Friday, May 08, 2015

Not Your Usual Mother's Day Post

As the internet bubbles up with heart-warming mush about mothers this Sunday, this is me jumping on the bandwagon. But, differently. Like, with just one hand. Maybe a leg hanging out. Or doing a somersault. You get the picture.

At first, I wanted to write about how my mother and how all her awesomeness made me feel scared of being a mother myself. Because, seriously, how the hell was I going to bake cakes for Pookie’s birthday, while keeping a fulltime job? How was I going to take her for swim class and summer camp, and teach her to ride a bike and enroll her for kathak and do the million odd things my mom did for me all through my life? No, sir, this is a note excusing me from motherhood, can I just sit on that bench now?

But no, this is not that post, though god knows Aai deserves one. This one is dedicated to companies who think twice before hiring mothers. People like Axis Bank and ICICI (that’s right, I’m taking names), who give female candidates pregnancy tests before hiring them, because dear God, what if they decide to reproduce and we have to give them paid maternity leave? Oh, the horror! What else? Oh yes, mothers are tired, frustrated and angry often (the rest of our employees are happy, relaxed Care Bears). And they have to take leave every time their child is ill or the nanny doesn’t show up (the others leave their pets and spouses to rot by the side of the road when they’re unwell). And they always expect special treatment as if we asked them to procreate, as if they’ve done something magical by producing a living, breathing human being from thin air and a traumatized uterus.

No, man. Better just to hire someone single, preferably someone who has no social life, right?

Here, take a deep breath, guys. This is where I tell you why hiring mothers is a good thing.

One. Mothers multitask. We’re champions at it. Yesterday, for instance, I fed Pookie a banana, while changing her diaper and singing three verses of her favourite song, and making sure she was biting off morsels small enough to not make her choke. Your eight-item joblist doesn’t scare me, boss.

Two. Mothers adapt. Have you ever started wearing eyeliner and then had the mirror move back and forth, because your toddler is playing with the door to your wardrobe and any second now, her finger is going to get crushed in there? Oh, the client wants the creatives two hours earlier? Yawn.  

Three. Mothers don’t lose their shit in a crisis. The milk is close to boiling on the stove, you’re on the phone with the cook, who’s just had a minor accident and won’t be showing up today, the husband is in the loo with a case of the runs, the baby has done a surreptitious potty and has that smile on her face that suggests that any moment now, she’s going to wallow in it, and in two hours you have a pitch meeting halfway across town. Tell me again how stressful it is for you when Powerpoint shuts down?

Four. Mothers get things done on time. Nothing teaches you the value of time, like a baby who generally refuses to nap, suddenly falling blissfully asleep. Nothing teaches you to meet deadlines than a baby screaming for milk at 3:00 in the morning. Nothing makes you rush like a baby threatening to pee on your brand new memory foam mattress. And absolutely nothing makes you power through your day’s jobs, than the mental image of your child, waiting anxiously for you to return home from work.

Sure, there will be those who take undue advantage of the ‘mother’ tag and use it as an excuse for incompetence and inefficiency. But most of us don’t. We don’t have the time for it. So hire mothers, India Inc. It’ll be the best decision you’ve ever made.


Thursday, January 08, 2015

Oh Screw You Too, Kangana Ranaut.

Ever since Pookie has made her gurgling way into our lives, newspapers have slowly made their way out. What was once used to grab quick updates on current events, is now used primarily as a poop scooper. Such are the joys of parenthood.

When I do get three seconds to glance at one though, it's a quick skimming of the bold, coloured headlines in whichever newspaper I happen to get my hands on. A couple of weeks ago, it was the Bombay Times. Agreed, calling BT a newspaper is like calling Kim Kardashian an actress - it's all very iffy, even if technically true. Nevertheless, glance I did and I happen to read a piece that was classic BT: Celebrities Share Their Views on Marriage.

Sonam Kapoor was there, a few others, some famous, some just about. And then, there was Kangana Ranaut, who said that "Married people need to get their heads checked."

I haven't watched Queen. I want to, though. By all accounts, she's done a wonderful job and the movie is pathbreaking and bold as it depicts how a girl needn't marry. Full points on message, but tell me, Kangana, why the smugness? Yes, I get it, there are plenty of obnoxious people in our wonderful country, who hunt down singletons and tell them they're missing out on life by not getting hitched. I know. I used to be accosted by them, not so long ago.

The thing is, there are also the rest of us out here. Married people who're just trying to do our best, going out of our way to assure our single friends that hey, don't worry, you're not missing anything much. Not out of condescension, you understand, but merely because it's true. There are aspects of singlehood that I will never enjoy again. There are joys in marriage that a single person cannot experience. We're talking about two different things, unequal and impossible to compare.

You're happy being single? Good for you. Go out and make merry in all the ways I can't. I'll cheer you on, from my living room couch on Friday night, as my year-old daughter rubs rice on my shirt. But if you're suggesting that my decision to marry makes me somehow inferior to you or clinically insane, then honey, you're the one who needs her head checked.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The name is Pookie. Baby Pookie.

In January this year, I gave birth to my daughter after a quick labour of "just" two and a half hours. It was a normal delivery, and if this is what passes for "normal" then I believe womankind needs to have a serious chat with the Almighty.

But that's a separate issue.

Daughter dearest, who we shall refer to as Pookie*, came into the world looking like a tiny, hairy Japanese man. I'm not being racist, that's really what she looked like. Since then, she's been photographed more than Prince George, videographed more than *insert celebrity name here* and has featured in more selfies than your average fifteen-year-old.

This basically means that now every time she sees a phone, she grins like she's on a red carpet.

Being the intellectual snobs that we are, Rook and I have named her after our favourite social anthropologist / writer. It's a nice, long four-syllable name which is going to make her hate us when she starts school. Or trying to pronounce her own name. I'd be more sympathetic if my name had been, oh, I don't know, something short. We've also refused to put up her photos on Facebook because a) I'm superstitious like that and b) we need something to blackmail her into good behaviour when she becomes a teenager.

But till then, this is what happens when I come home from work every day.

* We didn't set out to nick-name her after Garfield's teddy bear. It's just a happy coincidence. We had actually nick-named our unborn child 'Mo' after the little white robot who whizzes around in Wall-E saying "Mo".