Tuesday, May 30, 2006

In the Name of the Father

June 1, 2006
DISCLAIMER: Like all controversial productions, it is important to know that all characters and events in the Cravings part are fictional and any resemblance to any person, living or dead (or more importantly, my wife!) and event - past, present or future - is purely coincidental and unintentional!

My take on random points, as I plunge headlong into extending my bloodline. Extending my bloodline... sheesh... that's what happens when you get too much into The Da Vinci Code.

Firstly, I am extremely ambivalent about accepting congratulations for my impending fatherhood. It’s okay with women… I mean, carrying a 3-kilo mass of flesh in your tummy AND loving it after it’s out deserves all the congratulations in the world and more. But why should men be congratulated? For having unprotected sex?

CRAVINGS

Of course, its not that they just hang around. They do equally difficult things… catering to the “cravings” being the most important. Getting woken up at 6 a.m. on a Sunday to be shown two lines on a home-pregnancy-kit is the second most. (But thankfully, the latter one happens only once during the nine months!)

To go back a bit, my knowledge of pregnancy stemmed solely from Hindi movies – from which I knew two irrefutable scientific facts:
(a) Unmarried women get pregnant the first time they sing a song in a wet saree
(b) When married women want to eat sour things, it means they are pregnant.
Hence, my ability to grasp the “cravings” was a bit limited to start with. On top of that, the “cravings” my wife had would have tested the collective culinary skills of Sanjeev Kapoor, Ananda Solomon and Hemant Oberoi. As it turned out, we turned to them (and their protégés) for assistance!

For other poor souls who are thinking that “Pyaar Ek Mandir” is quite sufficient for their 9-month stint and they don’t need to see “9 Months”, let me quickly warn you of the nature of “cravings”:

1. They happen at really arbit times.
That 11:45 ice-cream thing was the only real true-to-life episode in Salaam Namaste. So, be prepared to get a call in the middle of a work-day (sometimes, in the middle of a crucial meeting) to bring home some Fresh Coconut flavoured ice-cream from Naturals in Juhu. All the Bombay Boys who are heaving sighs of relief, let me remind this a Delhi craving. Bombay cravings are usually sheekh kababs from Karim.

2. They get triggered off by the strangest things.
So, your ever-practical wife will see a promo of “Thoda Khusi Thodi Gam” (or whichever is the top-rated Gujju serial) on Star Plus and will demand to have dhokla. When you are in Hyderabad and when you were watching the late-night re-run of Desperate Housewives. (See Rule no. 1)

3. And they are bloody specific.
She will have to have the Lunar Cheesecake with a cherry on top at Baskin Robbins, without too much notice to the fact it was a special-edition flavour, which was launched after Mr Armstrong’s small step for man. If that’s so, why did they show it on Travel & Living? Now, you try to answer that one. (See rule no. 2)

ULTRA SONOGRAPHY

“And there is your baby…” Darkness. I politely stare at the monitor. My wife – from a significantly more uncomfortable position – contorts herself to stare at the screen. Extreme darkness.
“And no, not twins…” Oh-kay. In any case, I was seeing only one mass of blackness.
“See?” Umm… err… what? I wanted to ask.
We made suitably choking noises – and hoped our inability to spot our own baby would get disguised under the faux-sentimentality. I was quite sure that the good doctor was thinking if these irresponsible brats cannot spot a 2-month old foetus in a 14-inch screen, then what chance do they have of finding a 5-year old in the India Gate lawns on a Sunday?
We left with a black paper (ostensibly that’s the picture we paid 1500 bucks for!) – and an accompanying report which said, “single foetal pole observed…”

The next USG was slightly more descriptive… we could see two round things. One was declared to be the head and the other bum!
Ah… the eternal cycle of life has manifested itself first. We eat, we shit, we die! Somehow, I tried to bring a philosophical undertone to the whole episode. My first-born should have regal underpinnings, I decided. Even when it has holes for eyes and nose!
My wife’s cousin was more perceptive… she declared the nose (actually, the cavity which would eventually become the nose) to have taken after the father. I had always marveled at people’s abilities to find similarities between a 7-day old tadpole and the mother, who is a raving beauty – but she took the cake!

The third one was more of a show… the fella had a big enough head, spindly legs & arms and yes, the bum remained from last time. The doctor remained steadfastly away from you-know-what so that all of us don’t have to go to jail for trying to know something we didn’t want to know in the first place.
There were some glowing dots bunched together. These were the fingers, we were told. I immediately counted 10 and snatched a sense of relief for myself. (At least, the bugger has the correct number of fingers!) Apart from the poster for ET, I had never seen fingers that were so long and glowing! At least, it will try to “phone home”, I thought.
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