20 Oct

Crasssshhhhhhhhhhhhh…………… … goes our first Diwali cracker in a restaurant on the eve of Diwali. We had gone to dine in a restaurant on that most eventful day.

glass shattering

Now, I would like to rewind this, flashback or whatever it is you would like to call it, to go back in time to understand the relevance and significance of this blog entry.

My brother and father were visiting us for Diwali, the festival of lights. And my brother decided that he would treat us with dinner for having got a new job in one of the most prestigious private sector company in India. So, does my son need any more reason to rejoice? He has this favorite restaurant where he would get idlis and plain dosa, two of his favorite dishes whenever we decide to eat out anytime of the day. So, this day too, after much of planning, bickering and discussing, we chose the time and place of our most eventful dinner night out. Never has any dinner been more eventful than this day precisely because of what I am going to explain below.

So, we park our car in the most exemplary manner. Did I tell you guys that my husband has graduated from being a novice in driving and parking (parking is a grade higher than driving according to him) to an expert and almost a specialist in the same? I guess not. I don’t know when this evolution flowered to perfection. But suddenly we all realized that he parked the car with the same ease and flow with which he used to do it since so many months ago and it seemed like I was noticing it for the first time. I dint even have to ask, should I get down checking if you are not scratching the other cars while trying to park. Before I could even suggest, the parking act was complete. Oh, how I am proud of my DDH (Dear Darling Hubby)!!!

Oh well, I don’t have to mention the numerous scratches and dents present in our cute Hyundai Santro or should I? These are the vizhupungal (tamil word which means scars of the battle), they are the scars left back battling the driving of the car. My dear international audience, here in India, not necessarily every Indian learns driving a car at the age of 16 or 18. It is not something mandatory like getting a job. Even having a girl friend or boy friend is not mandatory. So, here, things like these are pretty ok. You can find a normal affluent 30 year old learning to drive a car, or for that matter a 50 year old who just purchased a car learning to drive it. Oh well, coming back to our cute Hyundai Santro, my DDH had just meant to drive it and the car was averaging a dent per square foot and we considered these good to ward off the evil eyes which might envy us or our beautiful car or for that matter even our driving skills. And I jokingly refer to it as vizhupun, because I am still a novice battling the act of learning to drive a car at the ripe young age 28.

So, coming back to the main theme, we parked our car very effectively and the four of us (my son, hubby, brother and myself) entered the restaurant. We were guided to a table of four. I dint like the person who guided us. Never had met this particular fellow ever in this particular restaurant. He was acting smart and I had the vague notion, he was far from being smart. My husband has no likes and dislikes as far as people or anything else is concerned and I dint want to spoil the Diwali mood everyone were in and refrained from commenting about my dislike for this particular guy. When my son was seated, he removed the forks, spoons and even tried to remove the plate which was in front of him. Imagine the shock and horror of a 3 year old when he sees that he is not going to be handling anything present in front of him. I could see the disappointment and discontent in my son’s face and I guess so did my husband and brother. My brother intervened and said that the little boy knows to wield a mean fork which was true too. And the waiters was now hesitant to whether he should allow the fork and spoon to be where it was or take it away. I insisted too. And my son insisted too saying he wants the fork and spoon. It dint leave him much of a choice now. I was jubilant. I had my first victory over him, the person I dint like. Then to rub it in worse, I said, can my son have a glass of water? We had glass tumblers filled with water. Now the guy was in panic of whether to give him a glass tumbler filled with water to a “child” of 3 years old. I said its ok. We will take care. So, he brought a glass of water and placed it in front of my son. With a fluid motion, as if to insit that he knows to use drink from a glass tumbler my son had his first sip of water in the restaurant and replaced the tumbler intact. I had my second victory over the waiter. And I was really proud. The waiter was still having his own doubts. He said I should take care. I was like, Oh definitely!!! Ha ha, the too proud me!!! !!!

We were ordering and eating and having tussles over who should eat what from which plate, and who should not order what and what not. So, at last when everything was settled and everyone was well into eating their main course, I heard a huge crash. And I was wondering for a fraction of second why I felt all eyes of the restaurant looking at me. I realized my shirt and pants were partially wet and so were my arms. Aha, My son had his first Diwali cracker. He had tried to drink his probably nth sip of water in the same nonchalant fluid grace and the glass tumbler had resisted this time. It slipped from his fingers, passed through his t-shirt, trousers, spilling crystal clear water all over. The water had spilled everywhere with a tumultuous grace if that is even a phrase. The glass had done a balti (tamil word for multiple flips at a single go) which enabled the waters to become turbulent and spill with vigor all over us. Ok, enough exhibition of my literary and cinematic imagination.

My son was truly horrified at what he had done. And my primary task was now to make him feel comfortable that it was hardly anything to be bothered about. My brother who always wore his presence of mind on his sleeve came up with “Wow son, I bet I cant do that…!!! You are becoming bigger than all of us”. Ok, I know, don’t start giving me lectures on how to bring up my son and that this is not the right way. We all had this very strong urge to bring him out of his shock of what he had done to the glass tumbler, to himself (no, he was not physically hurt, but his clothes were drenched.) and to the confidence we had in him. We had so proudly insisted to the waiter that he be treated like an adult with his own fork, spoon and glass tumbler filled with water, all in front of him. And now I guess his second thought was that he had failed in some way.

No, would my smart husband ever let his son fail him. His rejoinder for the glass shattering with a huge “wow” had already brought up a big smile on his face and all the people looking at us were even surprised that he did not start crying. I gave him a big hug saying its ok and we will buy a new glass. My brother and husband (I don’t remember who brought up this idea first. The incident is almost like a blur now to me) both decided that this was my son’s first Diwali cracker for 2009. I liked the idea and immediately kept insisting the same and my son was thinking along those terms and his mood improved considerably. All this while, I was worried about how I would handle the waiter’s smug look that at last he was correct and that the glass indeed had shattered and broken. I had had 2 victories, but the waiter had won the battle! How depressing this can ever get.

My son got back his appetite, finished his meal and even had dessert.

When the bill came, there was nothing on it for the broken glass. We offered to pay up, but the magnanimous waiter said, that’s ok. Nothing more. My husband and brother insisted more than once. The waiter was sure and firm that he won’t allow us to pay for anything more than the food. I was HUMBLED, big way! I was expecting a smug look on this waiter’s face whom I disliked. Now I am not sure I dislike him anymore. Maybe or maybe not he we should have allowed the little monster to handle a glass, but life is a teacher, not because it tried to tell us that our son should steer clear of glass, but because it is telling me that people are still good and “normal” and not smug or insufferable. I expected a scorn, perhaps even a look of insolence, but he dint look at me at all. Infact more than my husband and brother I had insisted that my son be given everything and be treated like us. And he had done the same. And now, he was continuing to treat this whole matter as if an adult had broken the glass by mistake. And everyone at the restaurant were trying to make us feel comfortable and feel that everything else was normal. I just wanted to pay for the glass and be done with. But that was not happening. Anyway, we paid for the food and left.

I was wondering how to bring up the broken glass issue with my son to say that yes, it was a mistake indeed. We had tried to make him feel better and wanted to bring him out of his shock and hence insisted that it was actually nothing. But that was not the case in reality. He had to be aware of his mistake. I was wondering what opportunity nature will present me with. No, he himself provided me with the opportunity and made my job even simpler by owning up his mistake that night. Just before falling asleep he said, “Amma, the glass had broken. Maybe when I grow older I would know how to handle a glass tumbler better”. I said, “maybe you are right”. He said, “Until then, you hold the glass tumbler for me to sip water from”. I said ok.

 I dint want to say more. He knew.

Note: Shattering glass tumbler image is borrowed from google images.


6 Responses to “Crash!!!”

  1. B.Ramprakash October 21, 2009 at 9:27 am #

    The last paragraph (could be a stanza too !..) was really good.

    • The Alchemist October 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm #

      Thanks Ramprakash 🙂

  2. Vidya October 23, 2009 at 3:24 pm #

    Your son is a sweet little fellow. And the waiter has been nice:-)

    • The Alchemist October 23, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

      Thanks Vidya 🙂


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