It’s been one of those weeks! If you are a SAHM thinking about going back to work, you might want to read this before you take any drastic decisions…
Why is it that no matter how well you pace yourself before an impending trip, the last day always ends up being crazy? And this time was no different. Time flew by in its usual fashion and before I knew it, it was 5 o’clock in the evening and I still hadn’t set up my out-of-office auto-reply or booked a car for the airport drop the next day, amongst other pending to-dos. Knowing that it would be my only opportunity to hang out at the park with Ayaan this week, I just dropped everything anyway and rushed home to do just that.
Now, if that was all there was to Monday, it would be a pretty relaxed day in my world. But it also happened to be the eve of Rakhi and after what seems like years, three of my cousins were in town at the same time, so I invited them over for dinner. It was good fun and thankfully the maid did all the cooking but by the time we wrapped up, it was well past midnight.
After just 6 hours of sleep, I kick-started the day with the realisation that I had less than four hours to pack, get dressed, send a couple of mails and set that damned auto-reply, all while nursing a hangover and entertaining a toddler whose idea of fun for the day was to fling things out of Mama’s suitcase. I finally managed to stagger into the airport with just over an hour to spare, dragged my exhausted bones into the plane and collapsed into a slumber that lasted halfway into the flight to London. The rest of the flight was spent watching the end of Guru and reading Prisoner of Azkaban (yes, I am re-reading Harry Potter).
The flight to Frankfurt was delayed by almost an hour and instead of catching some R&R at the airport lounge, I invested the time in curing the remnants of my hangover with a spot of duty-free retail therapy (a pair of shoes from Clarks, stocking up from Boots and lots of pleasurable window shopping). Finally got into Frankfurt by midnight and it was well past one by the time I hit the sack.
Interesting side story – the taxi driver who drove me to the hotel was a Pakistani and he was hugely excited that he had a real life Indian passenger. He kept up a steady banter all the way, and since he was speeding along at a robust 180 kmph, this made me understandably nervous. He wanted to know all about where I lived, what I was doing in Frankfurt, what languages I spoke… but the icing on the cake was his parting request of ‘India ko Mera Salaam Dena’… So dear Indian readers of this blog, since you happen to be the only Indian audience that I have any access to, consider yourself salaamed!
Thanks to the completely screwed up body clock, I was up bright and early at 6. I killed time by starting off with Goblet of Fire (finished Prisoner of Azkaban on the Frankfurt flight). Then there was a long, endless meeting by the end of which I was positively droopy. There was a dinner outing planned after an hour’s break but do you think I had the sense to use that to get some much needed shuteye – well, if you did think that, you obviously haven't been paying attention so far, have you?
Anyway, I joined a couple of other women in the group to walk around the shopping area. This is the first time that I went shopping with women who weren’t my friends and I have to say it was really odd and deeply unsatisfying – I felt like I was imposing on them if I suggested a shop to go into and spent too much time there, because I wasn’t sure whether they were interested in the same stuff... So finally, I ended up buying nothing and before we knew it, it was time to join the others for dinner. We ate at a German steakhouse, where I got my first taste of wiener schnitzel, which I have to say was pretty disappointing and bland. Actually, that’s pretty much what I thought about Frankfurt as well…
Darned body clock refused to settle down and woke me up at 6 again, like clockwork. Somehow got through another long day and dinner before finally getting a chance to get to bed relatively early (eleven) – managed to finally get the recommended dose of eight hours of sleep for the first time in days.
That’s the worst thing about the body clock on these short trips. Just when it accustoms itself to the new time zone, it’s time to head back and unsettle the damn thing again. After a half-day meeting, I found myself with an hour to kill before heading for the airport. So I headed back to the shopping area to buy some stuff, mostly to dispel the nagging feeling of discontent that the shopping trip on Wednesday had left me with. Most of the stuff was pretty boring – lots and lots of formal shirts, woollen pants and sensible shoes but managed to pick up a top each from Zero and Mexx.
This time around, I was driven to the airport by a Turkish taxi driver who spent the drive reminiscing about his life in Turkey and regretting his decision to make his home in Germany, a place that he can't call home after 15 years of living there because he still feels like an outsider. He seemed deeply unhappy and my heart went out to him...
The flight was over an hour late getting into Mumbai so I barely got time to catch my breath before Ayaan made it clear that no one but me was to be allowed to feed him or put him down for a nap. I used the small window of me-time I got while he was napping to unpack, visit the salon for some much overdue waxing and have a quick bath. When he got up, we headed out to stock up on the groceries, which were running at dangerously low levels. Back home, it was dinner and bath time for Ayaan after which I finally got some time to vegetate in front of the TV for a while before calling it a day.
I really do know how to make life difficult for myself because not only did I have friends coming over for lunch, a news channel came over to interview me for some show they are doing on parenting and pets. For those of you wondering why, it was because of this.
Also, on Sundays the nanny leaves after lunch so that was one less helping hand…so I was pretty pooped by the end of the day. But jet lag, funnily enough, caught up with me a day later and though I was all bleary-eyed and achy, I couldn’t convince my body to actually follow through and fall asleep. I finally passed out around two - I guess that would have been a reasonable enough bed time in Germany where it was still 10.30 p.m., but not so much in India.
I had to leave early for a meeting at the other end of town and my morning maid decided to land up half an hour late. I wasted precious time and breath screaming at her in my most shrewish manner. She gave me some cock-and-bull story (or so I thought at the time, since I get one of these every time she’s late – about once a week) about the neighbour’s son having gone missing. Well, as it turns out the story was true and she was even pictured in the corner of one of the pics of the grieving family… I feel bad about not believing her, but you know what they say about crying wolf…
It was a long day and I got home just in time to give Ayaan his dinner. He was a little grumpy and had the beginnings of a cough. I felt bad about getting home late, especially after having been away the previous week. And since he had the next day off from playschool, I decided that it was the perfect day to put into action my plan for working from home one day a week.
Well, my plan for a fun and relaxing day with Ayaan was shot to hell right from the start – he woke up with a hacking cough and a temperature of 100.7oF. He was coughing so badly that he even threw up a couple of times. So the whole day went into trying to make the poor baby feel better. And as it always is when he is feeling less than peachy, he wanted noone but Mama. I was not even allowed to go the loo without braving a complete meltdown. He wouldn’t even sleep unless it was in my bed, with me next to him… so I finally had a bath at 6 in the evening when I thought the maids had managed to distract him but halfway through, he noticed that I was gone so I had to finish my bath to the accompaniment of some pretty violent crying.
We took him to the doctor in the evening, who prescribed a cough syrup to ease his discomfort. He thankfully kept his dinner down and slept at his usual bedtime and in his own room, so I got some time to catch up on work and e-mails. And now instead of sleeping, I am here writing on the blog… somebody stop me, seriously!
What a week (or nine days for the nitpickers amongst us who counted)! Anyway, I am staying home tomorrow as well – because Ayaan is unlikely to be well tomorrow since I have not pulled out the big guns (the antibiotics) yet. And plus I think I need a break - though if tomorrow is anything like today, going into office might actually be a more relaxing option…