morning mayhem at home stubbornly refuses to go away. every morning of the past 4 1/2 years, ever since mithi started going to school, it envelopes the house like a thunderous cloud.
i wake up bleary eyed, somehow make myself a cup of coffee to really wake up, and get into action mode. Dodaa dodaa bhaagaa bhagaa saa...dodaa dodaa bhagaa bhaaga saa...keeps playing over and over in my head. slowly the battle of algiers unfolds itself at home.
i start off by huskily crooning to mithi to wake up..." mithu, get up ma."... 'mithi, look at the time puchu, it's 7.30. come on, get up."... " mithee, uth na ma. get up. " mithi opens one eye fractionally, looks at me, turns over on her tummy and lies there as still as a statue. as the minute hand on the clock surges ahead, all sweetness abandons me, until finally............. i screech,
"MITHEE! GET UP! GO BRUSH YOUR TEETH! LOOK AT THE TIME! YOU'LL MISS YOUR BUS AGAIN! THEN PAPA WILL HAVE TO DRIVE YOU ALL 18 KMS TO SCHOOL LIKE A MANIAC ! WHEN WILL YOU STOP TROUBLING ME? GAWD!!!!!"
when she doesn't respond, i drag her out of bed, yank the bedsheets off her, try to push her towards the bathroom, put the toothpaste on her toothbrush, switch on the geyser, all at the same time. the moment i release my grip on her, she runs back to the bed and flops on it.
now i get into dramatic, filmy mom mode. sometimes, for effect, squeeze out a few tears also, " why do you do this to me everyday? i need to go to work too. every morning you trouble me like this. you are not a 3 year old anymore... i have to do things like a maniac to get you to the bus stop on time. .. " but, am out for a duck.
sometimes, the drama works--when the tears are genuine out-of-vexation tears. at such times, she hugs me and obliges by rushing to brush her teeth. at other times, she just laughs or giggles at the sight of me wailing like a banshee. she may even run around in circles in the room, or throw a, "mumm, don't do emotional blackmail, okay?" (where did she pick up the phrase from?)
the wrath and tirade, after a point, becomes a scud missile and is now aimed at hubby, who may sometimes be reclining on the bed in a matsyagandha pose and gazing at the scene in the room with a half smile on his lips in the worst case, or a compassionate glance thrown my way at best. i bellow, " look what you have done to her! you spoil her rotten and i have to put up with such... such...behaviour, indifference.... and such... utter disregard for punctuality or discipline!" hubby sometimes ducks behind his newspaper or sips his coffee regally. once in a blue moon, he allies himself with me against such brats of the world and thunders, "MITHI! DON'T TRY YOUR LUCK TOO HARD! STOP TROUBLING MAMA. " he may even say things such as, " mithi, don't do such badmaashi. you may do it tommorow again...." or chant, "duniya ka naara, jame raho, masti ka ishaara, jamein raho!" and both chortle and giggle or guffaw.
what does this mum do? she tries out her last bits of arsenal, " alright then. i'm going to write to swati mam, and tell her that this seemingly good girl in class is a devil at home, with no discipline, or manners or sense of time. wait and watch i WILL do it now." success at last. the child pleads with me and hovers around me to not do it. i may or may not smirk. game, set, match.
if, by chance, this does not work, at times, i lock myself in the bathroom, bawl my eyes out, or take a brisk shower myself like a major general. come out, put my nose up, refuse to look at anyone in the eye, get dressed and pretend to leave for work.
if by chance, any of the other ruses have worked, then mithi and i work in tandem, we brush our teeth together, i scrub her and scrub her dry, get her dressed in --vest, shirt, bicycle shorts, trouser, socks, tie, belt, e band, blazer, cap, et al. so many buttons! so many darned buttons! where are her glasses? where are her school hair clips? push her to dining table. while i sharpen her pencils, check her pencil box, and school bag, sign her almanac, mum sets her breakfast on the table--chyawanprash, paranthaas, milk, whatever. by now am under the table, pushing her feet into the shoes. usually it's a struggle, a tug of war between feet and shoes-- black on mondays and tuesdays, white on wednesdays, thursdays and fridays. mithi calls out, " papa, get up. get dressed. it's time to go."
breakfast is propelled into her mouth periodically. when it's over, there is her hair to attend to. the more you try to comb, directly proportional will be the distance she'll move away from you. all this will be punctuated by " aah, ouch, ...mama, stop it." and " how do i comb your hair otherwise?" "It's already 8.20. your bus will leave. " i keep repeating periodically even as we are moving in simple harmonic motion.
by now hubby has picked up her bag and waterbag and is searching for the car keys. i join him in the hunt, muttering under my breath or quietly depending on my mood. it's amazing how he finds the most unusual places to lose them everyday. really original. he manages to retrieve them this time from the shoe rack. hey viola! the duo finally leave and leave me gasping for air.
not quite. in precisely 6 seconds, mithi comes back with a sheepish expression on her face. heavens! it can only mean one thing. the call of nature is too strong. duniya kaa naaraa, jame raho! rush. take off half her clothes. help her, but today, it's a false alarm.
she finally runs down the stairs. father and daughter will chase the bus as usual, honking wildly, and catch up with it after 2-3 stops, if lucky.
i am a dead rag. i get dressed in precisely 15 minutes and leave for work. duniyaa kaa naara, jamein raho!