I knew that handling a baby can be difficult. My favourite writer Shibram had written long time back about it in his shishu sikkhar porinam. His conclusion was “every child is his father’s elder brother”.
But he handled a boy of five. Who was well equipped with vocabulary and made his tutor’s life miserable by questions. Whereas, I was given the duty of handling my friend’s fourteen-month-old for half-an-hour. My longest half hour in life. After going through the experience I concluded that every child is his father’s elder brother’s tormentor.
This time when I went to Calcutta, I visited Paul’s place. We were meeting after three years. I was quite shocked to find the changes in Paul. Within this small period of three years, not only he had married and got a certificate of love, but I was astonished that his whole outlook towards the world has changed. He used to be a jolly, good for nothing happy-go-lucky person like me. We used to fall in love at the same time with the same lady and had prolonged discussion, even for days, as to who would propose her.
But that’s history now. Paul is now not even a shadow of what he was. He now talks about life insurance policies and retirement plans. Life fucks all, they say.
I am digressing.
Mother always says there is nothing like a baby in this world. Though I stay away from babies and vermin, I agreed to help Paul when he asked me to take care of his baby for ten minutes. He had to go for an urgent work and the mother was yet to come from the office.
I spread my arms to the baby. He knew this is an open invitation for a baby’s evening out. He said, “goo goo goo.” Paul, who was visibly happy that his son was trusting me extended the custody period and said he will be back soon, after half-an-hour. He stashed a dozen pants for the baby and advised me to carry it in a disinfected bag. My pocket might be infected, he was worried. When I looked at him suspiciously as why he is giving me to carry a whole baby shop, he smiled mysteriously, “you will soon realize”.
I realized it soon after I took the baby out. Just when I opened the gate, he tried to jump out, almost as if he would run to the field to play football with the other senior brats, “goo goo gooooo,” he exclaimed and wetted his pant and my shirt.
I had no idea that changing a pant can be so troublesome. First you have to make the baby sit in a higher place than the ground level, a bench being the ideal. Then, supporting him with one hand you have to pull out the wet thingy. You lift the baby a little and slowly pull out the pant with the other hand. You should be extra careful, leaning on to you, the baby should not test the strength of his teeth. It hurts really bad! And they keep on pressing harder unless they are sure they have found a new weapon effective enough to protest the injustice of the world.
Now, after you are done with stripping the baby, your next task is to dress him again. The most difficult job in the world. I took a while to find out which part should come in front and which one is meant for hiding the arse part. After some research I found out that you can make it wear anyway you wish, because they are meant to be like that. I tried to put one of those panties to him. The baby, who was happy and content to be naked, protested a lot when I tried to make him civilized. “goo goo goo,” he went on complaining. Kicked me with all his might and threatened to fall down from the place he was seating. Making me cancelling my plans one after another. Frustrated, I laid him down on the floor and tucked him under my thighs and made prudent use with my hands, now that both were freed. He was not volunteering to put his leg onto one of the hole assigned, and was very displeased by this inhuman treatment. “goo goo goo,” he was throwing his hands and legs at every possible direction. But I was desperate, the more he was trying to free him up, the harder I was putting the squeeze on him. We continued this until he was not moving at all and completely surrendered him to my whims and fancies.
With some luck, I managed to dress him. Only to discover later that I put it all wrong. The leg hole was now adoring his trunk. His tiny winy thingy was now hanging from the other end. And neither of us was ashamed of it.
He was dazed by the effort and was not moving much. But soon recovered and regained his stature. We came near a pond. Some ducklings were happily swimming there. I pointed out to him, “look look.”
He again tried to jump from my lap to chase them, “goo goo goo…” he was excited, “gooo gooo gooo,” he was now jumping in my lap, kicking me. “gooooooo…” he was overexcited and lo…I felt some hot water running through me and I was not amazed to discover the source.
I had to again repeat the process. Only this time I made a buffer of the remaining pants between him and me. I successful stuffed his mouth with some of his own wearables. I could hear he was grumbling, only timidly. “go go go”
Soon I realized his only aim in life is to discover the nature and its wonderful creatures and get excited and wet his pant. Having come to the conclusion that to save yourself bathing naturally, you should not excite the baby, I turned his face towards me to discourage him from all the beautiful things in life. Whenever he was trying to turn his head, I was forcefully stabilizing it towards me. “goo goo goo,” he was annoyed.
Soon that pesky lout had his share of revenge. Contrary to my belief, and much to my surprise, he was still getting excited looking at my God’s pity face. Soon I realized why.
He snatched my glasses and started shaking it with all his might. “goo goo goo,” he challenged me with his war cry. It was a sort of blackmail. Allow me to do whatever I want to do and save your glasses. But he never gave me the chance for a dialogue. Before I could get hold of my specs he thrashed it on the ground. Smashing the glasses and breaking the frame. That delicate frame had lightened my pocket by 2k just a week before. I was shell-shocked. Now that was a war! I realized that I have to take some hard stand as adopted by President of America, my idol, George Bush. I geared myself up for another ‘war on terror’ and decided to punish this terrorist. I took out the bottle of whiskey I always carry with me for self defence and defiance. I poured one small peg, raw, through his throat.
After some initial protests and grimaces, goo goo goooo gooooo gooolmulgoogoogupgupgoolgoolgulp he fell asleep. Before that he again wet his pant. But this time, it was not a difficult task to change it. I was proud of my baby handling. I am a great nanny, I patted myself on my head.
I handed over the sleeping baby to his parents. He looked so serene. Even my friend’s insistence to stay could not hold me back.
At about nine-o-clock, Paul called up. He was worried that his baby was still sleeping. He was enquiring whether I noticed some abnormality and how was my experience with the baby. I said I loved him and looking forward to meet him again.
At about eleven he called up again. He was howling. The baby was still sleeping and was referred to a hospital by a pediatrician for this abnormally long slumber. I feigned that I don’t know anything and switched off my mobile.
I took an early morning flight to Bangalore next day and the first thing I did after landing here was to change my mobile number. It’s three months now and I don’t know what happened to the baby.
I am sure he waked up after sometime and again wetted his pant, but in the meantime if you readers find Paul, please don’t tell him what happened really. Please, please, don’t stab me at my back. I expect this much of loyalty from you.
Especially when you know that my ‘war on terror’ was just and in self-defense.