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Recently on a two hour long flight a man sitting on the seat in front of me could not help but turn every now and then and give me those looks.
Now before you jump into conclusion, let me clip the wings of your imagination and tell you that those looks were neither pleasing nor flattering to say the least.But they seemed to question the kind of mother I was, who was incapable of handling her own child!
Well the problem was that lil A would just not agree to sit at one place and rather wanted to be let free to roam around the aisle.
I won't blame him as in their complete wakefulness and in a new environment, children tend to get hyperactive-the most dreaded word in the English Dictionary for a mom!
In this entire exercise of handling A and thinking new ways to keep him engaged lest he jump over co-passengers or snatch their belongings, I was coming to my wits ends when this particular man would just not stop preening over his shoulders with that ACCUSATIVE look spread all over his broad face.
A one year old is only capable of screaming to express all kinds of emotions.Only a mother can judge whether he is screaming out of joy,or anger or hunger or just plain boredom.A mom's ears are tuned to recognise different pitches and tones of the scream to understand what the child needs.But Alas! to other people a scream is nothing but noise.
And so it was with this fellow, who was hell bent on making me feel guilty every time A asserted his presence in the tiny craft with ever tinier legroom.
It is not just an isolated incident or just one person who has behaved like this.You go to any public place and see how easily people become irritated and even angry at times if your child cries.They seem to be telling you to press that mute button on the child!!
But how do you explain to a toddler or to an infant that they are disturbing others?? Well you don't!
You just pitch in by engaging them, like this sweet lady who sat next to me did.
She played with A for the entire course of the journey and even let him fiddle with her phone.Or like the air hostess who gave A empty water cups to play with.Or like the elderly couple who momentarily took A in their arms and spoke to him very grandparently.
All these people pitched in and made the journey for everyone and most importantly for A, comforting and bearable!
If you notice yourself or other other women around you, you would be surprised to realise that how frequently and for almost everything, we feel sorry.Infact most of our conversations at home or in offices begin with, "I am sorry that..."
So we are sorry if the meeting gets delayed for no apparent fault of ours or if the maid doesn't turn up.
As if feeling sorry as a woman was not enough we become even more apologetic once we become MOTHERS!
So we are sorry if the baby cries in the nights and we apologise to our neighbours the next morning. We are sorry if the baby eats too less or too much and then we apologise to the paedetrician and so forth and so on.
At this stage, even sorry feels sorry for us!
Sometimes and I hate to admit it but even we mothers are clueless, specially when it comes to a cranky child.At that moment we don't need more guilt but someone who could step in and take charge and give a much required breather to both mom and child.
Coming back to the man on the flight, for every look he gave me I responded by doing what a mother does best-ignore the tantrums,UNAPOLOGETICALLY!!