Of This, That, and the Other

June 28, 2010


Chocolate cake. Rice, aloo, baigan bharta, salad, and keema curry. All done by 1.30, no later. You’d think I was cooking for a party, but believe me, I would never serve baigan bharta for a party.

Our cook managed to get conjunctivitis about ten days ago. It should have gotten better by now, but it hasn’t. Naturally, I haven’t even let her in the front door since then. I don’t want to be stuck with doing all the cooking every day for a week and more, but it’s definitely better than having me, the kids, and Amit get conjunctivitis one by one – with all the time away from work and caring for sick people that it would involve.

So I’ve been doing the cooking the past whole week. Since I have not the least desire to be doing cooking after all the other activities that a normal working day involves, I’ve done as little as possible to get by. The kids got their lunches, but we’ve had to scrape and scrounge for our meals. Thankfully, Amit is not the kind to complain in these circumstances, not even when he stays up till 2 a.m. watching sports on TV.

On Saturday, after we had completely messed up a lunch invitation with S&P, we had lunch out at the kids’ favourite place – Shanthi Sagar. It was a total waste of money and time, but it got me off the hook as far as cooking was concerned. On Saturday evening, though, I put together a hurried chicken stew, which we ate with some left over red rice. There was the desire for some dessert, but it wasn’t strong enough to outweigh my natural laziness, so we went without.

On Sunday, we had a lunch invitation that fell through at 10 a.m. I looked in the vegetable basket, in the freezer, and in the fridge for leftovers and ingredients suitable for a Sunday lunch. In the end, it was quite a presentable ensemble, though without much harmony. Chocolate cake is a glue that sticks any meal together nicely enough. (Yes, Prakash, I thought of you… but sochne se kya hota hai?)

Now I live in suspense – is the blessed conjunctivitis going to get better anytime in the foreseeable future or not? Cooking in the evening on weekdays means I don’t get any time at all to sit with the kids. I have to finish the cooking before 8, so that the cleaning lady can wash after me. If I cook after putting the kids to bed, I’m stuck with doing the washing up myself, which is definitely not what I want to be doing at 9 p.m. on a weekday evening.

Meanwhile, the kids have turned into absolute bookworms of late. Not that they’ve actually learnt to read yet, but they spend large parts of the day reading to each other and getting us to read to them. They’ve taken to selecting books to take to bed at night. Sunday is the one day of the week when I go to their room at 6.30 a.m. and snuggle up with them for an hour or so. This time, Mrini reached for the books strewn behind her head, took one, lay on her back, legs bent at the knees and crossed, balanced the book against her legs and happily read for a whole hour! Eventually Tara woke up too, and they both lay with their heads on one pillow, a book balanced against one set of knees, reading together.

They’ve learnt to skip, they’re learning to scribble purposefully (as opposed to scribbling at random), and they talk and ask questions absolutely incessantly. I know that we should encourage this and give sane and sensible replies, but sometimes it is really, really difficult! It’s bad enough fielding a barrage of questions when you’re driving and forced to concentrate on the traffic; or when you’re listening to the most divine music; but when you’re trying to get their teeth brushed at 7.15 a.m., with only 15 minutes to go before you leave the house (and the pony tails still to be done) and you can’t get the toothbrush into Mrini’s mouth because she won’t stop talking…!!!

In other news, the CD of their stage show finally arrived. I watched it once and it was so much fun! This one I’m going to cherish for years, and years, and years. Now I want to show it to them, but I haven’t had time yet. I’d love to post it online, of course, but it is in some fancy format that I haven’t even figured out how to copy yet, much less chopping out all the irrelevant bits and reducing it from 2 hours or so to 2 minutes or so. Maybe, some day. Meanwhile, there are photos.

And the Other

There have been a couple of promising developments last week, in my quest to become a published author. The publisher for my travel book got back to me. They’ve finished editing my manuscript and marked out a few changes. Their feedback was extremely encouraging and most of the changes were few, far between, and generally for the better. There is one part of the manuscript that they’ve suggested I work on, but their comments there are justified, I feel, so it’s good advice.

On the adoption book, I got an early indication of interest from one publisher. It’s too soon, in this game, to know whether this is going to go anywhere or not, but at least it’s some positive development, and that’s better than nothing.

This journey – the attempt, rather – to write a book that is actually published by someone and out there in the bookshops for people to buy and read is so very long and tedious, and calls for such inordinate quantities of patience, persistence, and an unshakeable conviction in oneself… it’ll be a miracle if I ever see this dream turn into reality.

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