Which is why it was most fascinating to see their behaviour around Peanut.
Abhimanyu ( 'Don't call me Uncle' ) could only keep staring at the baby and grinning like an idiot. He was the first person outside the family to see Peanut, at the hospital itself - and I don't think he has stopped grinning like an idiot ever since. These spells of grinning idiocy were broken only by his shocked gasps when he saw Vijay manhandling the baby.
Vijay, of course, believes in, umm, 'strengthening' the baby with a little bit of occasional 'exercise' - he does get carried away a bit and tries to manipulate her facial expressions by hand - Abhimanyu was totally aghast to see this behaviour, and kept telling Vijay that her bones are soft and still forming and he shouldn't be doing stuff like this, as below:
Vijay laughed cockily at Abhimanyu's expressed fears -until Peanut decided to get her own back. Now, she occasionally tends to cross her big eyes, and while my sister and I had seen this before, Vijay had not. So he was grinning in her face while playing with her, when she decided to smile really widely -but with her eyes crossed. He yelped in fright 'Hey! Iss ko kya ho gaya!? Why are her eyes like that?' He clearly thought for that one moment that his rough-housing had resulted in rattling something loose inside her, resulting in a cock-eyed child. She went back to normal again pretty quickly but it was good fun to see his reaction.
Abhimanyu, being a product designer by profession, had his usual know-it-all attitude about the pictures I've been taking. 'You suck at this...your settings are all wrong...let me do it...'. Being around the baby had clearly addled his brain. This was made clear when he finished a supercilious remark with the information that I needed a 'gooder' camera.
And again, by his reaction, when he kept failing to find a setting that did not use the flash (He was convinced that the constant use of the flash is going to blind the baby). After he took a yet another picture of her at close range and the camera flashed in her eyes, making her blink, Vijay heard Abhi muttering to himself 'Dammit! The flash went off again...hurting her eyes...I better delete this picture...'
We laughed at him a lot.
This is him following his self-imposed 'Look but don't touch' policy.
Richa had flown down from New York with a whole load of baby stuff, on which she has clearly spent a fortune. She clearly feels a sense of ownership of 'our baby' as she puts it, as borne out by her first SMS to me after Peanut was born, asking 'Does she have my eyes?'. Being a fashion designer, she took on the role of Peanut's self appointed hair stylist and subjected the poor baby girl to the following looks.
1. The Pixie Look
2. The disgruntled fat, oily bureaucrat look:
3. The Punk Rocker Look (Richa is holding up a tissue behind Peanut's head to show off the style in all its glory):
Vijay left after a while, and then it was the three of us, talking about our lives, and how things had changed in the 12 years we've known each other. We kept breaking off to watch the baby making her usual funny faces in her sleep.
Abhimanyu's sentiments were summed up at the end of the evening as they were leaving. He gripped my shoulder tight and in a gruff voice, said the two words any woman is always delighted to hear in this new phase of her life.'Good Job'.
Anyway, this is one of the three decent pictures (out of 30 attempts) that Abhi had taken. Given Vijay's constant hogging of her, I am quite happy to have at least one picture with my daughter. I am only attempting a slight tug at her cheek to cause a smile - not at all distorting her features like her father does.