Is a right
Not a privilege
Served by science
(And fate) which
Is a right
Not a privilege
Served by science
(And fate) which
Warning: This post is not meant to be read while sitting down to a nice meal. If the concept of sitting down to a nice meal seems less probable than a lesbian US President, then read on fearlessly.
It is a well-documented fact that early motherhood translates to the utter inability to take a dump in peace. Ever. So, why is it that I constantly forget to keep a time buffer for the inevitable chaos that will unfold as I, ironically, relieve myself each morning?
What I have learnt is to not dethrone at the slightest whimper or thud, much unlike those bovine days of perpetually thirsty newborns. Take this morning for instance —
Nibbles: “Maaamma! Chewy made a big mess all over his toys and he doesn’t even care”
Me: “Is there poop?”
Nibbles: “No, just milk. Everywhere.”
Me: *release breath and wonder how many facebook friends it’ll cost me if I have poop on my status*
— 15 seconds and hysterical bawling later —
Nibbles: “Maaaamma! Chewy walked into my cymbals and hurt his head. It was totally his fault because h..”
Me: “Is there blood?”
Nibbles: “No, but I told you, it was his fau…”
Me: *zone out and assess toe-nail length to estimate number of days I can go without trimming*
On the other hand, complete silence lasting longer than 2 minutes is of course a cause for concern that must be investigated immediately.
Another morning glory I never seem to account for is the line of colossal moving vans and garbage trucks that never fail to materialize before me when I’m making a desperate dash to avoid the menacing “You Are Officially Late Now” sign at school.
I’d be lying if I told you that things perk up considerably after I’m done recording my failure on the late sign-in sheet while the wide-grinned admin stares at my frizzy crown hoping to spot a family of endangered sparrows.
Accounts and accountability — decidedly not my forte. Speaking of which, who the hell owns the ginormous blue plastic dildo that the stormy winds dropped into my terrace last night? Seriously, it’s not the most desirable sight while breaking one’s back before breakfast to clean dog poop from stroller wheels with a Winnie the Pooh toothbrush.
Edited to add: plastic object has mysteriously disappeared from the premises. filed under: one less thing to worry about.
Varsha emerged from the refrigerator, nostrils twitching, “Fungus is edible, right?”. Sandhya interrupted her fluid dance on the keyboard, “Are you cooking again, V?”. She could’ve been a piano player, if it weren’t for those stubby fingers her father dealt her.
Varsha grunted and disappeared into lentils. “Are you finally working on that play? Here’s a character for ya — double-strollered bisexual mom with a collection of fortune cookie sayings”.
Sandhya chortled like a tipsy camel, “I’m sorry V, you were saying?”. Varsha slammed the pressure cooker whistle, “You’re emailing him, aren’t you? We’re back to witty repartee, are we?”
Sandhya snuck her spoon into the family-sized nutella tub, “It’s what couples do, no?”.
Varsha tossed the burnt cumin seeds into the yellowing pot, “Couples? Right. Couples…Couples have sex”. Lentils. Somebody ought to make a chart mapping lentils to pressure cooker whistles. Charts are consistent. Consistency is good, like vending machine Twix. Or winged sanitary pads. Stirring rapidly, she offered, “Sorry Sandy, I was outta line”.
Sandhya held onto her spoon like a drowsy infant does a breast, “You know what’s sexy? Cold vanilla ice-cream on molten chocolate cake with a drizzle of quick-freeze fudge…”
A bunch of withered coriander lay forgotten on the cutting board. “Food porn”, Varsha declared.
Sandhya lit up, “Porn can be sexy, V”.
Surveying the simmering brew with charred debris, Varsha flung her kiss-the-cook apron away and sighed, “Which restaurants deliver in 30 minutes? I’m starving”.
There’s something about a nose-numbing chill in the air and a dodgy rental van that smells like a car wash from the 80’s that screams “Road Trip!” No? Just me? Anyways *cough-hey-OJ-cough*…
I certainly was a proud ol’ hen last sunday morning, slapping nutella on fungus-free bread and matching mittens before an awesome trip to the aquarium.
Of course I already knew it was going to be awesome because that was my pitch to my crusty-eyed boys and my sorry bum that was awakened to the crack of a weekend dawn. You can’t go wrong — stashing sleep-deprived kids and hungover adults into a long, winding ride is always awesome.
Nibbles, the self-proclaimed sea-creature rescue guy and shark specialist, was an easy sell. I couldn’t wait to see how lil’ Chewy would respond to the surreal tunnel of hammerheads, the flamboyant giant octopus, the pooping penguins and farting hippos.
Apparently, I should have waited. You know how toddlers have a knack of sensing the precise instant you’ve dozed off into an intense REM cycle? And their unique ability to jolt you out of it like an alligator biting your bum?
Well, it was precisely 2:13am when Chewy decided to showcase this adorably age-appropriate skill with an introduction to Scary Crab. Evidently, the monstrous crustacean had set up camp in the lower bunk where we lay. Obviously, this necessitated an immediate relocation to the living room couch for the remainder of the night and repeated reassurances that Scary Crab would much rather hang out with the Mean Green Dragon in the master bedroom.
Remind me to stream high-pitched polka-dotted animals on the box all of next weekend. Momma’s gotta have her snooze y’all.
“But he’s never hit me”, said Sandhya as she folded the pile of underwear with origami-esque deliberation.
“Oh? Is that what we’re waiting for now?”, bellowed Varsha, fat onion tears soaking her flushed cheeks while she tossed the purple slivers into the angry oil.
“I’ve stopped waiting for things”, mumbled Sandhya, burying her nose into the freshness of dinosaur pyjamas. Was it Ocean Escape or Island Breeze?
Varsha fished for the slippery lid bobbing in the pool of dangerously crimson masalas. “Is this what you really want, Sandhya?”, she sighed, madly chopping an oversized potato to compensate for the unexpected snort of red chilli powder.
Sandhya leaned against the frost on the window, smiling, “It’s what I’ve got”. She snuggled into the flower bed of last spring’s marigolds, growing cigarette-butts faster than weeds, wrapped in her favorite black sweat-shirt. She combed her fingers across the dead earth while the skies shed their flaky dandruff on her foetal form.
Sizzle. Splutter. Pop.
I can’t do it. I just can’t fucking do it. The oil, the mustard seeds, the permanent seepage of haldi-dhania-lalmirch into our woolens. The grease, the scum, the mold beneath the detergent bowl.
The anger. Is it really time for them to be fed? Again? Why does everything out of a box or delivery menu have to be so fucking unhealthy or inedible?
The guilt. Why can’t I derive joy from feeding my family? Did my mother really love cooking for us? Does any mother? Am I really a mother if I don’t?
The self-pity. Can post-partum depression last over five years? Are maternal instincts a patriarchal construct? Is patriarchy my excuse of the month?
The self-loathing. I’m a waste of bum-wipe if there ever was one. Breathing is a fucking privilege not a right. My kids did not ask to be born and I owe them a tad better than disgusting ineptitude. Having a vagina does not entitle me to motherhood. Entitlement — now there’s a fucking word to chew on.
But on other days, I can escape into my cave
Null Pointer: “Did you hear? Another girl got gang-raped on a bus. In Punjab”.
Big Byte: “Yes”.
*awkward silence interrupted by naked children running in circles*
Null Pointer: “Oh…I was thinking of making rajma-chawal today. For Lohri“.
*naked children don superhero capes*
Null Pointer: “And Pickled Onions, like that day, remember? That would go well with rajma-chawal, no?”
Big Byte: “Yes”.
And so we settle into a groaning couch, watching sitcom reruns over rapidly cooling bowls of the hyphenated familiarity of rajma-chawal, pickled-onions, eve-teasing and gang-rape. *burp*
Rolled out the new rug. A sort of turquoise between bold and pretentious with swirling abstractions. Polypropylene that tickles toes into remembering a childhood spent tumbling and twirling on persians.
A new rug, a do-over for its predecessor that had fallen prey to regurgitated rainbows of a stomach flu. A new rug, adding soft luxuriousness to the everyday hullabaloo of sibling wrestling matches and monster truck races. A place for the family to engage in some dinosaurs and ladders or snuggle into Pixar. To cushion one’s bum while tending to domestic fatigue with a glass of red wine. To pounce on a grain of rice soaked in potent turmeric, like a stealthy lioness, only to return to a bloody puddle.
Soaking new stories into an old turquoise rug, awaiting levitation to a whole new world.
You did not kiss her
Legs of Aspen
Reaching for paper cups
Wedged between coolers,
Broken ice dispensers
On choppy train home
How suits did lean
Onto studded jeans
Of blue-haired girls
Some called them sluts —
You are not one —
Of them. Those men
And leer, who gape
A decent man you
Married her. Made her
To your daughter.
Midst their lips
Lie your honor —
Yours to keep
Of their sacred
Temples you ensure
They stay pure
Nightly offerings in return
Is all that you’ve expected.
A loyal man you
Married her. Made her.
Fathered her. The moon
Her face in clouds
Of acid. But you
May not be —
You may not be