Trying to get pregnant is hard enough, but your mom and ma-in-law keeping a hawk’s eye on your menstrual cycle, makes it even harder!
The chums are back. Another month of not being pregnant. I told Ramit and he gave me a hug. I don’t even know why I’m depressed. It’s probably because I feel like I’m letting everyone down. I’ve ignored all calls from Mom and Mummy today.
In the evening, I realized they can’t possibly know my period dates and I’m being overly paranoid. Hell, I have a tough time remembering my own dates. So I decided to call them back.
‘Kuch hua?’ my mom asked me the minute she answered the phone.
‘What do you mean!’
I was aghast! How was she keeping track of my dates better than me! I have the most interfering family ever! At least my mum-in-law would never keep track of my dates. My own mum’s really becoming too much!
Like how she keeps saying that so-and-so is not having a baby cause she’s so busy with her career. So much stress. What’s the obsession with money? Is her husband not earning enough? She should concentrate on the family. And the other so-and-so who’s not having a baby – it’s her lack of career to blame. She toh is a housewife. Left her job to become pregnant lekin ho nahin raha. It’s like being constipated despite having Isabgol.
So annoying! I had a good mind to slam down the phone.
‘Shania ke ticket ka … kuch hua?’ She continued, ‘Shania’s stuck in that dreadful Puducherry, na. She’s been telling us to help her with the tickets na. That’s why I’d messaged you in the morning to ask Ramit’s office or someone else to help with it. Kuch hua ki nahin?’
I think I’m a bunch of nerves about this whole pregnancy thing. My poor mother … We made small talk, discussed Mom’s fear of Shania returning with another tattoo, didn’t discuss babies and all in all, it was a good conversation. I put the phone down and called back Mummy.
‘It’s been one month since Chiku’s wedding,’ she said immediately.
My heart was thumping. She remembers I was chumming at Chiku’s wedding. It’s been a month. She’s the one who’s been calculating. I braced myself for the interrogation.
‘I miss you both,’ she said longingly. ‘It’s been so long since I last saw you!’
Oh! I really am getting too paranoid.
‘We were just there, Mummy,’ I told her gently.
‘But that was all so hectic. I hardly got to spend any time with you. Especially with Daisy going berserk.’
‘Did Nishi bua really do it on purpose then?’
Mummy lowered her voice. ‘It was Nayantara only who leaked the design.’
I gasped. That’s Daisy chachi’s very own daughter-in-law. This was big gossip indeed!
‘Yes. Imagine that! I think she was peeved with Daisy because Daisy threw that chaat party last summer on the same day Nayantara’s mother had her high-tea party.’
High tea? Is this seriously Amritsar we’re talking about?
‘So anyway, I asked Nishi finally and she told me Nayantara had sent her details of the design.’
‘Daisy chachi will get a full-on shock if she finds out.’
‘Hmm. Nayantara and the kids are coming to Delhi next to next week. Her brother’s there, na. She said this time she’ll definitely call you.’
Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no …
‘In fact, Mona …’
No, no, no, no, no …
‘Why don’t you call all the cousins over for dinner?’
‘There are so many of them there. It will be a nice reunion.’
We just had a reunion at Chiku’s wedding! No!
‘Now that we have a nice house …’ she went on.
We don’t have a house! Ramit and I have a house!
‘You should have lots of parties before you get busy with starting a family.’
Starting a family! Because, of course, Ramit and I aren’t a family. A ‘family’ is incomplete unless you’ve been through sleepless nights together with a bawling kid. I am fuming again.
‘Ramit is busy with work, Mummy. I’ll ask him and figure out a date,’ I said dismissively, hoping she’d get the hint.
‘Ramit is always busy with work,’ Mummy brushed me aside. ‘He needs to get busy with other things.’
And then it happened.
‘It’s been a month since you had your period here. Have you had it again this month?’
When I got into bed, Mona told me, ‘I’m really quite tired of all this interference, Ramit!’
I know how she feels. But it’s also an opportunity to, you know … I reached out for her hand and gave it a sympathetic squeeze. ‘Then let’s make a baby.’ I knew I was grinning, despite trying to look nonchalant.
‘I’m chumming!’ she growled.
She is perpetually chumming!
I didn’t realize I said that out loud. Damn! After that, she bit my head off! I thought you’re supposed to PMS before the period rather than during it.
Anyway, I decided to be all manly and tell her not to get so worked up about the whole thing. I told her she shouldn’t get stressed because she doesn’t even like children to begin with.
She chewed up whatever was left of me after that. I swear I saw fangs. I finally decided to give her a tight hug instead of saying any more stupid things.
Ramit snuggled up next to me. He put away his laptop. He put away his phone.
Wow! The one time my husband shows me affection, I’m chumming.
So I’m in office today – unshaven. People think someone has died. The real reason is that we have run out of shaving cream.
Mona’s bought a year’s supply of sanitary napkins! There was an avalanche when I opened the utility cupboard that Mona has so proudly allotted to our toiletries, looking for some shaving cream.
She obviously has no hope in hell about getting pregnant.
She kept saying I should be proud of her for saving me some money by buying these things on one of these online grocery websites. She really needs a new hobby.
I’ve made up my mind. It’s not about getting pregnant. It’s about doing something in life! Of course I have my business idea to chalk out, but first, I need to lose weight like that stupid Laila-Majnu woman next door. You can’t even sit with your curtains open now without seeing her flit in and out of her house looking like a supermodel.
So I got off my expanding butt and went for a walk to the park. Met a Mrs Kapoor. When people introduce themselves as Mrs So-and-so, I’m compelled to respond with a Mrs too.
So I told her I’m Mrs Deol. And then the customary question – am I related to Sunny Deol?
Mummy says that if Ramit hadn’t married me, they would have gotten him hitched to their neighbour Babita, aka, Bobby. Can you imagine that?
Also, which thirty-year-old calls herself ‘Mrs So-and-so’? Mrs Kapoor is possibly just as old as me, with a six-year-old who was quite bratty at the park. The child was unimaginatively called Asha. Mrs Kapoor’s first name must be even more unimaginative.
When I have kids, I’ll make sure I spend hours researching their names and find a name no one else has!
Like Nadia. I’ve always loved the name Nadia. Like the gymnast?
Who am I kidding! How will I ever produce a child if all this man has accomplished by 2.00 a.m. is an even more densely populated ‘sent’ folder?
(Excerpted with permission from the book Koi Good News by Zarreen Khan, published by HarperCollins India.)