Wednesday, Apr 26th

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Banished!

    If there is one thing that you will learn to do very well during the first few months of having a baby in your house, it is, learning to do everything very quietly. Because heaven forbid you should make a sound louder than a feather dropping to the floor. The resulting cacophony will awaken the baby and it will wail its lungs out. Picking up right where it left off the last time around. Like a CD that resumes from a pause. It would make me freeze right in the middle of what I was doing. Both the baby's crying and the killer stare from my wife. Many a times I left the house with my pants only half-zipped up for the fear of making too loud a noise. And as you can very well imagine, I had to completely give up eating beans.
   
    It was also during this time that I learnt how to do a lot of things in the dark. You see, there was a possibility, let me repeat, a possibility that the light could disturb the little one's slumber. And for someone like me who frequently visited the restroom in the middle of the night, this proved to be a big setback. Although I had a vague idea where different things lay around the house, it didn't stop me from bumping into things like the very sharp edge of the bed, portable fans, dehumidifiers, the walls and closed doors. Not to mention, stepping on soft squishy diapers that had been temporarily placed near the side of the bed by my wife after changing the baby during the night. This went to the extent of me having to get ready for work in the dark during winter. There were times when I would wear the same shirt for a few days to work since I had picked it up from the closet completely in the dark! Since my wife shared the closet, I think I once wore a pretty pink blouse. I came back into the house to change of course, but not before I caught the attention of an extra friendly man outside.
   
    Talking about these tribulations with my good-for-nothing friends led to a revelation. It was suggested that I should continue to mess up badly. The idea was to get banished from the bedroom where the baby slept. A particular friend of mine had perfected the art of getting banished so well, that, he got to hear about how his baby was doing only through phone calls, text messages from his wife and from folks who visited them! Or when he would lose his sense of direction and walk accidentally into the bedroom. But then again, he had perfected this knack through the course of having four kids. While I didn't quite take up on their advice, it did lead me to ask my wife if I could perhaps move to the guest bedroom. I had to invent an extremely time-critical and complex project at work to get it done, but to the guest room I went! And that my dear friends is why I still have my sanity intact (some of you may claim otherwise). Of course, my relocation to the guest bedroom meant that my mother-in-law had to move into the baby's bedroom. Long story short, suddenly the chapatis were getting burnt and chicken started tasting like bhaingan all over again. But the undisturbed sleep..aaah, blissful sleep was worth every long hair I found in my saambar.
   
    Getting serious for a minute, I must mention that for a father, holding a newborn brings out emotions in him that he may have never experienced before. In the past I had always declined from taking a baby in my arms for the fear of harming it in some way. I think many men that have this irrational fear. But once you learn to cradle your child in your arms, the joy, the love and the pride you feel is indescribable. Suddenly you are certain that you can never harm this child and you would do everything in your power to keep it safe and happy. And these emotions would inescapably well up in me when I would often rock my son to sleep to the sound of Sting singing 'Fields of Gold'.
   
    But my fear of hurting my son were unfounded. Babies are much tougher and resilient than one can imagine. As I soon found out....