One sunday, I am feeling second wind and jetting down from the 200meter mark at the Mumbai (Half) Marathon 2008. The next sunday, the very next one, finds me in Hyderabad. I climb a flight of stairs. I climb back down. And back again. Then I need to rest, cause my legs are aching. Well, this is how the die rolls.
On Monday after the race, I felt the snifflings of a cold coming on. I braved a bracing Mumbai evening weather without a sweater (Ha ha, I was thinking, I would look silly wearing my Patriots sweat-shirt now, although they are winning and all). But then I felt cold. The park was the destination of choice. I tried to concentrate on my book while she climbed slides or gingerly touched the sand. My teeth chattered and so forth. Somehow managed to put an end to my misery and return home for our discussions re: dinner. I chanced upon a cold glass of milk left over from the previous night in the fridge. Hah. Calcium, I remember thinking, before gulping it down.
Well that did it. As far as I can tell, my immunity was not at its peak at that time. The weather has been remarkably cold. I was tired out with lots of stuff all around. BOOM! I came crashing down on Thursday morning. I could barely breathe, and had this nasty hacking cough as well. I pushed it and just took some rest in the afternoon. Thankfully the mobile did not ring like crazy as usually happens when I take a nap in the afternoon (an event that occurs about once a year, the nap I mean). On Friday things looked desperate. The monster has not been particularly chirpy, health-wise either. Her complaints are: Runny Nose; Mysterious Stomach Ache; Convenient Cough and so forth. The manifestations are: Loss of Appetite; Restless Sleep; Increased Tension for Parents; Temper Tantrums by Mother.
I dragged into the hospital with my "Oh I am such a loser that no one can even accompany me to the hospital when I have this illness" look on my face. The driver had disappeared (His brother is sick right, they said when I called. Right, said I). I had to drive. I considered myself unfit for the exercise, but then, in the absence of a real choice, I did, finally. Anyway the doctor spent about half an hour cooing to a baby. I had a strong urge to walk up and say 'Hey that baby is too young to be sat up like that, its back will get weak' but resisted and put nose in book (Brick Lane; Monica Ali; better than my expectation, a dry sense of humour I liked). Finally she went into her room. I dragged myself in, putting on my "Oh I am so sick and here you were cooing to a baby that is too young to be sat up like that" look on. She declared my chest clear. Admired my blood pressure (which, despite my daughter's best efforts, stays remarkably normal) and pulse (which has clocked the precise number prescribed in all medical texts, mostly thanks to my running and general aerobic life-style). Gave me a charge-sheet of medicines. The usual amoxycillin and expectorant and what not. I spent more than a thousand Rs. in all on this. Basically the Rs.1000 I got back from Stan Chart for returning the timing chip after my marathon. Ill-gotten gains never stick to me you see.
I dragged back and picked up the child and returned home. Tried very hard to 'get some rest' as prescribed by doc lady. Ha. Try that at home with a four year old who (a) has a cold (b) has had tiffs with her school friends (c) is missing her neighbour -friend and (d) had her grandparents doting on her till yesterday. Ha. We managed to keep it all civil, for the most part, and got through with some measure of dignity till husband returned back home to complain about the two and half hour commute. He took a look at us and his face fell. We both looked like something the cat dragged in. He had to leave in a few hours to the US. We both were supposed to go to Hyderabad for a family function, which he was really upset about missing, the next day.
I put on my best "Oh I am so long suffering a woman" and "A woman can never get the rest she rightfully deserves" and, for good measure "We lose so much of ourselves every month that its a miracle indeed that we are so fat" looks in succession for him. I do joke about it but was a bit ragged Friday night. We talked and discussed and game-planned and finally decided the best bet was to postpone my morning flight to afternoon. I went to bed after the ritual of list-making. Powder-Pants-Tees-Paavadai-Sari-zzz...
Saturday was an exercise in determination, patience, and almost brought back my faith in the almighty. Well on hind-sight it was not so bad. She was so excited about the trip that I could constantly threaten cancellation, at the slightest deviation from the line I had drawn for her. She also loves planes and flights and since it was Republic Day, and I smiled and wished everyone a happy one, her mood was good. We ate lunch at home, drank hot chocolate in the airport, I burned my tongue in my hurry to finish mine so I could cool hers down for her.
The driver at the Hyd airport was quite surprised and alarmed when I pointed at the board. He is used to business travelers and their sophisticated wives. I still looked a little ragged, with nasty hair and a hacking cough and a green khadi kurta (for RD) over jeans. Child looked ragged too, snotty nose and dry skin (refused to let me touch cream to her face, monster) and sneakers. But he drove us in record time to destination, for once the streets were empty and the horn not required, as it was a public holiday.
The family rejoiced to see us, except for a second of worry because no one could see the child asleep in the car when I waved. The hotel rooms were fine and, of course, a cause of much excitement, what with the small wall mounted TV and the possibility of running from room to room. The function was attended, I managed, despite shaky hands, to drape the Pink sari this time. It felt fine, have avoided wearing it for long enough, and without my husband to joke about it, I braved it. My hair was still crazy but then it usually is quite bad so no one particularly commented upon it. The monster was arrayed in a spectacular paavadai created by its grandmom; with a matching bag, so attention was diverted from the grubby mother quite effectively.
We returned back home Sunday night at 11 pm. The monster had a dinner of about 37 red balls from the Jet Airways after-mint packet. I pecked at a few rice grains and mentally thanked the folks for my pack of curd rice with cashewnuts and pomegranate seeds (which I ate in the airport itself). My ear got completely blocked in the flight. I could feel it in my ears every time the pilot descended even a few meters. When I hit the sack, pausing briefly to cough and spit out a nice ball of phlegm, I remember thinking myself invincible. It must be how guys feel when they ride around on bikes without silencers at a trillion kilometers above the speed limit...