Sunday, January 27, 2013

What 'Ambitious' Means

Before I tell you this little story, here's a little feature on some interesting (heh heh) books and authors in today's Hindustan Times Brunch. 


Friday was a holiday for the kids, so I thought I might take them to see their grandma.
Oh. But Vijay had taken the driver to Jaipur. Hmm.
It struck me that I could be adventurous, and take them for their first ever ride on the metro – well, Peanut has been with me a couple of times but it would be a first for the twins. And it wouldn’t be THAT bad  with sprightly young Rinki to help me– just two trains and a rickshaw ride and kaboom, we’d be at  my mom’s – their Didu’s.
I announced to the three of them ‘Would you like to go in the metro-train?’
They immediately began to bounce off the walls, especially when it was revealed to them that their destination was No-i-dia as they call it, and they’d be meeting Didu a.k.a. Lollipop Lady.
Rinki dropped a bomb on me at this point, pulling me to the side and saying she had a ‘problem’ with train travel because it was that time of the month. I tried for a couple of minutes to find out why but then gave up quickly when she started to explain in detail.
It would have to be the K.
Oh dear. That would be like taking four kids, I thought. But then I steeled myself. The kids were already looking forward to it, and so was their Didu, to whom a quick call had already been made. Therefore, we were going to go.
The K meandered up at this point and I told her that we were going in the train and that she should not carry any sharp objects like scissors, nail-cutters etc as is her wont.
She scoffed at me with the air of the seasoned traveller and said of course, she knew that.
The maids started to get the kids ready while I attempted to go in for a bath, being accosted on the way several times by the K who was worriedly asking me things like
‘Main apna chashma le jaaoon?’
‘Apna phone?’
And about twenty minutes later, we were off.
As we walked to the metro, I was holding Pickle and Peanut’s hands. I turned around and glanced behind me towards the K and Papad, and I noticed that young Papad had happily climbed into K’s arms.
‘Papad!’ I scolded ‘Get down – you have to walk.’
‘No.’ He informed me categorically.
‘You won’t be allowed on the metro train then.’ I lied.
He got off sulkily and started toddling by the K’s side, both of them looking distinctly less happy than before.
However, as soon as we got to the metro station, I realized we would have to carry the babies since we would be taking the escalator. So I picked up Pickle, positioned K and Papad in front of me in the vague hope that I would be able to prevent them from falling and held Peanut’s hand. We all stepped on. Thankfully, K maintained her balance. Pickle and Papad had never been on an escalator, I realized, given their sudden delighted and surprised peals of baby laughter that had us all smiling and in a good mood. The next few minutes were relatively smooth - although there were a couple of tense moments when I was presenting the tokens and trying to get everyone through the gates. Despite this, we were soon standing on the platform waiting for our train.
And then as we all stepped into the ladies compartment.
It was crowded – no seats available, I realized and my heart sank. It was a long journey to be standing and carrying the babies all the way. But I had underestimated my twins.
Papad cried plaintively ‘Main KAHAN Baithoongi?’. ( Clarification: we have Bengali maids, hence the gender confusion.)
A young lady politely offered her seat to the K, and I thanked her profusely. K sat down with Papad in her lap. But this was all too much for Pickle.
‘Main KAHAN Baithoongi?’
I was mortified, but the lady next to the K philosophically stood up and offered her seat to me. I sat down and before Peanut could say Main Kahan Baithoongi, squeezed her in between me and K. The entire row had to scoot over a little bit, but for the moment we were okay.
Then Pickle spied a young college girl munching on some chips nonchalantly.
‘Kaun Bachha Chips kha rahan hai?’ He called loudly, quite affronted by not having any chips offered to him. The girl was standing too far away to hear him, so he demonstrated his impeccable upbringing by calling ‘Danda se maaroon sab ko?’ I shushed him, trying to ignore the amused looks we were getting.
They quieted down for a bit and looked around curiously. Some women were still gazing at them bemusedly and murmuring something about twins.
Papad remarked ‘ Bahut saara Uncle!’
Pickle corrected him ‘Bahut saara Aunty.’ And they both began to try to outdo each other waving their arms to indicate the large number of aunties. This had the ladies tittering and merrily repeating ‘Bahut saara Aunty.’
After about three stations, Papad announced ‘Noi-dia aa gaya! Chalein!’ and he got off the K’s lap to try and get off the train. We stopped him and he fought us tooth and nail. Pickle followed suit, sliding off my lap and screaming when I tried to get him back. We found ourselves in a very embarrassing position now - K and me were sitting, occupying the seats of the two ladies who were still standing next to us and watching us, with Pickle and Papad stubbornly standing in front of us, straining to get away. My cheeks burned as we sat there, sans babies, looking sheepish.
Only the miraculous invention called Cheeselings which had been packed into a small box for such an emergency, convinced them to get back onto our laps. But of course, this soon led to another mini-war between all three of the children, ending with a whole bunch of Cheeselings on the floor, as our fellow passengers looked on with a mixture of pity, horror and amusement.
I then noticed Pickled reaching out to try and poke a lady who was standing near us. I stopped him in the nick of time. He protested ‘Aunty Happy ho jayegi.’ I told him that aunty would not be happy, knowing full well that he was probably right and it would elicit a smile, given that he's a chubby two year old. He squealed in annoyance and resumed his attempt to touch her arm ‘Aunty HAPPY ho jayegi NA!’
Horrified that my own son might turn into one of those men who poke ladies while on public transport insisting that Aunty Happy Ho jayegi, I restrained him, but he was terribly upset with me about this. Thankfully, after about twelve stops, the torture was over for the time being and we got out to change lines to the train that would take us to Didu's.
Another escalator ride, at Rajiv Chowk station and a burst of baby giggles had us all in a good mood all over again. Our mood wasn’t even dampened much by the fact that we just missed the train to Noi-dia thanks to my bright idea of ducking into a store in a failed attempt to find something to eat for the kids. We just waited another few moments and soon enough, the next train arrived.
We stepped in.
Damn. It was crowded. Not a single seat.
And then Papad sang out in a plaintive baby voice ‘Main KAHAN Baithoongi.’
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

They say I’m ambitious because I try to manage a job, three children and a career in writing.
But, going to Noi-dia by Metro with 3 P’s and a K. Now THAT, my friends, is Ambitious. 


  1. Wow a train ride with 3 kids is ambitious, the last time Iwas in delhi a metro ride with 1 kid and 3 adults to supervise was adventurous! I laughed out loud at Pickle's daanda semaroon sab ko.

  2. Wow a train ride with 3 kids is ambitious, the last time Iwas in delhi a metro ride with 1 kid and 3 adults to supervise was adventurous! I laughed out loud at Pickle's daanda semaroon sab ko.

  3. Oh God Y!! U hav no idea...i was puttng my son to bed while readng this on mbl...n laughed out really loud at
    ‘Kaun Bachha Chips kha rahan hai?’
    Danda se maaroon sab ko?’I stratled my son with my booming laughter. N wats with " baithungi"? They copy peanut na? Tell them ek aunty to pukka happy ho gayi...poking or no poking...<3- Mini

  4. N thank god,this time Lady K was not carryng any blade...Nw m laughng,remembering the chai episode btwn K n Vijay- Mini again

  5. Woohoo! Bravo...and hugs to three Ps.

  6. Can't stop laughing!!!!!
    Truly ambitious, that's wghat you are.

  7. This one had me spluttering right over the screen!!! A good laugh :)

  8. Laugh Out Loud funny!!! And you are right . This redefines Ambitious alright!


  9. Why do the boys keep saying baithoongi? :P Anyway your kids and the K are a hoot!

  10. ha ha ha..:D are actually very brave...i mean i have seen people making faces at how can one even possibly think of takin a metro with kids!!..but this is really great..:) you are an inspiration...:)..:)

  11. I'm snorting away and thanking that there's no one else in the office today.
    What fun you seem to have had!!

  12. Ambitious indeed... I am still laughing at Aunty happy ho jayegi :D

  13. Had me laughing throughout! Especially the "impeccable upbringing"! Nothing like some sarcasm to brighten up a Monday morning! :)

  14. I was laughing away all the way!!! Too good. I HAVE to meet the kid soon :)

  15. You are ambitious. Lol.. Super dialogue by P's. Kaun baccha chips ka raha hai.. Can't stop laughing...

  16. This had me ROFL! And I had to comment for the first time! Thispost was HILARIOUS! The gender confusion is too funny. My three year old does that too. Although we have not Bengali maids and he speaks only English, he addresses all women/girls as 'he'. He will ask my hubby: Where did HE go? referring to me!

  17. LOL.... way too funny.... would have loved to be there!!!!

  18. What a delightful post! Now, I want my teenage boys to be little again.

  19. Hi y.i have been lurking around for a while but I had to comment on this post.totally hilarious. Cant stop laughing.

  20. this one was hilarious :))) I'm in the middle of a conf call and laughing away on mute...thx for making a boring call endurable :)

    Kaun Bachha Chips kha rahan hai?’
    Danda se maaroon sab ko?
    indeed :)

    my 3.5 yr old does come up with similar gems ...but 2 together are just more creative arent they?

  21. stopping by after ages and what a coffee-snorting treat! I totally need a t-shirt that says, "Aunty Happy Ho Jayegi, Na!"

  22. Hey! It was sheer fun going through the bubbly kids' reactions to queer situations! The title caught my eye as I too am an ambitious lady always on look out as how to prove my metal but then what you gave as content was just unpredictable! Even we went to NOIDA a couple of days back. One of my cousins picked us up in his majestic car but then my kids insisted to go by Metro!! He was amused n dropped us on the road again saying he would catch up with us n would be there again to pick us up as the ride ended to Noida City Center. We felt like fools having dropped the comfortable car ride just to cater their whimsical demand and face the rush n all. It was a spectacle as we all struggled with our tokens n enter the tiny gates! My five year daughter kept singing the names of the stations scrolling on a display board inside the train while my son watched amused how simple things like that could give pleasure to be cherished for long.

  23. post is hilarious...simply loved it....

  24. Hahahhaah hohohoho @ 'Aunty happy hojayegi'. such cute kids you have Yashodhara :)


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