Scene on Sunday night: We're having a bad night - especially me - with little Pickle who refuses to sleep properly.
We're exhausted by 6 a.m. when he wakes up all bright and chirpy. He wants to play -when I ask Vijay to mind him for a little bit, while I catch some overdue shut-eye given the gruelling week that lies ahead, the husband attempts to oblige, but Pickle starts to cry. He has become extremely attached to me, and tends to get really upset when I hand him over to anyone else. It's as flattering as it is exhausting and I take him back from Vijay, but Vijay is annoyed and mutters ' I can't wait for him to grow up...I will give him a good beating...'
I get upset about this. Pickle had a rough start with his jaundice, and ten days of phototherapy and I still shudder when I think of him under that harsh bright light, lying there naked but for a nappy and a blindfold that he always scratched off his face. I tell Vijay 'You'll do nothing of the sort...he's such a sweetheart'.
'He's such a gunda' says Vijay with feeling. 'I'm sure he got switched at the nursery. He's not like Peanut or Papad'.
'Nonsense' I say and turn away. I've heard this one before. Pickle does look different from the other two - Papad was almost a carbon copy of Peanut at a similar age. What a mean thought, though.
But Vijay persists. 'I'm telling you. It's possible'. Then a thought occurs to him and he asks me with a rather evil smile 'So tell me - what would you do if it were true? If we found out now that Pickle was not ours and had got changed with our real baby in the nursery?'.
I'm not letting him get to me. 'That's easy' I declare 'We'll keep the other baby too and we'll have four and that way they can all play carrom nicely with each other'.
Vijay scoffs at me 'Oh come on. It's not like the other baby would still just be in the nursery after 8 months, you know. He would be with Pickle's real parents - and they would want a baby too. So tell me now - what would you do? Would you give away Pickle and take back the real twin?'
I think hard about it and after a few moments, I am completely flummoxed. The question is an incredibly difficult one. I begin to feel truly uncomfortable until it occurs to me that the question is also a truly inane and unnecessary one. I turn back to Vijay and ask him what the specific reason for this particular Monday Morning Mindf**k is.
He just giggles like a schoolgirl, and it is clear that he has truly enjoyed the conversation.