Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Baby Shock

I was rummaging through my digital archives (its amazing that we had intranet emails way back then in 1991) and dug up some old stuff that I found to be quite fascinating and makes me thankful that those days are over. This one, I distinctly recall, was keyed in frustration, after a sleepless night with a restless baby and sent out to my colleagues first thing in the morning, in 1991. The baby in the article is my son, who is now a full grown 6 feet tall pitcher for his high school baseball team. I am sure many of the young readers will relate to it, even today.

Here is the posting. Please remember that this was addressed to my friends and colleagues.

Distinguished readers - I present you, Baby Shock..

I'm sure everyone of you have heard about electric shock, culture shock, future shock, (*) shock etc., but I must tell you that what I'm currently going through is what the scientists call Baby Shock. It's a relatively new concept and they say there is'nt much physical evidence to go on. But ask me. Physical evidence, my foot, ouuch!!! That hurt.

Well, you see, it all begins when I get back home after an extremely hard day’s work – which is almost every day. After the hectic commute, I finally droop into my house – or whatever that is left of it, I should say, and what do I see. It’s a dirty sight. Stuff lying all over the place. Ever heard of the saying – there’s a place for everything and everything in its place. Well, here it is more apt to say that this place is for everything and much more. Newspaper is all rustled up and lying in pieces all over the carpet. Sports section, in particular was soggy and in tatters. I was just planning to read about the astounding Braves victory. Combs, napkins, facial tissues, bottles, cups with spoons included and pieces of food on everything – sofa, walls, tables, carpet and on the towel which was hung shabbily over the new Braves poster on the wall. And amidst all this chaos, peering painfully through his bright eyes, just his beautiful face showing, was the baby, with the rest of his body somewhere under the sofa. I looked at him, he smiled back at me, and then with a glare, which I immediately understood, he turned towards Mrs. Mother. Taking the hint, I too looked at her.

Mrs. Mother was an even uglier sight. Hair in disarray, clothes all crumpled, food wet & dry all over her body, hair and face too. “Why does’nt she use a napkin while having her lunch?” – were my first thoughts. The kitchen looked even dirtier, with dirty plates and glasses as though the kitchen and Mrs. Mother both needed to be put in the dishwasher along with all other dishes thrown around the place. There was a whine from under the sofa and I realized the poor thing wanted to be rescued. So, deciding to straighten things up, I picked up the baby from his makeshift shelter and then glaring at Mrs. Mother, I asked her pointedly…

“How could you?…” waving my hand around the place.

He would not let me….” Was the mumble that I got, pointing at the precious baby. But there was just an innocent smile from him.

“What about the kitchen? it’s unhygienic” I persisted.

“Never could get down to it. You see, he……”

Again, that innocent smile. I could’nt believe this slander and combing his ruffled hair gently with my hand, I demanded

“At least you could have taken a shower, yourself” pointing to her shabby appearance.

“….tried, but you see, he began screaming and …..”

Again that smile, now purring gently and rubbing his head against my chin.

“Now, don’t tell me that you could’nt eat your lunch without throwing it all over yourself and the table, because of him” I asked, my temper rising.

Have’nt yet had my lunch. Just managed some juices.” Was the answer, again pointing at the poor child. This time there was a protest and a desperate request for petting, which I promptly did and put the baby back at ease, reassuring him that I was on his side. He smiled back gratefully.

And then I turned towards Mrs. Mother and admonishing her for this open slander, I said “All right, why don’t you just go and clean yourself up, while I straighten things up back here. And please stop blaming the defenseless baby for your own shortcomings”.

She vanished immediately into the bathroom, with a sigh of relief and a sympathetic “tut, tut”, which I attributed to lack of manners. Brushing aside the insult, I gently placed the precious baby down on the carpet and strode purposefully towards the kitchen.

At first, there was a slight tremor and then with increasing crescendo, an ear piercing “Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa……” continued right thru the night into the early morning.