“Aaaaaah!” I shriek as the Thunder Tower free falls. I feel like I’m falling into abysmal depths of excruciating pain. It feels like I’ve been suspended in air only by the support of my neck, while simultaneously being pulled down by my torso. The ride stops, starts inching upwards and then the horrible fall again, six times over. By the end, I have a sore neck, a concerned toddler peering over at me from the next seat, and a curious audience below that is wondering whether my shrieking was out of excitement from the ride (because it sounded too primal for that).
This took place at the children’s amusement rides’ section of Phoenix Mills, Parel, and since Thunder Tower looked a little daring for my 3.5 year old to go on (although the board said anyone over 3 feet to adult age was allowed), I went on with her. I’ve always been a thrill-seeker, having recently sat in many free-falling, heart-stopping rides in amusement/water parks abroad. I didn’t get physically sick from them. I now have a neck injury (according to my doctor) from this awful experience. Only in India can such rides be allowed, with no care given to minimize impact on little (and big) necks.
I moan and groan, as I get off, and my daughter is very sympathetic, at first. She gives me lots of hugs and kisses, telling me she loves me and that her kisses will make the pain go away. They don’t. Then, after letting me be the center of our universe for precisely 5 minutes, she shifts focus onto herself. She manifests sympathy pains wherein she complains, “Mamma, my tummy is hurting because the thunder ride pulled my tummy up and down!” I know for a fact she’s fine. She just can’t handle that for once, I’m the one who needs care.
I find that this is one of the consequences of being a mother: I come home and turn my head towards my maid, in an odd, robotic fashion. She asks what’s wrong, and when I tell her, she feigns concern. Within 5 minutes, she comes to tell me that she’s been shivering. I want to tell her that it’s pretty cold and that’s a normal physiological reaction, but I give her some sympathy and then walk off, grumbling to myself about how she’s ALWAYS sick.
As I lay down in bed, finally able to rest my aching neck, I tell the husband about my ordeal and I feel like he may have heard me because the side of his mouth makes an attentive twitching sound, although all facial clues tell me his consciousness is deeply implanted in Facebook updates and what the Twitterati has to say. Mera chance kahan? (Where do I stand a chance?) As he leaves his phone aside and curls up in bed, he tells me, “Can you press my head. I’m so tired!” When I’m quiet for a while, he says, “Why aren’t you pressing my head?” and I reply, “Because I’m using all my energy right now to keep my hands from pressing your throat!” He laughs and falls asleep. He’s like Alicia Silverstone- clueless!
It’s amazing how, as a mother, you come last in line. Everyone is allowed to be sick but you! You are the one who must attend to everyone’s needs (even the maids!) – never the other way round. As I try to leave for a birthday party in the afternoon, I have a checklist
BabyA’s afternoon snack – Check
Maid’s chai time-Check
By this time, there’s no time to think about nourishing myself and so I leave hungry and come home with a massive acidity headache from hunger or alternatively, stuffing myself with unhealthy kiddy party food, the digestion of which mimics the symptoms of a heart attack in a 37 year old woman.
I’m gassy, cranky and slightly nauseous. As I walk in to the house, looking odd, no one bats an eyelid. And as I lie down to shut my eyes, Baby A is on me, wailing, “Mamma, you have to sit and hold my hand while Didi feeds me!” and then the maid enters, “Bhabhi, mere ko chakkar aa rahe hain!” (Madam, I feel faint!). I yell, “Nandy, I’m really sick, can you help?”
Enters my hero, knight-in-shining-armour sporting a rolled thepla in his hand (no less assuring than a sword at this point). I’m relieved! Finally I can rest while the baby is fed. He wolfs down the thepla and then he says, “I can’t feed her. I’m so tired! So what’s your sickness of the day?” and then I remember why I hate fairy tales. It’s because they make every girl believe that she’s going to grow up to find a prince who will save her (at least when she’s sick and could do with some saving) but instead you get the evil step-mother in the avatar of your husband, who mocks you for being sick or tired. So I get up, pop in a Crocin and save myself… from the misery of not giving in, and from a subsequently worse headache!