why is this such a big deal?

and

Oh, screw you. I am alone with these kids for weeks at a time with absolutely no help at all, and just in these couple of days he is milk of frikkin’ human kindness?

did spring to mind, but were not articulated. And just as well really because it gave me the pause I needed to see that it was not about him, my irritation was about me. Or more correctly, I was bristling at being judged because I am so familiar with the drill – the tilt of the head, the intonation – where the other side of the shiny coin of “What a great dad!” is “Why are you shabby at it?”.

Or that could have been me being as sensitive and prickly as a cactus, just wanting to enjoy a holiday without being in the headlights waiting to get hit.

The instant gratification of a mean comeback would have been incredibly satisfying. The downside of that though would be hurting the one person I did not want to hurt – my husband – who was basically being a decent human being. Did I really want to be like that loud asshole at parties who would exclaim loudly about “Women these days needing to know their place?” or “Its her job anyway. What do I care?” If I had ever overheard him making that kind of comment about me, dotted lines would be signed while the dinner was still hot.

It is completely and utterly inappropriate for a man in this day and age to say something so blatantly sexist. Why should it be okay for a woman to be as disrespectful? Does this new millenium’s feminism mean that WE ARE THE NEW BOORS IN PRETTY HEELS? Wow.

So here is my retort.

Gosh! You are right. He is a terrific father and husband and ever-supportive and loving. We are extremely fortunate that he takes such good care of us and y’know what? I could not have swapped spit with a better guy. I know that this is killing you and you really want me to feel inadequate, but I have really never felt as blessed. See? Here is your proof that good people happen to the err… shaky ones too.

It was at this point that I ran out of grace and straight into a glass of martini.

Edited to add: The Viking completed another trip around the sun yesterday and matures like the smelliest, yummiest cheese and deepest, most excellent wine. Happy happies to a good ‘un!

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The Man. The Groan.

One month. All it took for him to know that this was the woman he wanted to marry and have children with.

One year. Time taken by said man to obsess over kitchen appliances for the new kitchen I  am almost giving up on. Who will win? Miele? Siemens? And who will give a shit by the time the verdict is out?

Five years. Time taken by aforementioned man to decide whether the curtains his wife has been dead certain about for five frikking years are just right for the living room.

This can only mean two things.

1. First decision taken in haste and taken while horizontal with hormones raging has been a cause of immeasurable regret. This manifests itself in odd ways. For example, ambivalence towards linen curtains and an obsessive affinity for overpriced Miele. And an inability to make a decision about either.

2. Democratic marriages are shit.

Happy Onam, dear readers!

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He Did It – The Rest and The End

Written on friday, but posting delayed..

Oh I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking, “Woah, she doesn’t get tired of this guy? Because I know I’m yawning..”

I do. Like ALL THE TIME. Like you wouldn’t believe. I can walk around in a semi-permanent state of irritation. If you don’t believe me, ask my PMS. Go ahead.

He forgets things. Yes, would you believe it? A MAN WHO FORGETS THINGS. Bet you didn’t know they existed.

Well today he forgot about six things because on some days he is beyond simple instructions like, “Arvind needs raingear”, “Don’t forget the lunchbox”, “Call you mother about minding the kids on Monday” or “Make that appointment to discuss kitchens”.

Oh boy. He has blown it every which way today.

So today, I dig deep to find something good in him just to keep from going at him with a machete. So for all of you who have been reading the past couple of posts and imagining that we spend our available free time training my brown eyes to melt and drown in his blues, I’ll have to let you down with a thud.

No, we are more like that couple in aisle 3, you know – the diary aisle – making snarky comments about the other’s choice of soya milk or cottage cheese.

“Seriously, soya milk? Drink sewage.”

And you will agree that it can only go downhill from there.

So thank god for the odd moments when we can look back and not want to dismember our life partner. Seatbelts on for parts 3, 4, and 5 of the tag I have dragged out because employment is eating up my time. Damn you, employment. And in case, you thought we were done with blood, gore and entrails – wrong again! Now run away if you just ate.

#3a: The dude who sat on the edge of a hospital bathtub for over an hour while his wife lay there like Orca the Killer Whale, wincing as she met wall after wall of contractions. Like THWACK! woah, big one. And in that ridiculously uncomfortable position (obviously, I won THAT discomfort contest, but anyway), he managed to keep rubbing the small of my back and had the good sense to shutty uppy. My mother insists that he sat there for well over an hour and I’ve reminded her politely that I was the one fighting the 9 pounder.

#3b: For laughing when I got punch drunk on laughing gas and began apologizing to the the staff in the labour room for being a wuz. And for taking me seriously when I gasped, “Epidural. NOW!” For not killing the nurse who insisted on showing me my “beautiful nourishing placenta“, which basically looked like someone threw up on someone’s liver. Who the hell needs to see their placenta?

Its a placenta, not a Picasso.

#4: A week after I had Armaan – a dream C-section, no less – I developed post partum septicemia or sepsis as the shexy short form goes.

You don’t want to get it. If you can go to the drug store and they let you pick out an awesome infection, go for mumps, but don’t go for sepsis. It sucks in ways I can’t describe. Had it been 20 years ago, I would have kicked the bucket. Had I been admitted a day late, I would have probably kicked the bucket too, since my lungs had started to cave. I have never before or since experienced the kind of discomfort I experienced then, yet my first thought was, “I don’t have time for this. My baby is a week old.”

Forget breasfeeding now, the nurses said kindly.

They needn’t have worried too much. Because I couldn’t even remember I had breasts then. Body? What body? Where’s the air? I have no air. Can I have some air pretty please? Yes, that was pretty much where I was at. And just in case I was still moaning about the cup being half empty and all, just to be sure, Toxic Shock Syndrome also kicked in.

Yes, that is what the tampons warn you about. And it ain’t pretty either. Its a warning for a reason. It made me burst into a milky body rash before making all my skin peel. Skin is made of layers apparently. I learnt that the hard way when I shed it layer for layer like a snake.

So, there I am at the hospital getting assistance to breathe and trying to kick some intense bacterial ass, not to mention looking pretty damn gross. Yummy Mummy So Very Not.

And the dude? He went home to our two children and did it all alone. From making formula, making sure Armaan was fed, dry and well, showering with a week old baby in his arms because he thought that body contact was the most important thing when I temporarily disappeared from this little baby’s life – and making sure Arvind was cuddled, loved, cared for and surrounded by enough family so as not to panic about what was happening to his mother.

To this day, I don’t know how he did it, because he won’t go on about it.

No, that would be me. In his place, I would have sent in a formal application for martyrdom and – PUSHED that whole damn project through till that halo around my head glinted gold goddamit.

Every morning at 9 a.m., he would wheel a comatose Armaan into my room with a happy “Hey Hottie!” and give me the kind of kiss you would only give A Seriously Sick, Hot Wife. (humour me, people! His eyes closed, so it could have been Cameron Diaz in his head too. Ho hum.)

This is good to hear if like me a) you are prone to vanity and b) at that precise moment in time look like an all-body chemical peel gone disastrously wrong. He bought me every trashy magazine he could find and held Armaan so that i could sniff his head and his baby cheeks without holding him.

He also had the courtesy to wet himself quietly laughing at my stunned, disbelieving expression when The Only Extremely Hot Doctor In The Whole Hospital M.D. got to see me peeling and yucky and (horrors!!) even got to cop a feel under my dress where even I wouldn’t want to go. He was laughing the moment God ceased to exist.

We’ve never laughed so much. Or spent so much time feeling so utterly grateful.(except for the gawjus doctor bit).

# 5: For asking genuinely about my family every day. For giving me his family. For never putting me in a position when I had to choose between “his family” and “mine”. For making it possible – this impossibly large, loud, twisted and complicated family of “ours” spanning two continents.

Edited to Add: The Viking, who can never be arsed to read what I write, actually did so yesterday. And he reminded me of two things:

1. The night I got admitted to hospital, he and Armaan spent the night in the gynaec ward. Next to a woman who smelt old and had had a hysterectomy. Don’t even ask. He thinks that deserves a mention – and a purple heart. He will also have it said that he scored major capable-dad-of-newborn brownie points with the cute young nurses. Pity he was married and all.

2. And how I did I return his loving care? Last month, while we were in India, he had Lasik done. He woke me up in the morning to wash his lashes (done carefully and gently with a cotton bud and water) and drip-drop some eyedrops. Groggy after a late night of intense gossip, I ended up almost giving him the wrong drops. He pointed this out in his reasonable manner and I yelled, ” Well, I’m not a bloody nurse, ok?”

Ach. Thats me. All about the grace. I live to support the theory that even bitches can land decent guys. That, and more than one nurturer per family is just abnormal:-)

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Infectious Enthusiasm Or A Head And Some Ass In The Clouds – Part Two

In case I never told you, we are buying a holiday home in the Tuscan Hills. The Viking has made Google weep for mercy with his exhaustive research. And before I can utter the words, ” But we’re like BROKE, yo!”..

He has found possibilities for a beautiful home nestled in the greenest green of the backwaters. But darn it..

This puts a cramp on the Trans-siberian railway journey we intend to take.

And we are given to understand that getting to Macchu Picchu will require a handful of bills too.

And the Antartic expedition? Non gratis, that too.

No, he says, forget that. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to own a caravan and travel around the world? Stopping everytime we see an enchanting back alley? Sampling the local produce? Getting a feel of the place, the people?

My love, I think, there’s no way I will look like THAT girl, you know the Asian girl who paired up with THAT German tourist in socks and sandals, shining a brighter shade of deep, sunburnt red. (Besides, socks with sandals is met with Taliban justice in our home. Nothing else is remotely fair.)

Oh, you’ll think differently in another couple of years, he says happily.

Now check out this kitchen. Let’s renovate. A combi steam oven is THE thing.

Google has another rough day wincing in pain as we put her through the paces.

Fortunately for Google, the Viking has now moved on to renovating our garden and assessing the correct stone type for re-inforcement walls.

Linda Goodman , listen up.

You said NO WORD about the dizzying exhaustion of being married to a Gemini man.

Y’know, Mr. New Day New Idea. The boundless enthusiasm and childlike optimism. The “Wheeee!” of living.

Or did I miss the statutory warning on his butt when we doing the unspeakable? The one that said HARDCORE REALISTS AND DEPRESSIVE PESSIMISTS BEWARE. THIS MIGHT MAKE YOU HAPPY AND THEN HOW WILL YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF? ANSWER ME THAT, GODDAMIT!

I’ll bet you I did. I’ll bet you he said something about the magic of the northern lights and oops…

I’m living with a dreamer. Embracing it as one would an embarrassing facial tic in a loved one. Strapping up and getting ready to be flung through the air to implausible places.

So who wants to come along?;-)

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