mamma mia

Here I go again!

So over the past couple of years apart from the usual birthdays and graduation parties we get invited to, there’s been a flurry of baby showers around. It’s raining babies amongst our friends and friends friends who’d technically qualify as the rarest of acquaintances. Then there are these sudden sisters and brothers of these acquaintances who decide they’d just go have babies coz well, you know, the world’s a great peaceful place to be, the economy is doing well, everyone’s portfolio’s are brimming and real estate’s skyrocketing! I mean, we are living in the best of times.

Over the last summer or so, I have noticed that I had at least two of these parties to attend every few weeks. I was making more trips to Target, Toys r us and Babies r us than to the grocers. Every after-school activity drop and pick up’s time of 45 minutes to 30 minutes was spent rushing to pick up the perfect baby blanket, socks, little rattles and then working my head overtime on the colors and perfect gift choices. Don’t ask why I put myself through this nightmare of perfect gift, but I do. Something I’d like to not leave as legacy along with my fat nose and curls, as per the daughter’s request.

In any case, the invitations kept growing. People who knew my acquaintances were beginning to invite me. It was becoming rather annoying. It was well meaning lovely ladies and their mothers, sisters-in-law, and husbands who would ever so gently send me a mail or call me and say “Please make some time to come over this Saturday? We’d really love to have you over, even for just 30 minutes, we know you are a busy mom.

How could anyone say no to such polite requests? So I’d go. Squeeze into my packed schedule, and drop in and wish them luck and more likely than not stuff my face with the goodies and blue cream or pink icing, before I beat a hasty exit.

Sometime in December, at a housewarming event (yes, people still buy homes, we are desis and hey, didn’t I just say the economy was doing well?) one happy couple  with fair ribbing of their aunt whom I knew distantly, walked over and introduced themselves. Conversations veered around family, work, and then landed at kids.

After knowing everything there was to know about me, except for my History teacher’s name in 6th grade, the elderly lady did some major eyebrow raising towards the younger woman. In a manner similar to how a person may fall if a sudden stroke overtook their faculties, the young woman bent down and touched my feet. Still thinking she’s fainting from all that jewelry and heavy work sari or even perhaps she fell to save herself from the constant ribbing, I exclaim and bend down.

The older woman sheepishly grins and tells me: “Please bless her.”

In my mind I go, what the heck?! Now am a senior citizen? Didn’t I just color my hair? Do I look old? Christ, am still in the 30’s! What’s wrong with this lady?! Is 30’s the new 60? When did that memo get sent out? Crap Crap Crap.

The questions must have written themselves out in bold large Times New Roman size 20 on my face, coz the young woman who finally decided to get up told me in a hushed whisper “People said you are lucky, we have been trying to conceive for 4 years now….

Excuse me!?!

Am speechless. My open mouth is frozen and my eyes form large white saucers. My already weak knees buckle. Head spins and I put my hand to my now sweaty forehead (hoping I looked like a distraught Waheeda Rehman going chakkar aa rahi hai ma”) and bring forth a smile and surely not wanting to make sense of what was happening. I bolted from the scene.

On a cold clear January Saturday afternoon, while sipping some tea with a couple of girlfriends, in the course of the entertainment I diligently offer as the designated entertainer/clown/jester of the clique of girlfriends I belong to, I mentioned this rather awkward bizarre incident, including play-acting.

Apparently, they found my predicament and expression comical, but completely understood the young woman’s behavior. I made a mental note on trying to find more compassionate girlfriends, ones who’d lie and cluck their tongues and not snort a hefty dose of tea into their nostrils or fall off their chair clutching their stomachs immersed in silent deep mirth. Frankly, if you ask me, they looked like they were having a stroke, and as livid as I was, I had no plans of calling 911 either.

After the euphoria of my jester-giri subsided, the questions poured.

GF1: So the girl really, actually, seriously bent down and touched your feet?

Me: Yeah. I mean, I think she did. I donno, I was busy hyperventilating on why she fell down.

GF1: How old would she be?

Me: Late 20’s.

GF2: That’s young. What’s their problem?

Me: Like I’d know, or ask?! But seriously, who does this?

GF2: Oh enough folks Rads. What world are you la-la-ing in? Okay, so tell me, she actually told you “you lucky..”

Me: “Yes. I know” ending in a whine.

GF1: Well, you are a mommy.

GF2: Three times over.

Me: Thanks, I needed reminding.

GF2: Well, you could be a good luck charm for many you know.(ending in giggles)

GF1: Is this really the first time someone said this to you?

Me: Wait. O Lord no. no. No. Yikes, no. Now I get it! All those calls. Oh MY GOD! (The incidents and statements, blessings and eyebrows and old ladies and young women and pregnant ladies, all were falling rapidly clearing from a crazy collage to a perfect picture)

GF2: heh, this isn’t the first time someone did this to you now was it?

Me: no. (in a sulking miserable tone)

GF1: aw, look at you pouting. Don’t worry Rads, you are a lucky charm. You are like Mother Mary. Like Santhanalakshmi. Three kid mommy. Of course you are blessing-worthy. Nobody calls us and we are moms too!

Me: Oh, shutup. Now I feel like a fertile walking uterus.

GF2: No, you need a crown. And a silver bowl full of payasam. Rads is our very own family deity. Kula deivam.

Me: Right! Gold frame my portrait and put a garland around it!

GF1: Come now, what’s so bad? It is cool when you think about it right? Three sweat-free pregnancies, I suppose you give comfort to ones who want to experience what you have?

***

I let that thought absorb within me and when I attended a baby shower of a distant acquaintance this afternoon, and placed the akshatas on her head, and she looked up at me and smiled, I wished her the very best being a mom. I am learning to sit back and enjoy my new found knowledge of how others view me. ..and if in some small way my good wishes, and hands can give comfort and warmth to anyone who wants it, in my capacity as a mom and person, am here. A hug and a comforting smile is always on the house.

And just to clarify, yes, I do have three children aged 13,12 and 4. Yes, am in my late 30’s. Yes, do the math quick and don’t faint on me yet. No, I doubt I’d ever feel old. Not haughty, but a simple state of mind.

Yes, go ahead, picture me with the crown and baby or two or three, in tow, am used to costumes!

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82 thoughts on “mamma mia

  1. hahaha!!! I rather thought you would have to be in the 5 kid category to qualify, but I guess for desis, 3 is lucky enough!!
    Well, enjoy your new-found fertility devi status!! At least you’re being venerated! ;)

  2. Hahahaha! Awesome! You’re a one woman fertility cult. Enjoyed this post.

    On a complete tangent, I am reminded of an uncle and aunt who were extremely fertile, to their eventual despair. Uncle used to joke about it saying that he was sure the last two kids happened just because their (uncle’s and auntie’s) underclothes were washed together in the same machine.

  3. LOL…This reminds me of a popular Dev Anand film. I’m probably mis-‘guided’ here, but although the context is entirely different, his predicament is somewhat similar.

    Especially the way you summed it up: “…If in some small way my good wishes, and hands can give comfort and warmth to anyone who wants it, in my capacity as a mom and person, am here.”

    Quite like the protagonist’s realization towards the end, when he smiles and says: “These people have faith in me, and I have faith in their faith”.

    Okay, I know I jumped the gun there…just shoot me!

    • LOL! No no, you’re good. :-)

      I am no one to fight back or find issues with how people’s minds work when it comes to such sensitive issues. I mean, if they think this works, sure, I’ll go along.

      I’ve seen personally many a woman who’s gone through such a stage, it’s hard being there.

  4. LOL, you fertility goddess, you!!!

    But seriously, I’ve always thought three kids was the perfect number to have.

    BTW, did you get around to reading ‘Eat, Pray, Love’?

    • heh, yes, strangely, while growing up I always dreamt of three kids, though after two I was quite done. Three seems like a nice number, so if u get bugged with one of them there’s always another! These days I am meeting more and more desi 3-kid families. It’s nice!

      Yes! Am almost done. It’s one of those books that you don’t want to hurry through :)

  5. This was a hilarious post! Thanks so much. A fertile walking uterus– that was the funniest point! And who said it’s a phallocentric world, huh?

  6. So darshan timings, pep talks, lectures etc in order? And who is that sincere devotee who s gonna build the temple for you? That first younger woman, maybe? :p

  7. Aaah, I shall meet you in 5-6 years then? If I have a back problem, you will forgive no?

    The goddess thingy should be worked on, I say- with those dance pics of yours :D – mebbe ‘our’ friends could do something about it!

    Hmm…mothers must be doing more of this stuff no? :D Praying to you so their daughters’ fertility is at last proven. You are ‘it.’ Man, so cool I have you on my GTalk! Woo hoo!

  8. What crazy people!!!!

    Considering people wwith no kids arent invited for baby showers, this does’nt come as a surprise to me. But in the US!!!!

    • O Praveen, they aren’t crazy at all. It’s beliefs. As long as it doesn’t interfere with our lifestyle, it’s just fine.

      They invite everyone, just that am an add-on :p

    • heh, no Jaya, doubt anyone’s looking at this as luck or no-luck. It’s more of the yearning that makes them believers. We all have been at that point (not necessarily child-related) sometime in our lives.

  9. Rads

    Fantastic Post. The santana laxmi comment was too good. When ever i read your posts I always think how would it be to actually talk to you in person. You must be as enjoyable as you are in your blog… Hope one day i bump into you at Shiva vishnu temple or some where in the DC Area…. I live in Ellicott City. And one more thing we too are one of those desis who bought a house last Dec…..and I absolutely do not know why we did that…

    • That’s awfully sweet of you to say Jyothy, but you may just be disappointed. I have a screechy voice which can get quite high-pitch when I get all excited and happy! :p

      SSVT sounds like a good plan.:)

      lol@house buying. But of course, it is a buyer’s market!

  10. LOL @ the santhanalaxmi angle!! late 30’s… & a 13,12 & 4 yr old? .. did u hv a ‘child marriage’:-0?? and how did u do w/ the bck-to-bck babies? lotsa help frm hubby? hv heard horror stories abt that too .. may b that’s why u waitd a gd 8 yrs to hv the 3rd one:-p!!

    and aftr all that, u hv’nt “let go of yrslf” like most desi moms i see here & its gd to see u actually hv yr OWN things to do(blog, fables, dance etc)!! keep it goin!

    • lol@child marriage. That’s what am told these days, though I was quite a legal 21 when I did exchange vows :)

      Instead of 1 diaper, I did two of everything. Interesting times, considering I was stuck home in an non-english speaking country. It had its moments, but I suppose that’s what makes me enjoy my time now.
      hey, being a mom is one of the roles a woman plays. Prioritize surely, just not giving up. Enough of my clan exist all around! :)

      Thank you mlc :)

  11. You do make me laugh! :) And just you stay away from me, Mrs “Lucky” Santhanalakshmi! dont want to end up with a surprise baby! :D How about you take little framed photos of yourself when you go to baby showers? You can hand ’em out in place of having people fall at your literal feet… and they can put your photo in their puja corner. Kinda like Sathya Sai Baba :)
    PS. No offence meant to SSB devotees!

  12. Gaia, rads, lucky by chance! What about the husband? Does he feel left out? Shouldn’t desperate males be falling at the poor man’s feet?

    • O see, inherently men do not want to have anything to do with progeny except for supplying the raw material.
      So the concept of ‘desperate males’ really is non-existent imho :)

  13. Pingback: Jai Amma | DesiPundit

  14. Clover :-)
    I seriously think you should make the most of this opp. The next big thing to happen in the world dominated by Deepak Chopra,swami this and amma that. Ensoy wonly! (at least we will when you blog about it)

  15. Haha, Maata RAds,
    with tat kind of publicity , you should consider opening an ashram or something :)
    Pliss hire me as your cashier :)

  16. LOL. Nah, ROFLMFAO.

    Btw, right after Waheeda says “Chakkar aa rahi hai”, in the next scene you see the doctor coming out of the examination room, removing his stethoscope, and telling her father, “Badhaai ho, aapki ladki maa banne wali hai”

    You trying to tell us something? :p

  17. Well, to be fair, the government does tax incentives for people who get knocked up. :)

    A lot of folks do tend to have kids in the worst of times, as opposed to the best of times. Enlightened, developed societies like Scandinavia have lower birth rates for a reason.

  18. Heck I thought she was going to call you Aunty. Dear Goddess Santhanalakshmi you sound like fun, do come over and I promise you NO cake or icecream(hate both) but lots of pomegranate martinis. My new found love ;-)

  19. Rads, this reminded me of my BFF telling me a while ago that she was a “fertility goddess”. I still give her crap about it and we joke endlessly when we sit together :) Now I have found a second one!

  20. Woooh! You are a big draw, ain’t you? You have as many comments as I would have in 68 different blog posts.

    “Then there are these sudden sisters and brothers of these acquaintances who decide they’d just go have babies coz well, you know, the world’s a great peaceful place to be, the economy is doing well, everyone’s portfolio’s are brimming and real estate’s skyrocketing! I mean, we are living in the best of times.”

    They dint budget for the present scenario. All the planning was done 12 months in advance:)

    • heh, well, am a deviant, so people are curious :)

      As far as I know, recession or not, desis are on their own plan all the time. 12 months would be a good time frame, give and take a few trials. :p

  21. When we meet, Rads, bring a pair of binoculars with you, and a loud-speaker. I am not coming within safe distance (what is the safe distance if I don’t want your umm…luck…rubbed on me?) of you.
    I so do want to meet you, though.

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