“So what if others are busy doing everything while you’re sitting in the corner of the house, hiding?!” .. began my bestesttttt girlfriend’s response to my sob mail update to her last week. I hadn’t ever considered a scenario where I would let go, cede control and just be. Have you considered fixing yourself before trying to solve every little problem cropping at home?! – she continued to ask. Nope I hadn’t. All this writing, blogging, whining, reflecting .. all of this kept reminding of how I was failing to fix the situation or to help the situation, or worse, control it I suppose. Control – That C word. It’s funny how it consumes you. Practically ate me up alive these past few months. I think I narrowly escaped being chewed up and spit all over by Mr.C (Yes I’ll call control Mr. C .. just feels male to me at this moment). Thanks to M’s response to my email, I did escape that hold.
Our bad luck last week continued into this week. More hospital visits. A broken elbow this time. I fell down in the bathroom with little A and in what can only be visualized as a Bollywood style heroic effort to prevent her from hitting her head on the sink and the tile .. I landed on my right elbow totally puncturing it. Blood spattered all over the tiles as I screamed out to my mom. AMMMMMMMAAAAAAAA … well I was screaming in pain and had called out to the one person who was thankfully visiting us and readily available to take little A away from all that blood. Little A was in shock and could barely cry. I had my mouth open gaping at the blood begging my mom to check little A’s head. I was so sure it was her head. It took me about 2 mins to come to my senses and realize I was bloody red sitting on the floor. My elbow. That was what was hurting. And there was blood on it, from it and all around it. I cried for 3 mins in silence just in relief. That open mouth kind where not a lot of noise escapes from the mouth. That was a lot of blood, to be coming out that little kid. I finished my bath, walked over the water that was now red and which had caused me to slip and fall in the first place and got myself out. Hairline fracture, it was declared two days later (I hate going to see the doc for anything that involves me!) thankfully and surprisingly not a bad one. 6 days later my arm is doing much much better as long as no one touches it. No more sling. On and off pain. I keep bumping against things and people keep bumping against me and I wince in pain for an hour or so. But I’ll be fine alright. And then 2 more hospital visits for the little one. I think we’ve taken an oath to visit the hospital twice a week, every week, for a few months. That’s our current rate. That night as I sat at my desk in my study finishing up the last of the bracelets for the guests (it was little A’s bday this weekend and we’d celebrated it with a party at home), I broke down and started crying. I sobbed for about an hour at all the bad luck that had been thrown at me. And wrote that outburst of an email to M.
What pushed me over the edge to the dark side of surrender to all that misery was the third day of school. Little A goes to her new school now. I plan to write a school diary soon. But for now, know that she’s gone through her first week pretty decently. We’ve been with her the entire time so it’s not a surprise but she does seem to like the place mainly because of it’s sandpit and park! I was with her on day 1 and it was ok except for a few fights .. all back to sharing issues. Day 2 was apparently really good. Daddy A had taken her. Day 3 was bad! I’d taken her. Her teachers promptly took turns to come and tell me that she was so much better in the presence of her father and didn’t bother sticking to him the way she stuck to me. They suggested I not return and instead, send the father! OK. Let’s stop right there. That’s the first time someone’s ever told me something like that in my face. I contemplated the response. And finally, didn’t give any. I was too shocked. Who says that kind of stuff to your face! Then they went on to say that it was important I didn’t show any emotion and was firm with her. I read that kind of stuff everyday in parenting books and I’ve never known what the hell they meant! Don’t show any emotion and be firm. I’m sorry I can’t do that. I can’t even imagine what that kind of a relationship with little A would look like. I stood there in disbelief as the teachers went on to tell me in not so many words, to not show up the next day. You can imagine how much I sobbed that night. Broken elbow in the morning, the 100th hospital visit the previous day for little A, school teachers telling me to not show up on day 3 and asking for daddy A instead … all in a matter of 24 hours. That sobbing and that mail to M was much much needed. So now I’m officially staying home to ‘pretend take care’ of my daughter, while daddy takes her to school, and then to the hospital with me as she falls sick everytime because I can’t take real good care of little A, while my mom who’s here for a week or so is taking care of the kitchen and the cooking, and daddy handles the startup since they’re not ready for my work just yet?!?! So what exactly is my role here now I asked M?!?! And who am I?!?! What happened to the happy mom image I had of myself!!?! What am I supposed to do .. sit around at home at my desk and hide because I’m bad news wherever I go.
Most folks here that know me, know me as a workaholic, always on the run, be it at home, at office or anything else I do. I’m usually hyper productive with several things going on in my life simultaneously and juggle them all pretty well. I don’t know what to do with so much free time. I feel awful sitting. I don’t sit. Usually that is. And now all I do is sit on my ass all day .. waiting for everyone around me to do the things that I’ve always done, things that were always under my control. That C word again. And all I could do now .. was just sit and watch. It didn’t occur to me one bit that it was OK that I’d failed. And maybe I hadn’t failed. Maybe I just couldn’t cope with this move either. Maybe it bothered me as much as it bothered little A and we were seriously feeding off of each other driving each other nuts while still wanting to be practically stuck together … like ‘velcro stuck together’! Maybe I’m allowed to slack. Maybe it’s not slacking. Maybe I just needed to let others do everything for a change. I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when this was true. Well … fine … except for grad school where I was pampered and spoilt rotten by the 6 happy boys that thought it their only job to pamper and spoil the little doe eyed 21 year old who’d arrived at their 30-something doorstep! But I digress. So the next morning as I shopped for last minute party supplies for little A’s weekend birthday I felt as though all of Bangalore was on team A .. cheering along for me to let go. It rained. Not the cats and dogs kind of rain like it had been raining all week long but the lazy, romantic, peaceful kind of rain that you can sit watching for hours with a cuppa tea. Sitting in the car watching the drops fall on my window and sliding off ..
I felt a sense of calm, quiet feeling just consume me. That C word … now a remote vague memory of something that had held me and left me now in peace. I got an appointment at one of the best spa/salons in town – BODYCRAFT impromptu. It was UHHHHHHMAAAAZING. The hair cut and head massage was out of the world. 2-in-1 for $100. Definitely expensive for Indian standards but 50% cheaper than what I’d pay in California and worth every single penny. (and probably not something I’d get more than a few times a year!) I sat there on that chair reading the June issue of the FILMFARE magazine as this 20 something kid from Nagaland cut my hair with such precision. I don’t remember the last time I saw one .. maybe 15 years ago (both the Filmfare magazine and anyone from Nagaland!). And every single page of this magazine was so well written. I absolutely wasn’t expecting to find good writing in a magazine on Bollywood. First off, while I’ve started watching more Bollywood movies these days, my opinions of these movies are anything good yet .. and hence the conclusion – how could a magazine be filled with good writing on something that sucks so bad. But God O God – if you haven’t picked this issue yet .. please do. Every page is worth a read. I guess especially if you’re picking one up after a few years, you’d be pleasantly surprised at the writing and the content. The article on Ranbir Singh was awesome. And then there were stories of actresses with their children. OMG. Since when did India become so accommodating and ‘forgiving’ of married actresses, leave alone ones with children? Somewhere between the update on Ranbir Singh, and the one on Madhuri Dixit … I think I found what I felt was plain, simple joy. Joy in the moment. It wasn’t fleeting like when I crunched away at this chilli cheese toast, the best I’ve had in a long time at Creme&Crust nearby. It was much deeper than that. I was OK. I was going to be OK. And I was sure it will all be OK eventually.
I went back home to dancing in the rain, lots of baking with little A, party planning, more baking, decorations and the party itself the next day.
It’s been 3 days since I’ve been breathing this calm, quiet and content air. It’s funny how many things you discover serendipitously when you just let go. It’s funny how many things we deny ourselves in the urge to control every little thing that goes by. It’s sad that most of those things we want to control are things that seem perfectly sensible being controlled. After all, it’s our life, our children, our family, our goals and ambitions. And yet, like they say – the tighter you close your fingers around them, the quicker they slip.
I think I’ve accepted that I’m probably not doing the current family situation any good by trying to help. And that for a change, I should just step back and do some of the basic things required to keep the household running. Take the backseat. I’ve never known what the backseat looked like. I was always the one driving or navigating. I didn’t realize how much of the view I was missing in the process. I do now. Those raindrops were precious. Those not-so-silly Filmfare magazines were eye opening. And my family was going to be fine. Just fine. As long … as I … LET GO.