Monday, February 20, 2012
(This post is an entry for the Kissan 100% Real Blogger contest on Indiblogger)
Do you remember that Bryan Adams' song "Summer of '69". I used to love it (still do). I think of the summer of 69 when I think of the time in my life when I was completely, unequivocally, 100% happy and content. When my son was about 18 months old, we moved to the USA and I had to give up my job in India. For the first time, I had to devote myself to my son 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, I had to do laundry, ironing, vaccuming, dishwashing, dusting, grocery-shopping and cooking. So many things that had been outsourced to cheap domestic help back in India, now fell on my not-so-slender shoulders.
But then, we had moved to Northern California, in the first bloom of spring. Gorgeous days, each one more beautiful than the last, stretched endlessly before us. There was just a hint of friskiness in the breeze that caressed us as we lay under our favourite walnut tree in the park. I spent hours reading books checked out from the library, while my son Advaith played with his cars and trucks on the grass. Occasionally, I raised a languid head to make sure he wasn’t getting into any mischief.
As spring stretched into summer, we made new friends, found our way around, and established a routine. The apartment was a mess, most of the time. I was too busy caring for a toddler to do much more than the most basic housekeeping. I was hopelessly in love with my son and extremely aware of the fleeting nature of his toddlerhood. I wanted to capture as many precious memories of this stage, as I could. The days got longer, and we played in the park in the mornings. I delighted in his minor achievements. Going down the slide, hanging from the monkey bars or even playing in the sand-pit, it seemed to me that there never was a cuter, better child. In the evenings, we would slowly walk down a kilometer to the train station, to receive Daddy. We would factor in a good hour to amble down the sidewalk. Every flower, every crack in the pavement, every tiny shoot had to be minutely examined by the little fella. Water hydrants, trees, cars and trucks, shop windows, each of these received the same critical attention, followed by a torrent of questions. Why? What? How? When? Leaves, pebbles, twigs were lovingly collected, washed at home and scattered in various parts of the house.
Those were months of infinite leisure, and infinite possibilities. Even as I was caught in the daily drudgery of household chores, it seemed as though I had all the time in the world to (quite literally) stop and smell the flowers. The sun always seemed to shine, the air was pure and clean, and I was the reigning goddess of my baby’s life (a position I would easily hold on to until he turned 5!). Even months and months later, when I was exhausted and depressed and surrounded by baby food and diapers (my second one having arrived by this time), I would hold on to the golden memories of that spring and summer, when I had the best, most unadulterated time of my life.
Will my son remember anything of all that? Very unlikely. But me – why -- even now, sometimes I fondly look back and think, of all the happy times in my life (and there have been plenty), this was the best.