The M left on Friday night; Baba and I dropped him off at the airport. Last week was quite stressful, what with the parents arriving and M's packing still to be done. There were a zillion errands, though I guess the lion's share fell to M. In spite of that long rambling post, my (self-inflicted?) struggles with housework/cooking continue (which is actually stupid if you consider how little I have to do given that I have a maid). All that and general listlessness meant a bad week – lots of grrr and sniff. So maybe the One above thought: I'll send him off to New York for a month and we'll see how you feel then. OKAY, I FEEL AWFUL, now send him back already!
I'm quite grateful that M had a smooth, uneventful trip. He'd been worrying about the immigration routine (after I told him about our Homeland Security experience and some terrifying story about a cousin who was apparently detained for six hours), his family was worrying about it and all the recent O(b/s)ama happenings had him worried even more. Being a meticulous planner, he did everything he could to prepare in advance, including studying his documents on the plane! By the time he left, we were all nervous too, and everyone was waiting to hear that he'd arrived with no trouble. Turns out his fears were all in vain:
He had selected a seat at the rear end of the plane, so it took him half an hour just to disembark. I had told him there'd be huge lines once he arrived at the airport but thanks to that half-hour there were none by the time it was his turn. He went straightaway to the immigration desk where the following happened (at least what my sieve-like memory says):
Immigration officer: Hello. Aap Hindi bolte hain?
<At this point, I asked, 'Oh, a white immigration officer asked you that?' And he said, 'No, an Indian'>
IO: Aap Hyderabad se hain?
IO: Is this your first visit to the U.S.?
IO: Achche mazey karrein! Welcome to New York!
<And then he stamped M's passport>
Aur welcome bhi kis se? Imran bhai! Kyaaa bhai!
And then he waved him off. :D So there's M's extreme fear of the routine and there's the anti-climax: a Hyderabadi immigration officer welcoming him! I put it all down to his mom's fervent duas. (Lesson of the day: Never underestimate the power of the 'maa ki dua'!) I was so relieved when I heard this story, that I was guffawing (do girls guffaw?) all throughout his narration of it (which I must say, was quite entertaining).
He'd been scoffing at my oohs and aahs marveling at the wonder that is New York Sittayh (that's how our sunset cruise tour guide said it) but when I asked him how he liked the city, he sounded quite awed himself. Humph.
* * *
Ammaarah very kindly offered to sleep beside me on Saturday, stating that I'd feel bad sleeping alone. She sometimes asks me for my hand and wraps her arms around my arm and goes to sleep. I am supposed to tell her stories, and she doesn't like being told stories with morals or those that she's heard before. I've woken up a couple of times in the night to some sound kicks to my side -- like most little kids, her position in bed mirrors the hour hand on the clock. I'd woken up much before her this morning so when I was in the bathroom I heard her walk up to her Nanu crying, 'Peemmiiiiii, Peemmmiii kidhar gaye' and her Nanu said in her no-nonsense way, 'Uthte hi rone ki kya zaroorat hai? Yahin hai, bathroom mein'
In one of her extremely affectionate (and sometimes violent) moods she wrapped her arms around my legs and said, "Main aapku godh mein uthaoon?"
I said, "Nai, aapku maar lagti, mat karo"
And then she said, "Uno uthaye the na aapku?"
I was busy tidying up, so I said without thinking, "Kaun?"
And she just signaled with her head to her right, "Uno"
I started laughing but pretended to be ignorant. I wondered why she would feel shy to mention his name. "Kaun ji?"
"Unoich, jisse aapki shadi hui thi!"
:D :D :D
I said again, "Kaun?"
So she said, "M uncle! Yaad hai aapku?"
I said, "Meku toh yaad hai, lekin aapku kaisa yaad hai?"
To which she nonchalantly replied, "Main dekhi thi na picture mein"
* * *
Last night while going to bed:
Ammaarah (fidgeting and fiddling with her lip): "Aap yahan haath lagao meku – ek hole hogaya. Sssssss – bhot dard hora"
Sleepily, I said, "Aap choro woh, khud theek ho jaata"
The complaints continued. I was thinking about the litany of such pains and aches that I'd heard from her during the day and wondered how many were just pleas for attention.
She brought my attention to her lip again.
I repeated, "Aap so jao. Khud theek ho jaata. Kitne toh bhi dard hote Ammaarah aapku?"
I thought she'd get offended and defend herself against my (unmentioned) allegations of faking them.
She just giggled wonderingly - hi hi hi. "Hau… sahi bhi, nai?"
And I felt really bad to have said so.
* * *
The muster, fuster and I played Old Maid yesterday and the day before. It was so much fun! Especially how Baba knows immediately whenever Mummy gets the Old Maid card and then he's afraid he'll be the one getting it next and goes "Iqbal bhai, bolo qatra hai ya khatra hai?!"
* * *
I have no complaints about the client work that I'm doing – I feel useful. But I've come to HATE making decks. The writing, the formatting, the smart art-ting so that the audience doesn't get overwhelmed by the text, the editing, the re-editing, the comments… ugh. I just got an email asking for help on another deck.
Nahiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin! (Btw, must add, 'na-hee', with the cutest emphasis on the 'h' is Ammaarah's favourite response to almost anything)