Monday, November 17, 2008

Baby's Day Out

For all those who think that kids and babies are sweet, think again! Chance is that you never have had the misfortune of having a baby as a co-traveler. Till a couple of weeks back, i thought that babies and kids were the most adorable (not necessarily innocent) things on this earth. No More.
My perspective on kids and babies has changed and changed for the good. On a recent flight to Delhi from Bombay, i had the chance of sitting next to a mother and her baby who must have been a year old or so. The baby i mean. So there she enters the plane and fumbles through the entrance passage.All this while she somehow manages to hold onto her handbag with one hand and the necessary supplies for the baby in the other. The baby meanwhile very acrobatically manages to hold onto her mother's neck and still, as if by some magic, stops short of suffocating her mother to death. By the time the mother-baby pair manage to wriggle past other passengers and make it to the seat next to me, the mother has managed to drop a few of the items she was carrying and the baby is now almost hanging precariously from the mother's neck. It takes them another five minutes before they finally settle down thereby giving me a chance to go through the contents of a baby's basic-survival-kit. This ofcourse includes the milk bottle with milk dripping from all its sides, some white powdery material which i presume were cookies that have been battered by the baby, the quintessential diapers and a few other things with which i still cannot associate a proper name. Then there are the lego bricks which the baby seems to find more appetising than the bruised cookies; A small plastic zoo-set with plastic animals like the lion with the head missing, the elephant with an amputated leg, the camel without its hump and some other animals which had been distorted beyond recognition. My theory is that the baby will definitely grow upto be a hard core non vegetarian and somehow plastic tastes much better than farex. A few minutes into the flight and the baby decides its time to let her frustration out. To ensure that enough people take note of her frustration, she stands erect on her mother's lap and lets out a shriek that would even put Tarzan's call to shame. The mother, who seems well aware of the kid's tactic just gives me an embarassed smile but does nothing else. Once this ceremonial ritual has been completed the baby settles down into her mother's lap and gets back to her business of spilling the farex from the bottle all around in the name of drinking milk. The mother meanwhile keeps coming up with never-heard-of-before games like "Say hi to the uncle sitting next to you", "Try and sit on the lap of uncle sitting next to you", " Try and hit the uncle sitting next to you with lego bricks", "Spill some farex on the uncle's trousers" and several such variations of the game which the baby lapped up with renewed enthusiasm
. In between, the baby would resort to a lot of scheming and trickery. Every time she seemed to be dozing off, i would heave a sigh of relief and the very next moment i would be hit with a barrage of lego bricks followed by the most cruel of giggles you can ever hear. The gentleman within me would immediately respond with a smile, pick up all the lego bricks and hand it back to the mother so that the kid could resume its business. In return for my kindness and my sportsman spirit, the mother would offer me a few of the battered cookies. Every 15 minutes, with clockwork regularity, the baby would start and cry for exactly 2 minutes and 27 seconds. After which, it would giggle loudly and make mocking faces at me for another 45 seconds. It would then get back to playing its cruel games.
I fervently kept praying for the flight to crash or burn out in mid air but my prayers went unanswered. The ordeal lasted exactly two hours and i could not thank my stars enough when we finally separated