“Mamma, have you taken your money?”, this 3 year old asks me, making me wonder whether I’m the mother or she is. One thing I have come to understand is that she’s definitely my fairy godmother!
I’ve always been scatterbrained and when I was growing up, I often walked into the lift without wearing any shoes, or as a 20 year old, drove myself all the way to the club to play squash without carrying my racket. This is classic me! And whenever I made panic calls to my mom to tell her I had forgotten my racket, she would instantly go into a tizzy to figure out how it could be delivered to me as quickly as possible. I remember how my parents would laugh as I took the lift back upstairs and walked into the house looking for shoes. They found it so endearing! That’s how parents are… or at least mine are. They loved this eccentricity of mine because, to them, it was adorable!
I got married to a very responsible human being. Nandy grew up with a mom who is very organized and everything in her house is neatly compartmentalized and stored away- to be retrieved instantly, when needed. Her mind is also similar, where there is complete structure to her thoughts, and so nothing gets lost in limbo. She never forgets where she keeps things, she always does things in an orderly fashion and has probably never lost a safety pin in her life. My husband is just like her.
And then there’s me, whose room, cupboards and mind resemble Ground Zero after a nuclear explosion, filled with unnecessary rubble disappearing into abysmal depths. My mind is like a black hole (this problem having been exacerbated after being afflicted with the condition of Mommybrainness), where memories of missed phone calls on my cell and last location of my house keys just vanish into emptiness.
People who are extremely organized don’t think forgetfulness is quirky. They think of it as gross irresponsibility. This is the first lesson I learnt after marriage. I learnt that no one in my new home thought it was cute when I would call for a key-search squad (mostly made up of my kind home staff) to help me every couple of hours, or when I would go out often without carrying any money, and make desperate calls home. I remember being empty tanked, stranded at a petrol pump with no money, when I called my husband, and he only yelled at me, telling me to push the car if I had to: There was no way he was going to send me money. I don’t blame him since he had bailed me out in the past, and felt like there was no learning happening on my part.
Thus, the time when I went all the way to Bandra to cut my hair, only to realise that I was penny-less, I dialed M-O-M-M-Y! And it felt so good to have her pacify me that everything would be ok as she was organizing the money to reach me right away. My father was put on conference, a peon was dispatched in seconds; all the way through, my parents reassuring me that I shouldn’t worry my head about these things. I’m sure in the evening, they shared the anecdote with my grandmom and affectionately chuckled about how I would never change!
I missed that! I missed people forgiving me for my spacey-ness. My husband despised this characteristic of mine! He was right, because pampering had probably encouraged this behavior but taunting wasn’t improving it either. Either way, I missed someone who could sympathize with me and aid me in my key searches. Even the servants now helped only if they could slap me with some insults about my recurring amnesia.
That’s when God gave me BabyA. I may not have gone and hit my head repeatedly, till it bled, against the feet of the local mandir deity like Nirupa Roy, but yet “Bhagwan ne meri sun lee” (God answered my prayers).
BabyA brought about the right balance that I needed in my life. She took the best of both the families: from my husband’s side, she inherited a sense of responsibility and an organized way of working, whereas from mine, she learned softness. That’s why I call her my fairy godmother! From the time that she was little, and could barely talk, she would hand me my keys whenever she saw them lying around, knowing that I was due to lose them soon. After one incident, where I couldn’t buy her a lollipop because I didn’t have cash, she often reminds me before we go out, “Mamma, have you kept your money in the bag?”
She is so responsible that no matter how engrossed she maybe at a restaurant, watching Peppa Pig on her iPad, she will rattle off a checklist of things that we need to gather before we leave, never forgetting even the tiniest of hair clips, and collecting my belongings too, knowing fully well that she can’t trust her nutty mamma with these things. But the best part is that there is no judgement, and never any taunts. She’ll just sit me down, look me in the eye and chuckle fondly, saying, “You’re being a Silly Billy again, Mamma!” And then I get a kiss, smack dab in the middle of my forehead, and I feel like a child. But not an unmindful child… just a loved child: after all, mamma’s need pampering too sometimes!