Musings of a habitual baby sitter

I have to put up at my relatives place for a semester due to some unavoidable reasons. The occupants of the house besides me are my (distantly related to me) didi, her husband and their one year old toddler Satvik (he turned one just yesterday). Whenever the couple go out the arduous task of babysitting falls on my tender shoulders. Now, I personally was no great fan of babies (before the following experiences), and there was a time when I used to think they are just a loud wailing n peeing nuisance, I could never understand why my frens Kay Kay, Sajju, SKA, Anki, Anbu, Vej, RK, RR, PA and many others simply went gaga over cho-chweet babies. During the pre enlightenment days it never crossed my mind that I too had been a toddler once and must have done the same things I now found detesting. After spending six months in the company of Satvik I’ve undergone one hell of a paradigm shift with respect to my crap-bag understanding of one of God’s greatest and finest creations.

What’s the first thing about babies that strikes you?
The innocence in those sweet little twinkling eyes. Eyes devoid of any malice or greed, uncorrupted by ways of the world, pure and sparkling, full of divinity.

A line in the Alchemist says … “Your eyes show the strength of your soul
Just gaze into the eyes of an infant and you can feel the true ‘soul of the world’. Infants are the manifestation of purity endowed on every man by the creator. The innocent sweet face of a baby typifies what many yearn to have but cannot- ‘a face without fear or guilt’

Every action of a toddler shows the Creator’s ingenuity in planning and construction of the human mechanism. Consider the evolution of walk for instance.

First the infant is only able to lie on the bed and wriggle his hands, legs and head. Next he’s able to roll over on to his side. After some time his hands and knees become strong enough and he begins to crawl all over the place like a caterpillar. The crawling process goes on for one or two months, it’s very difficult to catch him; he’s all over the place. One day he decides he has had enough of crawling so he gropes for the nearest support and exerts force on the muscles of his tender legs and takes his first step. He perfects the technique of walking using a support and when he feels he has had enough he let’s go and takes his first unhindered steps with confidence. He falters and falls but he’s unstoppable now. He alters his balance and takes the step again and again till he’s able to walk steadily without support. This evolution process is nothing short of a miracle to me. It brings to mind a saying by Cavett Robert:
“While I can run, I’ll run. While I can walk, I’ll walk. When I can only crawl, I’ll crawl. But I’ll always be moving forward.”

Now the fun part of having a baby at home is that you occasionally get to see a practical demo of what my management science madam would term as ‘Organizational Behavior’. If you regularly watch Karan Johar’s family centered magnum opuses notice that there is always a patriarch who commands the attention of the entire tribe. His whims are given the foremost importance; He’s kinda like the interrupt signal in a microprocessor which allocates higher priority to one task over the other because of some dumb programming resource-allocation logic.

Now a scene from my living room:

We have hordes of relatives who have dropped in like crows and all of them are engaged in useless banter (generally centering on politics and Telugu movies) and creating a ruckus. Suddenly there is a loud wail like an ambulance siren… all come to a dead stop in their tracks…they stop whatever they are doing and rush to the source of the wail…you guessed it right…it’s the little un…everyone is bothered about what’s bothering him. Even the patriarch who hardly heaves his bottom from the couch gets up with much difficulty (owing to laziness induced by lack of bodily movement- oh! the benefits of being an MLA) adjusts his two inch thick specs and gives the lil un a questioning diagnostic glance… the old females in the lot chant mantras to ward of evil spirits and the so called I’ve-seen-this-before ladies give the young mother loads of useless advice… and I watch as a mute spectator with amazement in my eyes on how well a single wail can bring about a change in the attitude of a crowd…It dawns upon me as to who’s the most important guy around . The scene unfolding before me is a brazen violation of the saying “You laugh and the world laughs with you. When you cry, you cry alone.” When the baby cries; it brings the house down. It eventually turns out that the lil fella was kidding kehte!

According to me the best thing about being a baby is that you don’t have to bother about internal exams, supplies, project work, computer classes, attendance, makeup, girlfriends, pocket money, traveling in over crowded RTC busses etc in short lead the life of a carefree non engineering student. Your only tasks are: waking up; peeing; shitting; crying; drinking; playing; wearing a chaddi (I prefer air free) and finally sleeping. What a happy life.

Ever observed a baby sleep? They sleep like there is no tomorrow; with not a worry in the world. Watching Satvik sleep blissfully in his poised like a frog sleeping position reminds me of a short story about a king who was told to sleep in the shirt of a happy man for a day to cure his insomnia but when his courtiers scoured the country for a happy man they were unable to find one; finally when they came across a happy man, he wore no shirt! (He wasn’t Salmaan Khan)

The busy world which we inhabit today has robbed us of the pleasures of peaceful slumber. Every night before we go to sleep our conscious is filled with the events gone by and what events might likely happen the next day. We forget that the sole purpose of sleep is to recharge the senses and prepare them to take on a brand new day instead we keep pondering on what’s happened and what’s going to happen. Sleep like a baby and don’t bother about what tomorrow might hold unless you are a prisoner who’s going to be hanged the next day.

I have friends who say that they can’t follow a word of Rap music (if you could follow it in the first place it wouldn’t be called Rap mate) because it’s fast meaningless gibberish (I hurted). Watching my didi talk sweet nothings to Satvik I feel Rap music is more decipherable. Sweet nothings can be anything or something or nothing (that’s an example of its sweet complexity). The young mother holds the baby in her hands and plays with it talks to it and remarkably the young fella reciprocates as if he understands every word that the mother is saying. He mumbles a few incomprehensible (guess that’s what doctors call baby talk) sounds which are intelligible only to the trained ears of people like me. After a painstaking listening session tougher than the one on the TOEFL-IBT I was able to decrypt some of his baby mumbo jumbo:

He’s happy; he mumbles: “aa-wow-ee-ye”

He’s sad; he mumbles: “ aaaaaaaaaaa”

He’s angry; he mumbles: “ yeeeaaa”

He’s being sarcastic: “ he he he he”

He’s gonna pee: “aaaaaaaaaaah”

He’s hungry: “ aahaaaaann”

He’s able to utter a few words clearly: tata, amma, nana, atha, mama (the limited the vocabulary the lesser the confusion on what he’s saying)

Satvik and I seem to be able to participate in some very intense brainstorming sessions when I baby sit him. I tell him all my problems and the possible solutions I have in mind he gives me a sound of approval or disapproval after hearing my arguments. It feels great when you have a person who will listen to you all the time (as of now) and never question you no matter how screwed up your logic is {reminds me of John Galt from Atlas Shrugged} and since babies are equated to God…I trust Satvik’s sound of approval as a approval from the almighty himself.

We both kinda share a symbiotic inverse relationship. One day he’s crying for no reason and I go to checkout what the matter is. I lift him up and inspect him all seems fine with him then why the hell is he crying? Suddenly I find a fountain of ‘Liquid excretory product’ shoot with a sniper precision into my nose; he has pissed me off!

Once I’m breaking my heads over writing a lab record; my head is aching, Satvik is crying, my fingers are begging for mercy but I carry on furiously scribbling. I suddenly sense that the room has gone calm and instinctively turn towards him…he’s making strange faces at me…worried about what’s going on I rush to him and handle him…he’s naked like Adam in the Garden of Eden…then I feel ‘solid excretory product’ soiling my ink stained scrubbed hands I stare at them in horror …he breaks into a wide grin as if to say “anything to cheer you up ol’ fella”

I have a female friend to meet and like always the couple have to go out on some world saving urgent work (eating pani-puri or something like that) and promise to return in thirty minutes pronto meanwhile I have to bottle feed the fella in case he wakes up…like always, to screw my happiness he wakes up with a loud wail…I thrust the plastic nipple into the sucker’s mouth to force the dabba milk down his throat…he refuses to suck!… I give up and am about to withdraw the bottle when he starts sucking. Renewed by his response I lower the bottle into his mouth…he refuses to drink now…he’s keen on playing mind games with me…and I’m no sucker for his pissing-me-off tactics…I was thinking of unscrewing the lid and finishing the milk myself, after all a little bit of cerlac would do me no harm, but the nice guy inside me wouldn’t allow me to commit such a sin … I had to adopt a different strategy…I sang “Chanda mama rave…” in my rock solid sweet voice…he wails louder…a sms flashes on my cell…“W R U ?”…I had to change my strategy to an attacking one now… I plant a tight ‘phat’ on his bum and he opens up his wide mouth to cry…he has a strange way of crying… first he open up his mouth wide and after a time delay the sound comes (kinda like the gap between lightening and thunder ) …. I thrust the bottle into his mouth as it opens and before the sound emanates and he empties the bottle in record time… He crashes off into slumber like a princess in Grimm’s fairy tale… I crash off like superman.

I know god has blessed me with a strident Stone Age caveman voice so I limit my singing talents to the confines of the bathroom but occasionally due to some unforeseeable circumstances I have to showcase my talents to a lone audience. Now this lil fella is a bundle of energy and doesn’t sleep easily, it’s a Herculean task putting him to sleep and my voice is very effective in these cases. But this guy knows his songs well. If I belt out aa ante amlapuram he starts swinging his arms wildly; if I recite yeh jo desh hai tera he becomes silent and listens intently. The moment he doesn’t like the song he starts crying loudly and nothing seems to stop him. So to put him to sleep I have to play the role of a singing DJ…alternating between slow and fast tracks to put the little devil to sleep.

Now in our apartments there is this tall (6’3) hot girl whom I’ve been trying to impress since long but she hardly took notice of me but with a little bit of shrewdness it easy to charm a stone cold woman like I did. Now this female stays two floors above me and it was crush at first sight (CAFS) when I accidentally kicked her in our apartment lift. I was actually going to kick my friend who was joking but as fate wanted it; the kick landed on the wrong person who happened to be this female. I apologized from the depths of my heart; she walked away fuming and giving two hoots about my apology…latter when I came to know that her father was a DCP…I literally pee-ed in my pants. I avoided the lift and would always run up and down the stairs to avoid bumping into her. It so happened that I was talking Satvik out for a stroll and had to use the lift…when the gates opened on my level…it was HER standing with two of her pretty (bombshell) friends. I maintained a dignified silence and got in. HER friends were giggling (I thought maybe my fly was open) which made me pretty uncomfortable. Suddenly SHE blurts out of the blue…“Sweet baby. What’s his name?” I’m caught unawares and put on my sweetest face (it was a cross between a smirk and fear) and reply “Satvik” HER friend mischievously asks me “Is he your baby?” I wanted to shout at her and say “Come to me bitch and I promise we’ll have a son like that” but instead plainly say “No. He’s my sister’s son” SHE then asks me if she can handle him. I willingly oblige and secretly hope that he pees on HER friend but damn these soak-it-all huggies…not even a remote chance. Each of them take turns in handling the baby and are endlessly saying “cho chweet…”I could detect a hint of admiration in their eyes for a true Mard like me; the kind of guy who does the ghar ka kaam and the bahar ka kaam with equal ease; in short the ideal hubby for a i-want-a-complete-man girl [I personally believe in the axiom: Good Guys Get Good Girls: the G5 theory]. The lift reaches the ground floor and she gently transfers the baby into my hands and tells me her name, I shout mine. We say goodbyes. The ice between us is broken. God bless babies.

The above mentioned have been such remarkable experiences. Each of them has brought out a new facet of personality previously unknown to me. I’ve finally understood what all my friends find so enchanting in babies: their innocence. I’ve become more caring and happy and this reflects in my relationships with people. I’ve also become more patient, understanding, observant and funny. I enjoy life’s miracles everyday and thank Him for all he has given me.And most importantly I’ve begun understanding something about myself and about one of God’s wonderful creations. The virtue to do good to others is present in all of us and so is the wicked cunning streak. We gotta balance both these opposing attributes within us to lead a life of fruition (I know I sound like a philosopher here but what the heck!)

P.S.The little fella says hi.

7 thoughts on “Musings of a habitual baby sitter

  1. awesome! You actually conducted a a philosphy class, with a touch of great humor, without my knowledge… I love it ! BTW u dint mention the female friend u had to meet…?ahem ahem…cough…ahem..cough..

  2. HEIGHTS OF CREATIVITY!!!u start with something n go on focusing on other aspects with a tinge of humour which adds flavour to the entire matter…btw i know the female frnd u were talking abt… :p.. 🙂

  3. Perfect description of how it feels to babysit a baby(!)… Twenty-somethings do not usually have the patience for anybody except their friends (and sometimes not even them), but usually thats because they are actually too tender and don’t want anybody to know about it. Thats my theory anyway. I am reminded of someone I know whom I have to ask this.G5 theory – well, I have another theory, but thats for a time when we meet. And yes, we’ll meet sometime, hopefully.Great post.

  4. Pingback: how it be | सिद्घार्थ के अल्पायु चिंतन

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