Almost obscenely abundant greenery everywhere, emerald paddy fields, rubber plantations, clean roads, grey menacing clouds – where else but in Kerala? I was in Palakkad for a couple of days for a project that are pitching for. As always, I was blown away by the natural beauty all around me. S and I have done Kerala in bits and pieces over the years and managed to cover most of the state but Palakkad is one district we have never visited.
Anyway, back to basics. S has been in absentia, on a fair bit of travel for the last month. The last week, he was in Gurgaon on a flexible schedule and therefore I pushed for my work-related travel to happen during this time. There was a tiny bit of apprehension since this would be the first time that he would be alone with the kids and handling the routine craziness of a school day. I was confident that he could do it provided the domestic help landed up on time and did not take every other day off as they have been doing of late. As it happens, my maid and cook have a soft corner for bhaiya; clearly they think he is some hapless male forced to take on child-rearing responsibilities while didi goes off on pleasure jaunts. S was very confident that they would report to work without fail and on time, something they somehow never manage with me! I’m happy to report that his confidence was not misplaced, though I’m also sure they are going to play truant now that I am back.
In fact, the only challenge they faced was how to tie Y’s hair, S never having learnt how to handle a hairband! We had a 15 minute negotiation before I left. Y sweetly suggested that Appa learn how to braid her hair to form 2 plaits. I countered that it wasn’t necessary and that she should be content with one ponytail for the 4 days that I would be away. She was most reluctant (she doesn’t like the single ponytail) but once we were able to convince her that she actually looked better with one pony instead of two, she gave in with bad grace. I’m glad that was the only roadblock we encountered!
S says he was able to manage just fine but that his work had to take a backseat, being crammed into the few hours when the kids were at school. He apparently had a long conf-call with the folks in the US and Y sat quietly at his side throughout, working with her crayons and glitter pens. This might be an important milestone for us in our journey towards (more or less) equally-shared parenting.
Clearly, they all managed just fine without me (maybe even better!). Have I made myself redundant? I certainly hope so!