Only recently, Darsheel Safary (the child actor in Taare Zameen Par) got nominated in the Filmfare 2007 Best Actor category and gave Shah Rukh Khan a run for his money. Thankfully, King Khan managed to win the award….but I am sure SRK hates the kid`s guts.
As it happens in all super heroes` lives…..this Saturday my life was also affected by a 12 month old girl – no, not my daughter. This baby girl stays in our apartment and celebrated her birthday on 1st March. Here is why I hate her.
Having had a bit of wine on Friday night, I got up Saturday with a mild hangover. The innocent lady that my wife is, she said: “You seem to be having regular headaches. Shouldn`t we check with an optician if your glasses are fine?”
I didn`t want to tell her that my glasses were fine…and it was what I poured into them that was the issue. Anyway, the point is….I didn`t have a great beginning to the weekend.
While sitting at my dinning table with my head in my hands, the door bell rang. When opened, I saw a handsome couple with an invitation card.
Their daughter was celebrating her first birthday and they were throwing a lavish party….and we were being invited. It has been eight months since anybody invited us anywhere.
Rekha and I were startled, and didn`t know how to react. We grabbed the invitation and before uttering customary statements like “Ohhh! That`s so sweet…so how old is she?” “That`s neat…what is her name?” “Has she started walking….ours hasn`t.”….we slammed the door shut.
It was faint, so can`t be sure if I heard it right….but I think I heard somebody say: ‘Bunch of assholes` the moment I slammed the door.
I immediately called a domestic conference…where it was decided to do a tele- conference with our parents in Tamil Nadu and Kerala and seek advice on what to do. Their response was simple…buy a gift, wear glitzy clothes (apparently, that`s what Northies do at parties), wear some traditional ornaments to attract eyeballs….and be at the venue one hour late.
With a head that was singing praises of wine, we had to visit the nearest shopping mall to buy a gift. Reaching there was only 10% of the trouble….the rest was in buying a gift. Have you ever tried buying a gift for a 12-months-old? Especially, when you end up seeing the 12-month-old`s parents daily on morning walks?
“Can we buy this?” I asked pointing at a good, big package.
“That`s a video game to be played on game consoles.” Rekha rubbished me.
“Can we buy this?” I asked pointing at Monopoly.
“Twelve-month-olds don`t play Monopoly.” She rubbished me again.
After two disappointments, I didn`t suggest anything. If you have been in a mall looking for something for a 12-month-old…you probably understand my situation. After two hours and a hundred shops we found what a purist would describe as a “Train Baby Walker” for the simple reason that this baby walker had a train in the front that would create music (like AR Rahman) when the child tried to walk (Suggestive Image Given).
The Train Baby Walker cost us Rs 800 (ok, it cost us Rs 600 only, but it sounded cheap!) and after gift wrapping it we came back home.
Living in a city where you only have colleagues (and a few scattered friends here and there) has its drawbacks – one doesn`t get invited often. And when suddenly an invitation lands on your lap…the whole weekend goes for a toss.
Scared of being in a crowd of strangers, I decided not to dress up. While Rekha looked at silk sarees and ornaments from traditional Kerela jewelers, I opted to hold the baby.
“Why aren`t you dressing up? This is your chance to wear that shiny black shirt you paid two thousand for,” Rekha said.
“You know…if I don`t dress up I can pass off as the caterer and so wouldn`t have to strike conversations with strangers.” My wife seemed convinced and didn`t argue.
Though we were asked to be there at seven, we graced the occasion only at eight. The girl`s father walked up to us, turned towards Rekha and asked: “What happened…your husband didn`t come?”
And before Rekha could respond, he turned towards me and said: ‘Guests have started eating, why don`t you ensure the desserts are displayed now itself? Come on…don`t waste your time here.”
Like I said, I hate that 12-month-old girl.