You haven't heard from me in a few weeks. No, we did not have another baby (shub shub bolo!). I have successfully thwarted all lures from the Mrs. to bring forth another one. It takes two to Tango you see. I think. The thing is, I was mentally fatigued from answering all the "whys" that my son was throwing at me. I mean, what do you say when he asks "Why" when you tell him that two plus two is four? This after I had just convinced him that two plus one is three. Details of such grueling sessions will be related in a future post. But for now, back to a particular experience from my early days of fatherhood:
When friends or relatives visit you to have a glimpse of your baby soon after its birth, I have often heard them comment that the baby looked liked one of the parents. Some get very specific and declare that he has his father's goofy ears or his mother's enchanting eyes. Thankfully, I have not heard anyone comment on anything below the baby's neck. This ritual of comparison always makes me nervous. While I can tackle the hardest of exams with relative nonchalance, identifying who the baby looks like is, for me, an exercise in futility. To me all babies look like one thing when they are born. Aliens. Well sometimes they look like really old people that have been shrunk and lost their clothing in the process. And trying to figure out who the baby looks like with such thoughts racing through my mind, puts me in a quandary. Much like when my wife wears a new garment and asks me "Does this make me look fat?". While in the past I have refrained from answering such questions about the baby's looks with diversions like "I smell something. I think the baby needs a change", these days I take it to a new level.
These days I compare a part of the baby's face to someone
famous. But I throw in some added details. Something like "His nose
looks like how Sunny Deol's nose looked in the movie Ghatak when he was beating the snot out of Danny Denzongpa".
And much to my merriment I get to observe the parent wrinkle his brow
and think hard, trying to recall the said comparison and almost all of
the time, agree hesitantly with me. And that's what I do when I am
driving to the visit the new parents. Conjure up impossible comparisons
while my wife who knows what's going on in my head gives me dirty looks.
And she would try her best to prevent me from answering the question
when asked by either giving her opinion of whom the baby looked like or
declaring that I am not good at identifying such things. But I always
get my say and I get to leave the place with the poor dad scratching his
pate wondering "Does the baby really look like that?".
But the one thing that I have always wanted to do but
haven't summoned the courage to do so yet is this. When the baby is
first presented and the all important question is posed to me, I want to
ask loudly (in a Paresh Rawal kind of way), "Who's baby is this?
Where's your baby??". And when they respond that the baby I am looking
at is indeed theirs, I want to say "Are you sure? The nurse may have
made a mistake! This baby does not look like either of you! Why, look at
his chin, it looks just like Jay Leno's chin had a baby and this child
inherited it". And after that my friends, I am sure no one will ever
expectantly ask me "So, who does the baby look like?"
When Keith was born, I was unanimously told that he was a spitting image of me. "He looks just like you" they would say. And all I would say in return was "Really? Poor fellow!".