That morning I had decided to try out, again, the baby gym that Vijay had bought for Peanut. She tends to be fascinated by the flashing lights and the music for a few minutes before breaking into panicked wails - and it was the same that day as well. Grumbling to myself about Vijay's excesses, I rescued her, but left her gym set up on the bed.
Later, Abhimanyu burst into the house and into our room, with his usual 'Oye!'. He then gave Peanut a silly, adoring grin, remarking how she's getting prettier every time he sees her.
I noticed he was carrying a huge, artistically wrapped package under his arm - and at about the same time, he caught sight of the baby gym on the bed. The grin dropped off his face immediately, replaced by a look of disbelief and despair - 'You're kidding me, right?'
I started laughing ' You didn't! You bought her a baby gym, too? The same one?'
He continued to stare in a depressed manner at the gym on the bed and said in an uncharacteristically small voice 'Noo....I think that one is bigger and better...'
I felt sorry for him because he looked so disappointed -but also a bit irritated 'You mean you haven't been reading my blog for weeks? I wrote about Vijay buying that for her and that she's scared by it.'
He quickly changed the subject, asking accusingly 'When did he buy that?'
'A month back'
He said 'But I bought mine a month back... (implying that it was thus impossible that Vijay could have simultaneously done the same) ...I just kept forgetting to bring it over'
I told him, never mind and thanked him for the very generious gift, and assured him that it would probably be very useful - after all, one can never have too many baby gyms, I said.
Slightly cheered by this blatant lie, Abhi then insisted on setting up the gym on my bed. Now, considering that our room is so cluttered by toys and other baby stuff for Peanut that I worry about one day not being able to find her in it, I tried to dissuade him from this, saying we would most likely use it in Bombay instead - but he would not listen. Promising me that he would put it back in the box, he picked up the instruction manual and set it at all up. He then spent some time chatting with me -while gazing at his gift in satisfaction,and alternating this with the occasional malevolent stare at Vijay's purchase.
When it was time for Abhi to leave, I gently pointed out that with the two large baby gyms, and the baby's rocker, there was now no room left for me on the bed and reminded him of his promise to carefully repack the gym. He then unceremoniously stuffed it back into the box, with one giraffe's neck sticking out and half the pieces falling onto the floor. I ushered him out somewhat gladly - and he promised to be back again soon. Anyway, upon closer examination, it turned out the baby gym that Abhi has bought is a longer lasting one because it's for three stages ( lying on the back, tummy play and sitting up) - and though it lacks the flashing lights and sounds of the other one, considering that Peanut seems overwhelmed by them, this may be a good thing. So all in all, very useful indeed.
And even if it weren't, this was a very thoughtful gesture from one of my oldest and best friends, my sarcastic and offbeat designer pal, the most unlikely to ever be so fascinated by a baby - my Peter Pan, the boy who never seems to grow up - the one who still resents the thought that he is now to be called 'Uncle' by anybody, even if it is Peanut.
There's only one thing I can say to you at this point, Abhi.
'Thank you, Unkil'
And, oh - read my blog more often.