The Da-Da chronicles is my attempt to narrate tales from the excitingly unpredictable 'condition' that we know as fatherhood, based on my now foggy memory. While the topic itself should seize the interest of many, the fact that I will pepper my reflections with an Indian touch should clinch the deal for those pondering whether or not to continue reading. For, a little 'Desi' flavor can produce something really meaningful and profound or we could have a three ring circus. I will do my best to maintain a fine balance. What follows should be a series of eyebrow-raising anecdotes that might make some men aver 'I am not going within 100 feet of any child'. But secretly, I am hoping that these mostly amusing tales will encourage you to spawn some offspring of your own! But let me tell you something that I tell all my friends very earnestly. "Listen, if you have any problems with your kids, need any advice or helpful hints, need support or encouragement.....DON'T COME TO ME!!". Just because I have two little ones who have rather non-violently(dirty diapers flung randomly at you don't count) commandeered my home does not make me the Dr. Phil of parenting. Not that I think Dr. Phil can help you either!
Now the reason I have titled my series as the Da-Da chronicles is because 'Da-Da' is one word when uttered in a child's voice that gets my complete attention no matter what I may have been doing. I could be performing an excruciatingly difficult task like brain surgery, trying to understand my wife is saying or simply taking a nap. One utterance of 'Da-Da' and I am completely alert in my 'watchout!' pose (one hand covering my groin, the other protecting my stooped head) sneaking glances through my half-closed eyes. This patented move was honed over several years of painful collisions, smacks with various toys, hot liquids being poured and "Hey look, I know Karate"' kind of incidents. (If I find enough people interested, I can teach a class on this life-saving technique). But the more honest, from-the-heart reason is because 'Da-Da' is one of the sweetest sounds in the world to me. My son (who will sometimes be referred to here as 'why-God-why? ') began calling me Da-Da much before he could say any other word (my wife vainly tries to claim that this isn't true). And the way he says it can lift me up from any distressing state of mind that I myself in. But my daughter, who will at times be referred to as the 'pocket-Tornado', is a different story. Even though she is the younger of the two, at all of 17 months old, she says it with a ferocity that makes me feel like I have done something seriously wrong. She says the two 'Da's' distinctly with an ever so small pause in between and stressing each one of them really hard. It often sounds like two grenades being dropped close to me. No wonder then, that it always grabs my attention.
But this story began almost six years ago. Back then, I was this newly wedded young man, who had not yet been smacked with any pans/bats/diapers, looking forward to some blissful years with his beloved bride. We had just returned from India after surviving the pandemonium that we know as an Indian marriage. It was our time to relax, whisper sweet nothings and spend 'quality' time together. Little was I aware of the machinations that were going on in her head. It seems that by Indian customs, once you get married, you should waste no time in producing an offspring. The elders will not rest until you have a screaming, squirming, 'clean-my-dirty-diaper' baby in your hand. Until then, you will be incessantly bombarded with "when are you going to have a baby?" also known as "when can I see you in extreme discomfort?" kind of questions. If that does not work, they will try extreme, reserved for utmost emergencies kind of measures. Taking a shot at your manliness that is. They dish out helpful suggestions like 'drink warm milk with a pinch of haldi before going to bed', 'eat 3 to 4 almonds a day' or 'don't stand too close to the microwave'. Trust me, the last thing you want to picture in your head while getting romantic with your spouse is your grandmother nodding her head and flashing a thumbs-up sign. But alas, no amount of granny grins could stop the inevitable. But what did happen?? Well, the upside-down smile on the editor's face at the length of this post suggests that I continue this narrative in my next post...where I will talk about how life as I knew it, ceased to exist!