Last Monday, I came back to Mumbai after dropping Ayaan off at my mum’s place. My mum likes to have him all to herself for this one pre-Diwali week every year, without my interfering presence. Additionally, we had to get our house painted this year so the young man needed to be out of the way in any case.
When I consider how my reactions to the thought of Ayaan being away from me for a week by choice (and not because of work or travel-related commitments) have changed, I can see myself letting go and growing up as a parent. In the first year, it wasn’t even a question since I was still on maternity leave so we went together. In the second year, the very thought of staying behind without him was positively blasphemous so again, I was there with him the entire time. I suspect the same attitude would have continued for his third Diwali but since we found ourselves in Delhi for a family wedding just a week before Diwali, it didn’t make sense to lug the brat back and forth across the country so we let my mom take him back to Jaipur with her while we returned to Mumbai. I was at home for all of 5 days without him but I mooned around like a love-sick calf and while the week was fun enough, I was pining to get back to my little sunshine.
And then there’s this year. It isn’t that I was exactly joyful about dropping Ayaan off to Jaipur for a week. But for the first time, I began to look forward to this week the teensiest little bit. Even better, I gave it a name. This was to be my ‘Week of Sin’, the one time in the year where I could indulge myself and do all the things that I did in my pre-mommy days and have a fun, guilt-free time doing them because there was no neglected brat waiting for me back at home.
Now it’s time to call it to a close and head back to my baby. But not before I take stock of the week that was…
The first rule of the week was ‘no alarms’. Since I did away with diapers three months ago, Ayaan needs to be woken up to pee so that he doesn’t wet the bed. The night-time training started with two wake-ups every night and since then, we are down to a single 2 a.m. potty call, but it still means my night being punctuated by a shrill alarm at a time when I am in my deepest slumber. The other alarm may or may be called into action. It’s set for days when Ayaan is still asleep at 6.45, so that we don’t get late for school. On other days, I switch it off before it has a chance to ring because Ayaan has beaten it to it by waking up before it rings. Unfortunately, the mommy alarm clock in my body does not have an off switch, so I was up at eight on most days (earlier on the rest) and that hardly counts as a sleep-in…
The second rule was to have a ‘plan’ for every day of the week. And while none of the plans were particularly sinful (not enough people in town for pub-hopping, dancing-through-the-night kind of endeavours), it goes without saying that a fair amount and variety of alcohol was imbibed – Jack Daniels with Coke, Vodka with Sprite, White Wine, Red Wine, Rose wines and sangria. Only the famed tequila shots were missing...
Overall, I did manage to cover a fair range of social activities and meet up with a lot of friends:
- Monday: Dinner with husband at a fancy Italian restaurant with the husband
- Tuesday: Couple of drinks at a friend’s place followed by dinner at a bustling Chinese restaurant with the husband.
- Wednesday: Drinks at a pub with a colleague
- Thursday: Pre-Diwali card party with the office gang
- Friday: Dinner with a couple of girlfriends followed by drinks at a nearby pub with a larger gang
- Saturday: Lunch with some of my favourite bloggers
- Sunday: Lunch and movie with the husband, dinner at an Indian restaurant with friends
And then, there were the sins of indulgence. For starters, all the days began with breakfast in bed - yummy ham sandwiches, prepared and served up by the husband and accompanied with a glass of chilled apple juice.
There was the French manicure. Now a little known fact about me is that I have a fetish for the white-tipped look for the nails. Not having the manual dexterity to do my nails myself, I used to go to the friendly neighbourhood nail salon with regularity in my pre-mommy days. I remember getting one when Ayaan was about a year old, only to realise that feeding the child by hand and French manicures do not mix, not unless you want the pristine white nail tips to turn yellow from all the turmeric that is ubiquitous in Indian cooking. Well, not having Ayaan around meant that I could go without dipping my fingers into a bowl of dal and so I went and got myself one of these:
There was the shopping, because what’s indulgence without some retail therapy thrown in for good measure. And so, most of Sunday was spent at a recently opened mall and I think there are skid marks on the debit card from the amount of times it was whipped out and swiped. The inventory of my shopping:
- A pair of bright red skinny jeans (let’s hope I have the guts to actually wear them) and two tops from Debenhams
- A pair of fitted black trousers from Guess
- A flowy black and white block-printed skirt from FabIndia
- A pair each of jeans and corduroys, two T-shirts and a shirt for the brat
- A kurta and pyjama for the husband from FabIndia
- Two pairs of corduroys for the husband from this new store called People.
And that should have been it. Only I got to the airport half and hour early this evening and discovered a foot reflexology outfit in the departure lounge. So there was nothing for it but to go plonk myself on one of their cushy, white leather sofas and get a lovely, relaxing foot massage.
And now I am done. I’ve had my week of freedom, enjoyed it like hell, done all the things I wanted to do and now I am headed back to reclaim my life. It’s been fine and fun because it was a week – just enough to squeeze in all the fun but not long enough to start moping at the empty house and dare I say, empty life. It was also a week when I realised that I am old now – that a week of hectic partying can sap my energy as much (or possibly far more) than my everyday job as mother and slave to his royal highness Ayaan.