When I was a school kid, I had waited in ration shop for hours on countless times under hot sun to buy kerosene. I waited more than a decade to marry the girl I loved (and later realized like most husbands, ‘why I did that?’ LOL and she also thinks the same about me, hahahaha. Same pinch don’t pinch!!) After marriage I have waited in front of ladies’ trial rooms in shopping malls which sometimes looked like eternity (I have documented one such episode here. Please read). However, on all previous occasions it had made me a better person at the end with thicker skin (as thick as a buffalo now), stronger backbone and stronger mind. Some friends would even comment in Tamil, “Romba nallavana irupan polle irukke…” (Translates to…looks like he’s a very good guy) in Vadivelu style. But this time, it taught me a new lesson, here we go…
My wife’s job interviews are like full family outing. We go out with a big luggage which would include my wife’s educational certificates from 10th STD marks card to MCA marks cards, some files, her hand bag, umbrella, then our daughter’s items like feeding bottle, snack box, breakfast or lunch box according to the time of the interview, extra dresses, big heavy towel etc. etc.
Every year her interview season comes in like the monsoon. A rain of interviews would follow and finally when she realizes she had already lost what it takes to clear an interview, the sun will shine in her head and she stops.
Then next year around the same time, she would receive a call from one of her friends, “hey, you know, I got a job in Ramdoss Kupuswamy InfoTech. Why don’t you try too?” and then the season starts again.
The following incident happened in the most recent interview season. The interview venue was close to a very popular shopping mall in Bangalore. So, instead of waiting outside the interview hall, I decided to take my daughter to the shopping mall and have some fun time.
As it was a Sunday morning, the mall was virtually empty. We – father and daughter, scaled every inch of the shopping mall. Rode up and down the escalators and did Window shopping at most of the outlets. Some of the other visitors, especially some middle aged ladies, were amused. They said ‘hi’ to my daughter and some even asked where her mother was. For that she replied, “evido poyi” which translates to ‘went somewhere’ in a ‘I don’t know’ kind of expression, and I had to interrupt and tell them that she was in an interview hall. They were smiling when they asked so I didn’t think that they mistook me for a kidnapper. I wondered whether the ladies expected a vacant mother’s position and were interested in applying for that!!
Well, the main incident wasn’t about the ladies.
After an hour of walking around, my daughter suddenly announced that she wanted to pee. I rushed her to the washroom area. But alas, there were no housekeeping woman around. My daughter was too young to use the washroom on her own.
I turned to the men’s room and found it locked. I thought about the possibility of allowing her to use the open space outside the mall, but then decided against it as it was too posh an area and I might end up in trouble.
My daughter clutched her stomach and looked like she would pass right on the spot. Now you may think why she didn’t have a diaper on her, but the thing was she is already 3 years old and hates diapers.
I longingly looked at the woman’s room. The look on my daughter’s face suggested the condition has become critical. Should I break in? Or should I wait for somebody to come along and assist her?
Break in…my mind told. I slowly walked toward the door, and just when I was about to pull open the door, a woman jumped out and on seeing me she shrieked, “cheeeee” and when she saw my daughter, she somewhat regained her composure but quickly walked away.
Breaking-in proved to be a bad strategy. The presence of my daughter had saved me from a tight slap, but didn’t want to take another chance.
I asked my daughter to hold on as much as possible and waited outside the ladies’ toilet. I don’t know whether some women thought I was a toilet-cleaning guy!!
Eventually after being at the receiving end of couple of nasty stares, a young girl who was about 15 years old offered to help.
What I finally learned was, no matter how comfortable a father is with his little daughter, there are times he is of no help.
P.S: Happy Diwali to all my readers!!